How to Make a Norndoll - Posted Saturday, 13th November 2010 by Don
Have you ever wanted a Norndoll but didn't manage to spot those Limited Edition Creatures games when they first hit the shops? Well here is your chance to make your own Norn!
Back in July I began wondering how difficult it might be to make a Norn, so I bought a pack of felt and some supplies, and seven attempts on I think I have got fairly close.
Having not made a plush toy before and not being willing to take any of my dear Norns apart, I had to estimate what I thought the pattern for each body part might look like.
Several people have tried their hand at making their own Norndolls in the past and there are various possible techniques for each part of the design, but this was the method I developed when designing my own Norn template.
You will need:
- Long and Short Sewing Needle
- Sewing Pencils (light and dark)
- Small Fabric Scissors
- 1x A4 Coloured Body Felt (e.g. green)
- 1/3x A4 Pink Tummy Felt
- Scraps of both Black and White Felt (eyes)
- Cotton in Black, Pink and Body Colour (e.g. green)
- 2x the A4 Templates Printed on Paper
- Paper Glue or Double Sided Tape
- Superglue (for the eyes)
- Cardboard (2x A4 Sheets)
- Triangular Pink Nose
- Plastic Weighting Beads
- Supersoft Toy Filling
The first stage is to print two copies of both A4 sheets (both the body and tummy pages) of the template pattern, making sure they are printed as 'borderless' which means without any extra margins added. Check the body-and-tail template piece should be 11cm or 4.25 inches tall.
From the two copies you need to print of both pages, the first copy can be used as a reference while the second copy can be glued or taped to the cardboard and cut out exactly to make the template pieces. I marked the templates with green (body felt), pink (pink felt), black (eye pupils) or clear (eye whites) ink to keep the four colour sets separate.
After some hunting I managed to find the actual Norn noses, but any pink plastic triangular (or even heart shaped) toy nose of 15mm diameter should do. The noses I purchased can be found at glasseyesonline.com, but your local craft store may have them too.
The body padding can be any suitable stuffing, ideally combined with plastic weighting beads in the tummy for the bean bag texture. The beads should be around 3-4mm in size and solid so they do not wear with time.
Finally, for the choice of felt, 1mm thin felt works best; the 2mm thick felt I used did not give such a good flimsy shape but it did allow my Norns to stand up. The felt sheets should also be slightly larger than A4 if possible give better margins round the template pieces, ideally 9x12 inch felt sheets.
Once you have all the materials, the first stage is to lay out the design sheets and felt on a flat surface ready to start work.
All sewing is done with the sides of the felt you have drawn on on the outside, so when everything is turned in the right way all the markings and stitches will be hidden inside the Norn.
I use small back-stitch when sewing for extra hold, but you can use whichever stitch you prefer.
2. Marking the Template
The reason for keeping a paper copy of the template is so you can refer to the layout on the design sheets as you place the template pieces on the felt, ensuring they will all fit on one sheet.
In order to mark the outline of each template piece on the felt you will need to use a suitable fabric pencil. The white pencil in a pack is good for the darker colours, and the blue or pink pencils are best for lighter felts.
Some people may decide to make thin template pieces and pin them to the felt instead of drawing round the shapes, but the choice here is yours.
You can move each template out the way once you have drawn round it to make sure you mark every piece on the felt. Allow as much space as possible round each piece, so you have a nice margin when you cut them out in a minute.
3. Cutting out the Felt
Once you have marked out the pieces on the body felt (e.g. green) and the pink felt, and the eyes onto the black and white felt scraps, you can start to cut out the pieces.. BUT..
You will need to cut at least 5mm to 1cm margin outside of the edge of all pieces that you have drawn onto the felt (except for the eyes) since you will be sewing *along* the lines when you stitch the parts together.
4. Organise Felt Parts
Next I like to group the pieces to keep track of my progress as I work:
- 4x green ear
- 4x green head
- 2x green body sides with 2x green inner thighs
- 4x green arm with 4x pink hand
- 4x green feet
- 2x pink tummy
- 3x pink mouth
5. Body Back
The first two parts to sew together are the body back and head, as shown with the colours in the image above.
For the body back you need to sew the two body pieces together along the back, from the top of the neck, (past the tail) down to the *corner* between the base of the tail and the 'top' of the leg.
6. Top of Head
To assemble the head:
- Sew the two 'Head Front' pieces together along the edge with 'Center Front' marked on. See the green line above.
- Then sew the two larger 'Head Back' pieces together along the edge with 'Center Back' marked on. See the orange line.
- Finally, stitch the joined front side to the joined back. See the pink and purple lines. Ensure all four 'Top' marked corners meet:
Once all four pieces of the top of the head are sewn together it will look like this:
The next stage is to sew the two pink tummy pieces together (shown by the green Norn). Stitch along the 'Tummy Middle' line from the neck, along the tummy bump to the tip of the tail at the bottom. (We will attach this to the body in a minute.)
8. Muzzle and Chin of Head
You might now wish to make up the mouth. For this you will need the larger pink chin part of the muzzle (mouth), and the two halves of the upper lip, (held by the brown Norn).
You can begin by sewing together the two smaller upper lip parts (marked by the green line in the picture above), ensuring the edges marked 'Head' are at the top and the 'Mouth' edges are at the bottom.
Once that is done, you can sew the bottom 'Mouth' edge of the (now joined) upper lip to the *curved* 'Mouth' edge of the pink chin, shown by the dark purple lines.
With the top of the head and the muzzle both assembled, the head is nearly complete.
9. Attaching the Muzzle to the Head
With the pieces still inside out, the top edge of the newly assembled pink mouth can then be sewn along a straight line to the short (front) edges of the green top of the head.
Once that line is sewn you can begin to sew along the first 1cm of the edge joining the pink chin to the coloured neck felt on each side, leaving the large gap in the middle.
Cutting a small hole in the felt towards the top of the pink muzzle allows the nose to be pushed through, and clipped in place with the 'washer' on the other side.
10. Inner Legs to the Body
The Green Norn is showing how the inner thighs need to be sewn on to the legs section of the body, lining up the 'Inner Leg Front' and 'Inner Leg Back' markers on both pieces.
Once the back edge of each led has been sewn up you can then stitch together the front edges, (leaving the top and bottom open).
*If* you were to turn the body in the right way at this point, this is what it would look like. However it is easier to keep the body inside out until you have added the arms.
11. Arms with Hands
To make the full arms (arms with hands attached), sew the following together along the wrist lines:
- Hand 1 (right) base To Arm 1 (right) base
- Hand 1 (right) top To Arm 1 (right) top
- Hand 2 (left) base To Arm 2 (left) base
- Hand 2 (left) top To Arm 2 (left) top
As a hint: The thumb is on the same side as the inner edge of the arm.
This will then produce four full arm pieces. The top and bottom of the right arm, and the top and bottom of the left arm.
To assemble the arms, for the right arm and afterwards the left, start by simply placing the top and bottom pieces of the arms together, with the drawn on sides on the outside.
Sew round the lines of the hands and the outer edge of the forearms. Do not sew up the inner edge of the forearms as you need to leave that gap.
For the inner forearm that you have not sewn up, I tend to bend the felt back along the line and tack it down lightly, to make it easier to sew together later.
Now turn the arms in the right way and, to ensure the three fingers and thumb have definition, you can use a thin pencil to push out these sections and get the shape right.
The arms then need thickly stuffing at the hands with less stuffing applied in the lower arm and none by the shoulder. Then the last unsealed gap can be carefully sewn up from the outside on each arm.
The right arm will point upwards, and the left arm will point forwards and thus has a different top edge.
Place the top and bottom of the left and right feet together, again with the drawn side on the outside. Stitch round from the start of the inner toe, rounder the three toes, and stopping at the heel.
As with the inner forearm, fold back the last edge of the foot along the line and tack it back.
Once you have stitched round all but those last few centimetres of the outline of the feet, you can turn the felt in the right way as you did with the arms..
Now apply enough stuffing to make the feet nice and solid, and then stitch up the last edge.
13. Tummy to Body
In order to attach the tummy to the body, start by sewing the tail edges at the bottom of the tummy to the top edges of the inner thighs...
Then when you reach the top of the legs, sew the pink tummy felt from that point on to the body felt, all the way up to a few centimetres from the neck. Allowing room to turn the body back in the right way later.
I like to turn over the bottom edge of the legs and hem the ankles by stitching the felt over at the line, just to give it a nice finish when adding the feet later.
14. Fingers and Toes Stitching
(Note: Do not turn the body in the right way yet, the body is shown like this in the picture as a preview.)
To give definition to the fingers and toes, choose two points where the fingers/toes will start and sew up and down through those points in turn to pinch the felt together individually at those two marks.
Then twice loop two wide stitches from the new indent point you have created on the upper side of the hand/foot, round to the indent on the underside. These loops with the cotton will create the shape between the three fingers/toes.
15. Attaching the Arms to the Body
With the body still inside out, you will need to cut a small vertical hole in the green body felt as shown above.
Push the shoulders of both completed arms through the holes in the body and sew them in. When attaching the arms they will look backwards as you will need to sew the left arm into the right hand side and the right arm into the left hand side, with both arms appearing to point outwards! (As shown in the photos). The reason for this is because the Norn is inside out.
Switch all round where the top of the arms pass through the felt on the (drawn on) inside, and then carefully on the outside, to secure them in place.
Here you can see the arms have been nicely sewn in.
As you begin to turn the Norn in the right way the arms should be facing the right direction. Norns have their right arm facing up and their left arm facing forwards, but you can sew them at any angle you wish.
16. Attaching the Feet to the Body
To attach the feet, stitch all round the base of the legs securing them to the top of the feet at the ankles.
Ensure the feet point slightly outwards for balance and attach the legs to the inner side of the heels of the feet so they pair of feet will nicely spaces and not be pushed together.
17. Stuffing the Assembled Body
Pinch together the remaining section near the neck where the body felt can now be sewn to the tummy felt, and carefully sew the two together right up to the top on both sides. Leave the top of the neck open.
Take your padded stuffing and, reaching though the neck, make sure you have stuffed the tail until it is completely solid. You may wish to fill the legs with stuffing or weighted beads (with a little stuffing on top for hold), depending on whether or not you wish your Norns to stand up.
For the rest of the tummy you can choose to use a good volume of weighted beads, or stuffing if you do not have beads, but a mixture can give a nice beanbag feel. If you use beads then again add a little stuffing on top to seal them in.
After that you can sew up the neck from left to right to keep everything in.
The ears are similar to the arms and legs as you need to sew round the outline of the ears, watching that one is smaller than the other for shape, but leaving a big gap so you can turn the ears in the right way.
Start by placing the top and bottom of each ear together with the drawn on sides on the outside, for each ear separately. Sew round the short edge the ear (i.e. the edge that will later connect to the head), then round the outer edge of the ear, up until exactly half way round the inner edge. As with the feet, turn over the last section that has not been sewn and tack it back.
No stuffing is needed for ears are they are quite flat, so you can finish by turning the ear in the right way, flattening it out nicely, and then sewing up the gap.
19. Attaching the Ears to the Head
The Norn ear is attached about 1cm up from where the pink muzzle touches the head, through a straight horizontal hole.
With the head turned in the right way, cut a small vertical line about 1cm wide at 1cm up from the mouth on each side of the head. Then push the ears through these holes and try to position them at an angle you like. You can face the ears forwards or down, and they can be angles to point upwards or downwards, to give different personalities.
If you then look inside the head you can see where the base of the ear pokes through. As you did with the arms, stitch round the hold carefully attaching the ear to the head all the way round. You can do the same with careful small stitches on the outside too to really hold the ear in place.
The finished ear should sit quite securely in the head.
20. Eyes and Attaching to Head
Note that you will need to prepare where you are going to stick the eyes before carefully taking out the superglue. Minors will need to ask their parents to help them with this stage as glue can be dangerous.
Begin by sticking the white largest part of the eyes to the head, so it just touches the pink felt of the mouth and does not quite touch the nose. Wait a few minutes for the glue to dry.
Then stick the coloured medium eye pieces onto the white, placing them in the inner corner of the whites, closest to the nose. (If you accidentally place this piece in the center of the white of the eye your Norn may appear to have wondering eyes.) Wait a couple more minutes for this next layer to stick.
Finally you can stick on the small black pupils of the eye, right in the center of the coloured section of the eye so your Norn looks straight ahead.
21. Stuffing the Complete Head
With the glue completely dry (give it at least 30 minutes), you can turn the head back inside out and sew along the edge (marked above left in purple) on the left and right sides. This will leave a big gap in the middle, for which you will again need to fold over the felt along the line and tack it down lightly.
When you turn the head back in the right way you need to pack it completely full of stuffing, making sure you keep the ears at the desired angle, and then you can sew the last edge together.
This will give your Norn a nice round head.
22. Stitching the Mouth Line for the Head
You will need the long needle for this task and your black cotton, which can be broken down into stitching eight lines.
Bring the thread up through the head at the point (A) which will be the outer corner of the smile (over 1cm from the edge of the pink felt), ready to sew on the corner dimple of the mouth:
- Push the needed down through where the top edge of the V will appear (B) and back out where you started from (A). Repeat.
- Push the needed down through where the bottom edge of the V will appear (C) and back out where you started from (A). Repeat.
In the same way, loop two stitches from the corner of the mouth (A) to (D) half way towards the middle of the mouth (D).
The loop two stitched from the half way point (D) to the center of the mouth (E).
Doing the same for the other side, loop two stitched between the center of the mouth and a point half way towards the other side of the mouth.
Then two loops between the half way point and the outer corner of the smile (again over 1cm from the edge of the pink felt).
Stitch the top and bottom of the V of the smile on this side as you did earlier.
This will give the Norn a nice solid smile.
23. Attaching the Head to the Body
The last task remaining is to sew the head onto the body.
For this I tend to lean the head back and stitch the neck together by sewing the top of the tummy to the base of the head all the way across his front under his chin, and then leaning the head forwards to repeating the stitching across the neck line on the back. You may then need to add a few stitches round to hold him together, and once the head stays in place you are done.
There you have your finished Norndoll
Download the Templates:
Page #1 Body Felt Template
Page #2 Tummy Felt Template
Downloadable instuctions: Full Norndoll Guide
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