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How to make a personalised soft toy

Personalised Soft Toy

How to make a cute personalised soft toy with your baby's face on it! This tutorial describes how to make our doll which we call 'Giggling Gurtie', how to print a face onto fabric and includes free PDF download files of the doll pattern and flower face template (for personal use only).

Download, Print and Prepare Pattern:

Download the PDF version of the pattern by clicking here.

The pattern is larger than a standard A4 sheet of paper, so it has been broken into two parts, each of which fit on an A4. Print out at 100% scale. Once printed, overlap the two sheets, aligning the pages together using the blue lines as a guide. The blue lines need to be matched up, one on top of each other. Holding the sheets up to a window can help see through the top sheet of paper in order to align correctly. Once in position, tape the sheets together on the front and back. Then follow the scissor line to cut the pattern out. The dotted line inside the cutting line is the seam line (approx 10mm or 3/8 of an inch inside the cutting line).

Cutting the pattern

Cut out Fabric:

Fold your fabric over or prepare a double layer and place the pattern on top. Pin the pattern onto the fabric and cut out your fabric by following the pattern exactly. You now have two pieces of the same shape - the front and the back of the doll.

Cutting the fabric to the pattern

Print Face onto Prepared Calico Fabric:

Prepare a photo to be printed. The photo of the face should be set inside a circle with a diameter of approximately 85mm. You could use a computer programme to do this, or you could photo copy a photo to the correct scale if that's easier. Using a computer programme would be best however as for best results it's good to saturate the colors of your photo as printing it onto fabric really absorbs a lot of the color. Once you have prepared your photo for print, you need to prepare a piece of calico fabric to be suitable for printing on. For these instructions please see our printing onto fabric tutorial by clicking here.

Printing onto fabric

Attach Face and Trims:

Once your printed face has been set and is dry, iron applique paper onto the back of the circle and trim it to the circle. Peel off the backing paper and iron the face in position onto the front piece of the doll. (alternatively or for extra enforcement you could sew it on using an applique stitch around the edges). Use the iron at quite a hot temperature for the adhesion to work well. It is a good idea to use a brown paper bag between the iron and the fabric to protect from burning or marking.

Iron on applique

You now need to make a face trim/border to cover the rough edges of your cut print. We tried two types of trim designs (you have creative freedom here). One was a stuffed tube sewn in a circle around the face and surrounded by an elastic lace ribbon (this really makes the face pop out). Our other idea was making a trim made of felt. Felt is great to use to cut out as you don't need to sew or hem it. We have made a flower template which you can download for free by clicking here. Print out at 100% scale, pin it onto the felt and trim around it. Cut out the inner circle. The inner circle is approx 80mm in diameter. Slightly smaller in order to cover the edge of you face sufficiently. Iron the applique onto the felt. Trim to the felt shape, peel off the backing paper and iron onto position around the face.

Add a trim around the face

Add a trim around the face

Sew Pieces Together and Stuff Doll:

Face the front sides of your fabric pieces together and pin in place. You doll will look inside out. Sew around the edges of the fabric, leaving 10mm (or 3/8 of an inch) seam all around. Leave a good 2 to 3 inch (50mm - 70mm) opening to allow turning inside out once you have finished and for stuffing.

After sewing, snip into the seam allowance around the curves at regular intervals so that the seam sits smoother inside when turned inside out. Turn inside out. If you have used felt for your trim you may want to re-iron it on now before stuffing, if it has pulled apart a wee bit during turning it inside out. Stuff your doll with pillow stuffing, and then hand stitch up the 2 - 3 inch gap you left.

Sew inside out and then stuff

There you have it - your own personalized Giggling Gurtie which your child will adore.

Giggling Gurties and their owners

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