On the Third Day of (handmade) Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me…

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With all of the play with toy dinosaurs and cars and such around here, I thought the boys might enjoy having a person to do some imaginative play with.  So a few months ago I asked them if they’d like a doll to play with.  Tyler said, yes, he would, but Jake said NO WAY…dolls are for girls.  Hence, our “Camping Guys” were born.  My neighbor suggested Jake might like it if I called it a “guy” instead of a doll, and I brought them out for the first time while we were camping in Yosemite.  I had looked into the Waldorf type dolls out there, but the ones I found were all around $70ish and I just couldn’t see spending that much since I wasn’t sure the boys would like them.  So here’s what I did:
1. trace the shape of a man on large tracing paper.  Make him a pudgy man because he needs some room for seams, especially on his arms, legs, and neck.
2. cut him out and trace him onto two pieces of fabric (in my case, some extra cream colored fleece type material.
3. Embroider his face.  I just did a few simple stitches for the nose, a flat mouth (so he can be mad or nice or sad or whatever the boys feel like making him), and a couple french knots for the eyes.  If it’s not a surprise, your recipient might enjoy choosing the eye and mouth color (not to mention the hair, clothes, etc…)
4. If, like me, you do not envision yourself designing and sewing a bunch of doll clothes, embroider some clothes on him now!  I just gave each guy a pair of shorts and a t shirt.
5. Putting right sides together, sew the two halves together, leaving a section open for turning him right side out.  (I left a portion of the inside of one of the legs open.)
6. Add the hair.  I made curls by knotting the end of a doubled piece of yarn, and repeatedly putting the needle through to the right sides and then back out (to the wrong sides that I could see since I hadn’t turned him right side out yet) and then knotting it again, leaving some slack so that his curls could be pulled out long once I turned him right side out.  I’m sorry this is so hard to explain.  Basically I’m taking a very slack stitch with a doubled over piece of yarn, then knotting it before starting the next slack stitch.
7. Turn him right side out.
8. Using a chopstick or toothpick pull the curls of yarn so that the extra loops of yarn are now showing as hair on the outside.  (I’m realizing now I should’ve taken pictures of this part!)
9. Stuff him with whatever you’d stuff pillows or stuffed animals with.  Keep pushing it in there tight so his arms and legs don’t end up floppy!
10. Sew the last seam shut.
11. Sign and date your work in case this guy becomes a well loved guy to pass down.
The whole process probably took me three or four evenings to make. (spending an hour or two each night…while watching t.v. with Greg…the hair took the longest!)  I’m sure there are some wonderful doll patterns out there, but if you’re looking for a simple one to make right now, give this a try.  The only thing we had to go out and buy was the yarn for the hair.  Let me know if you make one of these…I’d love to see it!
And did you notice that little Tyler wanted rainbow colored hair for his guy?  Yes, it quite suits his personality, my bright spot of a boy.  I’m going to throw these guys in the washer soon, as they had some adventures in Yosemite.  I’ll let you know how they hold up.
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