Soft-Sculptured Doll

Tonia Mitchell of Fayetteville, Ga., makes soft-sculpture dolls because it's what she loves.

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Sitting in church one Sunday, Tonia Mitchell was inspired by the words of her minister: "If people found the thing they love to do and they do it well, this world would be a much different place." A determined and joyful Tonia does just that, and now those life-affirming qualities are conveyed in the faces of her expressive and unique soft-sculptured dolls.

Materials and Tools:

1/4 yard fabric for face and hands
assorted fabrics for clothing
assorted threads
waxed linen thread
acrylic paint for eyes, lips
colored pencils
fabric markers
5" doll making needle
fibers for hair
embellishments: beads, buttons, shells, feathers, ribbon, gourds
sewing machine and scissors
stuffing tools (try hemostats, chopsticks, skewers)


1. Create a face/head pattern (profile), trace on fabric, sew, trim, turn, stuff, and sculpt.

2. Create a hand pattern, trace on fabric, sew, trim, turn, stuff, and sculpt.

3. Create a pattern for torso, legs, and shoes. Trace the patterns on fabric, sew, trim, turn, and stuff all pieces.

4. Construct body (by sewing on parts and/or using button joint technique).

5. Attach head, hands, and shoes using ladder stitch.

6. Highlight facial features with paints, pencils, markers, etc.

7. Make clothes for the doll and dress her.

8. Sew on hair and style it as desired.

9. Embellish further if desired.


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