Introduction: My Winter Warmer Mia Doll

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My daughter loves dolls! Give her a rag doll and she drags it with her all day. Experiencing sub-zero temperatures in Switzerland inspired the ultimate doll: My Winter Warmer Mia Doll. A beautiful, easy to make rag doll with a re-usable rice warming pack inside her body. The Mia doll took my daughter's rag doll adoration to the next level! Nothing better than snuggling in bed with your favorite doll to keep you warm.

You can easily create your own winter warmer Mia Doll from left over fabric scraps and old clothes, or if you prefer from personalized fabrics from your local fabric supplier.

This is an original HealthyFamilyandMe winter warmer Mia doll pattern that is for personal use only. For questions or comments, please email me at

Step 1: Gather the Materials

  1. T-shirt fabric, plain and multicolored in shades of your preference, bought or recycled (all pieces used in this instructable came from two of my kids' old t-shirts)
  2. Beige or flesh colored cotton
  3. A scrap of thick winter sheeting fabric
  4. Small pieces of decorative fabric, such as polar fleece fabric off-cuts (an old sweater was used here)
  5. Matching threads
  6. 25 mm or similar sized elastic
  7. Stuffing (can be from an old pillow)
  8. Pink and black wool with embroidery needle, or a pink and a black fabric marker (these are for decorating the Mia Doll's face)
  9. Pink chalk powder
  10. Dry uncooked rice
  11. Baby oil or any preferred essential oil to perfume the rice (optional)
  12. Print out of the pattern pieces (provided in the next step)

You will also need your sewing machine and basic sewing skills.

Step 2: Download and Print the PDF Pattern

Visit for the PDF pattern. The photo above provides general instructions for each page. Print on A4 sized paper to make the same sized doll as in the photos (which measures about 60 cm from head to toe).

Cut each pattern piece out.

You can change the pattern size as you wish, just be sure to adapt all the pattern pieces proportionally.

Tip: I would not recommend decreasing the size too much, as from my experience: 'The bigger - The better' goes for most little girls!

Step 3: Cut Pattern Pieces From Fabric

Each pattern piece should be cut from the chosen fabric with seam allowances added. Normal seam allowance is about 6.4 mm, but the easiest way to determine a good allowance is by measuring the width of your sewing machine foot. The pattern pieces are suggested to be cut as follows and using the following fabric:

  1. Arms, legs and head using the beige cotton fabric
    • cut 2 arms, then invert the pattern piece and cut 2 more
    • cut 2 legs, then invert the pattern piece and cut 2 more
    • cut out the face pattern
  2. Body pattern pieces 1, 2, and 3 on plain t-shirt fabric
  3. Head and hair front pieces from polar fleece fabric
  4. Skirt piece 2 from t-shirt fabric (2 pieces from each color)
  5. Skirt piece 1 from plain t-shirt fabric (2 of each)
  6. Heart and flower 1 and 2 from your preferred scraps
  7. Shoe pattern piece from t-shirt fabric
    • cut 2, then invert the pattern and cut 2 more
  8. Warmer bag pattern piece from thick winter sheeting fabric
    • cut 1 on fold
    • Tip: use a thick fabric to make the warmer bag to preserve the heat better than a thin fabric

Step 4: Transfer the Face Lines

Place the printed face pattern piece under the beige cotton face piece and trace over the lines of the eyes and mouth.

Use either a grey pencil or light colored fabric marker to transfer the lines.

Step 5: Sew the Arms and Legs

Sew the arms:

  • Place the 2 corresponding arm pieces together and sew along the edge within the seam allowance. Keep the top of the upper arms open to allow for stuffing.
  • Cut small incisions around the curved edges to create a smooth curve
  • Repeat the above for the other arm
  • Stuff both arms firmly leaving the top 1 cm free of filling

Sew the legs and shoes:

  • Place the 4 shoe pieces (right sides up) on the bottom of the right side of the 4 leg pieces
  • Fold the top 0.5 mm of the shoe piece over, pin and sew onto each leg
  • Pin 2 legs with shoes right sides together and sew all around the edges, keeping the top of the legs open

Tip: make sure the top of the shoes line up on the 2 legs when pinning.

  • Repeat the same for the other leg
  • Clip around the curved edges and turn the legs right side out
  • Stuff firmly leaving the last 1 cm free of filling

Step 6: Put a Flower in Her Hair!

Pin the front hair piece on the beige face cotton piece and pin the 2 flower pieces onto the combined face and hair pieces. Sew the flower onto the hair and face pinned pieces.

The position indicated on the pattern here works well for me, but feel free to place it anywhere on the hair pattern.

Tip: A circular sew in the middle of the flower is efficient and allows the flower petals to be moving and appear more lively.

Step 7: Attach Arms and Legs

Place and pin the arms in position with the open edge on the right side of body piece 1 and sew together.

Tip: Stitch twice to secure well and make sure the arms are pinned at the same height on the body piece.

Tip: push stuffing to the end of the arm to sew more easily and then distribute evenly again through the arm after sewing.

Follow the same procedure and place and pin the legs with the open edge on the right side of the bottom of body piece 1, and sew together.

Tip: Pin the legs onto the body and make sure that they are the same length before stitching in place.

Step 8: Sew the Back of the Body Together

Fold the ends of the straight sides of body pieces 3 twice at 1 cm each, pin and sew.

Place the two body pieces 3 overlapping on top of body piece 1 to determine the right position as they are similar width size. Remove body piece 1 and pin body piece 2 on top with right sides facing and stitch along the top as indicated by the line on the photo.

Tip: The sewn piece should now be exactly the same size as body piece 1.

Step 9: Create the Neck and Body

Place right sides together of the top of body piece 1 and the bottom of the beige cotton face piece, pin and sew across.

Do the same with the bottom of the hair piece and the top of body piece 2.

Sew the heart decoration onto body piece 1, position as preferred as this is simply decorative. Top left of body piece 1 works well.

Step 10: Sew the Back and Front Body and Head Together

Place the two head and body combined pieces right sides together with arms tucked inside. Pin and sew along the edges with standard seam allowance as indicated by the dotted line.

Tip: when pinning the head pieces together make sure you do not catch the edges of the flower. You can fold the petals inside to avoid this.

Step 11: Stuff the Head and Neck

Cut around the curved angles of the head and neck with small incisions and turn the head and body inside out.
Fill the head and neck firmly with stuffing. Start to stuff the body but only around the top. Tip: fill the neck area extra firmly to ensure that the head doesn't hang forward.

Step 12: Create the Face

Use pink wool on an embroidery needle to stitch across the line of the mouth. Start to create the mouth by making a knot in the wool, threading an embroidery needle and then pushing the needle from the inside of the face out. Stitch across the line of the mouth, and at the end push the needle back inside to end with a knot on the inside of the doll. The mouth can also be created with a pink fabric marker.

Trace the lines of the eyes with the black fabric marker or use black wool to stitch across the lines, starting and ending in a similar way as used for the mouth.

Step 13: Stuff and Sew Close the Body

Pin the body across the seam line at the back and sew closed from both sides, leaving a gap in the middle.

Fill the body firmly through the hole, making sure the body is nice and stiff and sew the gap closed.

Step 14: Sew the Body Closed

Fold the edges of the bottom of the two body pieces in, pin and sew closed with the legs out.

Step 15: Sew Re-usable Rice Warmer Bag

Pin the warmer bag pieces right sides together and sew along the edge, leaving a 2 cm opening at the corner to fill the bag.

Place 2 cups of uncooked rice through the opening of the rice bag.

Tip: use paper funnel for no spill transfer of the rice.

Fold the fabric in at the opening and sew closed tightly, making sure there is no gap for the rice to fall through.

Optional: Pour the 2 cups of dry rice in to a plastic bag and add 5 drops of baby oil or any essential oil and mix well. Transfer the scented rice into the warmer bag. This will leave your doll smelling beautifully every time the warmer bag is heated.

Step 16: Sew the Skirt

Pin the skirt pieces 2 right sides together and sew the small side together. Repeat for the other two skirt pieces.

Use a gathering stitch to sew along the top of both the skirt pieces.

Tip: remember to keep long thread ends at the end and beginning and do not back stitch as you are going to remove these stitches.

Pull the top thread from the one side and gather the top of both skirt pieces enough to fit around the width of skirt piece 1 twice (see photos 1, 2 and 3).

Pin the right sides together on the short sides of the two skirt pieces 1, and sew together.

Pin the first skirt piece 2 onto the bottom of skirt piece 1, fixing the gathering stitch to fit around the width of skirt piece 1 (see photo 4). Sew in place and remove the gathering stitch.

Pin the second skirt piece 2 onto skirt piece 1 to just overlap the top of the skirt piece 2 sewed onto the bottom (see photo 5). Sew together and remove the gathering stitch.

Measure the elastic around the waist of your stuffed doll and add an additional 2 cm. Sew the end of elastic to the side of the back of skirt piece 1 right above the seam where the second gathered skirt piece 2 was sewn. Attach a safety pin onto the end of the elastic to easily pull it through to the end later. Fold the top of skirt piece 1 over the elastic, pin and sew to create a tube for the elastic.

Tip: pin the elastic flat and take care not to sew onto the elastic when creating the tube.

Thread the elastic to the end with the help of the safety pin. Pin securely at the end, remove the safety pin and sew across to keep it in place.

Pin and sew closed the side seam of the dress with right sides facing and turn inside out.

Tip: Make sure the top and bottom of your dress is in line before sewing.

Step 17: Create Rosy Cheeks

Creating rosy cheeks is the final step and can be achieved by rubbing chalk powder with your finger in a circular motion onto the cheek areas. A similar effect can be created by using blotted lipstick on your finger.

You can add any additional embellishment to decorate your Mia Doll at this point. If making the doll for small children, rather avoid using small pieces that could be swallowed or possibly hurt.

Step 18: Warm and Insert the Rice Bag

Warm your rice bag in the microwave for up to 2 minutes and then push the bag through the slit at the back of the body.

Cover the opening with the skirt.

Step 19: Enjoy Your Awesome Winter Warmer Mia Doll!

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