Love my doll designs but don’t have an embroidery machine?
Here’s a FREE PDF sewing pattern so you can create the body and head to make a multitude of cloth characters to pose.
Download the Pattern
This pattern is free for you to use. It helps me get more people aware of my designs at Ballyhoo Creations ( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°) But please don’t claim it as your own or distribute it – send people to this webpage so they can download their own free copy. ƪ(˘⌣˘)ʃ
Let’s spread the joy of doll-making to more people. You don’t even need to join my email list. But if you want more shenanigans with art dolls and puppets – you should join the CREW newsletter.
There is a download button below the pattern preview.
How to make these dolls
To see how these dolls are stitched and assembled, you can watch my videos on the Ballyhoo Dolls YouTube Channel. This pattern can be used with fleece to make holiday elves or try making a doll with scraps of fabric.
The videos show how the dolls are stitched with an embroidery machine. But all the assembly steps are the same whether you stitch your seams with your sewing machine or embroidery machine. They’ll look like the photo below with either method. The rest of the video assembly is the same, so don’t be scared when you see that big embroidery machine. ƪ(˘⌣˘)ʃ You don’t need it!
The videos go into more detail, but the simple instructions are:
- Trace the seam lines onto stabilizer or interfacing. You can omit ears or thumbs if you prefer.
- Layer your fabrics with RIGHT sides together, and lay the tracing over them.
- Stitch the seam lines. You can add an opening on the side if you prefer or use the method in step 6 below.
- After stitching, cut away the excess fabric from the seams. Leave a 1/4″ seam allowance on woven fabrics, but a scant 1/8″ seam allowance on stretch knits or fleece since they don’t unravel. (this pattern was designed for stretch fabrics)
- Turn the head right side out using the neck opening.
- Cut a slit in the back of the torso – either horizontal or vertical – and use blunt hemostats to turn the doll right side out. Hemostats or the EZ point and turner are highly recommended for these small limbs. Avoid getting frustrated by using the right tool for the job. ( ఠ ͟ʖ ఠ)
- (optional) Add a wire armature to make the doll pose, stand on its own, or turn it into a stop-motion puppet. I have a great video on making wire armatures for these dolls.
- Stuff the doll’s body and head to your liking.
- Create a face on the doll’s head before attaching the head to the body.
- Close the body by using a ladder stitch.
- Tuck the head’s neck fabric inside the head. Use a needle and thread to make a running stitch to gather the head opening. Insert the body neck stem into the head opening and pull the threads to tighten and tie a knot. You may also hand-stitch the head onto the neck stem or use a button joint to keep the head mobile.
- Embellish with hair, add clothes or other trims.
If ANY of the steps above are not familiar to you, check out my free video series on dollmaking where I cover all the topics like stuffing, turning, and stitching cloth dolls.
Combine with Machine Embroidery Faces
You can sew the body with your sewing machine using this free sewing pattern, then sew the heads using ANY embroidery machine since the heads only require a 4×4″ hoop. That way you can get any of my machine embroidery face designs and create poseable art dolls with them. All of the doll heads in my cloth character collection will fit this body like the 4 in the middle of the photo below, those are my modular cloth character doll designs. I like to use the medium size heads on this pattern, but you can play around with sizing.
Other Head Designs
You can also draw, paint or stitch a face onto your doll head. The design of the neck stem also allows you to attach a different type of head, such as one made of polymer clay or a needle-felted head. And watch for future videos on my Ballyhoo Dolls YOUTUBE channel for some soft-sculpture options that fit these bodies too!
Sometimes I have kits available that fit this art doll pattern. Fleece elf kits are usually available around the holidays. But I may have more kits in the future. Check out my kits on Etsy if you want everything all in one package.
Licensing Note for this Pattern
You are allowed to make and even sell small quantities of handmade dolls that you create with this pattern. But you are NOT allowed to copy, sell, or distribute the pattern in any way since that violates copyright law (and yes, even free patterns are protected by copyright.) Please share the pattern with friends by giving them a link back to this web page. Help hem discover all the quirky goodness here at Ballyhoo Creations for themselves!