Making a Storybook Doll for The Mary Frances Sewing Project

Sadie - Storybook Toys by Jill Hamor

Friends, today I must ask you to cast your mind back to a past post…Remember when to told you I was going to make a bybido Storybook doll for my Mary Frances Sewing project and how I was scouring the internet trying to get all the supplies together to begin? I know it’s hard to remember…I know remembering such insignificant guff isn’t a high priority in your busy busy lives so I will help those of you with short term memory issues – here is the post i’m talking about.  So you’re up to speed now?…okay, let’s move on.

I found the Robert Kaufman Sand coloured Kona fabric on Etsy and also a very similar alternative at my local quilting store.  I found the Lambs pride worsted wool on eBay…Etsy had some very similar alternatives. Spotlight has some okay looking pure wool yarn but when i compare the Lambs pride to the Spotlight purchase there is no competition – the Lambs Pride is lovely.

I found carded wool stuffing at an on-line store in Warrandyte – it specialises in Waldorf dolls. I found an alternative stuffing made from corn, at The Drapery; a new local fabric store. I’ve got to say the wool stuffing is lovely to work with. The author of the book, Jill Hamor, suggests using haemostats to stuff the dolls with – and i’ve got to say, i’m sold. I stuffed all of my other dolls with chop sticks, dolls stuffing tools etc, but a small pair of haemostats gave the best results ever; and that’s including trying to stuff teeny fiddly fingers.


A week or more ago, I traced all the pattern pieces onto freezer paper – if you can’t find freezer paper Vliesofix will do the same thing. Then I ironed each of the pieces onto the fabric.  As I’m looking at the picture I can already see one of my mistakes that I later had to fix; I forgot to join the the two body pattern pieces – they are the two at the far right of the picture. They should be one long piece. My philosophy on mistakes is that they are the best way to learn. The other mistake that I can see is that I also forgot to cut two of the side head/body pieces; the solo head/body side is on the far left of the picture.

At this point in time I have sewn and stuffed the entire body, arms and legs. But I haven’t photographed it…I would forgive you for thinking the worst of me  – that I just couldn’t be bothered taking a picture of the stuffed doll pieces.   That, alas, isn’t the reason I didn’t record this step in my doll making journey. I decided not to record this step because one of the few people who does read this blog, my stitching friend Kate, has a morbid fear of seeing disjointed dolls. I KNOW…totally weird right???? (when Kate told me the story about how her fear started there were tears of laughter involved; it’s a hilarious anecdote) Anyways, I didn’t want to reduce my readership so I’m catering to Kate’s freaky fears  😆  When you’ve got such a small readership you can’t be peeving them off too often…right?? They might go elsewhere for their low-brow cyber entertainment and where would that leave me??? Out in the cold; that’s where!

Readers, please don’t  be thinking that so far it’s been a piece of cake – reality bites  and it’s no different in my case. The first attempt at stuffing one of the hands resulted in my shoving the haemostats through the seams and the second attempt resulted in the arm being significantly longer than its matching mate. My biggest boo-boo was using a quilters pencil to mark my seams…the pencil marks didn’t come out no matter how hard i tried to rub them out. The next doll pattern will be marked out with a water erasing pen – which i should have done in the first place. Note to self: listen to the author – she knows what she’s doing and YOU don’t stupid!

I have since cut out and sewn the third arm/hand attempt – it lays in my workbox unstuffed. I also haven’t sewn the ears…I had a thought after I had ironed the template onto the fabric and then cut them out. I should have worked them ‘in block’…this means that i don’t cut them out before sewing; instead, have one sewing seam outline/template marked out on a large piece of fabric. I then lay the fabric with the seam outline on top of another piece of  unmarked fabric (or fold the marked fabric over)  and then sew using an open toe presser foot so you can see all those tight turns you need to make – the extra fabric around the seam line also gives you something to hold onto while turning the fabric.  Once the sewing is complete, you then cut the ear out from the block of fabric; hence the term working in block. I’m  considering redoing the ears in block; they will be much easier to sew and the finished product will be more precise.

Friends, that’s all I have for you today…yes, I know the post is lacking in the visual department and the content is boring enough to put you to sleep; if you feel strongly enough I urge you to make a complaint. Just email Barbara in the SuziWong creations complaints department on

The lovely Barbara will pass on all your complaints  😛

Ps. For those of you who are not familiar with Barbara you may like to meet her acquaintance by watching this video.


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