Monday, 15 February 2010

Matryoshka Doll Tutorial

After all the fun I had making my matryoshka style dolls a couple of weeks ago I thought it would be mean not to spread the fun a little. So I am going to do my first ever tutorial and try to share with you how to make one!

I have tried to be nice and clear, use lots of pictures and not to over-explain things (as I have a tendency to do) but do let me know if anything can be improved. When I was first starting out with mosaics and sewing and crochet I was desperate for free simple tutorials that made sense so constructive criticism will be most welcome and I promise not to sulk ;)

Right, lets get started…

Snipsnaphappy’s matryoshka doll tutorial

You will need:
  • 1 A4 size (about 21x30cm) piece of felt in the colour of the main body of your doll
  • 1 A4 size piece of felt in the colour of the hood of your doll
  • Some small scrap bits of black or brown felt for the hair (or red, yellow, green or whatever colour you like!)
  • Fabric for the face – I use a lovely light canvas hemp fabric (which I buy from Hemp Fabric UK) but some plain cream cotton or linen would do just as well
  • Paint for the face (I use acrylic)
  • Ribbons, trims, buttons and bits for decoration
  • Stuffing (not the sage and onion kind)
  • Embroidery threads for the visible hand-sewing
  • Plain thread for hand or machine sewing your finished pieces together
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue if you intend on gluing your embellishments.

First you need to cut all your pieces. I have done a PDF for you with the shapes you need.  As I can't work out for the life of me if it is possible to somehow upload this to Blogger I have popped it on Scribd.  Click here to go get it.  This pattern is hand-drawn and a little rough round the edges but it should help you get the job done :)  Do let me know if you have any problems retrieving this.

[Edited on 15th May 2011 to add: after repeated problems with the original host for the template I have now moved the document to Google docs!  Click on this link to go straight to the document.  If you have problems please do let me know via email or by leaving a comment or tweeting me. Have fun!]
For the front hood, fold your felt in half then pin the pattern piece with the dotted line along the fold…

Cut out the pattern and voila! A nice symmetrical shape.  To cut out the hole for the face in the front part of the hood fold the felt in half, position the semi-circle and pin…

Then carefully cut out your hole…

A seam allowance of about half a centimetre (ish..) is included on all the pieces so when you position the semi-circle make sure you leave enough space at the top for when you come to sew it all together later.

Now cut out your body pieces and the back hood piece...

Now it’s time for some decorative sewing, the fun bit! First we will sew the face to the front hood. I use an embroidery hoop for this but you can do it whichever way you find easiest.

Pop your face fabric into the embroidery hoop and pin the front hood piece of felt to it. Sew a running stitch all the way round the face in a nice contrasting embroidery thread...

For the hair I tend to use scraps. You can use the semi-circle as a guide for the top edge of the hair.  Cut a nice wavy style with a centre-parting…

Or maybe a side swept look…

Or something a little more funky…

Sew the hair on with matching thread. When that’s done remove it all from the hoop. I then cut the face fabric behind the felt…

Now it’s time to pin your front and back hood/head pieces onto the body pieces. This takes a bit of fiddling about to make sure the positioning is correct – pin the front hood piece to the front body piece, then do the same with the back pieces, then line them up to check they will all match up when you come to sew them together, adjust if need be.

All pinned and in position? Good.

Use a running stitch again to stitch the front head piece to the body, and the back head piece to the back body…

Now it’s time to embellish, yay! There are many options – you may wish to add a jaunty tie to the hood, or a trendy button, or both!  And your doll will need a pretty flower, or apron on her front.  Play about and see what you come up with...


Now pin your completed front and back pieces together, ensuring that the edges of the hood meet up...

Time to sew – you can hand sew or machine sew – all around the edges leaving about half a centimetre seam.

Leave a gap at the bottom for turning.

Snip around the seams on all corners and bends as close to the stitches as is safe to do so...

Now the best bit – turn your doll out and watch her personality unfold! I use a chopstick to poke out all the curves and corners...

She's taking shape!

I like to add a little tag made with ribbon...

Now stuff your doll with your chosen stuffing until she is nice and firm, but still squidgy...

Use ladder stitch to close the opening...

Time to give your new friend some eyes and a little rouge...

TA DA! One new friend...

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and go on to make yourself a lovely doll.  Please be good and don't sell anything you make from this tutorial, make as many as you like for your friends and family though, and please let me know how you get on! :)



  1. These dolls are great - I may make one for my neice. Thanks for the tute xx

  2. Just beautiful - I love the sweet faces! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Great tutorial - it's on my to do list x

  4. That's a wonderful tutorial and one that I will be adding to me ever toppling pile (ahem!)

    thanks again,

    Nina x

  5. I got very excited when I saw that you had posted a tutorial for your dolls. I had wanted to make one, but wasn't sure if I could figure it out from just the picture and now I don't have to -- Thank you so very much. I am working on one today -- will post a picture on my blog when finished with a link to your blog. I did have a small problem when printing the pattern -- the main body piece was not all on the page but there was extra room at the top -- it could just be my computer, but I thought I would let you know. I fixed the problem for myself by printing 2 copies and taping the body pieces together so I had the whole body. Thanks again for the great how-to photos -- I am off to work some more on my doll : )

  6. what a sweetie, and a great tutorial x

  7. Your blog is lovely, and I hope you do not mind, but I have added it to my blogroll. :) xxx

  8. wonderful, and thanks for the tutorial!

  9. Thanks for the awesome tutorial! So much for the project I was going to work on this morning! I've got a doll to make!

  10. This is a ridiculously cute project!! I am so making one of these this week... Thank you for the tutorial!!


  11. Thank you for this great tutorial! I'll have to try it! :)

  12. Thank you SOOO much!!! I have been trying to make these and tried several patterns and this seems easier than what I have been doing. Thank you SOOO much!!!

  13. Hi,
    I love your little doll and I'd like to make it but... For some reason I can't download the pattern without having to pay for it. Is this correct?
    Lotta in Sweden

  14. Hi,

    How do I send you an email to get the pdf pattern. Scribd wants at least five dollars to download.

  15. Hi Ann! I have updated the edit above to explain further how to download the pattern. If you are still have trouble email me on snipsnaphappy at yahoo dot com!

  16. Hi, thanks for sahring this idea, it's very easy, i want make some for my christmas tree... excuse my english, but i'm learning and its tutorial helpme veeery much jajaja...

    following in

  17. Thanks a lot for the tutorial...I made few from your tute..:)

  18. Que linda ... grata por compartilhar o pap

  19. Love, love, love these!! I've been wanting to make my daughter some dolls and I think these are perfect for my first attempt!

  20. Fantastic tutorial!! Have really enjoyed making my very own tonight for a friends little girl...I think I'll name mine Hatty! Thank you xx

  21. Merci pour le tutoriel, je le trouve très joli.

  22. thanks for sharing! they are all wonderful! :)

  23. Love it...going to try with my mom as a fun project together :) thanks!

  24. excuse de te déranger mais je n'arrive pas à avoir le pdf ou patron car j'aimerai essayer
    peux tu me l'envoyer
    à chantalma tu trouveras mon contact en bas

    1. Bonjour, je ne peux pas voir vos coordonnées. Vous pouvez m'envoyer un mail à et je t'enverrai le modèle xx :)

  25. puis je avoir le patron il a l'air sympa à faire

    va dans contact en bas de chantalma
    encore merci

  26. have been searching for hours for a really easy pattern that's quick since we have to make a few hundred... I've found it!! thank you so much. we will be sending around the world along with dresses we make for the poor and unfortunate... gail

  27. merci beaucoup le tuto, je vais essayer de réaliser cette petite matriochka. où puis-je trouver le patron s'il vous plait

  28. Superbe créa , je n 'arrive pas a avoir le tuto . Merci


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