Sunday, January 8, 2017

Easy Sew Modern Day Rag Doll

Hello lovelies! Its Candace and Mandy from Twigs & Teas again.  Its been a couple of weeks since our last post due to all the holiday festivities. This tutorial was recently featured on Creatively Homespun's blog. Danielle is the owner of and old dear friend of ours so we were honored to be guest blogging for her as she was preparing for her new bundle of joy. Danielle and her husband Jon were blessed with a beautiful baby girl with that in mind we felt this post was just what every little girl needed..  In honor of Lillian Elizabeth, we shared one of our oldest family traditions, "Ragdolls". Since, we can remember there has always been some type of ragdoll in our bedrooms as small children. But living in a new age of 2017 we thought we would put a modern twist on the old ragdoll. Hope you enjoy our little tutorial.

Fabric Choices

For the face, we used muslin or tan cotton fabric for skin tone. For the body, we used pre-washed cotton. One fabric for the skin(upperarms, face, and legs(muslin), another for her lower legs, tights, and a different one for the body/skirt and upper arms/sleeves.
  • For her shoes and hair we use wool felt due to she is going to receive lots of hugs and love.

Supplies for the Doll

Wool Felt: 8.5x11 sheets (1 for hair, 1 for shirt, and 1 sheet for shoes)
1/2 yard of Pre-washed cotton fabric for Doll
Paper Pattern (at bottom of post)
Fabric pen or pencil
Cutting surface
Stuffing(Polly Fill)
Thick Thread
2 Large buttons (2 hole ones are the best)
Doll Making Needle (Its a very long needle)
Lots of Ribbon and Lace Scraps (for Décor and Detail)
sewing machine( your can do this by hand but who wants to)
stick pens
Pinking Shears

  1. Using the paper pattern, cut out your pre-washed/ironed fabric and felt. Make sure you allow 1/4 inch seam allowance which is already added on the pattern.

Pig Tail Construction

2.  Place one tail over the other and sew together finishing off both ends.

3.  Repeat with the other tail making sure you create a mirror image of the first one.

Face Construction

4.  Take your face pattern and place your fabric over it. Place your felt bangs/hair using your template as a guide. Then pin and sew around the face opening with your sewing machine (1/8 inch from the edge) make sure to finish off both ends.

5.  With the face over the pattern piece, using your fabric pen or pencil draw on your eyes, mouth, and nose ( your can embroider them on its up to you)

Limb Construction

6.  Cut the "cut out" of your paper pattern and pin it to your felt and cut around making sure to have two shoe fronts and two sold shoe backs.

7.  Pin the upper leg to the top of the lower leg and the shoe to the bottom of the lower leg.

8.  Next sew together finishing off both ends.  Iron the upper and lower leg seam down.  Repeat with the other three legs.

9.  With the right side of the fabric facing inwards pin and sew the legs together making sure to leave the tops open for stuffing. Then finish off both ends with a backstitch to keep your seams from unraveling. Then re-inforce with fraycheck.

10. Then clip the curved edges of the foot (make sure you do not cut into your stitch). This ensures when you turn them right side out the curves pop out. (if not its a mess)
11.  Firmly stuff the legs up to 1/2 inch from the opening. The gap allows you to sew them to body easily. We used a wooden stick as a stuffing tool.

12.  Pin the ends of the legs shut and sew them together 1/8 of an inch from the edge.

13.  Repeat with the arms remembering to leave the back sides of them open when sewing together.

14.  Firmly stuff the arms all the way up to your opening. Pin the opening closed and sew up using a ladder stitch to close. 

15.  We then like to add lace or ribbon scraps to the upper and lower arms to create a sleeve. Cut it to length and hand stitch it to place (hot glue)

Adding the Shirt Applique or Collar

16.  Pinking shear around the applique for detail or cut out a collar for around the neck) be creative!
17.  Pin the shirt to the center of the front body and sew 1/8 from the edge make sure to finish off both ends.

18.  Then use detail around the applique/collar and sew into place.

Body Construction

19.  Pin the bottom of the back of the head to the top of the body with the right sides of the fabric facing each other and sew together along the neck.

20.  Repeat with the face and the front body piece.

21.  Position the legs just before the body begins to curve.

22.  Once you like the placement flip them up so the edges are 1/4 of an inch over the side of the body fabric and then pin.

23.  Sew two lines of stitches finishing off both ends on each leg. With one that is 1/8 of an inch from the edge of the body, and a second that is 1/4 inch from the edge (seam allowance).

24.  Now flip your legs down out of the way.

Place the pigtails either side of the head and flip them over. Position them so that the edges are 1/8 over the side of the head. Pin in place to keep them from wiggling around.
25.  Place the back of the body right side facing inwards over the front creating a sandwich. Then make sure that both body pieces are right side facing inwards and match up at the neck seam.

26.  Then sew all the way around the outside of your doll sandwich starting next to one leg and finishing next to the other leg. Make sure you leave an opening at the bottom of the doll on either side of the legs. (Whatever you do..DO NOT SEW OVER THE LEGS!)

27.  When sewing over the pigtails let the machine go at its own rate.

28.  Clip the curved edges of the head, neck, and bottom of the body so your curves will pop (do not cut through your stitches!)

29.  Pull the head through the hole in the bottom of the doll and remove any loose pins.  Then pull the head gently out, slowly pull the entire doll right side out.

30.  Now stuff that dolly up!  It is so neat to watch her come to life as you stuff from the head to the bottom. Use a wooden stick to get the tight areas if needed. Make sure you stuff very firmly. You will know when your done when there are no bumps and lumps.

31.  When stuffing the head and neck you need to keep stuffing till there are no creases. Believe me you need to use more stuffing then you think!!!

Closing the Doll

32.  Flip your doll over the back. You should be able to see how the leg seams make the front body piece naturally flip up and under.  This is the 1/4 seam allowance.

33.  Mirror the seam allowance on the back body piece and pinning the front and back pieces together.  This to me is the hardest part of the doll but you can do it!!

34.  Sew up using the ladder stitch.

35.  Then work the stuffing in the top of the legs so you can not see any gaps.

Adding the Arms

36. Thread the doll needle with double embroidery thread. Pin the arms where you want them and make sure they are level. 

37.  Insert the needle into one side of the doll where the arm will be. Pull through to otherside. Thread it through one button hole and return through the other. Insert it back through the arm and back through the body to the other arm and through the other button and back through. Continuing this step several times till secure then tie it off double knotting.

38. Embellishments!! Add ribbons in her hair, add an elastic skirt, or ruffles on her bottom, etc!

39.  Make sure whatever you add to remember to secure it to the doll to eliminate choking for children under 3

40. HOORAY!!! Your dolly is complete!

*Patterns to Print out and cut

Get creative and you can change it up! There is so many different possibilities!

Hope this tutorial was helpful in making your little love-ones new best friend! You can give them as gifts or sale them in a craft fair like we did!


  1. i think giving such a task to kids to make their own doll can be benificial in so many ways. posting this tutorial helps quite a lot. thanks

  2. I agree! It would make a great craft for a child or anyone! They are so fun and easy to make!