Thursday, March 15, 2012

How To - doll hair tutorial

A couple years ago I began teaching myself to make dolls.  I had to go through a few different hair techniques to find one that was durable, fast, and cute.  This tutorial I came up with was originally posted on my old blog that I shared with my sister called made by bedtime tales.
I am reposting it here on this blog simply because I wanted to share it again.  Also because I will reopening my bedtime tales shop soon with some new doll patterns and I wanted to keep the hair tutorial portion free and available to all.  
Here it is!

Howdy fellas!  As promised, here is a tutorial for sewing on yarn hair to a dolly.  Pig-tail style.  
When I began sewing dolls I searched online for tutorials on this very subject.  Let me tell you, they were complicated.  I just didn't quite understood how they worked {something about using tissue paper and sewing the hair together by machine, before sewing it on by hand...}.  Well after several failed attempts that included tiny pieces of tissue paper left in the final product, I decided to just sew it in all by hand since that's what it called for in the end anyway.  

You should end up with this:

This is quite simple, and doesn't take long at all.  And of course you can change it up however you want.  All right, let's start.

You will need yarn in the desired hair color, a needle and thread (same color as the yarn), a pencil, and a doll.

Cut up a bundle of yarn.  You will want enough so that the hair is thick.  You won't want the scalp to show through.  Try to make each piece about the same length.  You will be draping the yarn across the head over the center, so make them long pieces.

Draw a line with a pencil down the center of the head.  Start on the forehead and end above the neck in the back.  This is to guide your stitching so she ends up with a nice straight part.

I use a small clump of three strands of yarn for each stitch.  Find the center of the clump and place it on the line you have drawn on the forehead.

You will now take your needle and thread and sew a small loop around the middle point of the yarn.  Make the stitch small. Pull it tight and then stitch a second loop around it again for security.  Take another bundle of three strands and double stitch it just behind the first.  
Continue this way all down the back of the head.

Stitch it all down tight.  Don't worry if you can see the thread down the center.  We will be hiding this.  

For the front of the hair we take a small bundle (more than three strands) of yarn and stitch it down on both sides of the forehead.  Stitch it right up there to be level with the part.

Make it nice and secure.

Now to cover the thread that shows along the part, take a strand from one side of the part and pull it on over to the other.  Alternate sides you are pulling from so that we keep an even amount of yarn on both sides of the head.  I think this gives the hair a bit of a natural look.

Find the point on the sides where you want the pig-tails to be tied down.  Comb the hair on that side with your fingers, then loop the thread around it several times.  Keep it tight.  I usually make a few loops, pull tight, make a few knots, and then do a few more loops and knots for security.

What happens if you get a stray strand tugged up above the loop?  Very carefully pull on the strand.  Don't pull it all the way out!  Watch the hair below the loop and find which strand is being pulled.  Tug it back down into place :)

Now this is the fun part.  Give your doll a haircut.  Trim her pig-tails up nice and even.

Feel bad for the yarn you are wasting.

And ta da!  You have a beautiful little hair do.  I hope you try mixing things up your own way.  Make the hair long.  Short.  Braid it.  Bundle it.  Tie a ribbon round it.  Make it yours!


  1. Yay! I'm glad you posted this again, because I've been thinking I might want to teach myself how to make dolls now that I'm having a baby girl, and I'd forgotten that you posted an awesome tutorial about it!

  2. OH, thank you so much for this super tutorial! I, also, got frustrated with the whole tissue paper thingy!! I make cleft-lip dolls for our patients and sure needed some tips for easy hair. Thanks!

  3. OH, thank you so much for this super tutorial! I, also, got frustrated with the whole tissue paper thingy!! I make cleft-lip dolls for our patients and sure needed some tips for easy hair. Thanks!

  4. Cute Doll, great hair! Don't feel bad for the yarn, turn it into glue on hair for paper dolls.... I have so much left over yarn, my daughter will never make enough dolls to use it all up! Thanks!

  5. Thanks. I have a old doll from my daughter and am fixing her up for my new granddaughter. This worked great!

  6. What a great tutorial! I found it thru Pinterest. I'm a novice sewer so I was hesitant to try yarn hair. Your tutorial made it so easy! Great blog!

  7. Thank you thank you thank you. I just started making dolls and wanted to try my hand at yarn hair. I have been searching and searching for a tutorial like this- just doing hand sewing. This looks like something I can handle!

  8. This yarn doll hair tutorial is very helpful! I love that it provides a step-by-step guide and it's easy to follow and understand. Thank you for sharing! I featured this in my blog:

  9. Just loved this and how to cover the stitches in the middle. Thank you so much will try this out instead of machine sewing.



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