Handmade gifts come and go out of favor.  Some years they are "hot", some years they are tired and people just really want what is on their amazon wishlist.  I try to marry a balance between the two, making small handmade items as little stocking stuffers, hostess gifts and package toppers, while still being able to purchase what the gift recipient has actually asked for.  One exception however, is an heirloom gift.  Once in awhile, I make something for the kids that I hope they keep.  When I was a little girl, my mom sewed a fabric doll for me and I wanted to carry on the tradition this year for MY little girl. When I saw these plain muslin dolls, I knew I wanted to try to use them as a base.

Supplies needed to make your own handmade dolls:


The first thing you want to do is get your handmade dolls dressed! 
I decided to make my doll a little pleated ruffle skirt out of tulle.


I simply folded the tulle over several times so I had 4 layers then sewed a straight
 line about 1/2 inch from the top with a long stitch setting and super loose tension.


This allowed me to pull the thread to make a little ruffle.  (HERE is a full tutorial for making a ruffle.)  
You simply hold one string and gently pull on the other and the fabric will bunch up to form your ruffle.


I ended up pulling just a little bit in from each side so that there were two little bunches of pleats and a flat front. 
 I sewed my ribbon directly onto the same seam to secure it and add some more cuteness to the skirt. :)


Next is a shirt for your handmade dolls -- also very simple for beginner sewers.  Cut two square pieces of cloth and lay them on your handmade dolls to "fit."  Cut out a little curve for the neck, sew up the two side seams and two shoulder seams (across the top) and tuck the unfinished bottom into the skirt.  You can certainly hem all the edges if you so choose! (I did not.)


Now we move on to (arguably) the most charming part of these handmade dolls -- the hair.  Ever since Adrienne did her tutorial on using the Loom Kit, I have been wanting to try it out.  I decided to start off small with the green sized loom for my doll's hair.  You are going to follow the instructions included with the loom to a T.  Wrap around each peg counter clockwise, then use your hook to pull the yarn up and over -- essentially knitting.


Once you have about 15-20 rows, you can start closing off the circle with the enclosed plastic needle.


Make sure you pull the yarn tight as you release the thread, creating a little circle like this:


Flip it inside out (or right-side out actually) and...


You now have a little circle of yarn ready to "fit" onto your handmade dolls' head. 
Feel free to simply leave the hair as is, but I styled her a bit using rainbow loom bands for pigtails. :)


Chop off the knit ends for poofier pigtails.


To attach the hair, take a basic needle and thread and secure it in several places.



If your daughter is anything like mine, you need to REALLY secure the yarn onto the doll head, so use a few more stitches.


To finish off the doll, I added button eyes, a heart shaped mouth and some watercolor "rouge."  
My daughter's cheeks get really rosy when she sleeps so I wanted her doll to mimic her.


A little goes a long way, so start small!


If you are feeling really ambitious, you can keep the loom and yarn out, add a few more rows than you did for the doll hair and...


Flip that puppy over and you have a baby hat!
Perfect for matchy-matchy day...


Update:  I decided I kind of disliked the heart shaped mouth and went ahead and ripped it out and added a little smile instead.  She seems happier, don't you think? I also knit a hat for myself out of that yarn - beautiful and WARM!


I hope you enjoyed this muslin handmade dolls tutorial and you will try it for yourself! They're too cute not to.

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 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!