Sunday, 18 December 2011

Rag Dolls for our beautiful granddaughters

I decided yesterday that I wanted to make a rag doll for each of our two little granddaughters for Christmas gifts.

Its many years since I last made a rag doll, but I more or less knew what pattern pieces I needed and just drew something out on some paper.

Here you can see I have a head, body, arm, leg/foot and the small piece is for the sole of the foot.

Saturday I popped to my local market and saw someone selling a pack to two pillows for just £5.  You can often pay £5 for some stuffing so I thought these would be ideal.

I opened up one of the pillows to reveal the stuffing and emptied it into the plastic bag and then used the fabric of the pillow case to cut out my pattern pieces.  The case was enough for one full doll and the body and head of the 2nd doll.  As you can see here, I have only used about 1/3rd of the pillow stuffing so I will be able to use the rest for other projects.Constructing the doll was easy I just sewed a 1/4" seam leaving an opening to pop the stuffing into, however before I cut out the head, I embroidered a face onto a piece of the fabric.  It was easier to keep the fabric large enough to go into the hoop before cutting the head out.

For my face I am proud to say that I used my Janome digitizer Pro software to construct my face.  I have imported images into the software program before, and then asked the software to digitize it, but this time I created my own face (please ignore the little bits of thread I need to clean up).

Now that I have experimented, I am keen to try out more of my own digitizing.  Once the head was embroidered (this took approximately 20 minutes), I then placed the pattern piece over the embroidery and cut out two pieces of the white pillowcase for the head and then stitched them right sides together before I stuffed them and joined the arms, legs and head to the body.

I had to send my D Mike out to purchase some wool for me today (I was preparing a family lunch) - I saw some in a local shop and thankfully they still had some - it came in a pack of 4 balls.  To cut my strands of wool required for the hair, I wound the wool around a small ring-binder and cut it where the two flaps come together (easy) and all the pieces were the same length.

Sewing the hair is a little time consuming to say the least.  Basically you fold each strand in half and stitch it to the back of the head,

You can see in the 2nd photo that the loop you created when folding the strand in two is always pointing down - this way, the hair falls back over the loop, similar to you pushing your hair backwards away from your forehead.

Here I have nearly finished filling in the back of the head - you can leave a gap of approximately 1/4-1/2" between each row because my wool was quite thick, for thinner wool, you could keep the rows very close together.

For the 1st doll, and because I kept the strands quite long, it took 3 balls of wall for the hair, however I have a doll with long locks that can be  put up into a ponytail, etc etc.

And here is the end result.  Once you have completed the back of the head, you need to add some around the front of the head.

On my doll here, you can see I have defined the waist and the wrists by back-stitching these areas by hand.  I may also sew some lines in the hand for the fingers.

I have made two dolls, the 2nd smaller than the first, and am now sewing the hair on to the 2nd doll.  I will post up a picture of the two dolls when I am at stage 2 - dressing the dolls.

This is the first rag dolls I have made for a very long time and I have to say I have really enjoyed it.

As normal, I will post more later.................................


  1. This is wonderful. You are doing such an awesome job.

  2. What a wonderful gift for you two grand daughters. You did a fabulous job from designing to finishing the first one. Kudos to you.

  3. Oh they are fantastic. My friend would like me to make one for her daughter but I never quite get around to it. I have a Janome embroidery machine but no special software for it.

  4. Thank you for the comments I want to finish them both today if possible.

    Ruthie I am happy to send you the JEF file if you care to have it, alternatively I did see some doll faces on some of the sites quite cheap.

    Send me your email details if you want it.