Handmade doll made with baby clothes

Recently, after a year long subscription I cancelled my delivery of Mollie Makes magazine. I adored it initially, but just found it got too samey after a while; oh look, more Japanese style embroidery. I also found it seemed to focus less on tutorials and more on showcasing other people’s work, less do it yourself and more buy it for yourself. And the craft projects it did have were rarely things I’d make myself, I mean, what am I going to do with a felt macaroon or needle felted animals. And if I see one more hipster wedding with comedy moustache photo booth and “thrifted” vintage table cloths I might vomit.

Every now and again there might be a project I’d give a go but it wasn’t enough to keep me. However, one of those projects in one of the last magazines I got was a little Mollie doll, which I had to admit was pretty cute, and I’ve had a plan for a while to make dolls for the girls. But then I came up with an even better way to improve the project.

A couple of weeks ago DH and I sorted through mountains of clothes that the girls have outgrown. Much of it is second or third hand anyway, but some of it we can sell at a local NCT sale. Some of it we gave away. There were a few outfits though that just reminded us so much of the girls as babies, and we couldn’t bear to part with them. But I wondered what to do with them. It seemed pretty pointless to just stick them in the attic and get them out every 10 years to look at.

A lady on Twitter makes lovely teddy bears from baby clothes as a momento for you or toy for your child. They are really gorgeous, and you can buy gift vouchers which make a fab new baby present. That was the sort of thing I wanted to do but I’m not really a fan of teddy bears so I thought I would make a doll, wearing clothes made out of baby clothes.

The intention is to do one representing each of the girls. Hopefully I will do a better job of the next one, having made several mistakes and discovering several holes in this one that I had to fix. I used the template from Mollie Makes, issue number 14.

Mollie Makes Magazine pattern

Mollie Makes Magazine pattern

Gap baby dress
Too cute!

I mostly used my sewing machine, but the jersey material was quite a challenge to machine sew as it over stretches as you feed it through. Unfortunately most baby clothes are made out of lovely soft jersey material. But the face, arms and legs were just made from undyed muslin.


Newborn baby dress
Betty’s debutante dress


The leggings are from the first newborn dress Betty wore when visiting nana for the first time. The dress Mini Betty wearing is from a gorgeous dress my dad bought from Gap, and I even did a sort of vest for the body using a Jojo Maman Bebe vest bought by my colleagues, just so I could use as many of the items as possible. All these outfits remind me of my newborn daughter, and now I have immortalised her in doll form. That sounds really creepy doesn’t it? At least I didn’t get one of those ghastly reborn dolls made in her image to cart around in a pram!

Handmade doll made with baby clothes

I can see all the mistakes I made in the doll, as I’m just not that great at sewing. But I really enjoyed making it, it felt really special, and I’m actually rather proud of it. It was a lot easier than producing the real thing.

This isn’t a toy for the girls though, oh no no no no no. This is to remind me of my beautiful little girl, because while she will probably always be beautiful, she won’t always be little, nor always mine. Plus this one is a lot quieter than the real thing.

I mustn’t leave it too long to make a mini Iris either. She’s not even two yet but she is already commenting on the distinct lack of photos of her around the house, typical neglect of the second child.

So, while its nice to keeps old baby clothes as momentos, it’s even nicer to do something with them. If you have enough, a quilt is a lovely idea. I’ve just realised though, that I need to make sure I keep a babygro intact, so I can still have those “I can’t believe they were ever that small” moments.

Baby vest
I can’t believe she was ever this small!

This post has been linked up on Handmade Monday and Ta Dah Tuesday!

31 thoughts on “A mini Betty made from baby clothes

  1. I love her! She is so so beautiful and the use of baby clothes with memories is brilliant. You did a great job. I have to agree with you on the Mollie Makes front. I feel exactely the same. I use to be very excited about the mag but now there’s nothing new anymore. Just last night I got the latest issue with the crochet toast scarf and baked egg mittens crochet pattern! What?!

  2. I think this is brilliant, as is the idea of making a quilt. I am feeling a bit sad as I think that I may well have (on my hubbies insistence) had a bit of a sort out :(. I am going to go and have a look. Thanks for sharing though. (imagine how my third feels – he goes around telling me every photo is him – most aren’t!!)

  3. I always love the idea of using outgrown baby clothes in projects – it’s a lovely way of keeping memories alive and in front of you, not just stuffed in a box in the attic. Welcoe to Handmade Monday x

  4. Such an excellent idea. I have three daughters and they are all complaining that the others feature more in the photos or keepsakes out on display. However, after all that work I wouldn’t be too keen on them actually playing with the dolls! Joanna x

  5. Lovely doll and great idea to make the quilt too. I started making a noah’s ark (foundation pieced) quilt for my daughter when I was pregnant with her. Next week she’s going to be 2 and it still isn’t finished. Yet another thing on my unfinished pile, but I’ll have to have a go at making a quilt out of her old clothes now! Or at least have a go at making one for her brother using his cast offs as we have few photos of him and he has fewer toys than her!

  6. The doll is ace – I can’t see any mistakes at all, she’s lovely. I haven’t bought Molly Makes for a while either – I’ve recently had my second baby and there just hasn’t be much magazine time. Although I have to agree – my most used phrase was, “why would I want to make that?” There’s a magazine by the MM people called Simple Things – I haven’t read it but apparently it’s described as MM for grown ups. Might have to have a go at that one – if I ever get time!

  7. Mollie Makes don’t like me very much…I made a few weeny comments about fake food and tweeness and got more comments than I’ve had on any other post!
    That said, this doll is lovely, really special. I did kind of like the magazine too, but in small doses. (I sold my first few issues on eBay – kerching!)

    Thanks so much for linking up, nice to meet you.
    Lakota x

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