This Felty Friend is similar to cloth dolls made in the 1800s, except that we've inserted a pipe cleaner skeleton to make the doll posable. We should warn you, though, that when one Felty is completed, it will inevitably require a friend, clothes, a sleeping bag, and a pet.
If you design your own, err on the large size so the clothes are sure to fit.
Practice drawing the face on scrap felt. (Click here for a doll template). We used fine-tipped permanent markers for the eyes, nose, and mouth, and colored pencil for the rosy cheeks. When you're ready, draw the face on your doll.
Starting at one side of the neck, stitch (see box, bottom center) the front and back of the head together, stopping about three quarters of the way around, as shown.
Insert the pipe cleaner head and cotton ball stuffing (optional) into the felt head.
Continue sewing around the head and body -- stitching together three quarters of a limb, bending the pipe cleaner into the arm or leg, and then stitching again -- until you finish. Knot your thread and trim the end.
To create hair, start with 1 yard of yarn (we used bulky yarn for fullness). Tape one end of the yarn to a pen, wind it around the pen, and tape the other end in place. Using matching thread, sew the loops together as shown (stitch through 2 loops, then back 1, and repeat). Knot the end, slide the yarn off the pen, and sew the curls to the head.
Wrap yarn (for long, full hair, we used about 6 yards of bulky yarn) or embroidery thread around 4 fingers. Have someone help you knot another piece of yarn around the strands, as shown. Slip the yarn off your fingers and cut it. Sew the hair to the head through the knotted section, as shown, starting at the forehead and working all the way down the back of the head. Sew some individual strands in place if necessary. To make bangs, trim a few front strands and stitch them to the forehead.
Because Felties are flat, designing their clothes is only a little harder than making paper-doll clothes. Create your own, copy patterns from those shown here, or check out these patterns.