On this page, I will take you through the final steps of sewing and stuffing a Waldorf-style button jointed doll. Because there are so many excellent books and patterns available elsewhere, I do not provide an exact template for the doll's torso, arms or legs because I do not want to infringe on anyone's copyrighted pattern. Instead I suggest you create your own using the pictures and directions below, or purchase a book or pattern. A self-made pattern is easy to create because the shapes are so simple. But no matter how you go about getting or creating a pattern, you will find these tips and techniques helpful.
Part 2: Creating the Torso and Inserting the Head:
The doll's torso pictured above began as an oval (slightly tapered and left open at the top where it joins the neck). I made the doll's head, sewed and stuffed the body, then inserted the head and sewed a gathering stitch around the open neck and cinched it shut and secured it with stitches around the neck.
Here's a tip about inserting the head:
When you form the head, you should have stuffing coming out of the bottom under the neck when it is completed. This is called the "muff." (see Fig. 3) You can close up the muff or leave it open, it doesn't really matter because when you stuff the body cavity, the muff is stuffed in along with the fill for the body. (Which means the trunk of the body should be open at the neck.) This technique makes a very sturdy joint; no floppy head and it can't fall off, even if the doll is carried by the head. Here some pictures to illustrate:
After the body is stuffed and the head inserted, sew the body closed around the neck. If this becomes unsightly, you can always cover it up with a band of fabric. In the photo at right you can see the neck band that covers up the joint. It is only sewn together where it overlaps in the back:
Figure 5 - Click to see a larger image.
3.) To make a bottom & belly button:
After your doll's head and torso are sewn and stuffed, you can create a little bottom and belly button at the same time by doing a little sculpting with thread. Thread a long dollmaking needle with some heavy duty thread or another option is dental floss. Start at the top of the bottom line and sew a gathering stitch down to the base of the doll along the bottom line, insert your needle at the bottom of the line and come out where you started at the top of the line, pull tight to create the indentation. Reinsert your needle very close to the place where the thread comes out at the top of the bottom line (do not put it in the same exact hole) and come out in front of the torso to create the belly button (see Fig. 1) . Pull tightly and the thread tension will create more "cheeky" dimension in the bottom and, while the thread is still taut, take a little back stitch or two to hold that tension between the back & front torso. Reinsert your needle and thread in the belly button and come out at the top of the bottom line again in the back of the torso and pull slightly to make the belly button draw in a bit. Knot off and your bottom & belly button are done! (see Figures 1 above & 6 at right)
4. Button joint and stuffing your doll: You can probably deduce from the photos of the little boy doll above what the shape of the arms and legs should look like (see Figures 1, 2 & 6 above). Sew and stuff them, but leave an opening in the upper-outer arm area (for the arms) and in the upper-outer thigh area (for the legs). First, thread your long dollmaking needle with the heavy-duty craft thread, bring the ends of your thread together and make a secure knot. Insert your needle and thread through the bottom of a two-hole button, immediately bring the thread down through the second hole and direct your needle through the loop of thread hanging below the button and pull to create a slip knot. This secures your needle and thread to the button.
Insert the two-hole button in the opening of the stuffed arm (or leg), position the arm next to the torso (the button should be inside the stuffed arm and next to the torso) and draw your needle and thread through the arm fabric, through the torso and out the other side of the torso where the other arm will be attached. While holding another two-hole button inside the remaining stuffed arm, insert the needle and thread through one of the button holes and draw on the thread until both arms are pulled closely to the torso. Insert the needle & thread through the remaining button hole, through the torso, through the arm fabric, into one of the holes of the button and pull to secure arms firmly next to the torso. Repeat procedure for extra strength and security. Knot off your thread well before closing up the openings in both arms (addition stuffing may need to be added to fill the arms firmly). The button-joint of the legs is created in the same manner.
5. Hair Style: The very last thing to be done is to attach hair to your doll's head. There are many techniques for doing this, such as crocheting a wig (like a little cap) made from mohair yarn or any fuzzy type yarn and sewing it in place or you may needle felt mohair yarn or wool roving directly into the doll's head. There are many dollmaking books available that explain the techniques for doing this. I would like to suggest the following:
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