I spent my day wisely yesterday. I made a project I have been thinking about for ages. Actually, I was inspired by three separate sources. Inspiration number one was Betz White who has wonderful ideas on how to use felted sweaters. I was also inspired by Mimi Kirchner's babies which are richly embroidered and made with fulled woven wool, much of it dyed by Mimi to suit her needs. The final inspriation is from a wonderful magazine called Ottobre. I used one of the free patterns from their "Around the World" pattern sheet. Here is how I made my doll:
Materials: Old sweaters which have been fulled/felted in the washing machine, coordinating embroidery floss, sewing thread to match, polyester fiberfill, buttons (for eyes), tapestry yarn
Equipment: Scissors, embroidery needle, sewing machine, pins, neelefelting needle (optional)
Method: I printed the Ottobre pattern. I have access to a copy machine and played with the matryoshka pattern which started out to be 4" tall until I enlarged it to fill a ledger-sized paper (about 18" high)
Using a patterned sweater, cut out two pieces the size of the entire doll. This will be a foundation for your appliqued shawl and face pieces. I used a solid sweater for the shawl. You will have to improvise for the shawl pattern for the doll's back. Just make certain the front and back of the shawl align on the side seam.
Take the flesh-colored circle which will be the face. Aplique the hair, smile and cheeks using embroidery floss (I used three strands)and blanket stitch. The completed face is then done in reverse applique - that is, you cut the hole out of the front shawl piece and place the face behind and applique the shawl onto the face using a blanket stitch and 3 - 6 strands of embroidery floss. (Button eyes are put on last) I did a lot of pinning before stitching. This is important because knitted fabric shifts and distorts easily.
After all the pieces are appliqued, embroider little asterisks in a random pattern, if you desire. I went a step further and slightly needlefelted the embroidery because I thought the loose stitches might get pulled when the doll was handled. Use a sewing machine to stitch around the edges, leaving an opening to turn right-side-out. Stuff with polyester fiberfill and hand stitch the opening. Add the button eyes.