I’ve been an absent blogger – sometimes life take precedence and blogging doesn’t happen. It’s been a rough month for my family. Nonetheless, I want to celebrate the holiday season with a post about a very special gift I worked on for my niece Serena.


Serena is my goddaughter, and I try to make her handmade gifts whenever I can. I made a quilt for her baptism, an embroidered stuffed owl for her birthday and now a doll for her second Christmas.

I’ve never made a doll before (excepting the owl, which doesn’t count in my mind), so I hunted for a pattern. Thanks to some Twitter friends, I found Wendy Gratz. I’ve followed her for some time because of her adorable embroidery, and I learned she has doll patterns too!  I made the Abigail doll; she has cute pigtails, which is why I picked this one.

doll face

I mostly followed the pattern, though I hand-embroidered the hair instead of free-motion stitching with the machine. I picked an orange felt for her locks, in part because my niece is a lovely strawberry blonde. This took on a new meaning in recent weeks, when my grandmother Celia passed away – the only other strawberry blonde in my family. Her passing happened while I was hand-stitching the doll, which made this a very emotional, personal project.

doll feet

Wendy encourages repurposing fabric, which is a terrific idea, though I didn’t have much to repurpose; instead, I purchased two fat quarters for her body and legs and then used my stash for the face, arms and boots. I picked a corduroy for the feet – fabric I’ve long meant to turn into a skirt (one of many WiP’s).

If you are a beginner to doll-making (as I was), I would recommend sewing the arms in one at-a-time, and do the same with the legs, rather than pinning it all and sewing at once. I also recommend a larger seam allowance for this project; a quarter inch was too small, given the importance of secure and even seams for such a (hopefully) highly used doll.

Due to some struggle with the seams, I’d call this project a labor of love. However, I will definitely make a doll again, and in fact I’m motivated to make some customized dolls now. I used to think that sewing dolls and doll clothes was… a little odd. But I totally get it now. Sewing dolls is equivalent to making toys – kind of like Santa’s elves – and that type of creative feeling is pretty fantastic.

I packed Abigail in a box along with other gifts for my family, and I’ll ship them off tomorrow.

doll in the box

Happy Christmas, all you Nerdy Sewists!

~ Kristina