Friday, April 23, 2010

Odd Sock Pocket Doll Tutorial

Odd Sock Pocket Doll Tutorial

I'm sure there is a sock monster living under one of the beds in our house. It only takes one of a pair of socks. It leaves the other to sit around in the folding baskets, until eventually they make their way to the overflowing odd sock bag. Many of the inhabitants of the odd sock bag are eventually reunited with their mates. There are a few however, that are destined to live out their lives in the bag. I cant bear to throw them out, 'just in case' one day their one and only partner magically returns.

If you have a few of the children's odd socks laying around then here is the perfect project for you. The cutest way to recycle those lost and lonely socks into a sweet little playmate, destined to once again spend its days hanging out with your child!


2 small children's socks, light weight
one skin coloured (white/brown/pale pink/black etc)
one patterned and/or coloured
(The two I used were toddler sized, and 5 year old size)

toy stuffing or carded wool
rice/dried peas/plastic craft pellets
strong thread such as thin crochet cotton
hand sewing supplies
sewing machine (not essential, you could easily stitch it all by hand)

The Body

Take your patterned/coloured sock
Lay it out with the heel section on the top.

Trim the toe section from the sock, right up by the heel.
The sock I'm using is a small child's sock, this piece is about 7.5 cm long (3 inches) long

Open up the cut end and while folding the cut section back into itself a few mm, take a running stitch all the way around the sock. Do not trim the thread yet.

The Head

Take your plain skin coloured sock.

Cut out the section between the heel and toe.

Use this fabric to stitch a tube, approx 7.5cm x 3.5cm (including seam allowances) to create your head section. Trim the tube from the rest of the fabric. You should have two pieces that look like this.

Turn the tube in the right way.

Stuff the tube with your filling until if forms a tight ball about a couple of cm in diameter. When you think its about he right size, hold it up near body to check it looks OK.

Using your strong thread tie off under the newly formed head.

Repeat this process making a smaller ball under the head. don't worry about the ends when you tie off, or the bottom of the tube, they will all be hidden inside your doll.

The Face

Using a piece of your strong thread make a couple of stitches on the back of the dolls head to secure your thread.

Starting at the back of the head, push your needle right through the head, bringing it out at where the ear would be. This should be at the half way point of the head. Run the thread across the front of the face. Put the needle back into the head at the same level, on the opposite side. Run your needle back all the way through the head, once again coming out at the first 'ear' point. Pull this thread really tight. You want it to create a real indentation in the head. This is what shapes the face, and provides an area for the eyes. Do one more stitch across like this and then poke the needle through to the back of the head and secure.

Now we need to create the outer 'skin' of the head.

Fold the remaining piece of skin coloured sock in half. Lay your head section on top as shown and trace around the shape generously. Do not make the 'neck' too narrow, you have to be able to get it over the head.

Stitch along the line.

Turn the 'skin; in the right way and stretch it over the head. Have the seam running from the top of the head down the back. This seam will be hidden by the hat.

Tie this 'skin' layer off like you did the head.

Use a couple of pins to mark where along the 'eye line' you made earlier, you think the eyes should go. Ive used all six strands of cross stitch thread to stitch on the facial features. The eyes are just a couple of tiny stitches on top of each other, and the mouth is a small stitch running across ways.

The hat

Take the top section of your patterned sock.

Place it inside out, around the head of your doll, stretching it gently. Mark the shape of the head.
Stitch along this line. Trim the seam, and turn in the right way.

Put the hat on your doll.

Make sure it sits down low at the back covering all the seam.

When you have it sitting right, hand stitch on to the head securely.

Assembling your doll

Take the body section and half fill it with your rice/plastic pellets. I choose to use plastic pellets so that our little friend can be fully washed after being out exploring.

Place the head onto the body, the second smaller 'ball' sits down inside the body section.

Pull the gathering stitch that you put in the body piece earlier tightly around the base of the head and secure the stitch. Using a double thread, securely stitch the head and the body together all the way around. I like to knot it off a couple of times on the way around, to prevent it coming completely unravelled if one section were to come undone.

There is your little pocket doll, as cute as a button!

You can leave it like this if you like, or you can use the remaining pieces of your patterned sock to make some arms.

The Arms (optional)

Arms option 1, as pictured

Stitch two small arm tubes from your patterned sock piece. Trim (note -they do not stay joined together like this picture, I made them from one piece and cut then apart). Turn in the right way. Hand stitch the end closed and stuff gently. Trim to the required length.

Attach to the body with small hand stitches on the underneath of the arm. Flip the arm back down and run a few stitches through the top of the arm, though the whole body to the other shoulder and back to secure the arm and keep it from flapping around.

Although he is cute with arms, I think I prefer the version with out. Next time I don't think I will bother with them. Although if he didn't have arms, who would have helped me pack away?

Arms, option 2

The other option if you want arms, is to use a larger sock for the body, and incorporate arms into the body section shape. You would stitch a shape similar to this into the sock, but still using the toe as the bottom of the body, running seams up each side to narrow the sock and adding the arms. This will create dollsthe shape of these ones I made as gifts in the previous post.

If you choose this option, fill the arms with stuffing before adding the rice/pellets to the body.

Your recycled sock doll is all ready to be tucked safely in the pocket of a little one and taken on a special adventure.

This little doll was inspired by the gorgeous Steiner like dolls I learnt to make recently. I had many requests for a tutorial on how to make them , but that's not really my story to tell - they were created using someone elses pattern. They also require many materials which most of us don't have on hand. There is a special quality to dolls made from all natural materials, and the genuine Steiner dolls are just stunning - if you haven't seen or heard of Steiner dolls before, check out the gorgeous creations by the extremely talented Little Jenny Wren - so, so beautiful - we will have one of them come to live with us eventually.

I decided to use the techniques I had learned and come up with something a little different - a doll created with recycled socks. You wont need any fancy doll making supplies for this, everything you need you probably have around home. If you don't have any odd socks (tell me how you manage that please!) you could use other fabrics. The body's would look gorgeous in quilters cottons, or some recycled fabric from outgrown baby clothes. You will need something quite stretchy to create the head, I would think t shirt material would work.

Please note, I am a newbie doll maker and novice sewer, so please excuse if my techniques or descriptions are a little unorthodox - this is just my take on doing things. I rarely follow patterns, and I don't often use pins (although I know it would be easier sometimes if I did both) and excuse the state of my well loved cutting mat - it has seen me through years of messy scrapbooking.

I love re-using/up-cycling/re-fashioning and creating fun playthings and clothes for my children - they may not be perfectly sewn, but they are created especially for them, so, as long as they love them , then that's what really matters to me.

***edited to add*** ooops - in my haste to finally get this tutorial up I forgot something I was going to add, (until Kelly just commented on this post! :( I really did plan on adding a link originally) I was also going to send you all off to another of my favourite blogs, to see some more stunning dolls (along with LOTS of other crafty inspiration) to Kelly from the Handmaden - you will LOVE her work too.

Creative frenzy

In the past couple of days the creative urge has been strong. Ive been very good though, Ive kept up with the housework, been an attentive Mummy, and Ive stolen every possible 'free' moment to make stuff! Ive fallen into bed each night (way too late) totally exhausted, but with a smile on my face, and a warm glow in my heart - isn't that what life is all about!

Thursday -
After finally tracking down some goat milk, I took the plunge and made my first ever batch of soap. Its a recipe from the down to earth forum - Whisks goat milk and honey soap.

It was a little daunting at first, but its a pretty simple process and it seems to have worked out. I will take it out of the milk carton moulds and cut it up tomorrow, and then it needs 6 weeks curing time - thank goodness all my creative pursuits don't require that amount of patience to achieve an outcome!

Next was making a couple of drawing wallets for two gorgeous little girls who celebrated their 2nd birthdays today with a joint party. I choose to make them very similar to the one that I got for Jacinta from Tillytom. They have a button & elastic closure, and were made entirely of fabric from Tuesdays op shopping. I personalised them with the girls names stitched on the front.

I really wanted to make an effort to make more gifts this year (or buy handmade) so it was lovely to be able to make these. It was also nice to climb into bed last night knowing the cards were written in, and the gifts were wrapped (in recycled paper bags and ribbons) all ready to go.

Oh and during all this I was regulary required to "yook at me Mummy"

...this is the sort of sillyness I was greeted with each time!

Friday -
I awoke this morning expecting the creative urge to have left me, but it hadn't. I had been contemplating making another one of the little stiener inspired dolls, it was 9.30am and the party was only at 11am - wouldn't it be nice if I could pop a sweet little doll in with each of the gifts. Nothing like a bit of pressure to get the creative juices pumping! I knew with the limited time I would have to make a few adjustments - but it shouldn't be too difficult. I had also been thinking of a slightly simplified version of the dolls for all those who had asked for a tutorial when I made the others.

So between supplying cool play things like water painting, arranging snacks for outside, supervising toilet trips and fielding a million what you doing Mummy questions I managed to get them completed. Just. Thankfully for the last half hour Isaac went next door and Jazz was content to sit and watch (especially since I caved and let her have her dummy)
They are similar to Isaac & Jacinta's, but there are no inside arm/hands, it is just all part of the body. They looked gorgeous all snuggled into the gifts, and the girls loved them. Jacinta was so excited about giving Sophie & Ruby "yittle babies"

After the wonderful party the kids were exhausted. Jacinta went to bed and Isaac was content to go back and forth between riding his bike and watching TV. I didn't have time to clean up my mess before we ran out the door. Seeing all my doll stuff out inspired me to tackle the project that had been spinning around my head for a while. If you are like me and have a resident sock monster at your house, but cant bear to throw the odd socks out, 'just in case' the other one turns back up, then you have all you will need to create a sweet little 'odd sock pocket baby'. I'm in the process of writing up a tutorial, so you can all create your own little piece of upcycled cuteness. Until then, here is a sneak peek...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

my 2010 diary

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while might remember I made my own diary/planner last year. I did the same thing this year, and since I still get quite a few visits to that original post (attempting to be organised) I thought I would share my 2010 diary.

It is very similar to last years with a few updated features...

- I added pretty tabs for each month, to make it easier to find things.

- I had it bound using wire binding so it sits nice and flat and is a little more robust than the plastic binding on the 2009 edition.

I added a few extra pages to scribble notes etc, and a full 2010 & 2011 calendar to the first pages.

This is where my diary lives - on the end of the kitchen bench, right near the phone and the calendar. Its very handy not to have to scramble for a piece of paper to jot something down while I'm on the phone - and then try to find it again when I need it.

I have all the public holidays shaded in yellow, Nath & Isaacs school holidays in marked over the date in pink, and Calebs in blue.

You might notice that it looks a lot chunkier than last years - this was not intentional. I printed it on Craig's printer and obviously didn't adjust the settings properly - instead of returning to flip the pages and print on the other side, I found an entire diary printed on one side only. I wasn't about to do it all again, so I used it as was - now I have blank some scribble paper between every week! I guess I can always use the blank pages next year as a note book!

I ended up sending out the template to a few people so they could have a go at making their own, but I'm not sure how they went with it - if anyone reads this that had a try, Id love to know if it worked, or if it was a complete disaster trying to personalise it for your family.

a special spot

Today I helped created a special spot for little people to play. Our sandpit has been a bit neglected lately, it tends to get over run by all the diggers and dump trucks that three boys have managed to accumulate over the past 13 years - its amazing how long some of them manage to survive! I'm sure that if I had to try and play in the wet sand squished in amongst all that, I would find something else to do too!

The over crowding problem was easily fixed - a little suggestion that maybe all the trucks and diggers could stay behind the sandpit when they were not being used solved that problem.

The sandpit is in the shade most of the day now and the sand is quite damp, it will probably remain that way for many months now.

Jacinta in particular really doesn't like sitting in the sand (if we are at the beach that's another story, then she LOVES the sand!) Ive been wanting Craig to make some sort of seats on the corners of the sand pit for ages. Yesterday when his Dad dropped off a few logs destined for our wood pile, I knew they were my solution.

We loaded them in Isaac's little wheelbarrow and he carefully carted them out the back to the sandpit. We dug away the sand, placed the logs and 'hey presto' the perfect seats to keep little bottoms up off the sand - they are just perfect. We placed a couple of smaller logs to the side - I will be interested to see what use they get put too - I'm imagining them being a perfect spot for a collection of sticks, stones and shells, all ready to adorn carefully built sand castles, or a great place to sit a drink - this play can be thirsty work you know! A smaller half log quickly found a place as a hill for the dump trucks to make a road over.

I'm looking forward to seeing this space utilised a lot more now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


After the last two weeks of school holidays, with our daily life being led by the needs and wants of four children, it was refreshing to spend a few child free hours this morning.

I dropped off Jazz to play with her Auntie and cousins, and spent a little time just wandering. I looked at what ever I wanted, for as long as I wanted. I didn't need to constantly ensure that little fingers were safe, or supply a constant stream of snacks. I didn't have to think of anything but the right here and now.

I ended up with a bag stuffed full of loveliness - all with plans for a new life over the next few weeks.

My plans include making soap, making modelling beeswax, sewing some PJ pants for me and a couple of drawing folders for birthday gifts, maybe even a top for Jazz if there is enough fabric, making a colour matching/sorting game, a cushion for the toddler chair (aka the wooden high chair which I took to with a saw yesterday!), a huge bathmat for the kids bathroom, and several non slip toilet mats.

Wow, that's quite a list!

Lets see how long it takes me to get through it all

I will keep you updated on my progress.

I even shared today's happiness and bought Georgia home with us for a sleep over - much to Isaac & Jacinta's delight!

The little angels were all sound asleep by 7.30pm - sweet!

eta - I'm pleased to report that everyone slept soundly all night at our house, and after speaking to my sister this morning, it was also a very quiet night there - Bailey slept through for the first time, and Vic got her first full nights sleep in about 4 years!

Monday, April 19, 2010

weekend wanderings

On Saturday afternoon we took the little ones to bushland park.

They love wandering along the bush trails, climbing the hill to get to the tower, exploring the muddy dam banks and playing on the playground.

We did one of the longer walks, and although Jacinta needed a little help, and Isaac demanded a couple of rest stops, they both did really well. It is a lovely relaxing place to wander around, and it feels as though you are in the middle of no where, when in fact we are only minutes from home. Its also a bit of a treat for the kids to spend time with Craig on a Saturday afternoon during Football season. Today instead of spending the whole day at Football, he came home early just to spend some time with them, which was lovely (there was also an ulterior motive though, the grand prix qualifying session was on later in the afternoon!)

Sunday the whole family took a little road trip to the Barossa Valley. We checked out Whispering Wall, the Herbig Family tree, some playgrounds, had take away for lunch in a reserve at Tanunda, choose a treat each from the lolly shop and even went through the car wash (the kids think its a real treat to do that!). Guess what - we were home just in time for Craig to watch the Grand prix (are you sensing a pattern here LOL, nem and their sport - rolls eyes!)
I remembered about a minute after we left that the camera was still sitting on the kitchen bench, Craig did offer to go back for it, but I decided I could live without it - wish I went back, there were so many great photo ops! Oh well, I took some dodgy snaps on my phone to remember the day by instead.

Its a nice change to be spending so much time outside lately. I must admit, I'm more of an inside girl. Some people seem to naturally gravitate outside. They take their meals out, have a coffee in the fresh air, even take the computer outside with them. I need to do this more. The little ones tend to follow my lead, and are only outside when I am. They can be in the middle of play and will come back in as soon as I do. I only need to be outside and they will stay there, they don't usually need me to be facilitating their play, and I do tend to avoid that unless invited. That would be the early childhood teacher in me. I love to watch what they do when they are unhindered by adult expectations and interruptions to their play. Sure I provide materials and the occasional suggestion, but left to their own imaginations children's natural play is a magical thing to watch.