Designing Original Amigurumi Part One

Welcome to the first article in a series on how to design an original amigurumi doll. Each article will walk you through the process I use, from thinking of a design up to photographing the finished doll.  In Part One I will cover the considerations you should have in the design process, such as audience and materials. I will also be showing you how I sketch out and design the doll before I begin to crochet. Part Two will discuss the importance of making a prototype, and how to keep notes as you go. In Part Three, I'll be covering the actual construction of the doll and how to use your notes to keep the design consistent.

The very first step is deciding what you want to make! This may seem obvious, but when planning an amigurumi doll, the quality of the final piece will benefit hugely from the right amount of preparation you put in before even picking up a hook. Ask yourself what has inspired you to make a doll. Is it intended as a gift? Or perhaps you want to create a doll with a written pattern that you can sell. Maybe you’re thinking of making a set of matching dolls, and you need to think of a theme that will carry across all the designs. Who you doll is intended for will dictate your design.

Gift for a Child

  • Small parts and large, loose flaps of crochet can be dangerous - use safety, embroidered or crocheted eyes only. Loose flaps may be features like big floppy ears or wings.
  • Try to use materials that are washable i.e acrylic yarn and polyester stuffing.
  • Expect the doll to be handled a lot, so plan how you are going to assemble it with this is mind.

Designing a Set

  • Be consistent with your choice of yarn across the set. If you have difficulty finding the yarn you want in the quantities you need, consider using a different type or brand that’s widely available.

In this set of articles, I’m going to be documenting how I design and make a doll that is part of a set. I want to sell the pattern, so I need to make sure I design something that’s easy to understand and can be written using standard crochet terminology. If you are designing a doll that you want to give as a gift or sell, you might not be too fussed about keeping detailed notes of the pattern, but it’s still a good idea to write them out clearly, even when you’re doing your sketches. Some sets are based on a single design – decide if you want to design a doll that has different features on each model, or if you want a set that follows a theme but is full of different models. Imagine you want to do a set with a circus theme. It might include animals such as a giraffe, lion, hippo or monkey. You might choose to make props like the big top. All of these require radically different shapes, whereas doing a set based on the circus could include a troupe of humans that follow the same base model, such as the ring leader, a strongman and an acrobat. You might need to make some changes to the limb sizes and designs, but the overall structure remains the same.