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Upside Down Doll Project

Upside down doll project

This upside down doll project has been written by Little Miss Fancy Frocks – the dynamic mother-daughter duo who lovingly create handcrafted clothing for adults and children. Visit their Facebook page here.

Minerva Crafts have kindly sponsored this article. Visit them for all your sewing and crafting needs.

Our topsy turvy doll is a double-headed doll made of cloth wearing a pretty dress. Turn the doll upside down and you have another doll wearing a different dress.

The upside down doll has a very controversial past and is rooted in the American Civil War. It has been suggested that the double ended doll was originally a white doll at one end and a black doll at the other end and slave women gave the dolls to their children.

You will need…

1 fat or long quarter of skin coloured cotton fabric

1 fat or long quarter for each dress

¾ metre of lace for each dress

1.25 metres of ribbon for each dress (this includes the ribbon for the pigtails)

Wool for the hair

Soft toy filling

Threads to match the dresses and the doll, and black and red thread for the lips and eyes

You will also need a sewing machine and sewing needle


½cm seam allowance is used throughout unless otherwise stated.

Topsy Turvy Doll Template

How to make a doll

Cut out the upside down doll

Cut out four doll bodies.

Mark the eyes and the lips. Mark the centre of the back of the head as this is where the hair will be attached.

Using red and black thread use chain stitch to stitch the lips and eyes.

How to make a rag doll

Stitching the bodies

Stitch the bodies together leaving the waist open.

Turn right side out and stuff with toy filling.

How to sew a reversible doll

Stitch dolls together

Fold under the waist seam allowance on each doll and oversew the two dolls together at the waist.

How to make doll hair from yarn

Preparing the hair

Cut the wool in 20cm lengths. We found it easier to wrap the wool around a placemat and cut at the top and bottom.

Stitch the hair in position with chain stitch.

Beginner's doll making tutorial


Gather the hair into two pigtails and stitch each pigtail to the side of the head. Add a ribbon bow.

How to sew a dolls dress

Making the dress

Cut each fat quarter in half, so that each piece is 56cm across x 25cm. One piece will form the skirt and the other piece is for the bodices.

Each dress will consist of one skirt, two front bodices and four back bodices (each bodice is lined).

How to make a doll's dress

Stitching the bodice and the skirt

Stitch the side seam of the skirt leaving a gap of 6cm at the top and stitch the shoulder seam of each bodice and press open.

Free doll making tutorial for beginners

Ribbon and lace

Use the ribbon and lace to decorate the front of one bodice per dress and each skirt. The second bodice will form the lining of each of the dresses.

How to sew an upside down doll

Lining the bodice

With right sides together stitch as indicated leaving the waist edges open.

Turn right side out and press.

How to sew an outfit for a topsy turvy doll

Side seams

Oversew the side seams together, 4cm from the waist. The unstitched area forms the armhole.

How to make a doll's skirt

Doll’s skirt

Gather the top edge of the skirt and stitch to the bodice through all layers. You will have two dresses.

Free reversible doll making pattern

Dressing the doll

Place a dress on each doll.

Stitch the back seam of each dress from the skirt to the neckline.

How to sew a flipover doll

Joining the waist seams

Hand stitch the waist seams together.

Free sewing projects to make for young girls

Turn up 1cm on the hem of each dress and stitch together. This can be done by hand or machine.

Sewing toys for children

Now your topsy turvy dolls are finished and ready to be played with.

For other projects to sew for children visit our free projects page.