Tiny Toppers of Maryland

Pattern Blog

Comfort Dolls

Posted by rsmchugh on September 15, 2014 at 11:55 PM



MALAWI Comfort Dolls

This message if from the group who are making dolls for children known by HopeSprings workers in Malawi. HopeSprings [ www.hopesprings.org ] is an organization fighting against HIV/AIDS as part of a mission program by churches and agencies in Africa and in America, specifically Baltimore, Maryland. In Malawi, children become known to clinic workers as they or their parents are treated. The comfort dolls are just that – comfort to children in need as it motivates them to view coming to the clinic with a little more cheer than might have been without receiving a doll to take home.


By contributing your knitting or croqueting skills, you help spread hope to this one spot in Africa where bringing a smile to a child’s face is the ultimate reward. Thanks for your time and talent.


Materials: Use the leftover colored yarn you have from other projects. Yarn in brown shades and stuffing are needed. Since distribution of these dolls is in Africa, we will use all colors of brown for faces, legs and feet. Let us know your needs. Girls with skirts will have legs; boys have long pants with feet.


Time Frame: Most experienced knitters estimate about 2 hours for each doll. It is good to think of one doll/one movie. ( Time is shortened as you get familiar with the pattern.


Comfort Doll Pattern - KNITTED

 To begin: the basic method for making each doll is the same. Begin at the feet and knit a rectangle approximately 5-6 inches long with a decrease at the top for a hat (boys), hair for girls. (stockinette stitch--knit 1 row, purl 1 row counted as 2 rows), changing colors for each body segment.


The head is stuffed and the neck formed by pulling in with a gathering thread. When the body is stuffed, the feet are formed by pulling in a gathering thread at the ankles. The arms and legs are defined by stitching through all layers after the whole is stuffed. The number of rows in each section can be increased or decreased depending on the individual design and if it is a girl or boy. The finished height as written is 5 or 6 inches. Round needles may be used if preferred. Dolls made by croqueting are fantastic too.


To make:

Work in stockinette stitch throughout . Cast on 32 stitches.

Work 6 rows for feet. Change yarn.

Work 14 rows for pants. Change yarn.

Work 12 rows for shirt. Change yarn.

Work 8 rows for face. Change yarn.

Work 11 rows for hat as follows:

Rows 1-4 work evenly

Row 5 Decrease 5 sts evenly across row (27 sts). Row 6 P across row

Row 7 Decrease 5 sts evenly across row (22 sts) Row 8 P across row.

Row 9 Decrease 5 sts evenly across row (17 sts). Row 10 P across row.

Row 11 (K1, K2 together), K last 2 sts.

Cut yarn leaving long tail to sew up back. Draw yarn through remaining stitches on needle and gather.


To finish:

Fold inside out and sew down back to form center back seam. Turn right side out.

Stuff head. Weave a strand of matching yarn through first two of face. Gather in to form neck and secure ends.

Repeat for body, drawing in at the ankles.

Stuff feet and sew up bottom, gathering in as much as possible.

With matching yarn form arms with small stitches through all layers from waist to 2 rows below neck. Define legs the same way from bottom to just below waistline.

Usually shirt or skirt yarn color match with headband (girls) or hat (boys). See photo.

Embroider hair and face as desired on surface of front.


Creativity is encouraged. Help is available at any time during this project. Our goal is 100 for

the next shipment. Let us know if you need advice, materials and/or cheering!



Comfort Doll Pattern - Crocheted


Use a size G crochet hook with worsted weight yarn. Use a single crochet stitch throughout. You can crochet “flat” or in the round. When you change colors , leave a long tail to use to gather in at the neck, waist and ankles.


Start at the bottom.


Feet: Chain 32 (join to form a circle if you are working in the round). 4 rows of single crochet then change colors.


Pants/Skirt: 9 rows then change colors.


Shirt: 8 rows then change colors.


Face: 6 rows then change colors.


Hat/Hair: 7 rows.

Rows 1-3 single crochet as before

Rows 4-7: in each row decrease 5 stitches evenly spaced across each row.


Cut the yearn leaving a long tail to thread through the remaining 12 stitches to gather in at the top of the hat/head and to sew up the back if you worked flat.


Finish as noted above in the directions for knitting to complete the features of your doll.


Again -- thanks for your help in contributing to this project!



Gail Haldeman










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