General Instructions for Making Medical Play Doll


o pattern

Here are two links for the pattern. Since the whole pattern is larger than 8.5"x11" paper, the pattern is split between two pages. Print each pattern piece on 8.5"x11" paper. CAREFULLY match common areas exactly. Use a light box or sunny window to make this task simpler. Tape the two pattern pieces together.

Cloth doll pattern #1

Cloth doll pattern #2

o fabric

Jo-Ann Fabrics, Item #780-8462, Lt. Tea-Dyed Muslin, 44"

Jo-Ann Fabrics, Item #136-6137, County Classics Solid, 6993 Tan, 44" wide

You should get approximately 4 dolls per yard of fabric

o thread:
beige: Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP, color 8050 Buff (formerly All Purpose Dual Duty Plus, color 17)
brown: Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP, color 8150 Spice (Cinnamon)

o stuffing: 5- or 10-pound box (please use polyfil/Fairfield brand ONLY)

Decide how you want to mark the fabric. Do you want to mark the cutting line or the sewing line? Once you decide which pattern to use, trace the pattern onto a piece of plastic template material. Large sheets can be purchased from Hobby Lobby. They are found in the quilting area. Carefully cut out the pattern from the template material.

Place the pattern lengthwise (the straight-of-grain goes down the middle length of the pattern) on doubled fabric. Fold your fabric with selvage edges together. The picture below shows how to place the patterns for maximum use of the fabric.

Trace the pattern onto the fabric using whatever method you prefer. I use a Sharpie Ultra Fine Point pen, myself.

CAREFULLY cut the doll from the fabric. Be sure to remove all the markings so marks won't show through the fabric once the doll is turned.

Place right sides together (may not matter, depending on the fabric you use) and sew around the doll, leaving an opening in the side of one leg big enough to turn and stuff the doll.


Just be sure to stay within the 1/8"-1/4" seam allowance and square off the seam at the crotch.

Make sure the corners are "clean" so the stitches do not go past the corner itself. A doll will not turn well if the corners are not "clean".

Please refer to the picture below showing the crotch seam and how to clip it.

Once you have sewn the seam (leaving an opening for turning and stuffing), clip all corners.

Now you are ready to turn the doll right side out. Do not spend a lot of time turning the doll. A turned doll may look rather disheveled, but once it is stuffed, it will take its own shape.

Photo of doll before stuffing:

Photo of doll after stuffing:

General stuffing suggestions:

  • stuff head, arms, and legs first; chest last
  • use a long, blunt-ended tool to position stuffing in the farthest places (end of arms, legs, and head). I personally use the handle of an old wooden spoon to reach those hard-to-reach places.
  • use small batches of stuffing at a time; makes stuffing the extremeties easier and looks smoother

Here are a few first aid tips for stuffers:

Symptom: HUGE, rock-hard chest or rock-hard appendages

Diagnosis: too much stuffing crammed in to one area; probably caused by an "obstruction" like a narrow opening at the neck or arm/leg joints where they meet the body. This tends to happen when the stuffer gets a little too zealous. It is easy to tear a seam if too much force is used when stuffing. Be gentle. :o)

Prognosis: very good! This problem can be remedied easily by (1) removing the rock-hard stuffing (stuffing can be reused; see * below) until the stuffer can (2) easily move stuffing through the narrow opening. The handle of a wooden spoon is an excellent tool.

Symptom: floppy head, arms and/or legs

Diagnosis: not enough stuffing at the narrow opening of the neck, arms and/or legs where they meet the body of the doll.

Prognosis: very good! Here again, the good ol' wood spoon handle is the best. Use the spoon handle to push stuffing already in the doll INTO the floppy part. Because "peter" was robbed to fill "paul", there's always an area near the former-UNFLOPPY part that needs more stuffing. So, it's like a process. . .move stuffing into a floppy area and fill in the area voided by moving the stuffing.

Symptom: mushy area at the top of the head or near the end of an arm and/or leg

Diagnosis: not enough stuffing pushed to the top of the head or to end of the limb before proceeding to the next step in stuffing.

Prognosis: very good! A wooden spoon handle and more stuffing to the rescue! If the doll is already stuffed at this point, it may be a tricky to move the stuffing in the doll to the top of the head or the end of a limb. If the handle of the wooden spoon doesn't move the stuffing to the right spot, the stuffer may have to remove some stuffing in order to reach the mushy area. The stuffing removed from the doll can be reused, but it must be "fluffed" before using it again.

  • Stuffing should be "fluffed" before putting it in a doll. Take a small bunch from the pile of stuffing, and pull it apart a few times until it "fluffs" up. This makes the supply of stuffing go further and the doll feel smoother.

  • Stuffing removed from a doll is usually compressed. It can be reused, but it must be "fluffed" as above before using it again.
  • A chopstick can substitute for a wooden spoon. Use the blunt end of the chopstick, not the pointed end. The pointed end tends to go through the stuffing rather than push the stuffing.


Once the doll is stuffed, sew the opening closed, spacing stitches rather close together and make the seam smooth as possible.