DIY Matryoshka Nesting Dolls with Kiriki Press

MAY 30, 2018 updated May 27, 2021

We first met embroidery artist and kit designer Michelle Galletta of Kiriki Press while working together on a quick and easy DIY project for attendees of the Create: Now Summit. To say it was love at first stitch would be an understatement! Michelle has the ability to bring fabric to life with her extraordinary embroidery skills and today, we’re so thrilled to welcome Michelle to the blog to share her Matryoskha dolls with the entire Spoonflower community.

Just like the traditional Russian nesting dolls where the artistry is found in the way the dolls’ outfits are decorated, Michelle’s dolls will come to life as you embroider the cut & sew pattern with your own personal spin. 

Michelle: Summer is just around the corner and nothing compares to the taste of wild berries that grow all around my home province of Ontario.  After long winters, I look forward to summers filled with camping trips to Georgian Bay where I can unwind, read novels, stitch and go on the hunt for blueberries (and if I’m lucky I find strawberries and raspberries, too!)  

Aside from berries, these Matryoshka dolls combine two more of my favourite things: embroidery and watercolour textures. If you’re new to embroidery, or need a refresher, learn the stitches first on the practice sampler (included in the yard) and use your new skills to embellish the dolls before sewing them together. 

For additional practice, follow along using the Kiriki Press Stitch Library.

Now that you’ve practiced your embroidery, it’s time to make your doll!


  • 1 yard of the Matryoshka Dolls Project – I recommend ordering your project on 1 yard of Petal Signature Cotton™ or any other crafting cotton available at Spoonflower
  • Fiberfill
  • Sewing Machine
  • Rotary blade or fabric Scissors
  • Embroidery thread
  • Embroidery needles
  • Cardboard (optional)

Cut the front pieces of the dolls along the cut line and use an embroidery hoop to stitch the details. The Stitch Guide printed on the fabric will tell you which colours and stitches to use. When you’re working on stitches close to the edge of the dolls, end your stitches 1/8”-1/16” away from the edge, so they’re not in danger of being cut away when you cut out the doll.

Once you’ve finished embroidering all three dolls, cut out all of the front, back and base pieces. Make sure you don’t cut through any of the embroidery stitches.

Pin the right-sides of the front and back of the dolls together and pin the base pieces along the straight edge. Use your pins to mark an opening in the base.


Sew the front and back pieces and the base pieces together using a 1/4” seam allowance. Leave the straight edge on the doll completely open. Leave an opening on the base piece as marked and press the seam flat. Clip around the doll.

Attach the base piece to the corresponding doll. Pin the corners first, then pin along the edges. Sew using a 1/4” seam allowance.

Turn your doll right-side out through the gap in the base.

Stuff the doll until they fill out nicely and can stand on their own. Sew closed or, if you’d like a firmer bottom, trace a light piece of cardboard and trim so it’s slightly smaller than the base. Insert it through the gap.

Sew closed using a ladder stitch

Enjoy your set of matryoshka dolls on a shelf or give them to a little one to play with!

Don’t stop at just dolls! After practicing your embroidery stitches using Michelle’s project, take your stitches from a cut & sew kit to repeating patterns like the ones designed for the Swedish Folk Art design challenge! 

About the Guest Author

Originally a printmaker, Michelle stumbled upon embroidery by chance, fell head-over-heels in love, and figured out a way to combine the two. She runs her embroidery kit business, Kiriki Press, out of her Toronto studio, where all of the patterns are screen printed by hand. When Michelle’s not busy dreaming up new critters, you’ll probably find her on a roadtrip, rummaging through thrift shops or making a mess in the kitchen.

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