How to Make a Milk Filter Doll

By Jennifer Terry

Old-fashioned milk filter dolls, made from filters used on dairy farms and store-bought, plastic dolls, delighted young girls in the early 1950s. These dolls were often used to decorate teenagers' beds or dressers. While they are not commonly found today, many women still cherish their original milk filter dolls and make them for their granddaughters.

Make the Blouse

Cut one milk filter circle in two strips that measure 3/4 inch wide and one strip that measures 2 inches wide. Trim the curved edges off so the sides are straight on all strips.

Wrap the 2-inch strip around the chest of the doll to form a strapless blouse. Stitch the ends together at the back.

Wrap the 3/4-inch strips in a crisscross pattern across the doll's back and over the shoulders. Stitch to the blouse strip on the front and the back.

Make the Skirt

Cut a 1-inch wide strip from the center of another milk filter circle. Fold it in half lengthwise. This is the waistband.

Fold another milk filter circle in quarters by folding it in half and then in half again. Stitch the folded tip to the waistband.

Repeat with another circle. Space the circles so they overlap each other about 1/2 inch. Continue until you have folded and stitched a total of 24 circles in place.

Wrap the waistband around the doll's waist. Stitch the ends together. Stitch to the blouse.

Turn the doll upside down. Stitch the corners of the folded edge to each other. Pull the thread so the skirt lays closer to the legs.

Attach a circle to the outer folds of each folded circle in the upper part of the dress using the needle and yarn. Pull the yarn through and tie a bow to the outside of the dress.

Repeat until 24 circles have been attached.

Fold each of the circles in half. Insert yarn to hold them closed and tie a bow in the center of the folded circle.

Fold remaining circles and attach them to the back seam created when you put the waistband and skirt on the doll. Attach on both sides of the circle with yarn.

Make a Hat

Decrease the size of the circle by cutting 1 inch off the perimeter. Cut a 1 1/4 inch diameter hole in the center.

Stitch a running stitch of yarn about 1/2 inch from the center hole all the way around. Pull the yarn taut until the hole closes to form a hat that fits the doll's head.

Stitch the edges with a buttonhole stitch for decoration, and place a yarn bow on the side.

Tip

You can purchase milk filters at dairy or farm supply stores. You may dye the filters if you want different colors of dresses.

Warning

Count the circles into groups before you begin to avoid folding and attaching too many or too few.

About the Author

Jennifer Terry is program director for TriCounty Agency for Intellectual Disabilities. As a University of Alabama graduate, she holds a Masters in rehabilitation counseling and a Bachelor in psychology with an emphasis in child development. She also earned an Associate in business management and second Associate in computer information systems from Bevill State Community College. She holds a grant writing certificate from North Georgia College and State University.