Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Matryoshka Doll Ornament

There is something so nice and comforting about Holiday Traditions isn't there? A thread tying memories together from year to year. It seems most of our traditions tend to revolve around food in our family, but I thought it would be fun to start making each child a Christmas ornament every year (am I setting myself up for failure here? Probably.) and then someday when they leave our little nest (sniff) they will have something to start their own Christmas decoration stash with--and take a little piece of their childhood home with them too.

I had a little down time last week (has the cold bug hit your house too?) so I pulled out my stash of felt and got to work.

I am sort of in love with little Matryoshka Dolls (have been seeing so many cute ones around lately) and thought it would be the perfect thing for my own little dolly this year, so I drew up a pattern.

To make your own, you will need:
Several pieces of wool felt in whatever colors you fancy
Several colors of embroidery floss + needle
cotton or polyester stuffing (like fiberfill)
fabric glue
disappearing fabric marker with a fine tip
sharp scissors (this will make all the difference in cutting out precise shapes)
ribbon (or ric-rac, string, floss...whatever) to hang

To get the pattern, just right click on it and save it to your computer. Then print out as many copies as you need. You might want to size it down a bit...I printed mine at 70%. (or print it at full size and give it to your busy little helper if you have one, to color on while you are working.)

Cut out all of your felt pieces using the pattern as a template (cut 2 of the large background body pieces and as and many of the other shapes as you'd like). For the bigger pieces I pin the pattern to the felt and cut, and for the smaller ones I either trace directly onto the felt with a disappearing fabric marker, or I just free-hand them. Obviously this pattern is meant to be a could easily play around and make your own design on the front!

Stitch the eyes and mouth onto the face piece using a back stitch (mark with disappearing fabric marker as a guide first if you prefer). I don't bother with using an embroidery hoop for these kinds of projects. For the eyes and mouth I used a regular piece of black thread, doubled.

Glue your design pieces (using fabric glue) onto the face and body as you see fit. (I tend to not glue quite all the way to the edge of the piece I am gluing as it makes it more difficult to pull your needle through when doing your embroidery.) Helpful chubby toddler hands optional.

Now add some embroidery wherever you'd like. (You could easily skip this step and just glue your pieces on and call it a day...but I think the embroidery makes it special.) For all embroidery on this project I used 3 strands of embroidery floss (it has 6 threads as it separate, just cut the length you need and pull apart as many threads as you want to use), and an embroidery needle.

For my doll, I used a:
split stitch for the hair, flower petals, and (2 side by side rows) stem
running stitch for the cheeks and flower petals
french knot for the center of the flower and around the outside of petals
back stitch to embroider name and year on the back piece

For fun...this is what the back looks like.

When you're happy with your embroidery, glue the face and body pieces to your front background piece.

At this point I added some more embroidery (split stitching) around the face and body.

Secure whatever sort of string or ribbon you are using as a hanger on the inside center of the back piece with a glob of fabric glue. Once it has dried, place front piece on top of back piece and blanket stitch around the whole thing leaving a space big enough to put stuffing through.

Stuff to desired plumpness

And then finish blanket stitching her up.


Now hang her in a place of honor and send me a picture so I can see her too please;)

Happy crafting!

love Danielle


  1. I think this is one of my favorite of your projects yet...SO cute. I want to learn all those embroidery stitches now!

  2. i've also had a russian doll obsession lately! but haven't turned out any cute crafts yet though there are some i have in mind. i sure miss those chubby little hands.

  3. So darling, Danielle! I love it! I have a little helper leaning over my shoulder wanting to make one!

  4. I just saw this featured on Prudent Baby and had to stop by. I made some felt nesting doll puppets for my girls earlier this year

    So this ornament would be perfect! Thanks for this wonderful tutorial.

  5. This is adorable - thanks for the tutorial!

  6. This is beautiful! I may add a few of these to my tree this year!

  7. I can't wait to make this! So glad you shared and I was trying to make some felt foods last night and was wishing someone would share what stitches to do where and what exactly they look like so you are my lifesaver! Thanks!

  8. Awesome. Thanks for sharing. Do you mind sharing where you get your felt?

  9. Oh I am glad you asked Elle...I bought a bunch from Heather Bailey...she has really great colors. But then I discovered I could get a better deal at a local fabric store Material Girls in South Jordan if you happen to live in Utah) buying it by the yard. I think the stuff I got there was actually by the same manufacturer (sorry I don't know who it is though). Just look for something that is a wool blend and you'll do great!

  10. I found this pretty thing on Craftgawker. I love your blog. I'm following now! And, you've inspired me to post a tutorial for the clipart collage class I'm teaching tomorrow! Keep going! I'll keep reading!

  11. I just finished making one and I love it! I liked your color scheme so I used most of the same colors but just a few differences. Now I want to make one for Keilani!

  12. This ornament is precious! I'm so happy you shared your tutorial---it will help me complete another project I have in mind. Thank you for the inspiration!

  13. Hi! This is definitely one of my favorite projects, I've wanted to try embroidery for a long time. Becuase this was my first attempt I pretty much copied your design but I'm so happy with the finished project. Everyone I show it to is very impressed and I love that I made my 18 month old her own ornament with her name and 2010 on it. THANK YOU!

  14. this is so adorable! i love little felt crafts :)

    <3 angie

  15. This is so cute! Thanks to craftgawker, I'm now planning to make all Christmas presents this year! Do you think this would work to make nesting dolls with? I'm sure the size and exact details might have to be tested but I think it's a super cute idea.. and thanks to linking to the great "Stitch School" website-just what I needed!

  16. I love this, and really want to try making one!

  17. Beautiful use of colour and I love the idea of making a different one every year, such a lovely thought.

  18. This is such an adorable ornament!!! I'm adding it to my tutorials page! thanks

  19. Hi Danielle, thank you for sharing this beautiful doll. I've done the doll last night and although my embroidery is completely amateur, I think I have done a beautiful doll. I've posted on my blog. Thank you. kisses

  20. These are the sweetest! Thank you for sharing, I'm hoping to make at least one of these, perhaps more, they would make very nice gifts!

  21. bonjour,

    je vous remercie beaucoup pour le partage, elle sera très belle ma matriochka grâce à vous et à votre gentillesse


  22. merci de nous offrir ce joli tuto

    je vais réaliser cette matrioska avec plaisir

    bonne soirée

  23. Thanks a million for this tutorial, very clear and well written! I made a little one last night, and you can find it in my flickr stream here.

    Thanks! :-)

  24. Thanks so much for sharing..I have posted about this on my Freebies blog...hugs Khris

  25. I love these. thanks for sharing them.

  26. thank you Danielle I know some one who will just love this.

  27. que lindo!!! esse pap ficou otimo
    bj Drika

  28. I love this! I linked to you on my page. We are going to make these as our Thanksgiving craft! My sisters and I are obsessed with Matryoshka Dolls! Thanks for the project.

  29. Thank you for this! I bought one at a craft show and was just going to make a pattern myself, but now I get the original! I am also super stoked about Stitch School...I need it! Can't wait to make these for friends (and more for myself!).

  30. Thank you so much for this tutorial!

    I just finished my first one (with very basic embroidery (i think the back stitch on the entire thing) but it is just so cute! I'm going to make one for all the women in my family....all in different colors!


    (I uploaded a pic of mine here )

  31. I just found this from Pinterest. Very cute! My bff is Russian, so I will be making these for her (and for me!). Thanks for the tutorial!

  32. about to make some of these for an ornament exchange party in my neighborhood, i think everyone will love it! :)

  33. Super Cute! I've saved this for future reference (no time this year).

    xo -E

  34. I made some for my girls! Here's a link:

    Thanks for the tutorial!

  35. Thank you so much for this darling tutorial. This is just what I needed to make a special ornament for my daughters for Christmas. I better get started today!Thanks again for sharing your talent with us!

  36. Thanks so much for this tutorial. They are super cute. I made two little matryoshka doll ornaments. One for my daughter and one for my niece. Here is a link to mine:

  37. I finally got the material to make this todaayy. I'm so excited to make this for my half-Russian daughter. We call them Babuska dolls, or as she says ba-Babuska. (:

  38. I think this might be one of the first things I make when I get some more felt supplies!

  39. I've not made the ornament, exactly, but I loved your design and turned it into a farewell card for a colleague who will be missed. If you'd like to see it I blogged it here

  40. Preciosa historia!. No había pensado en ello.
    Me pondré a la tarea, seguro.
    ¡Gracias por todo!
    Un Abrazo.

  41. Thank you for this! I bought one at a craft show and was just going to make a pattern myself, but now I get the original! I am also super stoked about Stitch School...I need it! Can't wait to make these for friends (and more for myself!).

  42. Thank you for this! I bought one at a craft show and was just going to make a pattern myself, but now I get the original! I am also super stoked about Stitch School...I need it! Can't wait to make these for friends (and more for myself!).

  43. I will add a magnet or two so she can hang around all year! Thanks!

  44. What color red felt did you use for this project? I'd like to find some!

  45. What a cute project! I love it so much that I decided to feature it in our roundup of handmade felt ornaments! Check it out here:

    This link is a link too a Russian doll needle felting craft, in response to Vanessa.

  47. Thank you SO much for this adorable tutorial! I had fun making my little ornament last night!

  48. Thank you for the detailed instruction! I have never done anything like this before and I learned so much! I'm excited to take what I've learned and make felt ornaments for all my family!
    Here's my ornament:

  49. Thank you so much for sharing this adorable project with us. I can hardly wait to make some of them.

  50. I wound up making about 15 of these dolls for my doll club members and they turned out so cute! I used felt from Michael's. then I discovered how wonderful wool felt is, so I made one for my neighbor for a Christmas present (we exchange gifts every year) and designed a little nutcracker boy ornament to go with her. I wound up using "Strawberry Parfait" wool felt for the flower petals that I found at Colonial Crafts. I never made myself a doll(!) so today I am working on her. Spring for the wool is worth it! Now, a do you keep the moths from eating these wool felt ornaments?

  51. Here's a picture of my two ornaments:

    1. oops, sorry the link doesn't work, so here's another link:

  52. Adorable and cute design. I must try it sometime. Awesome matryoshka craft for kids, too. Thank you for the instructions!

  53. Handmade ornaments are always the most precious. Thanks

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