This cradle is one of my favorite doll accessories. Back in the 1980's I made a lot of these cloth cradles, with little rag dolls, to sell on consignment. At the time I was working from a commercial pattern. After 2 moves and many years I have lost the pattern but I made so many that I remembered the basic shape and construction techniques. What follows is my version of a soft sculpture cradle. This pattern is free for your personal use but you may not use it commercially.
Originally the pattern called for putting cardboard inside the pieces of the cradle to make it firm; I have left it out of mine for the sake of making it washable. You may certainly add it to yours if washing the cradle is not a concern.
I have shown the cradle in two sizes. The small one was made by making the pattern on a 1/2 inch grid. The large one I made using a 3/4 inch grid. I would not recommend going larger than that unless you do use cardboard. All pattern pieces include a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
1/2 yard cotton fabric for small size
3/4 to 1 yard fabric for large size
quilt batting - crib size will make 3-4 cradles
small amount polyester stuffing
Be sure to follow the cutting instructions on the pattern pieces and cut out the required number of pieces from fabric and batting. Please note that the headboard and footboard are given in one pattern piece but you must cut 2 of each. After cutting out, put both pieces of fabric for each cradle partright sides together, on top of both pieces of batting for the cradle part. Pin all 4 layers together. Stitch around the outside edge of each piece, leaving a 2inch to 3 inch opening at the bottom of the headboard and footboard and in the middle of one of the long sides of the cradle body. Also leave open one of the ends of the hood. These openings are for turning the pieces right side out after stitching. When sewing, back stitch to start and stop, as well as all corners, to reinforce your stitching. Clip all curves and corners, trim seam allowances (except at openings) and turn all pieces right side out. Now the layers of each piece should look like the layers of a quilt, fabric on the top and bottom with 2 layers of batting inside.
Sew through all 4 layers on the stitching lines marked on the pattern pieces; at the lines where the sides of the cradle become the bottom and across the tops of the rockers. Open the bottom of the rockers and add stuffing between the layers of batting. Stuff the rockers firmly. Hand sew the openings on all 4 pieces closed using the ladder stitch.
To assemble the cradle start at one of the top corners of the footboard and one of the end corners of the cradle body. Stitch by hand, using ladder stitch, down the corner where the side meets the footboard. Stitch the bottom of the cradle across the rocker, 1/4 inch below the stitching line which separates the rocker from the footboard, then up the other side of the footboard. Repeat with the headboard. Stitch on end of the hood to the side, around the top curve of the headboard and the other end to the other side. Turn the cradle upside down and on the inside of both rockers, tack the center of the rockers to a point about 3/4 inch in toward the center of the bottom, on both sides. This keeps the rockers straight up and down.
Making and Dressing Cloth Dolls
Ebook with patterns and instructions to make 5 cloth dolls as well as chapters on general doll making techniques.The book includes 21 inch Lalena Doll, 21 inch David Doll, Bear Dolls, 9 inch Destiny Doll and 15 inch Annie Doll, all together in one handy book. 53 pages.Making and Dressing Cloth Dolls.