Holiday Hoopla: Nesting Doll Ornaments

This is how I spent my Thanksgiving break: embroidering tiny little faces onto tiny little fat bodies. What a riot.

I love these little ladies! If you haven’t noticed, I like  the really colorful, folksy, whimsical look for my Christmas tree. The less like a department store the better (shudder).  My inspiration for these honeys came from these lovely nesting doll ornaments found via Pinterest, but I knew that I wanted mine to descend in size like true nesting (Matryoshka) dolls tend to do.  They were so fun to work on–I just love making this type of thing.

So lamentably I just didn’t have time to put together a comprehensive photo tutorial, but I did make a pdf pattern that you can download and print, and I can tell you how I made them. Kinda semi-lame, but that’s the best I can manage right now.  If you decide to make these then just let me know if you have additional questions.

From largest to tiniest: Olga, Zoya, Natasha, Yulia, Svetlana, and Nadia.

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They have bases sewn on the bottom, because for some reason it was important to me that they be able to stand up. Tragically, I forgot poor Natasha’s base. mad mim christmas_matryoshka doll ornaments_2

She’ll forever mourn this oversight…mad mim christmas_matryoshka doll ornaments_1

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Ghetto photoless tutorial:

1.Cut out felt; main color for body (cut 2!), coordinating color for handkerchief and base.  Peach or pink for face.

2. Place handkerchief over body, and then center head over handkerchief, hold in place while you embroider around the face to secure all together.

3.  Embroider the rest of the face, hair, and around handkerchief.

4.  Cut out appropriately sized aprons in coordinating fabrics. I did this as an afterthought, so there isn’t a pattern for it. Don’t worry, you can manage. I used leftover fabrics that already had heatbond attached to the back (from Anthropologie pillow knock-off) so I ironed them on before embroidering around and embellishing them.

5. Sew ric-rac loops to your back body piece.  Whip stitch securely at base of loop.

6.  Sandwich front to back with loop on inside, and blanket stitch around the edges, starting at the top, to the side of the loop. When you get close to the bottom, place your base in place on the bottom-middle and blanket stitch to front and back. Resume stitching around the doll until you get close to the top.

7. Stuff with polyfill stuffing (or whatever you have), and then finish up, meeting the blanket stitch where you began.

So quick and easy, right?! JUST kidding. I mean, no I’m not. It is easy, but it’s a lot of little details, lets be honest.  Something to save for when your kids are happily making a mess at Grandma’s house, and all meals are taken care of! (Thank you Margaret!)

Who do you like the best? I love Natasha and Svetlana’s curly fro’.


Heather Feather

Oh my gosh! These are so cute! I love them and all the detail you put into them. My husband lived in Ukraine for awhile so he loves these dolls. I really need to make some!

Emily Balling


Where’d ya get your tree this year. You know these dolls are right up my alley. I love their little Russian aprons, and how their bangs differ, and how you’ve named them Russian names, and how they do stand as of course, they ought. What a dainty delightful set that I know your children will always be excited to bring out every year. Thanks for sharing pattern and instructions too. 🙂

Guess you called last night. I fell asleep studying my scrips, but I woke at 12 and wide awake I finished, and glad I did too. I don’t generally study my scrips Sunday but this Sunday I felt I really needed it. I studied 2 Cor 4 and it really helped me replace a lot of my fear with faith I can feel a difference this morning. Also I was studying the names of Christ in the Bible Dictionary because someone at EFY pointed it out and its such a wonderful thing to do, He’s called the meek and lowly, as well as the Lion…of something I need to re-look. What Christmas magic over at your house 🙂

Yam B Fan

These are absolutely the most adorable things since–well, since Matroyshka dolls were invented! Yours are SO much better than the original. What a labor of love and joy. Astronomical.


Thank you so much for this pattern and idea – I’ve made four of the same size to give as gifts for my colleagues at work. I hope they love them as much as I did making them. Sewing is my respite and I love mini projects like this.


Yay! I’m so glad you like them! I am actually making another set tonight, because my mom asked for them for Christmas. And I agree, mini sewing is so fun!


I love them!!!! SO cute. I know these things are easy for you, but your ability to create such charming cuteness will always astound me. Love ya!


Yes I included a link to the pdf pattern in the post, although there aren’t instructions just template patterns. Good luck!


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