a pillowcase doll

My mother loved to embroider, and she made beautiful pillowcases. She did many of them in delicate cutwork embroidery in a dainty satin stitch, and then she cut out the tiny open spaces with her sharp little embroidery scissors.

After Mother’s death, Dad gave me a stack of her pillowcases. I took them home and put them in an old trunk, unsure if I would ever do anything with them. I left them in the trunk for several years. Then one day in early December, I knew what to do with the pillowcases. They were perfect for passing on memories to Mother’s grandchildren. Instead of giving a pillowcase to each of my children and my nieces and nephews, I would make them into pillowcase dolls. If I hurried, I could get them done in time for Christmas.

two pillowcase dolls

            I washed the pillowcases, and then I cut and sewed. Mother, who was a perfectionist, would not have been pleased with some of the pillowcases. In her later years, she continued embroidering as long as she could, even after Alzheimer’s disease affected her mind. But some of her last stitches were long and gaudy, and sometimes she got the designs upside down and off-center. After I turned them into full-skirted dresses on the dolls, the flaws were not evident. Only the beauty of the dolls showed.

Making the dolls was not difficult, and I finished twenty-four that year in time for Christmas. Although some might think only girls would want them, Mother’s grown grandsons were just as pleased as her granddaughters to receive this special memento. Mother loved dolls and made many to sell at the Silver Dollar City tourist attraction in Branson, MO. She would be pleased to know her pillowcases are not yellowing in an old trunk but have now found their places in her grandchildrens’ homes.

pillowcase doll

To make your own dolls, do an Internet search for free pillowcase doll patterns. The dolls are easy to make. There are patterns that require sewing, which is the way I made mine. But several Internet sites give instructions for just stuffing and tying off sections for the arms and heads. To find one site with simple instructions, click here:   http://crafts.creativebug.com/make-pillowcase-doll-2026.html