Saturday, March 29, 2014

DIY Felt Dress-Up Doll

Sometimes crafting is more than a hobby, more than just "something to do" or even more than a personal business.  Sometimes crafting brings joy to someone who needs it, someone who is going through much tougher issues than breaking a needle or running out of glue.  Today I want to share with you a craft that I made for a very tough little girl, Emily.  You see, Emily is a friend of mine's daughter and she was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer- Rhabdomyosarcoma. Scary stuff.  She has been participating in chemo and radiation for several weeks and some of us have been wanting to help as much as we could.  One thing I did was make a personalized felt dress-up doll set for Emily that she could carry with her on her many car rides, while at the hospital or at home.  It's not much but as a young girl, I remember finding great joy in my felt dress up doll.

Felt dolls are super easy to make.  All you need is:

- Felt (plus any additional fabric you might add)
- Glue (if adding embellishments)
- Fabric Scissors
- DMC Thread & Needle

A very talented blogger named Rachel shared a template for felt dolls on her blog Smile and Wave. Please do not use her template for profit... bloggers work hard to make these wonderful free things for us, don't mistreat that.  You can find the free template here.  Just print and cut.

{What I Made}
Instead of creating a standing board, I wanted to make a folding felt book that Emily could use to not only transport the doll and outfits but also use as the felt backdrop.  Using some fun felt, I also cut out her name to make it extra special:

I hand-stitched the edges with a contrasting color for a extra fun appearance.  Then, I added some ribbon and a button so that the book could be closed up.  Don't forget the heart above the "i"... why?  Because as a little girl, I added hearts to everything!  Since the entire book is made of felt, it can be rolled up as well.

When it's opened up, there are flaps so that the clothes all fit without having to stack on top of each other.  I made several outfits so I had to add a few of these flaps!

And here is just a few of the outfits that I made...

Some are formal, some are casual and some are just plan fun!  That "superhero" outfit you see was made especially for Emily- since she is our little hero!  Emily has been loosing her hair and I wanted to make sure that her doll would be able to have hair or not- depending on what Emily wanted.

For the doll's face, I simply hand stitched a mouth and made some knots for the eyes out of DMC thread.  This only takes a few minutes.

I also cut out a variety of hair styles that could be swapped out (or she can go bald and embrace her superhero self!).  Here is what the back looks like so that it can slide over the head:

If you want to cut it straight across for visual reasons, go ahead.  I think the triangle piece helps it stay in place well.

{Ready for some DETAILS?!}
It's all about the details!  Maybe it's some Sequin, or tulle or just an extra special something... any way to add a special touch shows that some thought went into the project.

1. Fabric (Felt) Prints- There are some VERY CUTE felts in the stores now!  I purchased some fun prints from Jo-Ann Fabrics and they only cost a few cents more than the plain colors.  Worth every penny.

2. Matching Accessories- Again, this is only one example of the many ways that an accessory can be added.  Love the matching hair pieces!

3. Hand Stitching- Whether it's a knot in the middle of a flower or adding some detail to a set of fairy wings, hand stitching adds a little special something.

4. Outfit-Specific Details- Speaking of the fairy outfit, don't forget the details like the little balls on the tops of the shoes!

5. Unexpected Accessories- Add a purse, sunglasses or a scarf to dress up any outfit!

6. Beading/Sequin Pieces- Take any spare craft material to make a felt outfit look a little more like something we might wear!

7. Extra Special Hair Accessories- Sure, flowers are cute but what is more fun than a princess tiara or a feathered headdress?

{Your Turn!}
I hope this post inspired you not only to create a fun little craft but to find meaning in what you are making.  If you want to read more about Emily's journey, follow the website they set up here.  If you wish to help the family along their way by offering prayers, words of encouragement or monetary gifts, please visit here.

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann


  1. I am the woman helping Bell Major, one of Emily's new cancer friend. My family also attends Emily's church. Emily's family are a great family, and Amy has helped Bell's mother and I through our struggles. I am so excited to make the felt dolls for Bell. She is 10 years old and the BFF of my twin Granddaughters, so I will have to make 2 more, they can have fun playing together! By the way, Bell has a brain tumor (see Bell's Believers on FB) She first went through chemo in 2012 and now is going again. Please keep her and her family in your prayers. God has this and love our girls! Thank you, Peggy Stigers

    1. Oh, thank you so much for sharing Peggy. My heart breaks for these brave little ones, but they are also so inspiring, aren't they? I will definitely be praying for her and her family. I will be keeping watch of her updates on facebook, hopefully 2014 will be a lucky year for her. God bless her little heart. Thank you so much again.

      Kelsie Ann

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  2. cutest thing ever--how cool are you?! praying for her struggles.

    1. Thank you & thank you for the prayers. She's overcome a few hurdles so far and is still going strong. Go Emily!

  3. Do you use Velcro, or rely on the felt being sticky against itself?

    1. Just the felt! Felt sticks surprisingly well to itself. If you wanted more sticky, velcro would work for an added strength though :)

  4. Thank you for this awesome idea, so cute. God bless!

  5. Awesome felt dolls DIY project you shared. Thanks a lot.

  6. You are so talented!! Thank you for sharing all your ideas. How special little Emily must have felt when she received your gift. God bless you.

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