Aptly named Beatrice, meaning the bringer of joy and happiness, we can just imagine that this dazzling doll with her snow-white hair is visiting from a nearby holly tree to play. By stitching her, you’ll learn handy toy-making tricks, including creating hair without needing to work over the entire area, and how to ensure she keeps her head erect on such a slim neck. The dress is so simple, so why not gift her with an extra frock wrapped as a present?
- Fabric, cotton: assorted prints; coordinating plains
- Fibre filling
- Embroidery threads
- Cotton DK yarn
- Narrow ric rac
- Crystal bead
- 5mm seam allowance used throughout, unless otherwise stated.
Download the template from sewmag.co.uk, print and cut out. Snip two wings from patterned fabric and one from wadding. Cut four legs from patterned fabrics, and two bodies and four arms from plain cotton. Pair up the body, arms and legs, wrong sides together, and sew, leaving the underside of each arm, the bottom straight edge of the body and top straight edges of the legs unsewn for turning.
Align the wings with right sides together and the wadding on one side, then stitch around the edge, leaving a 3cm gap in the lower edge. Turn out the wings, fold in the raw edges and topstitch around the shape. Add lines of topstitching from the centre out to the points in the wings. Turn out the legs and stuff fairly firmly with fibre filling to 1cm from the top. Tack across the top of each leg to hold in the filling. Turn out the arms and stuff, then fold in the raw edges at the turning gap and slip-stitch closed.
Turn out the body and stuff firmly, adding a craft stick to the neck area to prevent the head from drooping. Firmly pack the fibre filling to 1.5cm from the lower edge and tack across at this point to retain the filling. Fold in 5mm around the lower edge and tack the top of the legs between the folded edges, then hand-stitch in place while securely closing the bottom edge of the body. Remove all tacking stitches.
Firmly sew the top of the arm to the shoulders, positioning them evenly. Blanket-stitch the straight seam of the arm to the side seam of the body, to slant the arm downwards. Mark a face on the doll with a removable marker, then embroider over the design with two strands of coloured embroidery thread; add white thread highlights to the eyes and use coloured pencils to shade the eyes, cheeks and chin.
Thread two needles with sewing cotton, ready to use one at each side of the head. Secure a continuous length of DK cotton yarn on the seam line, first at one side, then at the other. Zig zag across the forehead in a satin stitch effect, stitching the yarn to the strand at each side to create a diagonal fringe.
Cut several 20cm lengths of yarn, fold in half and stitch the loops to the side seams on the head, stopping 3cm from the neck. Draw a line across the back of the head and sew more yarn along this line in the same way, to avoid creating too much hair for the doll. Add a few strands of looser yarn across the forehead and secure with a crystal bead as a hairclip.
Snip out the cap and peak pieces from fabric, and pair up, right sides together. Stitch along the bottom straight edge of the cap and around the inner curve of the front. Turn right sides out and topstitch the seams. Place the pieces right sides together and sew around the outer curve, clipping the seam allowance with pinking shears before turning out and slipping over the head to cover the bald areas. Secure the cap across the back of the head with a few small running stitches.
Cut out one dress front and two back pieces. Join, right sides together, along the shoulder seams. Fold in 5mm around the neckline and the sleeve bottoms, then topstitch. Turn in 5mm along the centreback edges and stitch. Line up the backs and front, right sides together, to sew around the arms and down the side seams; clip the underarm angle before turning out. Hem the bottom of the dress.
Using a double thickness of thread, gather the centre of the wings from top to bottom to add structure. Stitch the wings securely to the close to the back of the neck. Fix snap fasteners to the back edges of the frock, working around the wings, if necessary.