Vintage Fabric Dolls

I just discovered a fantastic vintage fabric and craft supply store here in Portland, and made these simple pillow dolls with some of the fabric I found.  I embroidered the faces with my regular sewing machine, but it worked pretty well.  The twins love to pretend they are putting the dolls to bed.

39 Comments

  1. Camille Dawn
    April 21, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Fantastic! So simple, so fun! And that shop, what a find! I'm up in Olympia, so will be planning a trip down ASAP!

  2. naomi
    April 21, 2010 at 4:53 am

    wow, how fun! They look really small in the first picture, then when you scroll down you realise how big they are. Love the faces embroidered on the black.
    Ps- discovered your blog recently, and love it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Doppelganger
    April 21, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Wow. Every single thing you post, I love. How do you do it? :)

  4. sofia wahnon
    April 21, 2010 at 9:39 am

    So beautiful! I wish you could sell it. I would buy a pair for sure. Thanks for the sharing.

  5. Snejana Mihailova
    April 21, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    WONDERFUL!

  6. Joel Henriques
    April 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks everybody!

    Camille Dawn - Yeah, the store is quite a find. It's also where I got the vintage yellow zipper for the pouch in my last post. I got a whole bag of zippers for 45 cents each! crazy.

    Naomi - Yes, I decided to make them big! When sewing, I find that bigger is usually easier than smaller, and I need all the help I can get.

    And hopefully someday I might have enough time to make stuff for selling. Maybe this summer. Thanks for the compliments!

  7. Anonymous
    April 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Those would also make fun pencil cases too. Smaller of course and with zippers :)

  8. Sarah
    April 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    so adorable! one more reason for me to really miss Portland even more...that shop looks awesome.
    question for the girl who is new to sewing (me), when you say machine embroidered, does that just mean you stitched over it or is it a special thing your machine does? (sorry if that is a dumb question!)

  9. Joel Henriques
    April 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Sarah - Yeah, I'm pretty new at all this too, so I know what you mean. Machine embroidery is just sewing a stitch on your sewing machine and making a drawing out of the stitch. To do this, I just sketched out the faces with some white chalk, and followed my chalk drawing with my machine, then dusted off the chalk. simple.

    There is also a special embroidery foot that you can get for your sewing machine. I just got one and it's pretty cool! This is a great youtube video that shows you the foot in action:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9ADupRXK8Y

    Then the other type of embroidery is "hand embroidery", which is very awesome, and actually a lot easier than machine embroidery (I think), but it's slower of course. Also, hand embroidery is totally cheap. All you need is some embroidery thread, a needle and a hoop. Do a youtube search for hand embroidery and you'll find tons of cool stuff. Here's a quick one I did, but it doesn't explain how to do it:

    http://madebyjoel.blogspot.com/2009/10/another-embroidered-bird-shirt.html

  10. Thalita Dol
    April 21, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    so simple and sweet! just perfect!

    hugs from Brazil!

  11. Hege Evensen
    April 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    LOVE THEM, perfect:)

  12. Mon Alisa Design
    April 21, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    You're awesome!

  13. Papgena Made It
    April 21, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    what a fantastic idea!! simple is best as they say!

  14. whitney
    April 22, 2010 at 12:05 am

    these are so cute.
    and i am going to have to check out that store, that's for sure.

  15. Kickcan and Conkers
    April 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    OMG - I love these!!!

  16. Sarah
    April 24, 2010 at 2:12 am

    So cute!!

  17. Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com
    April 24, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Yay, Knittn Kitten is great! I love that store! If you feel like doing any techy creations, there's Free Geek tech thrift store on about 10th & Hawthorne, and have you been to SCRAP? It's off of MLK, and has all kinds of amazing recycled materials for creating stuff.

  18. Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com
    April 24, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Yay, Knittn Kitten is great! I love that store! If you feel like doing any techy creations, there's Free Geek tech thrift store on about 10th & Hawthorne, and have you been to SCRAP? It's off of MLK, and has all kinds of amazing recycled materials for creating stuff.

  19. Joel Henriques
    April 25, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Thanks everybody!

    Heather - Yes, I have been Scrap, ooh, and also the Rebuilding Center down the road from there is amazing. I've not been to the Free Geek tech thrift store though. Definitely checking that out! Thanks!

  20. עינת
    April 26, 2010 at 7:54 am

    great idea! loved it!

  21. Boucle D'Or
    April 26, 2010 at 9:57 am

    so lovely !I will try to make one for my daughter hannah !! I will le you know ! Nice week !

  22. AG Ambroult
    April 26, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    I love that they look like they're already tucked snug into bed. Adorable!

  23. Becka Lynn Lee
    April 27, 2010 at 7:23 am

    I love these. I can't wait to make some for my kids. Thanks for sharing all your great ideas.

  24. Ale
    April 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Que lindos, para abrazarlos todo el rato¡¡¡¡

  25. August 9, 2011 at 10:49 am

    [...] me what toys and craft projects end up being favorites in our house. One of the hits has been these vintage fabric dolls that I made a year and a half ago. My daughter really latched onto hers, and has slept with it [...]

  26. Ashley
    August 15, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    My twins love these dolls too! I made similar ones for them after I saw your first posting, and the boys sleep with them every night.

    1. August 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Thanks everyone! Ashley - That's great!!!

  27. August 18, 2011 at 10:21 am

    just too perfect!

  28. November 16, 2011 at 9:13 am

    [...] another note, I did some stitching too :) Bear was enamoured by Made By Joel’s vintage fabric dolls and begged me for one. We dove into my stash of fabrics and settled on a cheery green and pink [...]

  29. November 16, 2011 at 9:16 am

    [...] another note, I did some stitching too :) Bear was enamoured by Made By Joel’s vintage fabric dolls and begged me for one. We dove into my stash of fabrics and settled on a cheery green and pink [...]

  30. March 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    [...] this toy with some vinyl (left over from my DIY iPad case), and a little fabric I still had from these dolls. It was so fast, I think I’ll make some more that look a little different, so I can put them [...]

  31. Tina
    April 6, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Fantastic. Simplicity of original ideas, superbly created with an inspiring style and taste.

    1. April 8, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      Too kind! Thanks Tina!

  32. GG
    May 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Just like everyone else. I love your creations so simple and yet beautiful. I have three girls and would love to make these dolls for them. What stuffing did you use? It looks heavier than than normal doll stuffing.

    1. May 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      Hi GG, thanks! I actually used a pretty light stuffing (just poly fill or something), but they do look heavier in the photos don't they. You could try a wool stuffing to add some weight, or if you really want some heft to them, then try cutting strips from old tee shirts or pillow cases and using that. See here for an example: http://madebyjoel.com/2011/05/recycled-denim-ball-for-kids.html

  33. July 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Dear Joel. I am a Los Angeles area dollmaker and have a website and blog with my daughter Sophie. I discovered your site when I was looking for DIY marionettes and saw your charming video. I love the travel size paper city Paris and got so excited, I downloaded it, cut it out and bought some altoids so I would have a box to store it in! I just found your vintage dolls and love the deceptive simplicity combined with vintage fabric and artistry in the dolls faces. Keep up the good work - I will be checking your site often! Thanks for inspiring me! Denise aka Sasha Denise aka Sasha

  34. July 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    As a Los Angeles area doll maker, I love your vintage dolls, doll houses, dressy cats, marionette, travel city Paris, and many more! Thanks for inspiring me! Denise aka Sasha

  35. September 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    [...] Henriques from made by joel whipped up this pair of couldn’t-be-more-simple dolls from vintage fabric. Click over to his [...]

  36. September 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Adorable! I included them on my new blog, www.FabricSalad.com. Wish I lived close to that vintage fabric store!

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