Favourite Sewing Books for Children: Gemma-Rose Sews a Mermaid

A book lands in our mailbox: Fleecie Dolls by Fiona Goble. 

The girls turn the pages: “Oh! I want to make this one! And that one… and this one too!”
At last, a decision is made: “I’m going to make Tilly, the mermaid.”
So we go shopping and come home with…
a colourful pile of soft fleece,
sparkling purple sequins and,
a ball of orange and green, uneven knobbly yarn.
I hunt out…
a scrap of felt,
reels of sewing threads,
a tangle of embroidery threads,
and my sharp dressmaking scissors.
I photo-copy patterns.
I snip fabric.
Gemma-Rose wets the end of her thread and pokes it through the eye of her needle and then sews impossibly small and patient stitches.
She stuffs and…
sews openings shut before…
embroidering a face with a huge happy smile, seaweed green eyes and two rosy cheeks.
She secures a shiny sequin on the tail, and another and another,
and cuts lengths of orange and green mermaid hair from yarn and bright orange fleece.
We find an odd piece of green hair ribbon and fashion it into a tiny bikini
top. Gemma-Rose adds an old inherited pearl button shaped like a shell, from my grandmother’s rusty tin box.
Then she smiles. “Isn’t she a wonderful mermaid?”
“She is! I don’t think we got that bikini top quite right
Gemma-Rose giggles. “It’s a little immodest!” She pulls a face.
“But it’s only a doll.”
“I think she’s perfect.”
“What are you going to make next?”
“Florence, the traditional cloth doll.”
“Why don’t you make a doll too, Mum?”
 I rather like Anya the Raggedy
Ann doll…
and Magnus the little monster…


So many beautiful designs to choose from.

Do you think if I started sewing now, I could make some dolls for Christmas presents? Perhaps we all could.

Other excellent sewing books by Fiona Goble…


Gemma-Rose wrote her own story about making her mermaid. Her version includes all the mistakes! Please visit her blog, Windy Island, if you’d like to share her post.

Tags: ,

Related Posts

Previous Post Next Post


  1. Reply

    They all look fantastic but I have a soft spot for tradition, so Florence is my favourite. You've certainly made the most of that book, it's been an excellent buy for you!

    1. Reply


      Some books are better value than others. I can see we will use this one again and again. It's become one of our favourites! I like Florence too!

  2. Reply

    Tilly the mermaid turned out just beautiful!

    I loved making stuffed dolls when I was a child and then in high school. A year ago I bought Stray Sock Sewing by Daniel and Make Your Own Toys by Sue Havens. I look at them wishing I could settle down and make a doll from one or both of these books. I keep collecting materials. You are inspiring me!

    1. Reply


      I don't think Gemma-Rose could believe how good her finished mermaid looks. I was also inspired by her success. There are a few dolls in that book I would love to make too.

      I love the book Stray Sock Sewing! We have a copy of it, and another book by the same author. I haven't seen Sue Havens book though, but I'm going to search for it!

      Let me know if you make a doll. I'd love to see a photo!

    • Kari
    • August 12, 2013

    Too cute!

    1. Reply


      I agree! The dolls in this book are so appealing!

  3. Reply

    Bethany and Melanie like making rag dolls, too. Bethany has a book called Sewing School which she's used a lot and she has an eye on a new sewing book from the Book Depository. These look like lovely books, too. Our girls would enjoy making the dolls.

    I hope you post about the next ones you all make – they're really pretty.

    God bless, Sue:)

    1. Reply


      We love collecting attractive sewing (and other handicraft) books containing projects the girls can do almost by themselves. The Sewing School book looks good. I see there's a second volume too.

      I can remember making rag dolls when we were children. Handmade dolls are always stuffed with personality!

      I'm sure I will write posts about anything else we make. Did you see Gemma-Rose's post about mermaid making? It's very different from my post. She included all the mistakes and mishaps!

      God bless!

    • Miu
    • August 13, 2013

    Ooooh, these dolls look fantastic!
    I wish I could do my own, but I know my patience would be insufficient. And my skills probably, too 🙂

    1. Reply


      I am sure you could sew these dolls. They are very easy! I agree: they do look fantastic!

      Thank you for stopping by and saying hello!

Join in the conversation!

%d bloggers like this: