Tea Towel Prairie Doll
by Denise Clason©
Return to the 1800s with this adorable prairie doll. Miss Abigail's apron was made from a repurposed tea towel! She is the perfect size for little hands to cuddle.
Finished size: 18" tall Doll
Click for Doll PATTERN
• 1/2 yd. muslin (doll body and bloomers)
• 1/3 yd. yellow/black plaid fabric (dress)
• 1/4 yd. blue print (hat, waistband on apron)
• Scrap piece of iron-on interfacing
• 1 yd. 1/8" elastic
• Tea towel, embroidered or with a design
• Five 1/4" black buttons (don’t need to match)
• Six 1/4" blue buttons
• Sewing machine
• Matching thread*
• Thin jute
• Doll hair* :
• Black acrylic paint*
• Satin varnish*
• #10 shader or flat paintbrush
• Tacky glue*
Cosmetic blush, iron & board, pencil, pins, ruler or tape measure, scissors, sewing needle
*The following products were used for this project: Aleene's Tacky Glue • Coats Dual Duty XP thread • DecoArt Americana acrylic paint, varnish • Loew-Cornell paintbrush • Mountain Mist Wonderloft stuffing • Twice As Nice Light Auburn Wool Wave doll hair.
Note: For product information, see end of article.
• Print and cut out full-sized patterns here.
• Please read all instructions before beginning project! All seams are 1/4".
• Choose fabrics to match your tea towel.
• See photo for details and placement.
STEP 1: Sew doll. Use patterns with muslin folded in half to cut out body, arms, and legs. Sew arms, legs, and body together, leaving an opening between dots for stuffing. Clip curves. Turn right side out.
STEP 2: Stuff doll. Stuff arm and leg pieces to joint markings for knees and elbow. Sew a straight line across joint between dots. Backstitch at each end of stitching (Figure 1). Stuff doll body. To keep head from drooping, be sure to stuff head and neck areas very firmly. Zig-zag bottom opening closed. Pin arms and legs into place and use zigzag stitch to secure (Figure 2).
STEP 3: Make boots. Use pencil to draw a line across top of boots (see pattern for leg). Paint boots black. Clean brush and let dry. Paint a second coat. Clean brush and let dry completely. Paint over boots with satin varnish. Glue blue buttons onto boots as shown. Note: Buttons should touch each other, with no spaces between them. Lay flat to dry completely.
STEP 4: Tea dye doll. Boil one cup of water. Add a bag of tea and steep until very dark. Use #10 paintbrush to brush tea onto face, hands, and legs. For better color, let dry in sun. Repeat to darken if you like.
STEP 5: Make bloomers. Use pattern to cut out two bloomers from muslin. With right sides together, sew center front and back seams. Make a 1/4" hem on each leg.
Measure around doll's legs with elastic (without stretching) and add 1/4". Pin ends of elastic to each side of leg where indicated. Note: Be sure to backstitch at beginning. With needle in down position, and with one hand at beginning and one hand at end of fabric, stretch elastic and fabric at same time to make it lay flat, then continue sewing in stretched position. Backstitch at end. Sew inseam of legs with right sides together.
Fold down waistline 1/4". Make two rows of gathering stitches across waistband. Dress doll, pull gathering stitches, and tie in a knot and then a bow. If you like, glue pants to doll using tacky glue.
STEP 6: Make dress. Cut all dress pieces from yellow/black plaid fabric, as indicated. Sew across shoulder, pivot, and sew up neck on both sides of front and back bodice pieces. Make a small hem around the neck. Gather across top curved edge of sleeves, just enough to fit inside of sleeve area on bodice. Sew right sides together. Hem sleeves.
Sew sleeve and side seams with right sides together. Back stitch at each end. Clip at corner of sleeve and side seams to turn right side out (Figure 3).
Cut a 9" x 30" rectangle from yellow/black plaid. Gather 30" side to fit bottom edge of bodice. Sew to bodice with right sides together.
Sew a hem down back of dress and along bottom edge of skirt. Sew five black buttons down front of dress bodice. Dress doll and stitch the bodice back together, leaving skirt part unsewn.
STEP 7: Make apron. Cut tea towel 7 1/2" from edge. Make two rows of gathering stitches across top raw edge. Pull up threads until towel measures 7" wide. Set aside.
For tie, cut a 1 1/2" x 24" strip of blue print. Fold tie in half and pin right sides together, to center of apron. Pin at both ends. Sew tie onto apron, backstitching at each end. Press tie and press 1/4" on both long ends. Fold tie in half lengthwise, encasing gathers to apron. Pin and stitch tie together. Backstitch at each end. Dress doll.
STEP 8: Make hair. Cut a 1 1/2" x 3-1/2" strip of scrap fabric. Fold in half lengthwise. Cut a 1" length of wool wave. Unravel and fluff a little. Lay piece across middle of strip for bangs. Note: You may need to do this twice for fullness.
Cut two 2" lengths of wool wave for two sides of strip for her hair. Sew to either side of bangs in same way. Glue hair piece to top of head and along sides of head, near seam. Note: Trimming will come later, after bonnet is placed on head.
STEP 9: Make bonnet. Follow pattern instructions to cut pieces for bonnet from blue print fabric. Sew or press interfacing to wrong side of one of brim pieces. With right sides together, sew two brim pieces along stitching line. Leave open where marked. Trim seam allowance to 1/8" and turn right side out. Press. Topstitch close to edge.
On bonnet piece, clip where marked on pattern. Sew a gathering line where marked. Hem 1/8" where marked. Pull gathering threads to fit brim and pin right sides together. Sew in place. Finish seam with a zigzag stitch (Figure 4).
Cut a 20" piece of jute. Lay jute on placement line. Use largest zigzag stitch to sew over jute. Note: Do not sew on jute. Pull jute to even up ends and tie around doll's head.
STEP 10: Finish. Pencil in location for eyes. For eyes, make a dot of black craft paint using wooden end of paintbrush held at a 90 degree angle. Dip brush end into paint again for other eye. Let dry. Gently apply cosmetic blush to cheeks.