How to Make Soft Sculptured Stuffed Nylons Dolls

The eerily lifelike soft sculptured stuffed-nylon dolls are also called needle sculpted dolls because the faces and features are created by artfully placed stitches that shape and form. The skin of the doll is made from a nylon stocking. Years ago, creative crafters found a way to reuse old pantyhose by turning the flesh-coloured, transparent fabric into a doll's skin. For some the craft has become an impressive work of art. The materials needed to create a stuffed-nylon doll are fairly inexpensive. This allows you to experiment with the first try and learn the best way to weave lifelike expression into the doll.

Start with the doll's head. Wrap polyester filling around a foam ball. Slip a piece of nylon stocking over the head. Use hand stitching to close the area on the forehead and under the chin. Features are created by stitching through the nylon into the polyester filling to make the bridge along the nose and nostrils and the shape of the eyes and mouth. The process is similar to an artist moulding clay, yet in this case it is the pull of thread doing the moulding.

Colour the features, such as the eyes and mouth, with fabric paint when the stitching is completed. Sew on hair or a doll's wig.

Make a body for the doll. Twist 16-gauge wire into a body shape, with arms and legs, at a size proportionate to the doll's head. Wrap 2-inch strips of fleece over the wire to shape and pad the body.

Form hands for the doll, in a similar fashion as the face. Wrap nylon around polyester filling and use the needle and thread to shape and contour fingers.

Dress the doll by sewing on clothing, then sew on the hands and head.

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