Imagine how terrible you would feel if a child got hurt on something you made. Government standards provide guidelines for manufacturers to sew toys and dolls in factory settings. What can you do while sewing a child's toy at home? Plenty! Most pointers are common sense or a work around to possible dangerous choking hazards.
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Strong Quality Thread
Always sew a toy with strong quality thread. Not only will the toy possibly last for generations, the risk of stuffing and small parts becoming loose is mitigated.
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EyesConsider hand embroidering eyes rather than using buttons or toy eyes. Just one button or toy eye can create a major choking hazard for a child.
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Age AppropriateA new born baby doesn't need a doll decked out in fancy clothing. A very simple small bunny or teddy bear is a far better choice. Once the child is older sew a fancy doll and outfits for the child to learn dressing skills.
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Choking HazardsWe've all heard a recall because of a choking hazard. Pay close attention to every part you add to an item you are sewing. Small items can usually be replaced with something that is safe if you put your mind to it. For example, buttons can be replaced with hook and loop tape, or en embroidered eye.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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More than FusibleIt may seem easy to create a doll face by just using fusible web to put felt, eyes, nose and mouth in place. As someone who found her daughter gagging on a felt mouth which had come off a stuffed toy, I highly recommended using a satin stitch on the edge of the pieces which have also been fused in place.More on applique methods.
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StrangulationEven when a pattern has you use a shoe lace on a doll, stop and think about the age of the child the doll is being made for. The lace may be anchored in many spots and not seem long enough to be a strangulation danger when it's new, but what bout after 6 months of the doll being dragged around by that shoe lace?
Are you adding a necktie to a teddy bear? Is the child apt to try the necktie on themselves and end up strangling? Eliminate the necktie or sew it in place so it can not be removed.
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StuffingQuality polyester filling will give you the smoothest un-lumpy results. Stuffing with scraps of fabric, serger trimmings and other items, can lead to increased lint which can be a problem for a child with breathing issues or asthma.
To obtain the smoothest results, stuff from the center out, allowing the stuffing to work out to the fabric while you fill in the middle.
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Additions InsideIf you've ever sewn a doll that the neck wanted to be floppy no matter how much stuffing you used, you know the desire to add something inside the doll to keep the neck stiff. Your first inclination maybe a dowel or stick... but what happens when that dowel breaks and sticks through the doll? It's much safer to keep stuffing until you achieve the stiff neck that you desire.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Doll ClothingClothing should be large enough that it is not a choking hazard. Something like a tiny sock may seem cute but it won't be if a child is turning blue (or worse) while choking on it. If a sock or something tiny is a part of your plans, plan on sewing it securely in place or waiting until the child is older to provide that kind of clothing.
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Toy And Doll Making Tips
Read personal exeriences and learn more about safely sewing toys and clothing for children.