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Sew an “Elf On The Shelf” Doll

Today’s contributor is Jill from Snugglebug University.  All posts written by Jill for Make It and Love It can be found HERE.

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Hi, it’s Jill from Snugglebug University.  I know it’s only November, but I’m totally excited for Christmas! It’s my favorite time of year.  Today I’m going to show you how to make your own Elf on the Shelf doll!

Sew your own Elf On the Shelf doll! |

My kids were never really into Elf on the Shelf until last year.  They always thought the elves they saw in the store looked a little bit creepy…until last year when their friends at school had all of these amazing elf adventures.  My kids started asking for an elf, but not THAT creepy elf…haha!  Then they begged me to make them their own.  I didn’t get around to making one last year, so this year I thought I’d surprise them with one.

Sew your own Elf On the Shelf doll! Sew an Elf on a Shelf doll38

I think she’s cute! She’s about 12 inches tall, with a removable skirt.  And my kids don’t think she’s creepy, so she’s a win win in our house right now!

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I don’t know why, but its her little tiny elf slippers that make me swoon the most.  I love those little shoes!

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She’s tiny–which makes her a little bit more difficult to sew–but she’s totally worth it.  At least I think so!  If you wanted to make her pose-able you could always add wire inside her body and stuff the arms and legs a little less.

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Today I’ve got the free template and tutorial for how to make this little elf cutie! Are you ready to get started?

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Embroidery floss to embroider face
  • About 4-5 inches of 1/4 inch elastic for the elf skirt
  • Poly-fil
  • Disappearing ink pen or pencil for transferring the face template onto fabric
  • Much of the clothes, shoes, and accessories can be made from small amounts of fabric. 1/4 yard fabric is more than enough for the doll body.*
  • Small pieces of felt for the doll hair and doll cheeks.
  • Chopstick to help facilitate stuffing
  • Templates 1, 2, and 3

*A note about fabric choices:  For the doll body I used premium quilting cotton, but I double up the main body pieces so that the fabric is not as “see through”.  Doubling up the front is especially important for the doll face so that embroidery floss doesn’t show through. For the clothes, lightweight fabric is best, especially for the legs and arms.  It can be difficult to turn the fabric right side out if the fabric is too heavy.

Ok, let’s get started. Begin by printing out the template and the pieces as described.

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Start by placing the doll face template under your body fabric and trace the face onto the fabric.  It can be helpful to hold the fabric up to a window to make tracing easier.

Next, making sure that your body fabric is doubled up (use two pieces for the front) embroider the hair, cheeks, and face to the doll front.  You don’t need to attach the hair around the edges because they will be incorporated into the side seams.  Then attach the hair back to the backside of the doll (no need to double up the fabric for the back).

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Next attach the body suit to the doll front and back. Then fold over the top, and stitch about 1/8th inch from the fold. You can embroider on any buttons now too if you’d like  (I waited and did them a little bit later, but now’s a good time to do them).  Set aside.

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Next attach the elf shoes and the sleeves to the elf arms.  For all of these, fold over the top edge and sew 1/8th inch from the top edge to secure them.

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Now that you’ve attached the clothing, it’s time to sew the arm front to the arm back and the leg front to the leg back.  Place the “right” sides of the arms and legs on top of each other.  Then sew around the edges with a 1/4 inch seam,  leaving the top open for turning. I always double stitch my seams for the legs and arms to make them more secure.

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Next clip the curves and turn right side out.

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Then add the stuffing, using a chopstick to help push the stuffing down as needed.  You can leave the top a little bit empty–this will make it easier to attach them to the elf body.

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If you’d like to add segments to your doll legs, now is the time to do it.  Then set the arms and legs aside.

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Now sew around the ears, and turn right side out.  You can adjust the ears here as well–if you’d like smaller ears just cut them down a bit.  It really just comes down to personal preference.

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Next baste the ears to the doll body.

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Baste the dolls arms to the doll body.

Sew an Elf on a Shelf doll19 Now we are going to attach the doll back to the doll front.  Place the right sides together. The doll arms will need to be incorporated into the doll body, but I find it easier to sew around the edges of the doll with one arm sticking out.  Then when I approach the next arm, I tuck it inside and finish sewing. The base of the doll is left open so that the doll can be turned and stuffed. After I sew the doll front to the doll back I repeat back over the stitches to make sure that they are extra secure.

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Clip the curves, especially in the neck region.  (Make sure you don’t cut the seam!)  Turn the doll right side out and stuff the doll, using a chopstick as needed to push the stuffing in.   The neck region is especially hard to stuff, so make sure that region is particularly firm.

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Now fold in the base of the doll and insert the stuffed legs.  You can sew the opening shut using your machine, or you can use a ladder stitch to to close the doll body and attach the legs by hand.  It can be helpful to use pins to help secure the legs as needed.  When you are finished, tie and knot and push your needle through the side of the doll body.  Pull hard and cut the thread at the base, so that the thread is hidden within the body of the doll.

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All we have left to make is the elf skirt and hat!

First, placing the right sides of the trim and skirt front together, sew as shown.  Sew an Elf on a Shelf doll42

Then fold over the trim on the reverse side of the skirt and sew.  Repeat for the other side of the skirt.

Sew an Elf on a Shelf doll24Sew an Elf on a Shelf doll25  Then place the two sides of the skirt together and sew up one of the side seams.

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Next we’re going to make a passageway for the elastic.  Fold over about 3/4 inch along the top of the skirt and sew a 3/8th inch to 1/2 inch passageway for the elastic to go through.  Measure the amount of elastic you’ll need to go around your elf’s body, plus a little bit for your side seam.  Fasten your elastic to the safety pin and run it through the passageway.  Remove the safety pin and hold both ends so that you don’t lose the elastic in the passageway.

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Finally, fold the skirt piece in half and sew up the side seam, catching the elastic as you do so. Sew an Elf on a Shelf doll28

Your skirt is completed!  Now let’s finish with the hat!  Fold under the bottom edges of the hat and sew.

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Placing the right sides of the hat together, sew up both the sides, leaving the base open. Turn right side out.

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That’s it!  Your elf is done!

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I hope this little elf puts you in the Christmas spirit!  Happy sewing everyone!


blog contributor Jill

You can follow Jill on her blog (, on instagram, on pinterest, and on facebook.

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Looking for more ideas for DIY dolls? Check these out:

Girl & Boy FABRIC DOLLS (pattern pieces included)

Sew a Mermaid Tail For Any Size Doll!

Turn Child’s Drawing into Stuffed Toy/Doll



  1. Kate says:

    Excellent tutorial. My six year old was begging for an elf, and I just finished making this one all from scraps! It took about two hours. Thank you!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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