How to Make a Simple & Versatile Soft Doll

Posted Wednesday 28 March 2007 and filed under: Craft: Softies & Dolls,Freebies & Tutorials

I’ve received a number of emails asking me about how I got started sewing soft toys. The short answer is that I got inspired by what I saw on all the lovely craft blogs and wanted to make something for my daughter (as I was a new Mum at the time). So after a bit of experimenting with the basics of sewing, I drew up my own pattern, which was a very simple shape and the first Baby Chibi doll was born (which looked something like this).

I’ve learnt so much from other crafters and online tutorials along the way (and continue to learn) that I thought it might prove helpful for someone out there to have access to a pattern and instructions for a very simple doll. And so I came up with Ruby :-)

Ruby is made up of basic shapes and her construction is also pretty simple. The fun lies in the embellishing and finishing of the doll. I made this first Ruby with a mix of fabric including wool-blend suiting, cotton print and corduroy. You may also note in the instructions that I have tried not to be too prescriptive with the embellishments or how to do the face – this is where your creativity and imagination take over!

Every few weeks I hope to publish a variation of this basic Ruby Doll. The first two will be Yelena Ruby (a Russian/Matryoshka inspired variation) and Haruko Ruby ( a Japanese/Kokeshi inspired variation).

To download the pattern and instructions for Ruby Doll#1 for free, please click here.

And if you do happen to make one, please let me know – I’d love to see it! Please let me know of any problems you had with the pattern or instructions as well. (And if there is enough interest, we can set up a Flickr group).

P.S. Thank you for all your comments on my previous post – my laptop has been very temperamental of late so I am currently on my my hubby’s PC but will respond to your emails/comments once my laptop decides to co-operate again :-)

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68 Responses to “How to Make a Simple & Versatile Soft Doll”

  1. Dot Says:

    Thankyou SO much for the pattern for your Ruby doll Jhoanna! She is adorable and I look forward to making my own version.

    Very generous of you to share your design. Can’t wait to make my own versionS

    Dotee :)

    http://www.dotslifeandart.blogspot.com

    [Reply]

  2. Dana Says:

    Awww…she’s very cute! I’ve already downloaded and printed out the pattern/instructions. Ok…now one more thing on my ever growing to-do list!

    Thanks for being so generous and kind as to share your pattern. I’m looking forward to other variations.

    [Reply]

  3. Coryn Says:

    Thanks Jhoanna. Thank you for sharing and making your pattern available. She looks so cute, and the pattern is perfectly professional. Wonderful

    [Reply]

  4. Violet Says:

    Ooooh..wonderful!! Thank you so much Jhoanna for sharing the ruby Doll pattern. I can’t wait to make one. :-) She is adorable.

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  5. Melly Says:

    SO CUTE!!!! SOOOOO CUTE!

    [Reply]

  6. linda Says:

    Goodness – you are the QUEEN of softies! Look at all those cuties! And I think it’s so generous of you to share your pattern. I’m off to look at it and see if it’s doable for me. I’m softie-challenged, you know. :o)

    [Reply]

  7. linda Says:

    Yikes, I just printed it off. It looks so professionally done! Great job!

    [Reply]

  8. Diane Says:

    Thank you for the email and for the tutorial!! It’s kind of you to share all your knowledge with us! I may even feel confident enough to try to make a doll now!!

    [Reply]

  9. Kate Says:

    Wonderful work – very cute dolls. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  10. Debby Says:

    The Ruby’s are very cute. Just printed out the pattern and thank you for doing such a nice job. Oh, I dislike naughty computers; mine still seems to have a mind of its own lately.

    [Reply]

  11. Leah Says:

    This is wonderful! Can’t wait to try it out!

    [Reply]

  12. Jade Says:

    Thanks heaps for the tutorial, Jhoanna! I’m going to make my own now.

    [Reply]

  13. amisha Says:

    thank you so much for sharing this sweet pattern!!

    [Reply]

  14. abbyjane Says:

    A great idea! I really like the two variations you have chosen. And the faces are terrific. So fun!

    [Reply]

  15. Vicki Says:

    Thank you muchly, she looks beautiful, I cannot wait to make my own!

    [Reply]

  16. Vicki Says:

    I made a Ruby!
    I couldn’t get your “Contact Me” link to work though :(
    But here she is…
    http://flickr.com/photos/lilley1/444721905/

    Thanks Again x

    [Reply]

  17. Charmaine Says:

    Thank you!!!!! I have seen your dolls before and just loved them. It is very depressing when you first start out and see so many wonderful items, but don’t know where to start and can’t find patterns! It is so nice for you to share this pattern with others. I can’t wait to make one over the weekend!

    [Reply]

  18. Tracey Says:

    I made a Ruby. Thanks for the great pattern. My daughter is going to make one as well.

    [Reply]

  19. Rebecca Says:

    I’ve made my Ruby Doll! A great pattern, thanks for sharing it.

    [Reply]

  20. Yelena Says:

    Hello, I have just found your blog and was amazed to see a doll with my name, how wonderful. I’m going to have to make one. Do you wholesale your patterns ?? If so I would love to hear from you. Keep up the good work.

    [Reply]

  21. manon Says:

    Dear Jhoanna,

    I also made two ruby dolls! They came out so fine.. But I have no idee how to put their picture inhere or in your etsyclubsite… So please vissit my blog to see them (I had their picture placed on june one, with directions to your lovely site!)

    Greatings Mama Lieveheersbeestje.

    [Reply]

  22. manon Says:

    Sorry! this is the link to my blog..
    http/www.hetlieveheersbeestje.blogspot.com

    mama lieveheersbeestje.

    [Reply]

  23. Jess Says:

    Definatly going to have to make one of these for my little Ruby! She is in love with Matryoshka dolls, and with the doll named after her…well… a match made in heaven!!!

    [Reply]

  24. Steffen Tuck (Remi's Mum) Says:

    Congratulations on getting a posting from the ‘Sew-Down’ of November craft delights on the sewmamasew.blog list. The Ruby Doll is a personal favorite.
    Go you good girl.

    love from Remi and Mum
    Brisbane, Australia

    [Reply]

  25. Dixie Says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I was looking for a simple pattern to make dolls for humanitarian purposes. They would be donated to people in need all over the world. This pattern is perfect because it can be made to fit all cultures.

    [Reply]

  26. lol Says:

    hello
    thank you for sharing this, i am just starting to make my own ruby doll, unfortunately for me i sew like an amateur.
    i have just started my design, congrats for your success =)

    cheers

    [Reply]

  27. jo Says:

    what a lovely blog and thank you so much for the ruby doll pattern! cant wait to try and make her!!!
    jo
    x

    [Reply]

  28. Renee Says:

    I added Ruby to my list!! I LOVE her. I just am in the process of making my first softy from a library book that me and my daughter are working on!!

    [Reply]

  29. kay Says:

    Hello, Thnak you for tutorial. I’ll make the chinese doll: I adopted two china girls so it’s a good idea!

    [Reply]

  30. Lisa G. Says:

    these are too cute!Do you think I could make one into a boy? I would love to make a boy doll for my son!

    [Reply]

  31. Lili Says:

    This is wonderful! thanks

    [Reply]

  32. maria Says:

    Thank you so much for your pattern. Just finished the ruby doll for my granddaughter which just turned 1, think she will love it. This will be a christmas gift for her. Thank you again.

    [Reply]

  33. Beatriz Says:

    Hola desdes España! son geniales tus muñecas gracias por los patrones, hare varias para mis sobrinas y la niña que espero llegue pronto de Etiopia.
    Hello from Spain! your dools are great thanks for the patterns,I will do more for my nieces and girls that I hope will soon come to Ethiopia.

    [Reply]

  34. Dottie Says:

    Thank you for the Ruby doll pattern. The instructions are very easy to follow. I am a beginning sewer even though I am 50 and really appreciate it. My husband and I have 10 grandchildren, four are girls. Thank you again.
    Dottie

    [Reply]

  35. Ngaire Bartlam Says:

    Thankyou for the beautiful pattern! I have begun making my ruby doll today!

    peace,
    Ngaire
    x

    [Reply]

  36. Joyce Says:

    Thanks for the tutorial!

    What a neat way to use up bits of extra fabric from previous projects. Here’s how my first Ruby Doll turned out …

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/auntyjoyjoy/3348491698/

    [Reply]

  37. sewperstitious Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial.

    Here is my first doll:
    http://sewperstitious.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/ruby-doll/

    [Reply]

  38. Jade Says:

    Thanks so much for joining Craft Hope! This is my first time making a doll and I’m going to try yours. Thanks for sharing your tutorial! :)

    [Reply]

  39. joy Says:

    I’m looking for articles about softies, glad i found this… =) thanks.

    [Reply]

  40. Edwina Says:

    Absolutely adorable! I love them so much – totally bookmarking this and the website too!

    [Reply]

  41. carol Says:

    hi there, i am trying to make my first doll for my 4 yo. do you have to know how to use a sewing machine to do this doll pattern? (i can only do straight sewing on the sewing machine…i forgot how to end a stitch, and i may also have forgotten how to thread the thing….!)
    thanks…

    [Reply]

  42. Kerri Says:

    I made Ruby as a gift for a friend travelling overseas and I’ve received photos of her in all sorts of places, including on a glacier. I’m looking forward to the other patterns being posted!

    [Reply]

  43. Fiona Says:

    Thankyou so much for the generosity of putting this pattern on here for free. I have been looking for a simple doll to make with my 7yr old who is desperate to start making some toys for her self. This is so great and lovely to see the trust in just simply asking people not to sell.
    Well done.
    Kind regards.

    [Reply]

  44. Carolina Lombardy Says:

    Hello. I made this as my first sewing project for my 3 year old daughter. She absolutely loves her ‘new dolly’. Thank you for the tutorial. I loved making it.

    [Reply]

  45. creativejewishmom/Sara Says:

    Love this doll pattern! thanks so much! I’m linking to it at my international blog linking party today so that I’ll
    remember it and to share it with my readers. I’d love it if you’d drop by and link to something else! all the best, Sara

    [Reply]

  46. childhood magic Says:

    This is just too precious! i love it!!

    [Reply]

  47. caro Says:

    Thank you very much for the pattern, I loved making the doll and the girl I made the doll for loved it too.
    http://windekind-everythingwonderful.blogspot.com/2010/02/one-red-robin.html

    [Reply]

  48. StaceyJoy Says:

    Many thanks for the beautiful pattern – it is extremely generous of you.

    [Reply]

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  50. Priscilla Linden-Demers Says:

    I have tried to download your free pattern for the doll but it doesn’t come thru… could you please tell me what I am doing wrong. I appreciate your assistance and think your work is wonderful.. Thank you. Priscilla

    [Reply]

    jhoanna Reply:

    Hi Priscilla, I have tested the link and it downloads without any problems. Try downloading the pattern from this link – http://oneredrobin.com/ruby-doll-patterns-and-instructions/
    Hope it works for you!

    [Reply]

  51. Kristina Says:

    So very cute! Did you ever publish the pattern/instructions for the Yelena Ruby doll?

    [Reply]

    jhoanna Reply:

    HI Kristina, thank you! Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance too but I haven’t forgotten either. Hopefully I can get a sewing machine here in Hong Kong and can start sewing and sharing patterns again very soon!

    [Reply]

  52. Vikki Says:

    Similarly to Priscilla I can’t get the instructions to download :( Even the link on you reply doesn’t work for me! Boo hoo! :( p.s. Ruby is sooooo cute!

    [Reply]

    jhoanna Reply:

    Please try this link Vikki: http://www.oneredrobin.com/wp-content/blogimages/rubydoll_nbr1.pdf

    [Reply]

  53. ahari Says:

    thank you jhoanna. I’ll make this doll for children in my work area…

    [Reply]

    jhoanna Reply:

    Hope you have fun making the dolls and hope the children enjoy them too Ahari!

    [Reply]

  54. Lara Says:

    Hi, thanks for the free pattern :) I used it to make a Christmas Elf. I linked your pattern on my blog. If you are interested in seeing my version of your pattern, you can find my post here.
    http://laraandgillian.blogspot.com/2011/11/heeeeres-jack.html

    [Reply]

  55. Annagreet Says:

    Hi there! Thank you for the nice pattern. I used it for a Ruby doll for my nieces first birthday. I made her a dress too, and of course the doll is wearing a matching outfit. You can find the resul on my blog, http://nifels.blogspot.nl/2012/09/naaiwerk-voor-nichtje-ninthe.html, and I linked to your pattern there too.

    [Reply]

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  57. ootje Says:

    Thank you so much for this free pattern. This is where I’m looking for. I’ll make one for my granddaughter little present.

    [Reply]

  58. Susan Says:

    This could be the one I make for a friend’s daughter. They are strapped for funds this year, and I thought I’d help them a little, but I’m not rich either. =) She’s two, so this seems like a good doll for her.

    [Reply]

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