Have you been thinking that making a round 3D doll head is too hard to do? Instead of a doll head with just two pieces to sew together, you need a pattern with multiple pieces sewn together. Thus, making the doll’s head is 3D instead of 2D. With this tutorial by an experienced doll maker, you will find it much easier than you imagined.
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Making a Round 3D Doll Head
There are a few things you need to get started with this tutorial. First, it’s helpful if you have some basic experience with making dolls. You’ll find following this tutorial easier if you’ve accomplished some sewing already.
Next, you need a good sewing machine. There’s nothing more frustrating than a sewing machine that won’t perform well. Before I changed to a new machine I was constantly annoyed by my old machine’s thread tension. I couldn’t get a smooth, even stitch. It made doll-making next to impossible. Since getting my Brother® Sewing machine, I can sew without worrying about lousy-looking stitches. It’s very easy to thread. I like how the bobbin lid is clear allowing me to spot it when it’s low on thread. Plus, it has several pretty top stitches on clothing and other sewing projects.
Of course, you need basic sewing supplies:
Doll Pattern with 3D head (Look for one at www.homespunfromtheheart.com)
Mark B Gone pen or pencil
thread (all-purpose for machine and quilting for hand sewing – I sometimes use machine quilting thread for both the machine stitches and hand stitches)
sewing needle (smaller size to make tiny stitches)
1. Cut out your template on a fabric cutting table for your round head; the one shown in just a quick sample I made. Click here for the template of the one I used here. Click on it to open; then right-click and ‘save as’ to your computer. It’s a .jpg file so you can adjust the size as you need to to make your head bigger. Use this one to practice, then apply your learning to a doll pattern of your choosing.
In this sample, I used 5 pieces to make the head – cut them from muslin.
2. Lay down your pieces – I numbered mine 1-5 to help with the tutorial. At the top of each piece mark with a Mark B Gone pen or pencil a line about 1/2″ down (this is going to be the opening to turn and to attach the head to the neck, so you may need a bigger opening if you have a larger doll).
3. Place piece #2 on top of piece #1, right sides together (RST).
4. Sew together, using a 1/4 – 1/2″ seam allowance (or whatever your pattern calls for).
5. It will look like this when you open it:
6. Now take piece #3 and place it, RST on top of piece #2.
7. Sew together.
8. Continue around with pieces #4 and #5. Sew piece #5 back to piece #1. When finished it will look like this:
9. Turn RSO and you will have what looks like a deflated ball.
10. Stuff firmly through the top opening and you will have your round ball head.
Now that we have made the doll’s head, we need to know how to attach it to the body. When making country primitive dolls, they are commonly made with a 2d head. They have a front for the face and back that usually has hair. And, on a 2d doll, the head is already attached to the neck and body. However, a round 3d doll head is made separate from the neck and body. Here I’m going to show you the steps to attaching the doll’s head to the neck and body.
Steps to Attach a Round 3D Doll Head
Okay so here’s what my head and body/neck area look like now they are all stuffed and ready to put together:
Preparing the Head
1. First thing, I make sure the extra flaps from the head are all tucked inside – I wet my fingers and smooth the edges together, almost finger pressing and flattening them together.
2. For this to work, I make sure the neck part is stuffed very firmly; as firm as you can get it. Sometimes if the neck is skinny, I will also put a dowel up there too, it must be firm to work!
3. I use my fingers and create a small ‘funnel’ through the stuffing in the opening of the head:
Stitching on the Head
4. I get a needle threaded. However, I don’t use sewing thread. Instead, I use crochet thread, a heavier cotton type. The body is turned upside down and then slip the neck part inside the opening; push it up as far as you want (as much neck as you want to show). I work the first couple of stitches with the body just as shown – use your needlework a whip-stitch going through the neck and the head.
5. Continuing around the head, I take tiny stitches, grabbing both the neck and head as I go. After the first few stitches are in, I move the doll to my lap, so I can hold the head in place and get my stitches going. And if needed, go around the head twice, just make sure it feels secure. When I’m done, I knot the thread off and ‘hide’ it by popping the knot through the material.
6. All done – this is how it will look:
The key to learning and getting good at this technique is not to hurry. Take your time making careful stitches. And, give yourself patience while you get accustomed to holding the 3d doll head and needle while stitching. The times you practice the easier it gets and the better your finished doll will look.
Thanks to Cindy of www.homespunfromtheheart.com for sharing her tutorial with Prim Mart. She is an accomplished doll designer and has many patterns, including 3D head ones, on her website. Follow print to peer website for more craft ideas.