Soft sculpture dolls had been around for years before Xavier Roberts created his signature Cabbage Patch Dolls. He replaced the traditional soft sculptured stocking faces with molded plastic heads, but kept the soft sculpture bodies. Recreate this traditional Appalachian craft using old stockings stuffed with polyester batting.
Cut a 10-inch-long piece of old stocking. Take two double-fist-size balls of fiberfill and stuff them into the stocking, centered between the two ends. Pull the two open ends together and wrap around them several times with a length of coat thread. Tie the ends shut.
Thread a tapestry needle with white polyester coat thread. Push the needle up through the "neck" of your doll's head and take two or three stitches where you want to create a nose. Drop down about 1/4 to 1/2 inch below the nose you just created and stitch the outline of your doll's mouth.
Stitch back into the neck of the doll, then back up to the approximate position where you want to put each eye. Stitch a fold about 1/4 inch deep and 1/2 inch long. Glue a six-millimeter white bead in place in each fold. Carefully dab a dot of black paint onto each bead to make pupils for the eyes. Allow the paint to dry four to six hours.
Stitch up through the neck and out through the sides of the face to make ears. Make a C-shaped ridge for the outer ear, and a second, smaller C-shaped ridge for the inner ear. If desired, add post or hoop earrings to your doll at this time.
Wind yarn around a pack of three-inch by five-inch file cards for short hair, or around a piece of eight-inch by 10-inch corrugated cardboard for longer hair. Slide a short piece of yarn through all the loops at one end of the card and pull tight, as if you were about to make a pom-pom or tassel. Cut the loops at the opposite end apart.
Center the hair on the doll's head, with the tied end close to the doll's eyes. Spread the hair across the doll's head. Stitch across the hair about one inch from the tied ends to make the bang line. Stitch two inches further toward the back of the head to secure the hair to the crown of the head. If desired, add additional hair until it is as full and long as you want it to be. Cut apart the loops at the tied end to make the doll's bangs.
Attach the head the doll's body by sticking the neck of the head down into the neck of the body. Stitch carefully around the neck, leaving a small opening. Stuff additional fiberfill into the doll's neck to keep it from being too floppy.
Things You Will Need
- Old stockings
- Polyester fiberfill or batting
- White polyester coat thread
- Curved tapestry needle
- 6-millimeter white round seed beads
- Black paint
- Yarn for hair
- Unopened package of 3-inch by 5-inch file cards
- 8-inch by 10-inch sheet of corrugated cardboard