Source: Softies: 22 friends for you to sew, knit and crochet
If your digging out the pattern books, looking for a special 1st birthday gift to make, you really can't go wrong with a "softie". They are loveable, soft and most importantly can made 100% child safe. Using upcycled fabrics or that odd shaped piece of your grandmothers favourite dress she used to wear is just a bonus!
The Softies and More Softies books come with a large variety of quirky little characters that you can create from the patterns in the book. Simply trace the pattern and use as is or customize as you please. Use these patterns as a fantastic source for sewing inspiration.
Gather supplies such as embroidery floss, threads and buttons, wool, felt and of course your favourite fabric. You can choose to machine sew or hand stitch. Add a handmade tag and voila! You have the supplies to customize your own doll. I highly recommend chopping and changing fabrics and go with what feels fantastic for you. If you just need to use that square of orange corduroy - then do it! Eyes and noses can be fabricated from buttons, but if your little one isn't old enough yet, no problem! Use some felt! Don't let supplies deter you from creating! Add extra "bits" to create a story about your doll to encourage little ones to use their imagination. (Mama Bear loves to knit scarves and carries wool with her wherever she goes!)
What's great about these patterns is they are an endless source for inspiration. There are patterns for all levels of sewing. If your not sure how to sew in a gusset, no worries. Try the next doll! The patterns have been collected from crafters all around the world. There is something for everyone!
What you need to know before you start: It's important that you wash all fabrics before you start. Full stop. No questions, so just do it! (Fabrics can shrink in different ways when washed so it's best you work with the fabric after the shrink factor! Also any residual dyes will come out in the wash rather than bleed all over the doll.) Patterns may require you to enlarge them, but this is completely up to you - the designer! Just make sure to allow for the correct amount of fabric! And last, as always it's good practice to read the WHOLE pattern before you get started. You might think you know how to do everything but there could be a unique interpretation that you miss out on!