How to Make Rag Doll Toys – Soft Toys Craft
Making rag doll toys is easy and fun. One need not be creative or talented to create raggedy dolls. And they make wonderful toys for children because they are soft, cuddly, and washable.
Rag doll toys, also known as raggedy dolls, are soft toys made from cloth fashioned into dolls. Hundreds of years ago, and even till today, these soft toys were created at home as crafts, and were made from discarded, worn, or spare pieces of materials, and were stuffed with same.
Ragdolls are one of the most ancient children's toys ever crafted and relics of it has been found in a child's grave dating as far back as 300 BC.
It easy to make a rag doll. It is a fun craft that both children and adults love and because they can be made in all shapes, sizes, configurations, and colours, you don’t need to be creative, skilled, or talented to make a great raggedy doll.
Characters to use abound, even in our subconscious minds. We can always imagine what character and features our rag doll will have. Long skinny arms and legs, fat or skinny torso, a huge over-sized head, stumpy arms and legs, or a simple yet proportionately shaped doll. If you can imagine it, you can make it.
Ideas for rag doll toys can also be found in children's books, comics, and on the internet. There are also free dolls patterns and templates that you can download online.
They make wonderful soft toys for children because they are flexible, warm, and cuddly, but because they are soft toys that can harbour bacteria, as long as the right fabric scraps are used, they are washable.
How to Make a Rag Doll
Before you begin your craft, you must first decide on what type you want, its body shape, whether you want to make a large doll, a small one, or a miniature. Once you have decided on that, you want to choose the appropriate fabric colours to suit your choice.
For instance, for different skin colours, you want to choose colours like cream, brown, tan, sand, or pink. For the extremes, you can go for black or white. The rag doll’s body must be a solid colour, without a pattern or any particular texture.
You don’t need to buy new fabrics to make a rag doll, but you can if you wish, as long as what you purchase are fabric remnants, in which case, you may not need to spend more than a couple of dollars. If you intend to use old materials around the house, instead of discarding them, recycle them and make them into soft dolls. Ensure that you wash and iron them before cutting them into pattern pieces. It is best to use cotton. Do not use stretch materials either.
- Scraps of cloth or old pillowcases, bed sheets, clothing, or curtains
- Needle and thread
- Tailor’s chalk
- Polyester filling or soft fabric scraps
- Buttons (for the doll’s eyes)
- Paint Pens
- Fabric glue
- A pair of scissors
- Safety Pins
- Sewing Machine
The doll’s head and body patterns are easy to make with a sketch and simple measurements if you decide to DIY. First practice sketching its outline on paper until you get it right. The head’s shape can be a round or oval shape. The torso is easy. All that is required is to again, practice with a sketch on paper. The shape can be a square or rectangular shape, but it is best to keep the torso rectangular.
The arms and legs are even easier to shape out. For the most simple-to-make rag doll toys, just sketch, again on paper, four cylindrical shapes, two longer (legs) than the others (arms). Try to make all the parts as proportionate to each, as is possible, but there is no hard and fast rule about that.
If you find this too time consuming (it isn’t), you can order for rag doll patterns from online art and craft stores.
Once you are satisfied with your patterns, it is time to transfer the shapes onto your cloth by drawing their outlines. Follow these guidelines:
- Include a seam allowance of at least 1 inch. It’s important to start off by making rag doll toys shapes a little larger than you want the finished doll to be. There must be ample allowance for stuffing.
- Double the material. Remember to keep the right sides of the fabric together, and on the inside. Cut out your pattern along the outermost (allowance) line.
- Stitch with hand (or sew with a sewing machine) the outline but leave an opening where you will pass the filling through.
- Relieve the seams around all curves and corners by cutting triangular notches in the seam allowance. You will find these in the arm joints, between the legs, the corner of the neck and shoulders, and the head.
- Turn the doll inside out.
- Start to stuff with polyester filling (recommended) or scrap soft cotton fabrics. Make sure you fill it until it feels very firm to the touch.
- Stitch to close the stuffing opening by turning the edges towards the inside and then stitching it close by hand or with a sewing machine.
- To form flexible limbs, stitch straight across the arms at the shoulder points, and the legs at the hip point. This allows the rag doll to swing its arms and legs with ease. It will also make it comfier and warmer to hug and hold.
The Exciting Part of Rag Doll Making
Decorating these cloth dolls is one of the really exciting and fun parts of making rag dolls.
The face – Use bold buttons for the eyes, and glue or stitch them into position. Use a different button for the dolls nose. You will find millions of buttons appropriate for these. You can also paint on the eyes and the nose. Alternatively, if you are good at embroidery, you can embroider the eyes and the nose. For the doll’s mouth, use felt material cut out in the shape of lips.
Clothing - You can sew plain, pretty, or chic clothes for rag doll using leftover or recycled textile materials. If you can't find old clothes to recycle or the ones available don’t look cheery enough to make and dress up the rag dolls, you can source for fabrics to use in other ways. Ask friends or family, you never know, they may have what you need, and even decide to join in the fun of rag doll making.
Hair – Attaching rag dolls’ hair can be a bit of a challenge, but it is not as hard as you may believe. Materials to use for hair include knitting wool, or yarn, or thin strips of fabric. Choose whichever hairdo you desire for your doll, hair, Goldilocks waist length hair, crazy Afro hairdos, crimped, cropped, kinky, twisted, or plaited. Your new ragdoll needs to have a personality, and what better way to achieve this than with its hairstyle.
Footwear – Choose a colour to complement the dress. You can use felt or a textured material for ragdoll shoes. They are easy to make and can be made to be fixed or removeable.
HOW ABOUT A GIFT MADE WITH LOVE TO THE ABANDONED THIS CHRISTMAS?
Making Ragdolls as Gifts to the Less Privileged
Have you ever considered making a collection of rag doll toys for the less privileged, especially children in orphanages? They will make great and warm-hearted Christmas (or other celebration) gifts.
To make a collection of rag doll toys to give away, a family, group of friends, an individual, or students can come together and make these simple soft toys. These can be given to churches, mosques, and other religious groups that have children charity organisations in both your locality and in other regions of the world.
Parents can engage their kids in this fun art of rag doll toys making while at the same time, teach them to imbibe the spirit of giving to those less privileged than they are. They can imbibe the pleasure of giving this way.
Teachers can create a class project. Tell the kids to bring old material from home or buy bulk fabric for the doll's body. Coarse materials like jeans are not good to use for soft toys like this.
© 2009 viryabo