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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 picturedStitch 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.
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.