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Fabric Dolls (and other items) for Homeless Shelters

I have had something on my mind a lot for a few weeks. 


And had to share.


So, if you want your hearts to fill right up to the tippy top —

grab some scrap fabric, a bit of thread, and read on!

. . . . .



I was contacted by Stephanie of Modern Sewciety about a month ago (right as we were boxing up our life in Colorado…so I was incredibly slow getting back to her) and she told me about an interview she had on her Podcast show, with a gal named Terry, from Enchanted Makeovers. I hadn’t heard of Enchanted Makeovers, so I went digging a little deeper.  They are a non-profit organization that transforms homeless shelters into places that inspire change and offer support and programs to help rebuild lives. [Their MISSION: Since 2007, Enchanted Makeovers’ mission has been to transform homeless shelters for women and children into places that inspire behavioral and psychological change. Through our various projects, mentoring programs and makeovers of the physical space, women and children are introduced to a way of thinking that helps to shift their outlook about their lives and possibilities for the future. The shelter is transformed into a “beacon of hope”. Mentoring programs such as the“Sacred Sewing Room”, “Stepping into the Dream”and “Capes for Kids” develop important life and coping skills.]




They accept money to help secure items like bedding, furniture, and paint to transform the living spaces in shelters all around the U.S. …but even more, they love receiving handmade items to donate to the women and children in these shelters, to add to the beauty and healing of the spaces for those in need.




If you’d like to create some items to donate, they really appreciate receiving pillowcases, twin size quilts, baby quilts, crocheted/knitted lap blankets, super hero capes for the kids, and one of my favorite things to make — fabric dolls!! 




I don’t know if you’re involved in any craft groups, sewing guilds, and/or service committees, but this type of organization would be the PERFECT recipient of an organized service project you’re involved with!  However, single donations made by you alone, are absolutely wonderful as well!



When Stephanie from Modern Sewciety told me she chatted with Terry of Enchanted Makeover during their podcast interview….after the call ended, she asked Terry what they needed specifically at this time.  And she mentioned they are really in need of fabric boy and girl DOLLS!  So, Stephanie asked if it would be a problem to link my Fabric Doll pattern to the show.  And of course, I told her absolutely! For sure! And YES! 


And then I started thinking about all the little ones around our country (and world) who don’t have homes.  Or a room to call their own.  Or dollhouses, dress-up clothes, sparkly shoes, legos, etc.  And then I began thinking of how happy a handmade doll would make a child who was going through a really hard time in their life.  That’s when my heart felt really full and I wanted to help — and whip up a few dolls myself!




Enchanted Makeovers is such an incredible organization and is fighting so hard to help change lives.  And not only are they providing a place that takes care of their basic needs, but they are providing programs that offer skills and opportunities for those living in the homes to rebuild themselves.  And what I think is absolutely beautiful, is that they teach them new skills, such as sewing, to create items for children’s hospitals and clothing for children in other countries.  Service goes full circle.  And heals ALL who participate.



I know there are many doll patterns out there.  So, choose whatever one suits you best.  But here is the Fabric Doll Pattern that I created several years ago, if you’d like to use it.  The pattern is perfect for a variety of skill levels.  So, if you think your skills aren’t quite there, give it a try anyway — you may just really surprise yourself!




And if you you’d like to make something more, give this Pillowcase Tutorial: 3 Sizes & Styles a try.  It’s a quick sew!  And would also be a really helpful contribution to Enchanted Makeovers.




Anyway, I wasn’t even planning on sharing this today but it fell into my lap to post.  But before posting, I really wanted to listen to the entire podcast with Stephanie and Terry.  So the reason this is late getting up today, is because I took a bit of time to listen this morning.  And let me tell you…..if you want to feel inspired, take a listen HERE.  (Scroll down to the bottom of the post and click on the ‘play’ button. The podcast includes 2 interviews but the segment with Terry begins at 1:24:45 in the podcast.)  Terry shares a bit about how this all started, how it has affected her life, and how different shelters are chosen to be made over.  So inspiring!




If you want more information about Enchanted Makeovers and their organization, CLICK HERE.


And if you want more specifics about how to help, CLICK HERE.



Thanks again Stephanie (And Terry) for sharing Enchanted Makeovers with us!  And for even thinking of asking about sharing my little ol’ pattern.  And I really hope some of you reading are able to help in some way or another. :)




Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Kelly says:

    My daughter (10 yr) got a sewing machine for Christmas. We bought fabric to make 4 pillow cases. She wanted to make one for her little cousin, one for her brother, and two to donate. This will be a perfect place to donate them! I can whip up a doll or two to send with. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Stacey says:

    I love this! I’ve been looking for a project for our RS…and here it is! Enchanted Makeovers’ story about capes is really moving!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, perfect! We look for projects in our ward too….so I was sure this would be perfect for some people reading! :)

  3. Jessica says:

    So great! I love a great service project!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh me too! It just does something for my soul! :)

  4. Kristina Noall says:

    I’ve been in a sewing rut lately, so tired from the day that by the time my kids are in bed, it seems like too much trouble to make anything, and I don’t know what to make, anyway. I LOVE sewing, and used to do a ton of it before we moved and my husband started a new job where he’s gone a lot. So it feels depressing to not want to sew. This is what I needed!
    ***It was mentioned on the recording that the dolls can’t have small parts (like buttons) that a child could pull off and choke on. Just FYI. I totally encourage everyone to listen; it was so moving! Thanks, Ashley!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh gosh, I know how draining the end of the day can feel… I’m glad this gave you a spark of new interest! Because I totally know that sometimes it just takes something to spark my interest and then I’m back in the game!!!!

      Hope you’re getting into a better groove with the new job/home/etc. It sometimes takes time but wow, it’s tiring until that groove kicks in! Hang in there! :)

      And thanks, I remember the button being mentioned, now that you say that. Excellent reminder! And I know, I really enjoyed listening to that interview. Terry has a heart and determination of gold! :)


  5. Deborah Fisher says:

    What a great project and lovely dolls! This would also be a great project for the Sewing Smiles Doll pattern from Bo Twal ( All proceeds from the pattern go to the Bo Twal programs.

    Bo Twal (cloth kiss in Haitian Creole) provides handmade cloth dolls to children in underdeveloped countries.Sewists within the children’s country are paid to sew the dolls and distribute them to the boys and girls. Funds to pay the doll makers are raised through the sale of doll patterns. The Bo Twal Sewing Smiles Doll, is the same pattern used by the international sewists when they construct the dolls to donate to the children in their country.

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, that’s fantastic! Thanks for sharing! I love hearing about so much goodness out there. Awesome. :)


  6. Vanessa says:

    The women at our small church knit prayer shawls, Teenie beanies for babies in hospitals, make pillowcase dresses and ponchos for children in puerto Penasco, are involved in a Girl Scout Troop for disadvantaged girls (which recently helped us make mittens for the paws of Koala Bears burned in recent forest fires in Australia) and spend an evening a week with families at our local Homeless shelter. Our church also runs a ‘linen pantry’ for those moving from homelessness into a place of their own. We always seem to be up for new challenges and I will suggest this project to them. Thank-you for a great post.

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, I love hearing that! So many different items going to so many different places. Makes me so happy! :)

  7. Ellie says:

    I’m a brand new YW president and I have wanted to do a sewing project that was also a service project. This will be perfect! I think we’ll start with the pillowcases and see how the sewing skills are, then see if we can attempt dolls. Thanks for sharing the info!

    Funny story about the dolls — I made them for my 3 youngest daughters for Christmas 2013. One of them is very blonde so I made hers with very blonde hair, which I put in a big fat braid down the back. The other two are darker blonde so I made theirs with light brown hair. For the youngest I did pigtails and for the older one I did 2 long braids. The dolls were supposed to look like the kids they were made for, but if you think about Christmas 2013, you know that’s when Frozen was new. Even though the clothes don’t look anything like Elsa and Anna, the dolls very quickly became their Elsa and Anna dolls just because of the hair. And they love them!

    1. Ashley says:

      First of all…..big hugs for your new calling! And second of all, I made some dolls with the YW in my ward a few years ago and they really had so much fun with it! However, pillowcases and capes would be an easier thing to start with, as they are a little less complicated! But good luck….such a fun project for the girls! :)

      And ha….I love how your dolls turned into Frozen dolls! And it’s funny you mention this because I have been meaning to use this pattern to make actual Elsa and Anna looking dolls! I will have to tackle that one of these days….but looks like you already did. Accidentally! Ha! ;)


  8. Jodi Godfrey says:

    Thanks for sharing the episode! I agree she has an amazing story. And your dolls are perfect!

    1. Ashley says:

      Wasn’t it great! And thanks so much Jodi!

  9. Fern says:

    This reminded me of an organization that I’ve learned of and have recently started sewing for. gives dresses to girls in third world countries who might only ever get that one new dress in their lifetime. The dresses are real simple. The little ones are often made from pillowcases.

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, I love this! Thanks for sharing this as well! :)

  10. Elisheba says:

    I consider myself a novice with sewing, and I was able to make these dolls for my three girls (daughter and nieces). It really is a great pattern!

    1. Ashley says:

      See?!?!? I love hearing that!!! And I just love seeing people give a sewing project a try, even if they’re not sure it will work out. Love a good surprise! :)

  11. Stephanie says:

    Tears of joy reading this post! I can’t thank you enough for this and for having such great tutorials! It really warms my heart to know I am part of such an amazing community and I can’t wait for terry to have to tell us she has so many donations she can’t believe it! Let’s show these kids how much we care.

    My heart is so full today because of awesome people like terry and you!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, you’re so welcome Stephanie! And I agree, that would be awesome! :)

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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