This post is a tutorial of sorts. It shows the main parts and steps to make a simple Waldorf style doll for a young child or infant. I love these dolls because they are a great way to introduce children to Waldorf style toys. They are soft and cuddly. They make a wonderful lovey or soft little pillow for a kid to rest their head on. PLEASE, don’t forget to read my disclaimer at the end of this post. You will not find templates or a pattern here. I am only giving general instructions and the basic photos to show how it is put together!
It’s been a while since I have made one of these simple beautiful dolls for a young child. But I was asked recently to make a doll for a young girl. I had been procrastinating on this task for much too long. Maybe because I was out of practice making this simple style doll. I had to dig for my old pattern.
In order to make such a doll you need the following ingredients:
- 6-7 ounces clean carded sheep’s wool
- stockinette for making the head
- string for making doll heads
- small piece of doll skin fabric for making the head and hands 8″X 8″
- cotton velour fabric – I’d buy a half yard (you will want to make two dolls once you get the first one done…)
- sewing thread in matching colors
- embroidery thread for the eyes and mouth
- re bees wax crayon for blushing the cheeks
- wool for embroidering the hair
- dollmaker’s needle and regular needles, scissors, and lots of patience and affection for the child to receive the doll
1. Cut out the parts for the dolls body and hat. This doll can be any size you want. My doll measuresd about 12 inches when finished. But you can design this doll according to your needs. Just make sure the arms are not too long or too short and everything is in proportion. I leave drawing the right-sized pattern to your imagination. Your head maybe bigger than my doll’s. Make sure your hat/bonnet reaches from one side of the cheek over down to the other side to cover it. So just measure it and make the hat as big as you need to.
2. Make the head for your doll. You can find plenty of books and places on the internet that explain how to make a head for a typical Waldorf style doll. I am not going to go into any of the details about heads. Note that the muff (part that is tied off at the bottom on a typical waldorf style head) needs to be longer than for a regular dress-up doll). Sew the little hat together at the back and drape it over the head cheek to cheek. Sew it on at the neck but don’t sew around the face yet. You must wait until the face has been embroidered!
3. Wind two small balls of wool for the hands of the doll and cover them with skin fabric by tying it around the little balls.
4.The arms/midsections consists of a rectangular piece of fabric. This piece will be sewn together at the bottom, right sides together leaving an opening in the middle. Once it is turned inside out after sewing the arms you will cut a small hole at the top.
5.Your perfectly shaped head, covered in your favorite color skin tone, will be inserted into this small hole and come out at the bottom where your left the three inch sized opening. Sew the head on tightly!
6.Stuff the arms with wool from both ends. Then sew on the little ball-shaped fists of your baby doll. You need to make gathering stitch around the velour material and then sew each ball on firmly.
7. Next you must stuff the rounded body/pillow part of the doll. Once it is full of fluffy wool do a gathering stitch around the top and insert it into the 3.5 inch opening . The muff part from the head goes in the pillow. Sew the the two parts together securely. Make sure to sew around a number of times so that no wool can get out.
8. The last thing I do is embroider the face and hair. It’s exciting yet scary at the same time. The dolls hat is not sewn on securely until the face is all finished.
DISCLAIMER: Please, note that all sewing and stitching must be done with great care. Use small stitches and go around multiple times so parts CANNOT come lose or wool come out of the doll. Always check your toys’ stitching from time to time to make sure that wool is safely contained since it could pose a choking hazard to a young child that still puts objects in their mouth. THESE TOYS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE KEPT IN CRIBS OR USED AS CHEW TOYS.
Ulla Seckler is a dollmaker who was born and raised in Germany. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two kids. You can find her Notes by a German Dollmaker on her blog where she shares some great German recipes, pictures of her sweet dolls, and life lessons learned.