Making an art doll is incredibly simple. You will need cloth, a sewing machine or needle and thread, scissors, stuffing, and materials to decorate the doll. (To begin, I used acrylic paint, gesso, pen, stamps, embroidery floss, beads, and yarn!)
A few tips to note: remember that the doll will appear smaller when turned and stuffed - sew it a bit bigger (about 1/2 inch) than the size you want it to be when finished. Also, I made my dolls to have no arms or legs which simplified the sewing a great deal, but those looking for a bigger challenge could try more advanced doll shapes.
You can also click on any of the photos below to view a larger version.
1. Cut your fabric into a rectangle. It can be any size - the bigger the cloth, the bigger the doll will be! Fold the fabric in half by putting the shorter edges of the cloth together. You can pin it if you wish; I simply ironed it to stay flat.
2. Next, sew the two halves together into a doll-like shape, i.e. head and body. I did not use any pattern for this, and I really like that all my dolls turned out a little bit differently! Make sure, however, to leave the neck at least 1 1/2 inches wide, or turning and stuffing the head will be very difficult. Remember to leave the bottom open so that you can turn the fabric.
3. Trim the edges with scissors to about 1/4 inch. Turn the fabric inside out and stuff it.
After the third step of the tutorial, I got so involved that I didn't manage to take more pictures until the dolls were mostly finished! Here are the next (pictureless) steps:
4. When the doll is evenly stuffed, use a hidden stitch to sew up the bottom.
5. Go crazy with decorating!
Will you make a queen of the stars or a daisy-clad dancer? What is your muse; what being would give you hope, strength, inspiration, or happiness? How can you enliven these powers into a tangible doll in your hand? If you are simply stuck and need further ideas or inspiration, visit Flickr and look at all the beautiful creations there. Please let me know how it went, and share a picture or two of your lovely new friends!
Oh, and did you notice my new banner? I'm still deciding if I like it or not, and would love to hear your thoughts and impressions. Thanks!