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How To Knit a Kimono Doll

Updated on April 25, 2014

Knit a Cute Kimono Doll

These little dolls knit up quick and easy and make a great toy for a small child.. You can vary the colours to suite favorites or decorting themes. You do need to have a basic knowledge of knitting but none of the stitches are very difficult. This little doll makes a cute gift and is great for using up odds and ends in your wool stash. Or also an opportunity to get some more beautiful colours of yarn.

This pattern is one I liked and adapted from Simply Knitting.

This doll is a personal fave of a little relative of about age 9 months. No choking hazards - not worries.

Step One - Get Your Stuff Together

In order to knit a kimono doll, to start with you need, obviously, wool. Use a light worsted weight yarn to knit to a size of 5 inches or so. Heavier wool just means the doll will be a little larger. You need 4 colours. One for the dress, one for the belt, flesh and hair. Do your best - flesh colour is not that easy to come by. But various shades of pink will do - after all its a doll so you do have a certain amount of artistic leaway.

You also need size 2.75 mm knitting needles. I really like bamboo - they are not cold to the touch. You also need a size 2.5 or 3 mm crochet hook.

Finally, you need material to stuff your doll with. You can buy inexpensive foam bits to use at a hobby store or somewhere like Walmart.

Yarn for the Kimono Doll

The yarn by Rowan Belle is really nice to work with and being organic, if you give the doll to a toddler who chews on it, it is still safe.

How to Start

Thee hardest thing with any project is starting, especially if you have only knit flat items before, like a scarf or shawl. THis is a little different but it is one of the easiest shaped peices I have ever done.

So start. It may not be the perfect colour or weight of wool. But hey, it is just a small doll. So pick up the yarn you choose for the dress colour and cast on 10 stitches. There, you started.

Bamboo Knitting Needles

Carbonized Patina 7" Double Point Bamboo Knitting Needles 14 Sizes (70 Pieces)
Carbonized Patina 7" Double Point Bamboo Knitting Needles 14 Sizes (70 Pieces)

Bamboo knitting needles are the best. I used metal and plastic for years before I found them. The metal was always cold and the plastic, although warmer just didn't feel as nice as the bamboo. They are much more comfortable to hold.


Knit the Doll's Body and Head

The next step is to knit the dolls body and head. Here are the steps;

1. On the 12 stitches you cast on, knit a row

2. Knit a stitch in the front and the back of every stitch. you now have 24 stitches on your needle

3. Knit a row,

4. Purl a row - start of stockinette stitch

5. Knit front and back of the first stitch, knit the second stitch. Repeat this pattern for the whole row. 36 stitches

6. Purl

7. Knit

8. Purl

9. Knit 2, Knit 2 together and knit 9 stitches - repeat to end and knit 1 - 33 stitches

10 - 30 Stockinette stitch

31. Knit 2 together then knit one - repeat to end - 22 stitches

32. Purl

33. Knit

34. Purl 5, Purl 2 together, purl 9, purl 2 together, purl 4 - 20 stitches

35. Knit

36. Change to yur skin colour and purl

37. Knit in the front and back of the stitch, knit one - repeat to the end - 30 stitches

38. Purl

39. Knit

40. Purl

41. Knit in the front and back of the stitch knit 6, knit in the fron and back of the stitch, knit 9, knit in the front and back and knit 6 - 33 stitches

42. Purl

43. Knit

44. Purl

45. Knit 2 together, knit 6, knit 2 together, knit 15, knit 2 together, knit 6 - 30 stitches

46. Purl

47. Knit

48. Purl

49. Knit 2 together, knit 1 - repeat to the end - 20 stitches

50. Purl

51. Knit 2 together across the row - 10 stitches

Stuff and Sew the Body

Cut the yarn on your work leaving a long tail. Use a needle and thread the yarn through the stitches remaining on th eneedle. Sew the two sides of the head together and then down the back of the head.

At the base of the body run a peice of yarn through the cast on stitches and join the two sides together. sew up the body about a third of the way.

Get some cardboard - I used a cereal box. Cut 2 pieces that are 5 cm circles and put them in the bottom of the doll.

Stuff the doll and sew the remainder of the seem.

Form the neck by threading yarn through the last row of the dress and pull to tighten. Fasten and work the ends in.

Knit the Arms

You make two of these.

Cast on 6 stitches using flesh colour.

1. Knit

2. Purl

3. Change to dress colour and knit

4. Cast on 3 and purl across

5. Cast on 3 and knit across

6. Purl

7. Knit

8. Purl

9. Knit 1, Knit 2 together, Knit 6, Knit 2 together, Knit 1 – 10 stitches

10. Purl

11. Knit

12. Purl

13. Knit 1, Knit 2 together, Knit 4, Knit 2 together, Knit 1 – 8 stitches

14. Purl

15. Knit 1, Knit 2 together, Knit 2, Knit 2 together, Knit 1 – 6 stitches

16. Cast off in Purl

Fold and Stitch Arms

Fold the arms in half and stitch them flat.

Knit Sash and Bow

For the sash - Cast on 33 stitches in the sash colour.

For 5 rows - Knit 1, Purl 1 across. Cast off in Moss Stitch.

When you turn the ros you will see that you now knit where, if you were doing stockinettte stich you would purl. This creates a very textured effect called Moss Stitch.

Sew the ends together.

Knot two of the Bow peices. Cast on 13 stitched and also do 5 rows of Knit 1 Purl 1 for Moss Stitch. Cast off in Moss Stitch.

Sew the ends of one bow peice together. Loop the other bow piece through the first one and sew the ends together. Then sew the bow onto the sash at the seam.

Put the sash over the doll and sew on.

Sew on the Arms

Sew the arms to the body and sash. The top of the arm should be just down from the head such that the elbow is at the bottom of the sash.

Knit the Hair

This instruction will create a very oddly shaped piece. Do not worry, when you sew it together it sort of folds under itself and ends up making sense.

For the main part of the hair - the 'Bob'. Cast on 52 stitches in hair colour.

1. Knit

2. Purl

3. Cast off 4 stitches and knit to end.

4. Cast off 4 stitches and purl to end. 46 stitches

5. Cast off 4 stitches and knit to end.

6. Cast off 4 stitches and purl to end. 36 stitches

7. Cast off 3 stitches and knit to end.

8. Cast off 3 stitches and purl to end. 30 stitches

9. Knit

10. Purl

11. (knit 2, knit 2 together) repeat to end - 20 stitches

12. purl

13. Knit 2 together across - 10 stitches

14. Purl 2 together across - 5 stitches

Cut off the yarn leaving a long tail. Use a needle to pass the yarn through the loops, draw up tight and knot.

For the little fringe at the front of the head (the bangs) - Cast of 5 stitches in hair colour.

1. Knit

2. Purl

3. Knit

4. Purl

5. Knit 2 together, knit 1, knit 2 together

6. Purl

7. Slip 1 stitch, knit 2 together and pass the slipped stitch over.

8. Fasten off.

Sew on Eyes and Hair

Use a needle and thread and stitch on the eyes. Make sure your knots will be under where the hair will go.

Take the large piece of hair and sew together the edges. These are the two skinny bits at the cast on edge - from the cast on edge to row two. You now have an oddly shaped circular things.

Make it flat, right (stokinette) side up. Have the skinny part towards you. Fold the skinny part up over the larger part of the circle - you now have a half circle shape with the cast on stitches around the circular edge. Sew that part together.

Turn the hair right side out. You can see it is sort of a cap shape. Turn under the edges and sew so that you end up with a cap shape. The part you sew under will not be even. As you owrk with it, the shape becomes very evident.

Sew the hair on - the gathered stitches on the hair is sewn to the pulled together stitches at the top of the doll's head.

The bangs are then sewn in the open V above the eyes.

Other Toys to Knit

Now that you have experience, why not try knitting other cute toys. I have knit horses, bears, frogs, and a couple of types of dolls. They are all so well recieved and loved by the children who get them.

Share - Have you Ever Knit a Toy

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i'm always knitting toys, I've knitted teddy bears, dolls mermaids etc. The worst part is stuffing them

    • Oneshotvariety LM profile image

      Oneshotvariety LM 5 years ago

      Not me, but the dolls are very cute. My twins would love them! :] Great lens!

    • PoeticChristian profile image

      PoeticChristian 5 years ago

      no, but I would like to learn. Very cute. Thanks for sharing. Blessed.

    • Mistl profile image

      Mistl 5 years ago

      Very cute and a nice little doll for someone to play with.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Adorable little doll and well done article! :)

    • profile image

      HeritagKat 5 years ago

      My daughter will love this idea! Thank you for the instructions

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Now if only I could knit

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      Very detailed and well done lens. I love the little doll.

    • evaemilie profile image

      evaemilie 5 years ago

      Really cute! I've never knit a toy, but I've just started experimenting with crochet toys, which is lots of fun :)

    • evaemilie profile image

      evaemilie 5 years ago

      Really cute! I've never knit a toy, but I've just started experimenting with crochet toys, which is lots of fun :)

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      I've never knit a toy but I think I've knit a few scarves, a long long time ago.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Ah - no, but my daughter has knit me a mouse, and elephants and other animals for friend's babies. They are fantastic.

    • SophiaStar LM profile image

      SophiaStar LM 5 years ago

      These are darling! Alas I cannot knit

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 5 years ago

      I don't know how to knit, but this is really cute!