More

Mimi Kirchner’s Hand Sewn Felt Doll

The beautiful handmade dolls pictured above were created from a pattern developed for The Purl Bee by the incredibly talented, brilliant and generous Mimi Kirchner. When we first discovered Mimi's blog, Doll, we were in absolute awe of her work and knew we must invite her to create a doll pattern for our readers. We were so pleased when she accepted our invitation and even more thrilled when she brought the dolls with her to New York City and we finally got to meet her. We loved Mimi just as much as we love her dolls! 

PS. Be sure to check out Mimi's Blog by clicking this link to see all of her beautiful work!

Finished Measurements

Approximately 14-inches tall from heel to top of head.

Materials

  • You'll need one piece of our Wolvitz 100% Wool Felt for each color used to make your doll. You'll have enough felt left to make a second doll except for the dress (unless you piece the dress together from remaining scraps). Here are the colors we used for each doll:

Yellow Doll: # 2, 12, 13, 33, 36, 91
Green Doll: # 9, 14,19, 22, 42, 43, 51, 40
Pink Doll: # 8, 10, 14, 25, 35, 43, 40
Taupe Doll (in how-to photographs below): # 6, 19, 22, 34, 35, 36, 91

Tools

Pattern Templates

Download Mimi's Handsewn Doll templates here, the 4 pages include:

  • Body
  • Dress
  • Hair styles 1, 2 and 3
  • Face template and embroidery notes

 

Prepare Pattern Pieces

Pick which hair style you want.

Print out pattern and transfer pieces to matte side of freezer paper using a sunny window.

Cut out freezer paper pattern pieces.

Iron the pattern pieces, shiny side down, onto the felt with your iron at wool setting. After ironing, pin the pattern pieces to felt to hold the layers together. (The photo above shows all three hairstyles, you'll only need to use one of them). Note that most of the pieces are cut from a double layer of felt, which you can see in the photo below.

Cut around pattern pieces. Save scraps for decorating the dress and hair later on.

Note: there are no seam allowances so cut carefully!

Mark all dots on felt with a water soluble marking pen.

Assemble Doll

When you make your doll, use embroidery thread that matches your felt. You will note in our photos that we've used a contrasting thread so that you can see it.

Arms

Overlap arm over hand at the dots. Attach hand to arm with backstitch across the wrist on stitch line. (For help with Backstitch, click here).

Fold arm, right side out, and continue up the arm with a whip stitch. Do not cut thread at the end, you will use it later. (For help with Whip Stitch, click here).

Begin stitching the hand from the top down toward the wrist, stuffing as you go to ensure a firm wrist.

Complete stitching to wrist.

Stuff arm using forceps to within 3/4-inch from the end of the arm.

Repeat for second arm.

Body

Attach head to torso by backstitching across the neck at the stitch line, do not cut thread, continue onto opposite side of torso.

Stitch around head and stuff, making sure neck is stiff.

Stitch down one side of torso starting at neck and ending at crotch on one side.

Stitch down other side of torso stopping at top of hip.

Stuff body and stitch closed.

Legs

Overlap boot over leg at dots.

Attach boot and leg by backstitching across ankle at the stitch line. Do not cut thread.

Picking up the same thread, repeat with other side of boot and leg. Stitch around both sides of boot stuffing as you go along to ensure firm ankle.

Stitch up front of leg and stop at top.

Stitch up back of leg to 1/2-inch past knee dots. Do not cut thread.

Stuff leg up to knee. Pinch leg so seams meet at center of leg. Using a new piece of thread stitch across knee and then back again using backstitch or running stitch.

Picking up thread where you left off, continue stitching up back of leg until 3/4-inches remains. Stuff leg and stitch closed.

Repeat for second leg.

Assemble body

Attach Arms

Mimi warns that attaching the arm is hard to explain, but easy to do!

To attach arms to body, fold felt 1/4-inch to the inside at top of each arm.

Pinch opening closed so arm seam is in the middle as pictured above.

Stitch across opening using whipstitch. Don't cut thread.

Pinch top of arm into v-shape.

Poke needle and thread from arm through dots on both sides of torso and then back through other side of V on arm. Repeat several times until arms is securely fastened to torso.

Tie off under arm, poke needle back in and out of torso and snip end.

Repeat for other arm.

Attach Legs

Note: Mimi warns that you may think its nuts to use such a long piece of thread for this step, but we promise you will need it!

To attach legs to body, cut a 40-inch piece of silk embroidery thread (or nylon upholstery thread). Warning: Only silk embroidery thread or nylon upholstery thread are strong enough for this step!

Arrange pieces on flat surface as follows from left to right.... button, left leg, torso, right leg, button. Make sure toes are pointing up!

Thread needle, double the thread and tie two ends together.

Put needle through left button, left leg at dots, torso at dots, right leg at dots, and right button.

Pull thread through enough to make it all the way back, but leave at least 6 inches of thread on side you started from as pictured below.

Go back through everything in reverse. Note: Leave approximately 1/16-inch between first thread trail and second so thread doesn't catch on itself inside.

Pinch hips and legs, pull thread tight and tie in a square knot (for help with a Square Knot, click here). Note: If tied tight enough, doll should sit up by itself.

Snip thread ends.

Hair

The hair can be tricky because of varying head shapes resulting from stuffing. With a little fiddling all will be fine.

Wig #1

Cut out 2 pattern pieces. Cut out center piece on ONLY one piece.

Using back stitch, sew around edge of hair with a 1/8-inch seam allowance.

Turn rightside out and iron flat.

Slip hair over head like a hat with raw edges of felt framing top and sides of face. The bottom of the cut out oval is flat against back of head.

Pin hair in place.

Stitch hair to face using whip stitch.

Wig #2

Center wig on head by just overlapping center of wig on center of seam on head.

Pin wig along side head seam and across bottom of back of hair.

Stitch along bottom.

Pin side flaps as flat as possible to face. Equally distribute any puckering or pleating. It is also okay if pieces of the wig overlap where front meets back.

Stitch side panels in place.

Pin top panels to face easing any extra fabric into a pleat at the top of the "part".

Stitch in place.

Wig #3

Cut out both pieces.

mark center of cap piece and center of fringe piece. match up bottom of cap and top of fringe using the marks just made. Overlap cap over fringe 1/4-inch.

Stitch along cap edge using back stitch.

Place wig on head while holding the "part" together. Once centered, pin two sides of the "part" in place.

Smooth the part with fingers. Pin at center back first and then all along back cap edge.

Holding the front "hair line" down with your finger curved over the top of the head, pin the front of the hair in place. Any puckering will work itself out when you stitch the hair in place.

Start stitching at the back of the "part" and go around one side and stop at the fringe.

Go back and do other side the same way only this time stitch across the fringe right under where it is overlapped by the cap.

Dress

Cut out all dress pieces including optional pieces below:

  • A second waist band with smooth edge to go over pinked waist band
  • Ten 1-inch long leaves
  • Six 3/4-inch circles (flowers)
  • Six 1/4-inch circles (flower centers)

Pin hem trim, flowers and leaves in place

Attach hem trim and leaves using a running stitch.

Attach flowers by running embroidery thread through the center and back out again.

Tie the thread in a square knot and trim to approximately 1/2-inch long.

Overlap the back edge of the bodice with the waist by 1/4-inch.

Sew together using a running stitch.

Sew the back seam of the dress closed using a running stitch or back stitch. Stop stitching 1 1/4-inches down from the waist to allow room to slip the dress on.

Sew small snap at top of collar back overlapping felt just enough to fit the snap.

Face

Cut out face template.

Cut out face features. (Note: for eyebrows and nose just cut a line without removing any paper.)

Center template on face and trace features using water soluble marker. (Note: placing pins in the eyes and mouth after tracing helps determine if everything is in the right place.

See face embroidery illustration (page 4 of the pattern) for detailed stitching directions.

When you're all through, hug doll!

Click here to add a comment

54 Responses to Mimi Kirchner’s Hand Sewn Felt Doll


  1. andreacreates.blogspot.com says:

    How neat,I can’t wait to try this out!

  2. crazywomancreek says:

    Whoa! These are stunning and, as always, your tutorials are fantastic. This is Way out my league skill-wise but I think I might try it!

  3. Dilly Dolly says:

    This is so inspiring! The pattern is so well developed that it seems intuitive. I can’t wait to try it. I’ve been a fan for awhile, and I’m so grateful for artists who are willing to share with the rest of us.

  4. Blogful says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  5. Lizzie says:

    Thanks so much! I love Mimi’s dolls and have been thinking about making dolls of my own but wasn’t sure how to start.

  6. Marianne Wille says:

    What a gift to have a pattern written by Mimi! Thank you!

  7. szkanya says:

    They are beautiful. Thank you!

  8. Nicole says:

    ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I just love her! Can’t wait trying to make her! thank you so much!

  9. Mary Perrine says:

    This is great!! Mimi’s work is always beautiful. Her fabric postcards are great too, but her dolls are spectacular. Thanks for showing us how to make these great dolls.

  10. Ingrid says:

    I’m just finishing up one of the Purl Rabbits for an Easter gift, one of these (or all!) will be next. Thank you so much for these wonderful patterns, all of them.

  11. susan jonsson says:

    What an amazing pattern and tutorial….I am so grateful to have an opportunity to try my hand at a Mimi-doll….I love her work….and am thrilled that she is willing to share her pattern. Thanks so much.

    Susan

  12. faye says:

    Most adorable!

    Thank you for such an awesome, thoroughly detailed tutorial!

    All I can say is Wow!!!

  13. Mary Ellen says:

    This makes me so happy! I can’t wait to make a Mimi doll! The pattern looks beautifully drafted.

  14. Celia says:

    Thank you Purlbee people and Mimi for putting together such a beautiful tutorial… beautifully and clearly illustrated and very heartwarming that one doesn’t need to purchase the pattern. Thanks from the other side of the world! (Isn’t the internet amazing?!)

  15. amy says:

    these are INCREDIBLE! thank you so much! i can’t wait to try it, though i think i’ll need to make 3, i can’t decide which hairstyle i like best!

  16. Mia says:

    Those are so sweet, I can’t wait to find some time to try to make one half as lovely as those.

  17. Shaz F says:

    I can’t believe that this is a free pattern – Thank you very much! It’s printing out as I type, the felt stash is on the table, and I’m itching to start!

  18. cleo says:

    oooooh, these are sooo beautiful … Just perfect for a little girls christening next weekend. I love their ‘old school’ look!!

    THANK YOU !!!

  19. Helen Gillis says:

    Thank you (and Mimi K) for the doll pattern!! I can’t wait to try it. I had the good luck to take a workshop by Mimi at her home (which is fabulous – gorgeous dolls everywhere) and she is also a great teacher!!! very talented and inspiring.

    Thanks again!!

    Helen in Malden, Massachusetts

  20. Cathy says:

    Thanks for the pattern, I just started to follow your blog, and I love your projects.

  21. sandra says:

    Parabéns!!!!!!
    Muito bom!!!!
    Muito lindas!!!

  22. Tina says:

    Thank you so much for this pattern-I have wanted to try some doll making-now it seems I need to. These ladies are beautiful, I love fabric dolls with embroidered faces-they have character.

    Thanks again for offering this to us, Tina

  23. geek+nerd says:

    Mimi is amazing, I am fascinated by her creations. How awesome of her to share this doll pattern here at Purl Bee!

  24. kristin says:

    this is so wonderful!! such well deserving recognition of such a talented dollmaker and artist. thank you for this post.

  25. Pearlie says:

    I’m off to make some right now! Thank you for this lovely pattern and directions, Mimi and Tina!

  26. Kristy says:

    Wow Girl…you are fantastic, and so kind. Your work is brilliant and awe inspiring. I personally love the dolls and the tiny world’s are so great!! I live too far away to come to your workshop but considered it. You are definitely making the world a better place for all little girls whether they are five or 56 like me .Absolutely BRILLIANT!!!!
    Kristy

  27. kelly mclean says:

    I love this and just started cutting pattern out,when I went to print out instructions,
    and can’t??? Have to get on computer for every step,but still is cute doll !!

  28. purl bee says:

    Hi Kelly,
    Sometimes the “print’ feature acts a little funny. Try quiting the browser and reopening it to see if that works? Also, if all else fails, you can always copy and paste the directions into a word document and print from there.
    Hope this helps!

  29. Sally says:

    Has the pattern been removed? When I click on it, I get a blank screen; when I right-click to down load, I get nothing as well. It’s just gorgeous, can’t wait to try it out!

  30. purl bee says:

    Hi Sally,
    By pattern do you mean the templates or do you mean the directions for the pattern? If its the templates we’ll be happy to email the pdf to you directly, just let us know.

  31. Bettsi says:

    Hip Hip Hooray for Mimi!!! Thanks to all of you for making this available!

  32. Rene' says:

    Wonderful doll..Thank-you so much for sharing her with us.. I truly want to make one..maybe two so the first one won’t be lonely. Please stop by my blog and get the free easter label I have till next Monday. Hugs Rene
    twomilecreekprimitives.blogspot.com

  33. nancy says:

    Just finished my doll instructions are great, starting on the next!

  34. lynne says:

    this is a gorgeous doll. love the stitching. THANK YOU!

  35. karen says:

    I love this doll. It almost feels too generous to download this for free. I would purchase this pattern gratefully. Thank you so much for your generosity.

  36. Amie Plumley says:

    This I have to try, although I’m a bit nervous! I linked to my blog – had to share!
    http://sewingschool.blogspot.com

  37. dongdong says:

    that is amazing. I can see a lot TLC went into this.

  38. Dorothy says:

    We don’t seem to have freezer paper here in Montreal. Should I use a fusable interfacing or nothing?
    The dolls are beautiful. I want to make them for my twin 2 year old grandsons. I asked my son ,who lives in NY, to buy the felt at Purl . I was a bit confused with his choice beacuse there was not enough for two dresses. He assumed that since I was going to give the dols to the boys that I would be making them pants!
    The dresses are so lovely.

  39. purl bee says:

    Hi Dorothy,
    If you can’t find freezer paper, we recommend just tracing the templates onto the felt with a fabric marker or pencil.

    If you make the dolls some pants please share them with us!

  40. larissa says:

    really really beautiful. Fantastically well-done tutorial. Thanks for sharing the pattern. I have an overpowering urge now to hop up and start picking out felt pieces.

  41. Vicky says:

    Fabulous! I love your work. Thank you for creating a pattern. My mother would make handcrafted dolls when I was a little girl. Looking at your work brings back great memories.

  42. craft says:

    nice dolls :) thanks for tutorial

  43. Claudia says:

    Just finished my doll and she is lovely! I had a little trouble embroidering the face…is there a reason not to do the face prior to stuffing and sewing the head? I think I would have better control of the stitches at that point in the process. I also added a tiny red felt heart to the torso!

    Thanks, Mimi! I had sooooooo much fun with this project!

    Claudia

  44. Cissie says:

    The doll was so much fun to make! I have named mine Matilda and she will sit in my sewing room and keep me company. The instructions were excellent — easy to follow and very thorough. Even though I don’t like the stuffing part, I’ll definitely make another one — a friend to keep Matlida company.

  45. Juddie says:

    Thank you so much Mimi and Purlbee! These dolls are absolutely exquisite – so kind of you to share.

  46. Maelle says:

    Thank you for this beautiful pattern. When I saw it, I’d just finished making a tiny baby for a little girl who’d just become a big sister. I thought Mimi’s doll would make the perfect mother and as luck would have it I had almost enough felt in my stash. Not quite enough for the dress so I had to improvise but it turned out beautifully.

    And then of course I had to make a sling for her to carry her baby in !
    Here are some photos.
    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/dHAiwJulLDSsytFshzngqg?authkey=Gv1sRgCJ2B_ZPJsI3UKw&feat=directlink

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/wrw1ADRMXxB-cBqAL2T2FA?authkey=Gv1sRgCJ2B_ZPJsI3UKw&feat=directlink

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/WL_CPFAB_rAsOF3tHnaNMQ?authkey=Gv1sRgCJ2B_ZPJsI3UKw&feat=directlink

  47. Toyia says:

    How do hide the knot on the thread when you start embroidering the nose, eyes, and lips ? The instructions aren’t clear on how to start the embroidery on the nose, eyes, and lips. The tutorial is great otherwise. I am really enjoying doing this project.

  48. Mona Lisa says:

    Thanks you so extremely much for letting us have this pattern. I am very picky when it comes to patterns of people because most pattern makers exaggerate the feet or the head or some other body part and make the doll look goofy. I love, love, love your pattern because it’s in proportion just like I like! This is such a beautiful doll I am going to make two to look like my daughters!
    YAY! FUN!

  49. charlotte says:

    i really really think your doll is totally awsome and i cant wait to start it p.s i am only 12

  50. Mona Lisa says:

    I made one of these dolls to look like my 15 year old daughter, it was quite a challenge as my daughter has “rockstar” hair. I had to make an entirely new wig take a look!
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v482/OzzyGurl/HannahDoll4.jpg

    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v482/OzzyGurl/?action=view&current=HannahDoll4.jpg“ target=”_blank”>http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v482/OzzyGurl/HannahDoll4.jpg“ border=”0″ alt=”Hannah Doll”>

    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v482/OzzyGurl/?action=view&current=HannahDoll4.jpg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


8 − = six

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

X

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST!

Subscribers receive a FREE premium Purl Soho Pattern of your choice (up to a $15 value!). learn more