Monday, January 14, 2013

Nativity Dolls

Another post I planned to share with you at the beginning of December.  It's out of season now, but this project has been two years in the making so I'm sharing it anyways.

Last year my best friend came up with the idea to make a nativity set out of baby dolls.  I was already searching for a nativity set to make that my kids could play with and I loved her idea.  So I took her idea and ran with it.  We had many 'sewing playdates' where our kids played and we worked on sewing nativity dolls.  Goodness I miss living next to her!  But I didn't get all the dolls finished in time for Christmas.  I made all the dolls for a nativity set except baby Jesus and the animals.  And my niece was very disappointed when she visited.  Who can blame her?  A nativity set isn't much of a set with out baby Jesus.  So this year I was determined to finish the set it in time for the kids to play with throughout December.  And I met my goal.  

I had a pattern for the dolls. I shrunk each piece to 75% of the original and I made them out of muslin for the most part.  There is at least one made out of knit.  I also had a pattern for a horse and sheep.  I altered the horse's ears to make it look like a donkey, and then lengthened the horse's legs, drafted a camel ear, and played around with a hump to make the camel.  Originally, the camel had two humps, but Mr. Jiggs said the second hump looked like a funny bum.  So I cut off the two humps and sewed on  one large hump.  The sheep was scaled down to 50% and it was kind of tight to get it put together.  

None of the dolls or animals have faces.  1. I wanted it to kind of have the same look as the Willow Tree Sculptures.  2.  I stink at embroidering and knew I'd mess up the dolls if I tried embroidering faces.  Why not draw them?  I'm not so hot a drawing either and knew they'd end up looking more juvenile than I wanted.  I wanted a cute set that looked sort of sophisticated but was okay for kids to love and play with.

All of the dolls have a little bean bag of plastic pellets in their bums to help them sit a bit better and the donkey and camel have some pellets in their hooves too.  Maybe it helps?

The clothes are basically from the clothes included in the pattern.  I altered them to have wider sleeves in some cases, show the feet, and be shorter in some cases.  The head pieces are generally squares or rectangles sewn onto their heads to look like head pieces.  Almost all of the clothes are made from repurposed clothing and I tried to use as many original hems as possible.  The animals are made out of fleece and fuzzy felt left over from halloween costumes a couple years ago.

So here are a billion pictures because I love how they turned out.

3 Wise Men

The whole set


Wise Man


Wise Man


Wise Man





Baby Jesus

I used this tutorial to make baby Jesus because I thought it would be perfect so his swaddling clothes weren't scattered all over the house all the time.


  1. They are so great! And the animals are SO cute!!

  2. Cute!!! Where did you get your doll & animal patterns?