Hello again! And welcome to part two of making your own Tiny You. Today we'll be making your doll's arms and legs.
Hopefully by now you’ll have go the hang of the blanket stitch, but this is where we start sewing…
11. Adding Magnets - as I’ve said on the previous post, having magnets in your doll is optional, so just skip this bit if you’re not going to be doing that. It can be tricky, especially because needles are usually magnetic and will get stuck to what you’re trying to sew, but the results are fun. It’s up to you.
To add magnets to your doll, you first need to make little pouches for them to be held in. This will make it easier for you to attach the magnets to the doll.
Cut two small felt circles, slightly larger than your magnets. (You basically have to leave a seam allowance like you did with the pattern pieces.)
Hold the two circles together and start to blanket stitch around the edge to attach them. When you have stitched about halfway, slide the magnet in the pouch you have created and continue stitching until you complete the circle and the magnet is completely enclosed. Repeat for all the magnets you’ll be using inside the doll.
That feeling when you create a non-terrifying diagram.
Tiny Hannah has one magnet in each hand and one in each temple.
Once you have your magnet pouches, sew them in place on the inside of your arm pattern pieces where the palm would be. Felt is great because, due to it’s texture and thickness, if you’re careful you can sew them in place without it showing on the outside.
Palm magnets completed.
Note: if you want to make it so the hands of your doll easily touch, make sure you take the poles of the magnets into account when sewing them into place.
You can do the temple ones at this point if you like, but I waited till I was working on that area.
12. Using your bradle or sharp pencil, make holes in the top of your arm pieces, ready for the teddy bear joints. You may need to widen the hole in the same way you did for the safety eyes in step 6. I doubt you've forgotten the horrifying diagram I made for that step, so I won't bother reusing it here.
I'm so glad I bought a bradle. It makes this so much easier.
13. Push the pegs of the teddy bear joints through the hole of each arm. DO NOT ATTACH THE REST OF THE JOINT YET. Once teddybear joints are snapped shut they don’t reopen, so you need to wait until most of the rest of the doll is done.
On a roll with these non-frightening diagrams
14. Adding wire to arms - skip steps 14-16 if you’re not adding wire.
Assemble your wire, cutters, pliers, and arm and/or leg pieces.
The tools of the tiny trade.
Measuring against your arm pieces, cut a piece of wire and curl each end inwards to create a loop; a larger one at the bottom (the”hand”) and a smaller on at the top (the “shoulder”). Repeat step. These will be your arm “bones”.
Wire arm bones
15. Using your sugru or similar, stick the smaller shoulder loop onto the top of the teddy bear joint peg. This will stop the bone sliding around inside the arm and potentially damaging the felt.
Sugru not shown. Obviously.
16. Carefully sew the hand loop in place to stop it shifting. A blanket stitch could work here, but as long as the hand won’t move about it doesn’t matter too much.
Use a flesh coloured thread if possible.
I just used black on her to make it more visible.
17. Your arm is now ready for sewing and stuffing. Fold the edges of your felt together so the bone, joint and magnet is hidden. Start your blanket stitch, and, as you sew, add stuffing bit by bit. It’s easier to stuff as you sew than to try and push stuffing into the toy later. You can use your pencil or cradle to help you stuff the toy.
Frustratingly I don’t have any photos of this stage, probably because I’d never done it before and I was concentrating too hard, and it's not really something I can easily draw, but here is a video where this stage is shown. The right part is at 0:49.
The limb should feel relatively solid when you've finished. The more to push it with a pencil or bradle the more it'll compress.
18. Adding wire to legs - optional steps 18-19.
This step is tricky and I wouldn’t blame you if you gave it a miss. I decided that I wanted my doll to have proper soles so she could wear proper shoes, which made this a lot more difficult, because the wire had to be shaped like a leg, ankle and foot.
If your pattern doesn’t have foot soles, you can just use a loop technique like I did on TH’s arm wires.
This is the shape I came up with.
Yes. I did do a version of the Charlie Chaplin fork dance
I looped the end into an elongated oval, that was slightly smaller than the sole piece. The loop was twisted closed where the heel would be and then bent forward slight to give a more definite heel. This also allowed the ankle to be slightly further forward.
The leg then extended up, and was bent at the hip towards the other leg. All of this was just measured against the felt pieces as I went.
Ideally I would want both legs to be made of one piece of wire, but I felt the chances of me getting that right on the first try were too slim, so I made them separately.
19. If you decide to go with this shape, then, once you have the basic leg wire shape, sew the foot wire to the sole piece to stop it moving about and provide a more solid foot.
(At this stage the images of the wire inserts will be white. I covered them in tape thinking they might be visible through the felt if I left them metallic. This step is unnecessary. I’m so glad I spent a good hour doing it for Tiny Hannah...)
The cunning reuse of the same diagram. No one will know.
20. Using blanket stitch, sew the sole of the foot to the leg piece. I found it easiest to fold the leg piece in half to find the centre, and place it on the heel of the sole. Then stitch from the heel round to the front. Repeat on the other side until the entire sole is stitch to the leg. Repeat on the other leg.
This is probably the point where you'll realise making tiny
accurate feet was rather ambitious. It's certainly when I did.
There may be a little fabric left over from the leg piece at the toe. That's fine, you can trim it off.
If there's not enough fabric you can either cut out leg pieces with longer toe sections, or make a little triangle (like a thin slice of cake) and add it into the gap.
21. Ready your stuffing. Start stitching from the toe to the top of the leg, and stuff as you go. Remember to stuff all the way round the ankle and leg wire to try and keep the “bone” in the middle of the leg; it’ll help to keep the wire from shifting too much or rubbing against the felt. When you reached the top of the leg, leave the very top with only a small amount of stuffing.
Take your time and go little by little, especially around the fiddly toe piece. This is pretty much the last difficult bit. It'll get easier from here on out.
22. Your leg should look like this.
Leg, with trimmings from the toe.
Pinch the the top of the leg so it lies flat, with the leg seam in the middle. The wire should also be roughly in the middle.
23. Trim any jagged edge of the felt, and sew the leg shut. Repeat on the other leg.
24. Lay the legs against the back piece of the doll, so the edges of the leg lines up with the edge of the hip. If you have wire inserts, bend the wires up where it meets the edge of the doll.
25. Trim the wire and bend it back in on itself until it forms a loop.
26. Stitch the legs into place on the back. You can use a blanket stitch, backstitch, or any secret stitch you fell comfortable with.
If you have wire inserts, sew them together in the middle by looping round them and then sewing into the felt until it feels fairly secure.
That feeling when the tricky part is done!
Your doll’s limbs are now complete! Next time: completing your doll’s torso.