You know what's great about this doll? When your baby almost instantly outgrows those infant clothes and hats and shoes you so tediously and lovingly made for her, you'll have an excuse to put them on display. You can dress up a baby doll that won't puke or pee on those lovely garments. And you won't look like a weirdo keeping infant clothes out long after baby's outgrown them, since they'll be on her doll. Don't you love that?
Oh, and you get a very cute doll too! Or like five, if you can't stop making them like me. (I gave the rest away to nieces and nephews). Okay, so here's the link to the page with the FREE pattern and instructions on how to make the "Baby Bows" doll. Free is good! The website, Judi's dolls, is geared toward serious doll makers more than general crafty types, but has a few free and simple patterns that anyone could make. And I believe this pattern comes in a teddy bear version too, which looked cute but I've never tried making. I originally stumbled upon this doll on Skip to My Lou, though it's almost impossible to find it there anymore, even using the search bar (which is also hard to find...). However, Cindy has a cute little cloth diaper pattern that works perfectly with this doll, and I've made several of them.
When I made my collection of dolls (it was a couple years ago, before I had Lila), I made several changes to the pattern. The original has ears, and I made the first doll that way but then decided it was more work than it was worth, so I left them out when making the others. I also used a light tan soft flannel for the body, since that's what I had a lot of on hand at the time, though the instructions called for using craft velour or another knitted fabric with stretch. I think the dolls turned out fine with the flannel - still nice and soft and squishy - but the craft velour might hold up better over the long run, since it has more give.
Here's my favorite thing about this pattern:
It's reversible! How awesome is that? The front side is the "awake" side, and the back side is the "asleep" side. All you have to do is take off the hat, flip the hair to the other side, and put the hat back on to secure. If you wanted to get creative, I suppose you could do a happy/sad doll, or a boy/girl doll, or whatever. I really love patterns that you can easily customize, don't you? I've made these dolls with red hair, as boy dolls, with different colored eyes, etc.
Here she is in all her glory:
And she's sporting the infant sun hat I made for Lila (from the Purl Bee - more on that in a future post), as well as Rae's Itty Bitty Baby Dress, also made initially for Lila. (Again, you'll see more on that in a future post. By the way, I met Rae in person a few months ago, and she's SO friendly and funny. Just thought you'd like to know :) I've also put various pairs of Lila's baby shoes on her, though she's barefoot in these pictures. And I've made little diapers for these dolls too, though they were all sent to nieces and nephews. I do believe you could use preemie disposables and they would probably fit.
Here are pictures of the original from the pattern:
So you can see how different you could make your own doll with just a few changes. I obviously really like this pattern, or I wouldn't have made so many of them. But I have to admit that Lila's a bit young, or maybe just too much of a tomboy, to care about dolls. Her main goal when handed it is to find out how best to break it down into as many small pieces as possible - the hat, clothes, and shoes come off, and she ends up getting swung around by her hair. (The doll, not Lila. What were you thinking?). I blame this on her father, who is an engineering type that took stuff apart as a child. Bad genes, I tell you. (I jest. We try not to be overly princessey around here).
Perhaps in another year or so she'll be more interested in dolls. However, the nieces and nephews that I've sent this doll to were older, and they played with them in a much kinder fashion. They had a little bin they kept them in, all nice and tidy, along with their clothing and diaper changes and other accessories. How sweet is that? Nothing makes an Auntie prouder than to see her handmade toys being loved and cared for.
So go ahead and make one! Even if it's for a future child that doesn't exist yet. :)