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Waldorf Gnome Tutorial

Updated on December 5, 2010

How to Sew a Waldorf Gnome

I love the simple, natural approach to childhood play that the Waldorf philosophy embraces. What I don't love is the huge price tag on many of the toys offered in the catalogs. But with some very basic sewing skills and some very inexpensive materials, these adorable, fuzzy pals can be made up in a little over an hour for those special little ones in your life.

What You Will Need:

The gnomes are made of recycled wool sweaters purchased at thrift stores. If desired, these can first be felted by washing on a hot cycle and drying in the dryer. The fabric will shrink and become matted into a thick material that will not unravel.

Other materials you will need are stuffing (wool is preferred, see link below), heavy cotton crochet thread, a darning needle, a 1 1/2 " wooden bead, thread to match, some dry beans, a glue gun, and small amounts of non-toxic craft paint.

How to Sew a Waldorf Gnome

Step 1: Drafting a Pattern

The pattern is quite easy to draft. If you cannot see the dimensions on the paper pattern in the photo above, try enlarging it.(Note: I did not make the "neck" on my paper pattern quite long enough. It needs to extend about an inch above the pattern in order to make the assembling of the head easier.) Make your patterns on a fold, so they will be symmetrical. Make one pattern for the body, an oval for the bottom, and a triangle for the hat. Next, pin the patterns to your fabric and cut them out. Use two layers for the body and cut them both at once. Cut just one bottom piece. When cutting out the hat, use the ribbing on the sleeves, neck or bottom of the sweater for the base.

Step 2: Sewing the Body

Place the right sides together of the body pieces, pin and sew each side, from the top of the neck to the bottom, leaving the bottom open.

Step 3: Sewing on the Bottom

Fold the bottom piece in half lengthwise to find the center and place a pin on each end to mark it. Match the pins up to the side seams on the body and secure. Pin and sew three quarters of the way around the bottom. Turn right side out through the opening on the last quarter of the bottom. This opening will be at the back of the doll.

Step 4: Assembling the Head

Thread a length of crochet thread into the darning needle (or any needle with a large enough eye). Secure this to the fabric near the top of the neck by making one stitch and knotting it. Next, thread it through the center of the wooden bead, pulling the fabric of the neck up into the hole. You may need to use a pencil or some such object to stuff it through from the bottom as well.

Bring the thread down to the back and secure it with a stitch to the base of the neck. Make another pass up through the center of the bead if desired, to make it even more secure, and stitch to the base of the neck. Knot the thread tightly, then pull it inside the body before snipping it off to hide the end.(Pardon the dirt under the nails, I was splitting wood before I came in to snap these photos.)

Step 5: Stuffing

Stuff the arms and two-thirds of the body with wool. Use a pencil to stuff some up into the neck area to help stabilize the head. When stuffing with wool, roll pieces into cylinders to fit into each section.  Fill the rest of the space with dried beans to add weight to the bottom and allow the gnome to stand up. Stitch the opening shut, carefully folding in the raw edges.

Step 6: Sewing and Assembling the Hat

Fold the hat piece in half, wrong sides out, pin and stitch up the side. Turn right side out. With the crochet thread, make a stitch through the seam at the base of the hat and sew it to the back of the base of the neck, at the same place where the head was secured. Make one more pass before knotting tightly and cutting the thread.

Pull the hat over the head. Using a hot glue gun, place a dab of glue underneath the rim of the hat at the front, and on each side. Use paints to add a face if desired.

That's it! Your gnome is now ready to join the magical world of a beloved child's imagination.


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    • Bronterae profile image

      Bronterae 6 years ago from Nor Cal

      Thanks for the info. Voted up and useful!

    • profile image

      Bec 6 years ago

      These are sweet!

      I love to make things with recycled jumpers.

      Thanks for sharing - a well done tutorial



    • profile image

      CastleofCostaMesa 6 years ago

      Cute! Thanks for the tutorial.

    • profile image

      Resweater 6 years ago

      This is absolutely adorable! Would you mind if I linked to this tutorial on my blog?

      Kris :)

      ~ Reuse, Recycle, Resweater! ~

      Blog ~

      Shop ~

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Oh I love this ! Thanks so much for sharing. I have bookmarked this and will do this with my kid. :)

    • profile image

      WildIris 7 years ago

      These are so cute! I make something similar with wool felt, but I like your idea of using recycled sweaters. Thanks for the tutorial.