For some time I have been considering making some of those little blankets that are made for babies, with added ribbons at the adages. My experience with babies and young children is they love the tactile feel of satin ribbons in particular, to touch and hold them is very comforting and a type of “self soothing”. Babies don’t mind if this is on the edge of a large blanket or on a little blanket square they can easily hold.
Recently, I was having a conversation with a work colleague about young children and anxiety. That’s when I came up with this idea of making a Tactual Matryoshka or Babushka Doll. I thought this would be a nice way for younger children or big kids, who may be beyond the blanky stage, to have a small toy that could be useful as a comforting or self soothing device. It’s small and cute with little tactile satin ribbons for comfort.
Babushka is a Russian term for an older woman or grandmother, so what nicer way, I thought, to give a child the comfort of a grandmotherly figure when comfort is needed, in the shape of a Babushka Doll. You can keep one in your pocket!
Or she can sleep in your lunch bag!
Or just be there to say I ❤️ you!
Incidentally, you can use precut 5″ x 5″ squares for this project, scraps of batting and small pieces of ribbon. So this is what I came up with.
All seams based on 1/4″. I use a small stitch length to assemble the doll.
Requirements for one Babushka Tactual Doll.
2 of 5″x5″ squares matching
1 of 5″x5″ contrasting square
2 of 2 1/2″x2 1/2″squares, can be matching the contrast square for the shoulders
small triangle scraps of fabric for the headscarf
small pieces of satin ribbon for the tactual attachments
small piece of calico or plain homespun for the face approximately 2″ x 2″ cut into a circle
laundry marker to draw the face
scrap piece of batting, approx 5″ x 7″
paper to make the pattern
Make the Babushka Tactual Doll Pattern
I’ve taken a photo here of the pattern design with the measurements so that you can draw your pattern.
Assembling the Babushka Tactual Doll
Draw a diagonal line across the back of the 2 of 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares. Place them face down on one of the two matching 5″ x 5″ squares. Pin.
Sew right on the line for both squares. Cut away the excess 1/4″ from the seam line. Fold the corners back. This will make the shoulders.
Sew the single 5″ x 5″ piece to the top of the shoulders. Then sew the remainder square to the piece so they are in one long length as pictured below.
Fold the sewn fabric length in half, with the fold at the top.
Lay the pattern on top, centring as well as possible. Pin in place. Cut out adding 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat for the batting.
Place the scrap triangles to the face, right side down, one side at a time, as pictured. Sew along the long edge of the triangle, 1/4″ from the edge.
Turn the triangle back. Repeat with the other scrap triangle.
Turn the triangle back. Finger press, the trim the scarf to match the face shape.
Draw on a little face with the black laundry marker. Put the face onto the front piece of the doll. Use a very fine zig zag to attach to the doll front.
Embellish the front of your Baboshka as you like. Add the folded pieces of ribbon, so the the edge lines up with the edge of the doll and the folds are facing to the centre. Pin and stitch in place.
Now lay down the batting piece, the back of the doll, right side up, the the front of the doll right side down. Pin the edges well. Sew from the bottom of one side round to the bottom of the opposite side, leaving the base open.
Clip the curves. Turn to the right side, using a chopstick for the turning. Fold in the edges of the base and slip stitch closed.
Im finishing the doll with some free motion quilting. You can do straight line quilting or just top ststich, whatever you prefer.
Each little Baboshka will have its own personality.