How to Make Sock Dolls

photo by sxc.hu
photo by sxc.hu

Back to the late 50s, a time when parents saved everything! My mom used to save rags, mate-less socks, thread, yarn, aluminum tv dinner trays, string, rubber bands as well as a huge collection of lost buttons.

One weekend, my best friend (Sally's Trove) and I were having a sleep-over at my house. Being somewhere around 9 or 10 years old or so, I guess we might have been trying my mom's patience. We were apparently bored.

My mom decided we should sleep in my brother's room, which had a pull-out bed. This was probably a better choice since my room had bunk beds, and my brother's bed would afford us more room. She then went into the kitchen, or probably our HUGE upstairs bathroom, which doubled as a sewing room, and came back with socks, buttons, thread, string, needles and rags, and suggested we try to do something with that stuff.

Sally and I used to go to the local YMCA for crafts on summer afternoons on Saturdays, where we made fun things out of odds and ends. So, we decided to try and make dolls.

First, we had to figure out the best way to do it, and came upon the idea of cutting the cuff of the sock off, leaving the body of the sock. We then took the cuff and cut it in half vertically and horizontally, leaving us four pieces.

We then stuffed the bodies with the old rags, and sewed the top opening closed, and the toe then became the head. The heel formed sort of a small butt. We stuffed the four pieces of the cuff, and sewed them and then attached them to the body for the arms and legs. We added big buttons for the eyes and I believe tails and mouths were added to some. Mouths were made from tiny buttons sewn next to each other, and sometimes made with thread.

Our imaginations ran away with us apparently, because we never went to sleep that night. We designed all sorts of dolls. The two I remember the most were an eskimo and a mouse. Since this is a dusty old memory, I don't remember how many we made, just that it was a LOT, and we were very excited to be making them. I'm sure we shared a lot of talking and girly secrets in our late night adventure.

At some point Sally and I stopped. I remember that my mom saw what we had done and said we did a great job. My only wish is that we had saved even one, but we didn't. They were really charming and it was a great lesson in creativity. Who knows, if we HAD saved them, they could now be up on Ebay as antiques. Heck, maybe i could have retired on the money they would have fetched.

Sally shared with me her thought on how a night in my brother's room would have been a good opportunity for revenge, had she thought about it all those years ago. He was four years older than us, and would often tease us by snapping a wet towel at us, or giving us Indian rub burns, or doing whatever else boys at that age do to torment their sister and her friends. One thought Sally had is that we could have left needles in his bed,,,I'm afraid to ask her what else.

So, in conclusion, what to do with old mate-less socks? Make dolls! Or, use your imagination to come up with your own future nest egg.

Comments 24 comments

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

Gee that was a great fun read, and inspirational as well. Its so sad that kids today cannot use their brains in this way to amuse themselves.

Instead they need the electronic expensive already created toys. leaving them without the inspiration of using their imagination. Thanks for sharing that.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Patty, what a lovely telling of a tale so dear to my heart. 

To Eileen's point, when we were that little the only *already created toys* we had were board games and dolls...but then, there was your brother's chemistry set, wasn't there?  Now that I think about it, THAT's what we should have done, left some nasty combo of chemicals in his bed instead of sewing needles!  Your mom and dad would never think to blame us little girls for that mess, would they?  :)


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago Author

Hi Eileen,

I couldn't agree with you more. I believe long gone are the days when you played OUTSIDE with your friends. Hopscotch, jacks, jumprope, hide 'n seek, tag, baseball, the list goes on and on. I recall that being outside was my favorite place to be. The only time I had to come in was to eat, then I was set free to go back out, and didn't have to come back inside till the streetlights came on.

My granddaughter tends to be a crafts kid. She loves drawing, coloring and making things from construction paper, rocks, shells, etc., not to mention, she LOVES going outside to either play in the yard or go to a park. She actually prefers the yard or park OVER going shopping LOL,,,,not your typical girl so far.

Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed it,


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago Author

You're right Sally. I know we enjoyed the board games and dolls too, and don't forget books! You and I as well as our daughters also share our love of reading. It seems our lives have become so filled and hectic that sadly, we find little time for that anymore.

Oh! that dreaded chemistry set!! I have a memory about that as well, a not so nice one, which I'll leave unsaid. And no, my mom and dad would never have even considered that two sweet, innocent girls would have dreamt something like that up LOL,,,

Thanks for stopping by, and for sharing in our shared memory!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Now this was a sentimental journey. How wonderful it must be to have someone still in your life with whom you shared all those fabulous little girl moments--even the evil big brother stuff:-) I love your hubs, Trish, they are always so personal and so hearfelt and I am always left with such a good feeling after reading them.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago Author

Hi Robie

You are so right.  I have been and still am blessed to have the joy in having a life-long friend.  Although there were spots in our friendship, like when Sally moved out of our town, where we lost touch for a period of time, but not to the extent that a phone call wasn't made.  Sally and I have come full circle, and I look forward to many more years of new memories.

I enjoy writing and have always written from the heart, it's how I know to express myself best.  I'm glad you get pleasure in reading them.

Thanks so much for your comments and support,

Trish


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

So THAT'S where all the missing socks have gone....you guys were making dolls out of them....

I make snowmen filled with rice of beans, with rubber bands gathering the three sections that end up as a snowman...the top little section is so fun to decorate and buy little glasses, hats, and beads...our foster kids had so much fun doing those at holiday time... we ended up having to buy packages of new socks so we didn't have dirty and stained snowmen...

however, i thot even the stained ones were cute and realistic. fun memory here....thanks trish --


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago Author

Hi Marisue,

That's a cute idea also. But hey, are you implying we used 'dirty/smelly' socks? LOL,,,ours were actually sterie, or did I leave that part out? Just kiddin!

I recall we used to make things at the YMCA out of cigar boxes as well, and wow, a clue!! To this day, I LOVE old boxes, wooden, decorative cardboard, whatever, and this must be where it started! Now my lovely granddaughter seems to have 'inherited' a love for boxes as well.

Thanks for stopping by!

Trish


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

No, from what I know about Sally and u, nothing dirty would get past you gals!!

I too love boxes and much to Lynn's chagrin, keep collecting them with the good intention of painting them but he goes behind me and throws them away. He says "I don't know what happened to those things..." liar. LOL

I loved cigar boxes as a kid....the slight smell of tobacco was nice if not too strong. (Not a smoker here nor was my dad cept on rare occasion...)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Patty, I didn't know about the cigar boxes, and Marisue's comment brought back a memory about my family in Ohio...

My cousin Ann always said she'd know when she was grown up, because then she'd be allowed to go to the beer hall uptown, order a steak and a glass of whiskey, and smoke a cigar.

I love the smell of cigar smoke. Many of the important men in my life smoked cigars, and I believe your grandfather did, too. And that may be another reason you like boxes!


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago Author

Hi Marisue,

Ok, getting past Sally? never!  but by me, well, let's just leave it at that :)

The boxes I collect range from tiny wooden boxes, to lovely decorated boxes from India, to rustic, primitive types.  The graphics are what catch my eye.  I have old Crayola boxes that held chalk and/or crayons, and a very shallow crate type that was used for shipping goods, and that one had my last name on it, it said *** and Sons, Washington, DC.  I HAD to have that one and I got it for a mere $2.00. I use it to store a lot of my paperback books.  Generally, I give them a cursory cleaning, or thorough one if called for, but mostly, the condition I find things in is the way I leave them.  I often wonder what my late hubby would think of my, mmmm,,,eccentricities that I've developed LOL.

Thanks for stopping by,

Trish 


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago Author

Wow Sally!  I didn't know you LIKED the smell of cigar smoke.  I absolutely HATED it!  You are right, on Sundays my grandfather and uncles would all light up these NASTY SMELLY things, after a wonderful home-cooked meal.  I'm very surprised that my grandmother didn't make them all go outside to smoke. Just the thought makes me nauseous.  Both my uncles and grandfather would often give me the gold paper ring that was around the cigar and put it on my finger.

All this, coming from a cigarette smoker lol.  Funny, I don't feel that way about cigarettes, although sometimes, the smoke even gets to me, like in a really crowded place. One thing I do like,however, is the smell of cherry tobacco that is used in pipes. Now that was nice! It conjures up images of a man sitting in front of a roaring fireplace with a drink, a dog at his feet and perhaps reading a paper or book.

Do you know if your cousin ever did go to the beer hall? I wonder, is that an expression used in Ohio? I don't recall taverns, or more commonly called bars, being called beer halls here in Jersey.

And gee, I am surprised you don't recall the cigar boxes.   I used to keep my crayons and pencils in them, or other little treasures.   It was either late last year or earlier this year when I saw ShopRite had all types of them for sale, empty ones.  They had the real wooden ones as well as the heavy duty cardboard types.  I am shocked, now that I think about it, that I didn't buy 20 of them LOL,,

Thanks for tickling my memory.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

My dearest friend, we have been tickling each other's memories all the time we have known each other, and all the recent time we've been on HubPages.

"Beer Hall" is a Polish expression for a bar or tavern, where spirits and food are served, with the undertones of a common hall in the old world, such as in Germany, where the public eating places are designed around commeraderie. Imagine long tables of happy people toasting their steins to each other.

It could be that my mother brought that expression to the farmlands of Ohio, where my father and my cousin Ann were born...but growing up, I know my cousin Ann called that place of steak, whiskey, and cigars a beer hall.

Sorry, Patty, that you and I don't share the love of cigar smoke. Can I have one of those rings?


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago Author

Good morning Sally,

I can actually picture that long, thick wooden table with loud boisterous men and laughing women, drinking, eating and just having a great time. I can also see the smoke that fills the room. What I cannot picture is a woman smoking a cigar LOL.

Steins. Those are truly beautiful items. I've seen many on Ebay and a lot of them are works of art. I recall my mom and dad had a couple in their basement bar. It's too bad that all disappeared.

As far as the paper rings, sad to say I never saved those, and if I did, I no longer have any. I have seen a couple of modern ones at some of my nieces' christenings, but didn't bother to take one.

Thanks for the history lesson. Just goes to show you we still learn from each other.

Patty


jaguar woman profile image

jaguar woman 8 years ago from Pacific Coast | U.S.A.

How sweet -- and well-written... Brings back memories of my own childhood in the 50's. Ahhh, I remember when... hehe!


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago Author

hi jaguar woman,

Thanks so much! It certainly does bring back very fond memories, from a time of innocence. I'm sure you have equally fond memories as a child of the 50s :)

Thanks for your comments and stopping by,

Trish


Abhinaya 8 years ago

Well I'll make dolls.Last time I made a gladrag doll using stockings,it turned out really well.My uncle said I could make more of them for sale,but it's my hobby.great hub!Thanks for sharing!


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago Author

Hi Abhinaya,

How interesting! All we had to use were socks, and I'd be really curious to see one made out of stockings. Since we were kids when we made ours, it never occurred to us to sell them, I'm thinking we did it just for the fun and staying out of my mom's hair :)

Do you still make them?

Thanks for stopping by,

Trish


summer10 profile image

summer10 8 years ago from my happy place :)

Wow, you brought the memories rushing back... you have such warmth in your writing. I love this hub. :)


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago Author

hi summer10!

Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm so glad you stopped by, I'm looking forward to more of your hubs :)

Trish


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 7 years ago from NW Indiana

trish,

We use to buy plush animal toys for the dogs but between the cost and cleaning up the stuffing it got to be too painful Now I tie a few old socks together and the dogs love it. great share here.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago Author

Hi C. S.,

That's a great idea, and certainly economical!  I have a friend at work who recently acquired a young kitty, under a year old.  She has adopted one of his socks and takes it everywhere with her, and even sleeps with it.  I think she thinks it's her mother :)

thanks for stopping by and commenting!


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

Yes, you were crafty at heart, from the start:) I now have seen, since your experience long ago...some sock doll patterns! They were made out of brown fuzzy socks, so the dolls really looked like cute little bears, when you where done:) I have myself made, just one time in my life, a small doll out of a pair of baby socks...it was cute, I have to say. Not sure why I didn't make more of them? This was a fun hub, hearing about your childhood memories with your best friend! Thank you:)


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 6 years ago Author

Hi heart4theword,

I think ideas for sock dolls could be endless. As you mention, brown fuzzy socks for bears You could probably make a Santa out of red socks. I also think, if you're fairly talented with sewing, you could go so far as to make clothes for the little critters.

It's never too late to make them again. It would be a fun thing to do if you find yourself house-bound.

Glad you enjoyed my story, thanks so much for commenting.

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