Sunday, January 15, 2012

Little Play People Tutorial

This tutorial was first published in JUNO summer edition 2011, I thought that I would share it with you here.

Fabric scraps
T-shirt material in a skin colour
Needle and thread
Wool roving/ stuffing
2 pipe cleaners
Grain (millet/ salt/ sand/ lentils/ rice)
Fine black marker pen
Red wax crayon


To make the head, cut a piece of t-shirt fabric approximately 10cm x 10cm.
Roll a piece of wool roving or stuffing up into a tight ball about the size of a walnut. Wrap this in your skin fabric. Secure the skin by wrapping a length of strong thread around the bottom of the ball and tying several knots.

Cut 2 more squares of t-shirt fabric approximately 4cm x 4cm.
Take a pipe cleaner, about 1 cm down fold the pipe cleaner over. Wrap this in a little wool roving/ stuffing and then wrap the t-shirt material around it. Tie this on tightly with strong thread. It should look like a little lolly pop.

Sleeves (make 2)
Cut a piece of fabric that measures 6cm x 10 cm. Fold this in half (right side in) and sew along the edge. Turn your tube right side out. Insert the pipe cleaner. Fold the edge of the sleeve over and stitch to the hand

Cut a circle approximately 6cm in diameter in the same/ matching fabric. Also cut a rectangle of the same fabric 14cm x 10cm. With the right sides in sew the edge of the circle to the edge of the rectangle. Then sew up the side of the rectangle to make a tube. Leave a gap of about 3 cm from the top and cut a slit of 3cm on the opposite side of your tube. This is where the arms will stick out. Turn the tube right side out and half fill with your grainStuff the tube tightly with wool roving/ stuffing up to the bottom of the arm slits.

Wrap the pipe cleaners around the neck of the head then insert this into the top of the body. Folding the top of the material over, stitch the material into the neck. Next, sew the two side of the tube closed over the tops of the arms to make shoulders and stitch around the arm holes into the sleeves

The basic body shape is finished, now for the fun part; decorating and finishing your little person. Use a fine nib, permanent marker to draw on a simple face, or of course you could emboider the face using cotton thread. Rub a little red wax crayon onto the cheeks to give them a bit of colour.

For long hair, wrap some wool yarn around a book or CD case then cut at one side so you have lots of long strands. Carefully, so as not to bunch them up, sew a seam down the middle of the yarn, turn and repeat a few times. Firmly stitch this to your dolls head and then enjoy making her hairstyles. You may want to add the odd stitch here and there to secure the hair further down the head.
The gnomes beard and fringe is made by stitching yarn directly into his head leaving long loops. You may want to mark in pencil where you want his beard to be before you start to make it look even.

The gnomes coat and the princess’ robe are made by lying the body onto a piece of fabric 11cm x 6cm (the princess’ robe is much longer, you can play around with this). Mark where the tops and bottoms of the arms are. Cut along these slits, I used pinking shears so I didn’t have to hem them, otherwise you may want to hem the edges to stop them unravelling. Then fold the top of the fabric down to just above the arm holes, and sew along. If you like you can add a button or snap fastens or a simple tie so the coat will open and close.
To make a gnome hat fold a triangle of fabric that will fit onto the head. With right sides together sew up the back. Turn the hat right side out, folding the edges under, firmly stitch to the head.
The Princess crown is a piece of yellow felt cut with a zig zag, joined at one end and firmly stitched onto her head.

These are lovely toys, my kids really enjoy them. There are no limits to the dolls you can create; a family for the dolls house, characters from fairy tales. I’m sure you will enjoy creating these little play people as much as your little people will enjoy playing with them.


  1. Awesome tutorial! Thank you SO much for sharing this! I have some little siblings who would LOVE these! :)

    You're awesome to share your knowledge and time like this! :)

    Thanks again!
    Mary ;)

  2. What a wonderful tutorial! I just pinned it so I can make my daughter some. I would love it if you would share at our sharing party at Thank you!

    1. Hi carrie, I will do if I can get the linky to work for me, it is so slow sometimes. I hope you enjoy making them :-)

  3. Thanks for this tutorial, these little dolls are so cute, what a fun project this would be. Glad you took pictures for the hair and beards, those are always the hardest parts of doll making for me. Fun post!!

    1. you're welcome april, I'd love to see how they come out :-)

  4. Laura, these are wonderful! THank you for sharing!
    And I love the new look of your blog. :)

    1. swanky isn't it, I was trying to repair whatever was wrong with the header...and this happened...which seems good lol! am liking the whoel individual reply business too, hugs x

  5. Thank you, Laura, for sharing at Sharing Saturday! I love them!!

  6. I love these dolls! I am going to have to make the kiddos a pair!

  7. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs
    redally nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road.
    Many thanks

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