pram

One of the most successful toys in our house, is probably the children’s doll stroller. My daughter isn’t super into dolls, and mostly it’s pushed around without a passenger, but somehow it’s super popular also with visitors. However, all dolls strollers / buggies / prams I’ve found had really unpleasant fabric seats, so I decided to quickly make a new one. I used the old one as a guideline and it was really super straight forward. It only takes around 30 min and I promise the visual pleasure will stay with you much longer!

toy-pram

You need:

  • cheerful fabric for the back (a fat quarter should do)
    I bought mine from my favourite shop in Berlin, that also posts abroad
  • bias tape, if desired
  • elastic band, approx. 20cm

Consider re-using:

  • bottom seat fabric (or get sturdy fabric for the seat)
  • band or ribbon for the straps + 2 D-ring buckles, if you like them adjustable

doll-buggy-cover1

1. Cut your Fabric

Best to take the existing seat as a size guideline. The top of the fabric where the dolls back will rest on, needs to be the width of the pram. The bottom of it should be the same circumference as the seat fabric.

doll-buggy-cover2

2. Sew together the fabric where the dolls back will rest on.

Lay both sheets of fabric on top of each other (patterned side to the inside) and sew together (leaving a small opening on the bottom to turn the fabric). If you fabric unravels easily, add a zigzag stitch around the seems. Include 2 pieces of ribbon approx. 5cm from the bottom of your fabric, so that the doll can be strapped in.

doll-buggy-cover3

3. If you don’t re-use the old seat, create a new one.

Fold up twice approx. an inch of fabric and add seams as shown above. Make sure the seam in the middle doesn’t extend too far to the sides, so that your child can easily get it onto the pram.

doll-buggy-cover4

4. Sew together the back and seat fabrics, for a neater finish pin in place first.

Sew the D-rings on one of the straps. Don’t close them yet, you need to pull the strap through the loop you affix in the next step. Then you can close it as shown above.

doll-buggy-cover5

5. Sew the bias tape in place.

Include 2 loops (approx. 2 inch long) of elastic on the top and a large loop of ribbon for the strap on the bottom of your seat.

pram&bag

There we go, well done you! Have a bit more time? Why not make a matching bag? The how-to-guide is coming soon.

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Icewagen

In case your part of the world is also still quite frosty, why not make a fun and summery ice cream van? You don’t need to be an expert in paper illustration, you just need a bit of patience and paper! I created this little paper sculpture last year as a test model for my new jewellery range. In the end I didn’t really use it, but I had tons of fun making it.

vintage-icecream-van

With this simple tutorial, your colourful home entertainment is guarantied. So why not get out your scalpel, hunt for a bit of foamboard (3mm thick) and a treat yourself to a nice bit of mountboard. So let’s get started!

1. Cut out the basic shape from foarmboard.

You need 2 sides, a front and a back

2. Create the main part of the chassis.

2.1. Cover all window openings with small stripes of paper and glue a small piece of blue paper over the smallest window in the side wall.

2.2. Cover the inside of all 4 walls, and the outside of both side walls with pale paper.

2.3. Glue all sides together, as shown in the picture above.

2.4 Cut a piece of foamboard for the base of the vehicle, cover with pale paper and glue in place.

3. Create the interior.

You need:  A ‘cool’ box to store the ice lollies (made of blue paper).

A red bench for the front seats (2 pieces of mountboard with rounded corners, covered with red paper).

A blue steering wheel (made of a ring of paper with small strips of paper glued onto one side, see picture).

A dashboard (made of a folded piece of cream paper).

4. Glue the interior in place and create the wheels.

The seat bench is first glued onto a piece of foamboard and then onto the vehicle floor (to create a bit of space, where the legs of the driver could go). A toothpick pushed into the dashboard, supports the stirring wheel.

For the wheels, you need 4 circles of foamboard covered with brown paper. I also added a ring of white paper, as I love the look of old-fashioned white sidewall tyres.

5. Cover the chassis with a strip of paper.

5.1 Cut a strip of paper as wide as your van and long enough to cover it from front to back. Measure the position of the windows and cut holes for the windows into your strip of paper. I also cut a further hole for a roof window.

5.2 Glue 2 ‘lights’ (white paper circles) and an air inlet grill below the windscreen. The grill is just a piece of paper in shape of a trapezium with rounded corners. Glue the strip of paper in place.

6. Just a bit more decorating fun and you are done!

6.1 Cut a pieces of pale paper in the shape shown above and glue on strips of green paper to create the stripey patter. Make another one in the reverse shape for the other side of your van. For the fenders cut a ring of mountboard in half and cover both sides with green paper.

6.2 Create 2 over-sized ice cream cones, that will go on the front and the back of the van.

7. Add the final details.

7.1. A green piece of paper finishes the air inlet grill.

7.2. Fold a small sheet of paper and partly cover the roof window.

7.3. Add a number plate and glue your ice cream cones in place.

7.4. Add a few signs, to the car. Here a computer comes in handy, to neatly print of some font.

7.5. Glue a bumper bar and some lights onto the back. Finish the side windows by adding a strip of paper, cut it straight of with a fancy wave pattern.

ice-cream-van-model

Finished is your ice cream van!

ice-cream-van-old

I always love to hear your feedback and comments. It would be splendid to see if you created an ice cream van of your very own. Why not post your picture on my Facebook wall. Happy crafting!

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So guess what Santa brought my little girl for Christmas! I wanted to make her a doll and had set my heart on one of those cute Waldorf Dolls. I previously attempted one (that only my mum likes) and thought this time I’d like to get it right. And to make sure she also wins my daughters heart, I also made her a sparkly pink dress.

cloth-doll

I personally prefer her in a more natural looking outfit.

waldorf-doll

However, my main criteria was to create a doll that could be – ideally machine – washed. Traditional Waldorf dolls have a wool stuffing and can, if at all, only gently washed by hand.

So lets get started on how to make your very own doll. I bought a book (not such a good investment) and searched the internet high and low. I have to admit, Beth created such a great online tutorial, that I feel it’s superfluous to show things in detail. However, I’d like to share with you the things I’ve done additionally or slightly differently, and for which I haven’t found such great tutorials. I hope this helps to get you started. Just give it a go – it really is lots of fun!

Start by Making the Head Structure

Ok, so this just looks a bit complicated, but once you get going, you’ll easily figure out what to do!

doll-head

For a traditional Waldorf doll you first create the ‘structure’ of the head using Tubular Gauze (sold in pharmacies or big craft shops). For my doll (approx. 30cm high) I used Tubi Gauze size B and filled it with synthetic doll stuffing. Once you wrapped strong yarn around the head (take a look at Beth’s excellent online tutorial) you can add a nose. For me a must have for cuteness!

Draw on the Features

head_4672

Cover the head with your chosen cotton knit (a slightly stretchy fabric), fold it in half and make a seem at the back. If you don’t use self setting fabric ink, leave the seams on the top and bottom of the head open. This way you can take the fabric off again and heat set / iron the drawn on features.

head_4679

I marked the position of the eyes with blue pins and used ordinary pink fabric ink for the cheeks. I applied this with a cheap flat brush with stiff bristles (approx. 1cm wide, from an art shop). First making sure there is very little ink left in the brush and then applying it carefully with a nearly dry brush without much pressure. The aim is to create a gentle blush without a blob of paint. It’s not as tricky as it sounds, just practice on a spare piece of fabric first and you see how easy it is. For the brown freckles I used a very fine round brush (No. 00) with soft bristles.

head_4681

Above you can see my finished head structure and my piece of fabric with the drawn on features. I heat set the fabric ink with my iron (super long, as I made bad experiences with fabric ink that disappeared completely in the wash, because I didn’t iron the design).

Most tutorials suggest to finish off the head first and then create the body. I was too impatient and created the body while simultaneously working on the head. Which was just as well, as it took me a few attempts to get the embroidery of the face right, and I could do this on the go, without needing a sewing machine.

Make the Body

Speaking about perfectionism, I think it took me 4 attempts to create the body I was happy with.

doll_4906

Of course you don’t have to make it this complicated. The body above was created with the pattern of my book. However, I felt the body was too thin and tall and the proportions were modeled too much on an older child.

I wanted a small and cuddly doll, with the proportions of a child, who would be similar in age to this of my daughter (she is one and a half).

So I shortened and ‘fattened’ the body…

doll_4933

…and added plastic granules to add some weight to the doll.

doll-filling_4928

Here all the rejected bodies I had created came in handy. I cut of parts of them, filled them with granules and closed the seam.

Plastic granules are normally not recommended for use in children’s’ toys, but my talented AND lovely friend Rebecca Elgar found out, they need to be enclosed in 2 bags and then they can be put into the toy.

So each small bag of granules needs to be closed and packed into a second bag that needs to be sewn close again, before being placed in midst the filling. So if a little finger finds it’s way into the doll stuffing, they still have 2 more layers of fabric to get through. That’s how I’ve done it, but I don’t take any responsibility if any child is more inquisitive than mine, and gets hurt.

Embroider the Dolls Face and Add Hair

For the hair I first crochet a head cup (below left). This is a tight little hat the snuggles nicely onto your dolls head. In the head cup you loop lots of strings of wool, using a crochet hook to do so.

doll-face_4923

Just follow this excellent hair tutorial by Beth again. Alternatively you could used the hair tutorial by Meike which inspired the hair style of my daughters doll.

To embroider the face you probably need a bit of patience. As mentioned I can’t remember how long it took me to find the right position and size for the eyes and mouth, but I think it’s worth giving it a few goes until you are happy with the dolls appearance. Once done you are nearly there!

Glasses or No Glasses?

A tricky one. Once I ‘finished’ the face, I felt the doll needed  a bit more of an ‘artistic’ touch.

doll-with-glasses

I took a photo of her face and drew on some glasses in the computer (left picture), to see if I would like the feel of it. I didn’t position her eyes in the middle of the glasses, so that it looks more like the glasses had slightly slipped of her nose and the doll appeared a bit more nerdy. I liked look of the glasses and used paper rings (above right), held in place with pins, to embroider around them and create the glasses.

Finish your doll

The last step is to sew the head to the body. Now add a bit of felt for the hair elastics and hair clip and sew in place.

doll-front_5094

And finished is your doll!

doll-back_5095

Now she just need some clothes and ready is your child’s new friend.

doll_5065

Thanks for looking! I hope it inspired you to give it a go.
All images © Jacqueline Wagner

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