Pillowcase Doll (Upcycled)

A friend was asking me advice about simple doll making.  I've made a number of dolls in my day.  The most recent ones I've posted (see creating toys above for references) have been quite intricate.  Although possible for a beginner, intricate doll making is really a challenging first project.

Enter memory lane.  I used to mass produce these as a little girl.  I had a singer purple kid sewing machine.  All it did was a straight stitch and a zig zag.  Perfect for whipping these up by the dozens.  I think every friend I had received one from me.  Ahh, memories. 

So, if you are in the market to learn to sew and want a doll, here's a project for you.  Or if you know of a little child who wants to learn how to sew, here is a project for you.  Or if you would like to upcycle one of your child's special flannel receiving blankets, here's a project for you.  Or if you aren't a seamstress but still want to give a little homemade...this is also a project for you.

-Two rectangles of fabric.  I used flannel receiving blankets, but you could use any fabric you have. Pillowcases work too, especially if you wanted a new sew option. You can pretty much make the rectangles of fabric any size you want, it's however big you want your doll.  I used 13 inches/16 inches.
-Polyfill or the insides of an old stuffed animal/pillow.
-Lace (no more than a yard)
-Glue gun

1) Cut your rectangles. These are 13x16.  Or if you have a pillowcase already sewed, skip this step.
 2) Attach the lace to the bottom edge of each piece of fabric or the bottom edge of the pillowcase.
* Note, if the bottom seam of the fabric is already finished or the selvage edge, you can glue or sew the lace right to the edge.  If it's not finished, you might choose to fold the bottom edge over/stitch, zig zag the edge or using pinking shears so it doesn't unravel.
3) Place right sides of fabric together, laced edges touching.  Stitch and finish the seams of the left, top and right sides.  Leave laced edge unstitched.  Turn right side out, press.  It should look like a pillowcase.
 3) Take a small ball of stuffing and put it in the top of the pillowcase.  Tie ribbon around that ball of stuffing tight to make a head.  Make sure you leave the points untied so they can be the arms.

 4) Add some stuffing to each point.  Tie ribbon around to make arms.
*Note-make sure ribbons are stitched in place and are short in length so it's safe for little ones to play with.

 5) Cut piece of lace the right length to make bonnet. Stitch or glue bonnet in place.
 This is what it should look like.

I gave it to my sweet girl.  She usually isn't into dolls.  She prefers tractors.  Or anything that isn't supposed to be a toy. She appeared to like it.
 Gave it a hug when prompted.

It wasn't long until she started shaking the life out of the poor doll.
Ah, oh well.  If you make one, I'd love to see your results! 


  1. This is a really cute idea! If I ever get back to teaching sewing to children I am going to use it, with your permission of course. I love that you made them when you were little. That explains your blog title quite nicely. :-)

  2. This is so cute. I love that you made them as a kid.

  3. I remember these from long ago. I agree with Lisa....so great that you made these for your friends when you were young. Your sweet daughter is beautiful clutching her new baby!
    Many times, we have old quilts which are stained or torn and this would be a good way to treasure/re-use those.
    I have a 91 yr old friend whose mama made her a quilt when she was a girl using scraps from her childhood hand-sewn dresses. It's in the Sunbonnet Sue pattern and so precious.

  4. Very cute! It seems pretty simple to make from your tutorial. So funny how Audra manhandled the doll, haha!

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