Gypsy Doll Face Pillow Tutorial and Free Pattern

I saw this gypsy doll idea in a magazine and fell in love with the concept. I know there are probably others similar to this but I thought this particular design was too pretty to pass up. It’s the perfect beginner project that will make a stunning gift for a little girl. It can also be personalized to look similar to your child by changing the color of the hair, the color of the face fabric and the color of the eyes. The original design was created by Katrina Marie from KidsSewing.org. Please visit her site and enjoy her creations and lessons.

 I made two of these; one with pretty brown eyes for my little Mila and another with gorgeous blue eyes for her cousin. You can also use different fabric designs to fit the season or a specific theme. I personally think these would look best with contrasting colorful bright girly colors. I did bright red and pink for the top scarf and a complimentary bright color for the rosettes.

This pattern is beginner friendly and the project can be done in about 1 hour or slightly more if you have a toddler pulling at your leg the whole time:-). The entire project for one pillow cost about $15. Most of the expense came from the bright color fabrics. You can personalize the pattern by making it square instead of round, by changing the eyes, the height of the scarf, different options for the back etc. As we go through this tutorial, I will highlight the parts that you can personalize.

Here is what you need to make one pillow -12” diameter
¼ yard dark color cotton for the back
1 fat quarter bright floral cotton for the top scarf
1 fat quarter tan muslin for the face
3 pieces 3” square white cotton for eyes and lip cut out
3 pieces 3” square fusible interfacing (ultrabond)
½ yard coordinating bright cotton for the side rosettes
3 color sharpies (black for lids and eye outline, red for lips and color of choice for iris)
Two large bright color buttons to embellish rosettes
Yarn for hair
~8oz Polyfill
2 large brooch pins (optional)
Download your pattern HERE. Cut out all your main pieces.  From using the pattern, you should have 1 piece for the face, 1 piece for the scarf and two pieces for the back. For the outer rosettes, cut 2 pieces measuring 9” x22”. For the inner rosettes, cut out 2 pieces measuring 3”x 22”.

The inner rosette pieces are not shown in the above picture.
**Pattern change- you can make this pillow bigger by moving the pattern pieces a few inches away from the fold when cutting.  You can also make the rosettes smaller and less dramatic by decreasing your width. For example you can make the outer 6”x22” instead of 9”x22” and 1”x22” for the inner. **
Lets work on the eyes and lip first.
Lay one piece your white cotton fabric over the eye pattern and trace it onto your fabric using black sharpie. Color the iris with your color of choice. Apply your ultrabond interfacing on the wrong side of your drawing and iron on (read instructions on your interfacing). After its ironed on, cut it out and set aside. Repeat for the other eye. Remember to trace a mirror image so that you don’t end up with two left or right eyes.
**Pattern change- you can also use felt to make circular eyes and a one dimensional lip to have the face look less grown up. You can also add pink circles for the cheeks to make it similar to that of a rag doll. **
Repeat the process for the lips using red sharpie or whatever colors you want your lips to be. Admire how pretty is it is and set aside:-)

Now, remove the backing of the interfacing of your eyes and place neatly, following the mark on your pattern onto the muslin face piece. Do the same thing for the lip. The instructions in the magazine said to top stitch the lip and the eyes to the muslin but I didn’t think it was necessary after using the ultrabond interfacing. Remember if you changed the pattern by making the pillow bigger, you will need to relocate your eyes and lip pieces on the face accordingly.

Next, take your face piece and sew it using ½ seam allowance to the scarf piece right sides together. Iron your seam pressing it towards the scarf.

Now take your back pieces and fold it in ¼” on the straight sides. Set aside.

To make the hair, loop around your yard about 50 times in 10” increments. Sew straight through the middle of your hair bundle.

** Pattern change-if you want your hair to be thicker or thinner you can decrease or increase your number of loops. To make your hair shorter or longer, you can increase or decrease the length. You can also do it really thick and long and do braids for a hypie look.**
Take one end of one of your loops and tie a knot in the middle of your bundle of loops making sure it is nice and tight. Cut out all your bottom loops to make both ends of your bundle even.

To put it all together, take the end (closest to the middle of your hair bundle) of your loop you used to tie the knot on your hair and place it on the right side of front face piece where the scarf and face muslin intersects.

 Now, take one of your back piece and sew it on the front piece, right sides together using ½” seam allowance. You will be sewing over your hair loop when you put the front and back pieces together so make sure you do a few back stitches to secure it well.  Sew in the other back piece.

Turn your entire project inside out.



This is what the back looks like once your turn it inside out

Topstitch the back of the doll close leaving about 5” open to add your stuffing. Once you fill your face with stuffing, close your opening by hand sewing.

 I am sure there is a better way to do this but this seemed like the easiest way to me.

**To cover up your topstitch at the back of the doll face, you can cut two strips the length of your face, fold in all your edges and neatly hand stitch it over your topstitch. This may be a nice compliment to the back if you do it with a piece of your bright scarf cotton. Also if you have round pillow that will fit the face, you can add zipper at the back and fit your pillow inside the face.**
Now onto the rosettes!
Take your large strip and fold it in half lengthwise. Set your stitch length to the longest setting and sew all the way down.

Gather the strip sew both ends together.

 Do the same thing for your small strip. Once you have both rosettes, hand or machine sew them together in the center.

 Now add your big button to the middle to finish the design. You can also add a fabric covered button as well. Once you have your button on, you can glue on your brooch backing to the rosette which will allow you to clip it to the side of the face of you can simply hand sew it to the face.

This rosette has a big button in the center instead of the fabric covered button

Repeat for the other side and you are done!

Comments

  1. Fab tutorial! My daughter would love this! I will be sharing it over on And Sew We Craft next week! Thanks so much for submitting it over there.

  2. Super cute, Remona.

  3. Thanks so much Amy!! This means so much to me.

  4. This is so cute! To bad I can't sew. :(. It's an art.

  5. My girls will love this! So cute!

  6. Love the name of your blog! The tutorial makes me want to pull out my needle and get at it! I am taking a history of sewing class now so who knows what I'll come up with? BTW, do you design websites? Love the banner above your header. Looking to do that on mine. Any suggestions?

  7. I Just love this pillow it is so cute. A mini version would make a cute doll.

  8. This is a super cute idea. I'm not very crafty at all, but my sister is. She could probably make this. http://www.southernpixie.com

  9. These are adorable! Sewing is one thing I never learned out to do, but if I did sew, these would definitely be a fun project for my little girl!

  10. Adorable! I'm going to surprise my younger sisters for their birthday.

  11. So adorable and what a great tutorial. I have a friend who loves to sew and craft and I am going to email her this post. Me….I just don't have the talent. It is a talent.

  12. Wow, I bet your daughter and her cousin are the happiest little girls in the world right now. Those are so adorable. I wish I had learned to sew… and then taught my daughter. To be able to create like you did is such an amazing talent. And to be able to share that talent is such a gift!

  13. Those are adorable! I have all boys, no girls, but I have a few nieces that would love those!

  14. These are so cute! I know how to sew but have never really liked it and doubt I would have the patience for this :/

  15. Okay….so freaken cute and I want to make these! This is a project I can do with my daughter- she wants to sew now. We both have sewing machines. The directions and pictures help out a lot! New Fan!

  16. Adorable! I have blue eyes, but the brown eyed beauty is amazing. (Dark, mysterious gypsy?) I still have a Raggedy Ann my parents sewed for me — hope your girls love these as much as we all seem to. <3

  17. What a fun project! I just started sewing this year and really like it. I definitely always have a toddler or two pulling at my leg, too. :)

  18. PS going to pin this for later! :) xoxo

  19. These look very cool and it is also a great idea. Thank you for the great inspiration.

  20. Those dolls are creepy looking. I would totally piss myself if I walked into the room in the middle of the night and these were sitting on the chair. Actually that might be a good idea to scare the daylights out of my boyfriend….. *cackles*

  21. These are very pretty and you make it look so easy, but I have never sewn anything. So easy enough for a beginner may still be too complicated for me.Jae Mac @ I'm Just Sayin'…(Damn!)

  22. Thanks so much for sharing this post. I can't wait to start creating pillows like these for my boys – I will have to amend the design a little as the above pillows are made for girls, but I will definitely attempt to make this. You make it look so easy!Well done :-)

  23. Very, very cute! It reminds me of a doll I had growing up — same kind of paisley fabric. Great tutorial. I'll pin it!–Gena

  24. OMG, what a cute pillow!! These are the kind of projects that make me wish I had a girl! :)

  25. So cute! I don't sew but I can see that you have quite the talent for it and also for doing the tutorial. Great descriptive instructions and helpful photos. If I did sew I think following your directions would make it pretty easy.

  26. There's nothing like a homemade dolly for someone special. My friend makes Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for each of her nieces and has made a family memory for each of them.

  27. How absolutely adorable!!!! Thank you for sharing! I could think of some sweet girls who would love this on their beds.

  28. This is absolutely too cute!! I have never seen anything like this. It is so unique and does some really simple to make. Thanks so much for the tutorial. <3 Krista @ http://www.chrisandkrista.org

  29. Way too stinkin' cute! When my daughters were little they would have loved one of these! Thank you for sharing and for the tutorial :)

  30. This is soooo adorable! And your directions are perfect for those of us who are missing the crafty gene…(I love the different color eyes)

  31. How very cute! You make it look so easy too.

  32. How cool. I always think about making pillows – my sister makes them out of the kids outgrown clothes, but then something distracts me…like making jam, and I forget! :)

  33. I wish I was crafty and could sew. Very cute pillow!

  34. I am a fellow seamstress and this is so fun. I've never seen a pillow like this. Thanks for the tutorial and pattern.

  35. Great tutorial for cloth dolls. I have a couple from my Grandma that I received I would love to finish for her. Now I know where to start. Thank you! I am pinning this!

  36. Excellent instructions! The pictures make it easy to see how to put it together. I am downloading the pattern and going to try it for a Christmas present.

  37. Cute, cute pillows! I know some little girls who would love these. I just may make some time to make a couple.

  38. Great tutorial! Those instructions make me think that even I could do that!

  39. Absolutely adorable. Little girls and teens should love these. Heck, I love them, and I'm a grandmother. The personalization idea is wonderful. I just may have to make a couple of these to put on my bed. Thanks for being so generous and sharing the pattern. I am subscribing to your blog.

  40. I may try to make a pirate version rather than the gypsy, but that is so cute!

  41. Oh wow this is perfect for a little girl's room, and it seems doable with my basic sewing skills.http://www.lush-fab-glam.com

  42. What fun bright colors! The yarn for the hair is such a fun touch especially for little fingers :) It turned out great! Krista @ A Handful of Everything

  43. Hello,Is very cute

  44. This is wonderful, I love it!

  45. Oh my gosh, this is adorable!! Thanks so much for sharing, I have 5 little grand daughters :)

  46. I'm going to make one for my 21 year-old daughter! She'd love one! :)

  47. I needed too thank you for ths excellent read!! I absolutely loved every
    little bit of it. I haave you book-marked to check out new things you post…

  48. Wow! I am amazed at all the wonderful comments on my Gypsy Pillow design here. Thank you Romona for adding a link to my website. I'm looking to do banner advertises and might just be adding one to your site.

  49. Excellent blog here! Also your website rather a lot up fast!
    What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your
    associate hyperlink to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

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