The last step in creating a lifelike reborn baby is making the body. This is no small feat, for several reasons. First, the body has to be weighted so that it feels real when you hold it in your arms. There are several ways to do this, but we'll get back to that.
Then there is the body itself. If you start with a kit the body will already be made as a part of the kit. But, if you use an older doll, as i did, you have to get a body. Generally this means buying a pre-made body. There are books available which include patterns and instructions to make a soft body. If you plan on making several reborn dolls, the book would be worth the cost. If you are only planning on making one reborn baby, it is more cost effective to buy a body already made. There is an excellent website, which I have dealt with, where you can order a body online. The website is Bountiful Baby and the prices are reasonable, the service is fast.
Unfortunately, for my first reborn baby, I was determined that I could, and would, design the body myself. I don't recommend this route. I figured if I could design patterns to make cloth dolls and doll clothes, I could make a body pattern as well. Not the case! As you can see, at right, her body is out of proportion and is not a good shape. I have already bought the body for my next reborn baby.
Since the effect of realism is so important with these dolls, all body parts must be weighted. This can be accomplished with sand, glass beads or plastic pellets designed specifically for this purpose. I used glass beads which I tied very tightly into a small bag made from old pantyhose. You have to decide how much to use for each part of the body, the head, each arm and each leg, as well as the torso, so that each piece feels balanced when they are all put together in the finished doll.
After your weighting material is chosen and packaged, put small sheets of quilt batting around the bag of weight and insert it in the appropriate part. You will need to stuff the batting into the remaining space in the body part very tightly, especially if you are using glass beads. You don't want the beads to jingle around and you don't want the weight to shift as the doll is moved...not very realistic.
Once all body parts were stuffed I tied a small piece of pantyhose over the open ends of the arms and legs to prevent any stuffing or weighting material from coming out and into the torso. When this was completed I put all the pieces together. You can use zip ties, twine, cord or yarn to tie the arms and legs back onto the body. The pre-made bodies have the plastic doll joints in place so that your baby's arms and legs can move naturally.
When you have finished your first reborn baby, please come by the Doll Making Forum and share stories and photos with us.
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.