Rag Doll Tutorial

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I have made a few of these rag dolls in the past and think I have it down now. I took inspiration from some similar dolls I had seen selling on Etsy. Our cute little neighbor Jaycee turned 3 so I thought I’d make her one for her birthday. She is the cutest little blonde with blue eyes so I tried to match her features. Here is what you will need:
Fabrics:

  • Face, arms and legs – flesh tone cotton
  • Dress – Fun pattern in cotton (you could use a fat quarter)
  • Leggings and collar – white cotton
  • Hair – Fleece or felt.  I recommend fleece because it is softer for hugging and doesn’t ball up so much
  • Eyes and shoes – Felt

Stuffing: I used polyester fiberfil

Face: Embroidery floss. If you are not good at embroidery or want a faster way to get the face on you could use fabric or permanent markers.

Directions

Start with the body. There will be a front and a back. I used .25″ seams around most things.

  1. Collars: Cut out 4 collar shapes from the white fabric. With right sides together sew a seam around, leaving the top open. With pinking sheers cut around the the edges and then flip right side out. Iron flat.IMG_3348-0.jpg
  2. For the front, cut pieces of each fabric that will be large enough to accommodate the pattern for the head and body. Piece the head fabric onto the body fabric sandwiching the 2 collar pieces in between. Sew together and then iron the seam flat. (don’t skip the ironing, in the long run it will make it easier)
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  3. Place your pattern piece onto the fabric, making sure to line up the line between body and neck on the pattern to your seam. Repeat for the back eliminating the collars (just head and body fabric pieced together.)IMG_3352-0.jpg
  4. Now lets work on the hair and face. Cut out the hair pieces. Seam allowance is included in these pattern pieces. I have used both felt and fleece to make the doll hair and I totally recommend fleece because it’s nice and soft and durable. Also it doesn’t unravel.        IMG_3346-0.jpg
  5. Lay the front and back hair pieces on the head and stitch a seam 1/8″ along the BOTTOM edges only. For the pig tails, cut out 4 pieces. Sew 2 pieces together for each pig tail leaving an opening to put a little bit of stuffing in and set those aside. We won’t need them until we get ready to put her together.
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  6. For the face, I chose to embroider it. I took my pattern, taped it to a sliding glass door, or window. and taped the doll face on top of it. Then I traced the facial features onto the fabric with a brown colored pencil. If you have a light table even better.
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  7. Cut the eye shaped out of felt and hand sew them on using a coordinating thread.IMG_3360.JPG
  8. Arms: Since I gave my doll sleeves, I first seamed together the pattern material with the skin tone material, large enough so that I could cut 4 arm shapes out of it. Be sure to line up the seam with the line in the pattern where the arm meets the sleeve. Sew the pieces together leaving the top open so that you can stuff them. I cut around the curve of the arm with pinking sheers so that it is a little easier to turn right side out.IMG_3362.JPGIMG_3363.JPG
  9. Now it’s time to attach your doll’s hair and arms. Place them where you think they look good and then turn them in toward the inside of the body. Cover the front of your doll with the back body piece and pin in place.  IMG_3367.JPG  IMG_3368.JPG
  10. Sew around the body leaving the bottom open. Turn your doll right side out and stuff firmly. Don’t stuff all the way to the bottom edge.
  11. Legs: Using the same technique as the arms, seam together white fabric for the leggings with the skin tone fabric for the feet. Cut out 4 leg shapes making sure 2 are forward and 2 are backward. Then cut out the shoe shapes and sew along the top edges of the shoes only. They should look like this. IMG_3364.JPG
  12. Put the leg pieces right sides together and sew around the edges, leaving the top open for stuffing. With pinking sheers, cut around the curves of the feet. Turn your legs right side out and stuff, making sure you leave some space at the top of the legs as you will need to sew this space to the body.IMG_3365.JPG
  13. Take you body and iron under the bottom edge of pattern fabric about .25″. Then pin your legs in place. I closed the bottom seam on my machine. It was a super awkward but not impossible. You could hand sew the bottom opening closed if you prefer. My machine seam is a little wonky, but I get a little impatient with hand sewing.IMG_3370.JPG
  14. This is what she should look like.IMG_3369.JPG
  15. The skirt. I don’t have photos of the next step, but cut a piece of your patterned fabric 15.25″x4.25″. Fold it in half and seam the edge. Iron open the edge. For the bottom seam, I sewed on a scrap piece of bias tape in a coordinating pink. You don’t have to do this, you could just fold under and sew, but I liked the extra detail. For the top create a casing for the elastic. I used 1/8″ elastic.
  16. TA-DA!!! She is ready to hug and hold and be best buddies with a little girl or boy.IMG_3371.JPG

 

 

 

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