We all love Gingermelon Dolls.
I first discovered Shelly Down, the Gingermelon shop owner, in 2011 when my teen daughter, then 10 started sewing little felt things. I ordered her a few of Shelly's patterns. I don't think she ever made the dolls, she stuck with felt fruit and Hello Kitty, but I've continued to watch what Shelly makes. And it's all been adorable. I've also heard that a number of my followers are also smitten with Gingermelon dolls.
A few years later Shelly's book My Felt Doll came out and ever since then, making a Gingermelon doll from her book has been something I've been hoping to have time to do. These dolls use different construction techniques from my dolls, so I will be learning as I make this tutorial.
First, the materials. In the photos below I have only shown materials beyond the everyday basics, like pins, needles, sewing thread.
1. My Felt Doll book. The doll pattern is in this book. In addition, the book has tons of patterns for clothing and accessories for your doll, all made of felt.
2. Felt for her skin. I also used felt for her eyes. The book recommends a Merino Blend felt that is sold in Gingermelon's Etsy shop and many other places.
3. Yarn for hair. I chose a soft puffy pink in chunky weight.
4. Embroidery floss for the face and for stitching up the body parts.
5. Stuffing. For this little doll, I used Eco Craft Fiberfill, made from corn.
6. Freezer Paper, I copy the pattern onto freezer paper and then iron it onto the felt, so I don't need pins.
Cutting out the pieces
Copy your pattern pieces from the book onto freezer paper. This can be done either by using Jenkins Freezer paper sheets and running them through your copier, or tracing the pieces onto freezer paper from your grocery store.
Cut all of your body parts out. You should have:
- Two heads, front and back
- Two Torsos
- 4 Arms
- 4 Legs
Making Her Face
To mark where the eyes should be, I punched small holes in the head pattern for the eye placement and then used a color pencil to make dots through the holes for the eye placement.
I did Phoebe eyes on my doll instead of the cute safety eyes the pattern calls for. I started by positioning the eyes with a dot of fabric fusion in the center and then secured them by whip stitching around the edges with regular thread.
I then used six strands of embroidery floss to add a nose and mouth and then used three strands for eyebrows.
I then whip stitched the darts at the top of the front and back of the head. More about whip stitch later.
Sewing Her Body Together
Her body parts are sewn together using whip stitch. I am new to using whip stitching for doll-making, I have mostly used it for hemming. So my whip stitches don't exactly look like the ones on the dolls in the book. I am sure many of you will do better. And if you have any tips to offer me send them along!
For a good basic whip stitch tutorial , Wendi Gratz's YouTube demonstration is great.
The book recommends using one strand of six strand embroidery floss to sew the body parts together.
Below is a video of me whip stitching the arm. It's quick and relazing, but I'm not sure if my stitiches should be more angled.
Don't sew the arm entirely up, but leave your needle and thread attached. Leave a gap for the stuffing. Stuff the arm with a tiny bit of polyfill (you can use a knitting needle to push it in) and then whip stitch the gap closed.
Tomorrow's post I will sew the legs, torso and head.