DIY Mermaid Doll


When I was a little girl, my great grandmother used to sew dolls and stuffed animals for me. At the time I thought they were plain in comparison to my other toys, but I loved them because of who made them for me. Ever since I had Merle, I've been dying to sew her a doll and I finally got around to making one this Christmas. To go with her mermaid blanket (last week's tutorial here), I made a mermaid doll. The doll itself is a regular doll with legs, but it has a mermaid tail that can be pulled on. I plan on sewing more doll clothes in the future, but for now a mermaid she will be.  Below is a tutorial for the doll as well as a brief overview of how I made her outfit using scraps from the mermaid blanket. I found a wonderfully helpful photographic tutorial on how to sew in the doll hair, so instead of reinventing the wheel, that part of the tutorial is linked elsewhere.  Decades later I still have one of the dolls my great grandmother made me and I marvel at how much time and love went into its creation. I hope Merle will keep her doll for years to come as well.


DIY Mermaid Doll

1/4 yard stretchy cotton fabric
Yarn (I used this yarn in 'Baby Dove,' but I strongly considered 'Lil Boy' which was a mix of blues, greens, and tans)
Embroidery Floss (I used DMC Floss in 502 for the eyes and 223 for the lips)
Blush (optional)
Poly-fil
Scrap fabric for mermaid tail and bikini top
Needle and thread

Download the doll pattern below (due to the size of the doll, the pattern is two pages). Print and cut out the pattern. Fold the cotton fabric in half right side in (with the soft side of the fabric inside). Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut the fabric.

Sew the doll, leaving a one inch opening at the top of the head.

Turn the fabric right side out and stuff with poly-fil. Use a chopstick or unsharpened pencil to press poly-fil into the legs. Once full, sew the opening at the top of the head closed.

Sew yarn to the head using this tutorial here. Add sporadic braids if desired. 



Determine desired placement of eyes and mouth. Thread a needle with the embroidery floss for the mouth. Tie a large knot at the end of the floss. Make a short stitch for the corner of the mouth (sew down then up with approximately 0.25 cm in between) and pull the floss until the knot is tight against the fabric. Make one long stitch for the mouth (approximately 3 cm). At the end of the mouth sew down then up as before and tie a large knot. Trim off any excess floss. 




For each eye, tie a large knot at the end of a piece of embroidery floss that has been threaded through a needle and doubled. Insert the needle where the center of the eye should be and bring it through roughly 0.25 cm away in the upper left hand corner (aka northwest direction aka 10 o'clock position). Pull the floss through until it is flush with the fabric.  Stitch an x pattern on top of the knot. Finish the x by bringing the needle through the center of the eye once more and tying a knot. Trim off any excess floss. Repeat the process for the second eye. 


If desired, use a finger to apply a small amount of blush to each cheek of the dolls face. 

The doll is ready to be dressed. 

To create the mermaid tail, cut miniature tail fins out of flannel. Then take a triangular scrap of fleece, fold it in half with right sides in, and sew the sloped edge together, leaving the bottom one inch (near the point) opened. Tuck both tail fins into the opening and sew the remaining inch closed. Turn the mermaid tail right side out. 


For the sash, lay a triangular piece of fabric over one shoulder of the doll. Then for the bikini top, find a rectangular scrap of fabric. Lay it across the dolls chest and tie a bow on the backside. 




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