Book Review – How to make cloth dolls

Textile Art Book Reviews

At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.

How to make cloth dolls by Jan Horrax


Ever wondered how to make one of those art dolls you often see at events such as The Knitting and Stitching show?  Jan Horrax’s beautiful dolls are exquisitely made, yet by breaking the process down into easy-to-follow steps, they become surprisingly easy to achieve….so we can all have a go.

Horrox is a well known doll maker, so we should be in good hands with this book….

Each doll comes with a full sized template and step by step instructions. Each technique is brought to life with wonderful photography and written instructions…..lets take a deeper look at cloth dolls and the making process….

Who is it aimed at?

With its six wonderful step by step projects, we feel that this book is worth a look for those who are beginning this method and those who want more inspiration.

About the artist

Jan Horrox’s career began in 1973 when she gained a Diploma in Fashion/Textile Design from North East London Polytechnic (now the University of East London). She went on to establish her own range of fashion knitwear, which she designed and manufactured supplying to high-end stores as well as independent retailers in the US, UK and Japan. Jan has taught knitwear and textiles part-time at various colleges in the UK.

In 2004 she founded Jan Horrox Cloth Dolls, and currently supplies cloth doll requirements, patterns and workshops as well as blog tutorials and advice from her website.


Here’s a list of what to expect.  The book is divided into sections for each project….

cloth dolls
The dolls are named, which is a nice personal touch by this author.

Note that templates and clear instructions to clarify how to do the complicated bits are all included, i.e. hands and feet.

We are led through the complex bits, such as hands and feet.
Book Review - How to make cloth dolls
Having been in the arts for many years, Horrax is worth listening to.


Each individual doll has been photographed with large illustrations covering the pages…

Book Review - How to make cloth dolls
Mermaid love, just one doll you may make.
Book Review - How to make cloth dolls

Large illustrations really help us visualise what we are supposed to be making.

What makes this book special?

Ever tried to draw on fabric?  Well, now try drawing a face on fabric….not easy!  So Horrax leads us through the process, giving us little pieces of advice; i.e. halving the face line to draw one side at a time to get it all central!

Book Review - How to make cloth dolls
Getting those faces right….of course if it all goes wrong…we can claim character!

We felt that the techniques covered in this book are worth a mention.  It is not all basic doll making, Horrax covers some art ideas, to give our dolls personality and individuality.  She leads us through making patterns on the fabric we are using…..

Book Review - How to make cloth dolls
Block printing is one technique we could try, to decorate the fabric we are using.

Anything wrong with the book?

If you don’t like dolls, don’t bother.


How to make cloth dolls by Jan Horrax

Published by Search Press