I love handmade soft dolls. I have always wanted to make them, but my sewing skills are VERY basic. A few months ago, I pulled out a bunch of old fabric scraps–some outgrown or damaged clothes, some bits and pieces of projects-gone-by. I went through them with the girls, asking which ones they liked, then I cut a bit off and gave it to them for their little fabric collections. I came across an old black sweater that was given to me that never fit right. When I saw it, I immediately thought of a little black cat and decided to try to make a kitty. I made the basic shape, then decided on buttons for eyes. Inspired by Pangur Ban, the adorable little cat on The Secret of Kells, I chose two different colors for the eyes. When it was finished, Kells (my 2 year old son) loved it! I gave it to him, and it is still one of his favorite and most loved toys. I asked him if it was a boy or a girl, and he said “girl.” I asked him her name, and he said, “Meow-Meow.” (actually, he said “Nieow-Nieow…”)
So here are the instructions for how to make a Meow-Meow. This is a great way to use old scraps of fabric (I only used the sleeve of my sweater) or old clothes (especially baby clothes that were so special you can’t bear to pass them on…).
Remember, these little dollies are one-of-a-kind, and they don’t have to be perfect. In fact, the imperfections are a reminder that they are unique and special.
How-To Tuesdays #3: How to Make a Meow-Meow (and other soft dolls)
fabric of your choice
chalk or pencil
needle and thread
chopstick or pencil
stuffing (or old t-shirts, or dry beans, etc.)
(optional: sewing machine)
1. Draw an outline of a kitty (preferably on card stock or a cereal box or other stiff paper). Choose any animal you like. If you can’t freehand it, trace something from a book or print out a picture of an animal from the internet. This is your pattern.
2. Cut out your pattern.
3. Lay two pieces of fabric out (one for the front and one for the back). Put the right sides together. (The right side is the “good” side, or the side you want to be the front and back of your meow-meow. Lay your pattern on the wrong side of the top piece of fabric (the side that is not going to be seen) and trace around it with chalk or a pencil.
4. Remove pattern and cut out your meow-meow.
5. With machine or by hand, sew around the edge of your meow-meow. Stop about 2 inches before you get to the very end.
6. Tie off your thread.
7. Turn the fabric inside out, so that you are seeing the front and back of your kitty. Use the chopstick or pencil to poke the edges out (especially ears and other small places).
8. Stuff your meow-meow until it looks and feels like you like it.
9. With needle and thread, stitch the remaining two inches closed and tie off.
10. Sew on two buttons for eyes.
Now you have a Meow-Meow!
-Use different fabrics with a variety of patterns to make a meow-meow family.
-If you know how to embroider, by all means, give her a nose and a mouth!
-Draw the face or other embellishments.
-Add accessories like bows, glasses, neck-ties, jewelry, etc. to give your meow-meow character.
This basic recipe for a soft dolly is a lot of fun. I have also used it to make dolls of our family. (Everyone got a dolly for Christmas last year. The girls are fairies and have a little jingle bell in the middle of the stuffing so that when you shake them, they jingle.) These dolls are sooooo easy. All you have to do is use fabric markers to make a drawing on your cloth and then follow the steps above to turn it into a soft doll.
One year for Christmas, I made Rosie a set of Little Red Riding Hood dollies.
Enjoy your sewing on this how-to Tuesday! And be sure to check out the last two weeks of this series:
Mackenzie (and Randy)