Captain Cole: A Pirate's Matey

Posted by BreeM on Monday, October 29th, 2012

Captain Cole: A Pirate’s Matey

A Soft Doll and Accessories
Using Pirate Matey’s cottons
Riley Blake Designs

Printer Friendly Instructions


Course Instructor: Bree McElroy from Distant Pickles (

captain cole 

Fabric Line: ' Pirate Matey’s” by Emily Taylor Design for Riley Blake Designs


Course Materials:

doll supplies


templates available here

One Half-Yard C200-02 Cream Basic Shades (or other basic shade!) for skin

One Fat Quarter C3125- Red Pirate Stripes for shorts

One Fat Quarter C3123 – Blue Pirate Ships for shirt

One Fat Quarter C3124 – Cream  Pirate Skulls for do-rag

One set 12mm safety eyes

Scrap of fusible web insterfacing

Fat Quarter of felt in choice of color for hair


 quilt supplies

Treasure Map Quilt:

Six 21”x3.5” strips of prints from Pirate Matey’s

One Fat Quarter C3120 -  Blue Pirate Main for quilt back

One Fat quarter cotton batting

pack supplies

Drawstring Pirate Pack:

One half-yard each of C3120 - Green Pirate Main and C3121 – Cream Pirate Toss

Minimum 2 yards of cotton rope.


Course Instructions:

¼” seam used throughout


Drawstring Pirate Pack

Cut exterior (2) at 18”x15”. Fold 18” sides in 1/4” and press.

hem side

Fold down top 2” and press.

fold top

Stitch into place ¼” inch above bottom of folded fabric section, and stitch another horizontal line 1” above that, 1.25” down from the top.


(If your rope is thicker than will fit in a 1” casing, adjust your casing size accordingly. Make sure you can fit the rope through!)

Sew front to back, right sides together.

stitch exterior

Sew around all three sides, being sure to leave open your 1” casing holes as shown.



Use your finished exterior as a pattern to cut your interior. Cut two interior pieces the exact size of your finished exterior. 

cut lining

cut lining

Sew right sides together, around three sides as shown, leaving top open.


Fit premade exterior (right side out!) into lining shell (wrong sides out!). The RIGHT SIDES of your exterior and interior need to be together.

lining to exterior

Make sure right sides are together and stitch around the top, leaving about 4” for turning.

space to turn

Reach in through this opening and pull out the exterior, then follow with the lining so you have a big floppy sack like so:

pull out the guts

and insert lining into exterior so you now have a real bag.

 its a bag

Topstitch around top.

Grab your rope. For my 4 year old, I cut my two rope pieces at 36" each. To measure, lay your rope across the back of your child's neck and forward across his shoulders, then tuck under his arms like backpack straps and measure to his lower back. Yours may need to be longer than 36"! Feed your rope through each of the two casings.

rope in casing

Pin center of rope in center of bag front and bag back.


Turn bag inside out.

inside out

Grab the corners of the bag and flatten. Measure 2” in and mark a straight line across.

mark 2 in

Push the two ends of your rope for that side of the bag into the corned and pinch into place with your fingers. Pin if needed.

grab rope

Sew across your pre-marked line, 2” in from the corner.

stitch rope

Make sure to sew over this multiple times to ensure strength. Repeat for other side. Trim off excess in corners, leaving a ¼” seam.


Flip bag right side out and remove pins. Tighten up drawstring as needed.


Attach to child!


Treasure Map Quilt

Cut strips at 3.5”x 21”. Sew strips together as shown, forming one big set that is 6 strips wide. Try to alternate your colors and patterns so you don't have two similar fabrics together. Make sure your top and bottom strips are not the same fabric!

strip set

Iron seams open.  Fold your set in half and sew the long side together to form a tube. 


Subcut sets at 3.5”. This will form loops – you need 6 loops total.  


Pick apart one seam on each of these loops, alternating which seam you pick so that a different fabric is at the top of each resulting strip.

seam rip

I started with the light blue print in the upper corner – so the light blue print would be at the very bottom of my next row. See how my strip on the table starts with light blue and goes to the cream skulls print next? The strip in my hand is being ripped apart between the light blue and cream skulls so that the light blue falls to the bottom of that row.

seam rip

The top fabric of each row is the bottom fabric of the very next row.  Lay strips together to verify diagonal pattern and stitch together as shown to form quilt top of about 18” square.


Press neatly and baste and quilt as desired – I quilted ¼” outside all the seams to form a grid like you might see on a map system.



Roll up your treasure map and hide it from other pirates in your neat Pirate Pack!


Captain Cole:

First, you’ll need to cut out all your pattern pieces according to the templates found here.

You will need: Head (2 of skin fabric, 1 of felt), hair (1 of felt), 4 each of skin fabric for the arms, legs, and ears – then 8 each of the short legs and sleeves, as well as 2 each of the shorts and shirt pieces.  You will need two small scrap pieces and a 2” strip for your eye patch. If you’d like a Caitlin doll instead of a Captain Cole, you’ll also need to cut out two pigtail pieces for her hair. 

Cutting note – when cutting your arm pieces, it is best to fold your fabric so you are cutting 2 pieces at once. You will need alternating pieces so that your thumbs line up properly. It is easiest to achieve this by cutting with your fabric folded right sides together, so you get two of each direction.

Your head is the trickiest part and needs the scrap piece of fusing. This makes inserting your eyes way easier! Cut the same head shape out of your fusible web insterfacing, and fuse it to the WRONG side of one of your pre-cut head shapes from the skin fabric. Once the interfacing has fused and cooled, peel it off and lay your other head piece wrong side down on top of the interfaced head piece. make sure your pieces are WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. Iron according to the manufacturer instructions.

Take your felt hair piece and lay it on top of your head piece made of the skin fabric.  Stitch 1/8” from the edge of the hair, around the entire edge, with coordinating thread.


Fold your face piece in half, wrong sides together.


While it is folded, use your seam ripper to create a hole to insert your safety eyes into. There is no wrong place to do this – just eye ball it. I aim for the middle of the half I’m looking at. Because you have it folded, your eyes will be evenly spaced, as long as you make sure your seam ripper goes through both sides!


Insert your eyes into your head, ensuring that the front of the eyes are on the same side of the face as the hair. Push safety eye backs down onto posts to secure into place.


Embroider or use fabric paint to create a mouth.


Ears: place pieces right sides together and stitch with ¼” seam. Turn right side out and press.


Place your ears about ½” up from the bottom of the hair on the front of the face, and stitch into place as shown:


Next, prep your body piece! Line up one shirt piece over one short piece. Make sure they overlap by about ½”.


Stitch on top, ¼” from the bottom of the shirt piece. This joins the two pieces together securely and allows the bottom of the shirt to “rag” and fray a bit to give your pirate a worn look over time. If you’d prefer not to have a raggy bottom shirt, simply sew the two pieces right sides together with a ¼” seam and press seam to the side.  Do this for both shirt and short pieces to create two body pieces.

Sew your head pieces – both the skin + hair piece and your full head-sized hair piece to your two body pieces. Sew them right sides together and press your seams. DO NOT PRESS YOUR FELT. If you’ve used polyester felt, your iron will be sad. For a long time. Lay a piece of cotton on top of the felt prior to pressing, and press quickly.

sew bodies


Set your body pieces to the side – it’s time to prep the limbs!

First, take your short leg pieces, and sew together along the bottom seam as shown:


Press and flip up, then topstitch the bottom to create a “hemmed” short. You will have 4 finished short legs.


Repeat this same action for your shirt sleeves, sewing together two pieces along the bottom of the sleeve. 

You will have 4 total finished sleeves.

Once your short legs and shirt sleeves are prepped, line then up on top of the appropriate limb piece cut from skin fabric. Stitch along the sides of that limb to secure the clothing piece to the arm or leg.


Repeat for all four arm pieces and all four leg pieces. 

To complete your legs, place two leg pieces right sides together and stitch with a ¼” seam.  Flip right-side out – a pencil will help poke the bottom of the foot all the way out! Stuff lightly with polyfil.


To complete your arms, place two arm pieces right sides together and stitch with a ¼” seam. Flip Right-side out – a pencil will help poke out the thumb and hand! Stuff lightly with polyfil.



You are ready to sew your doll together!

Place the backside of your doll right side up on your table. Stitch the arms to the body piece with a ¼” seam – flip them to the inside of the body as shown to stitch.

Stitch your legs the same way. Flip the arms outward and line up the legs with the bottom seam of the shorts, and securely stitch across both leg seams. This secures them into place to make sewing the whole doll easier.

Place your doll’s front body section right side down on top of the body with legs and arms attached and folded in. Pin very well – line up as best you can at the bottom and where the head meets the body to keep it aligned.

Starting ½” up from the bottom on one side, stitch down, across the bottom, and around the doll, ending ½” below the arm on the same side you started on.

This leaves you a hole just big enough to turn the doll!

Turn your doll by pulling out the limbs first, then poking out the head through the neck hole.



You have an almost completed doll now!

Stuff your doll lightly with polyfil. The most stuffing will be needed in the head, to keep your fabric nice and smooth and taught. Use your fingers to poke stuffing around the eye posts, or they’ll stick out funny and make your doll a little wonky eyed.

When stuffed satisfactorily, close your doll with a ladder stitch. Argh, Captain Cole is complete!


For your eye patch, stitch your two scrap pieces right-sides together and cut slits in the seam allowance ever ¼” or so.

Turn right side out and press.

Create double-fold tape with your 2” strip by folding your two edges into the center and pressing, then folding the resulting strip in half and pressing.

Stitch this strip closed with your machine, inserting your eye patch piece about 1/2 way down the line.

Tie your eye patch around your doll’s head to test the size, lining up the patch over the eye.

Trim the ends of your tape, and sew a straight stitch where you’ve trimmed to prevent fraying.

For the do-rag, cut an 18” square from your fat quarter. Fold it in half diagonally to create a triangle. Top-stitch around this with a ¼” seam. Leave the edges raw – they’ll create the same frayed look as the shirt!

Tie around your doll’s head and tuck the excess up into the tied area.

Argh, Captain Cole is complete! Tuck your doll and his treasure map quilt into the Pirate Pack and let your little matey go on an adventure with him!



Categories: Accessories, Quilts


  1. How adorable! I have a 4-year-old who is on a pirate kick. I may just have to make this for Christmas!
    by Terri in BC
    November 05th, 2012 at 9:59 p.m.

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