How to Make Ragdoll Toys
Ragdoll toys also known as raggedy dolls are made from cloth fashioned into a doll. Hundreds of years ago, and even today, rag doll toys were usually home-made from spare pieces of material and stuffed with fabric scraps.
They are one of the most ancient children's toys ever made, as rag dolls have been found in a child's grave dating as far back as 300 BC.
Making rag doll toys is very easy and so much fun. One needs not be creative or talented to create great raggedy dolls. And they make wonderful toys for children because they are soft and cuddly, and if the right fabric scraps are used, they can be washable.
Have you considered making a collection of rag doll toys for children in orphanages this Christmas or other seasonal and festive celebrations?
Great Gift Idea for Kids in Orphanages
The adorable children of orphanages the world over deserve as much as we can give and it doesn’t have to be monetary. Crafting of toys created with love means so much more, and the pleasure derived from giving them something handmade, in the spirit of the season makes it the more worthwhile and fulfilling.
Give them something soft and cuddly, something personal to them that they can hug and love. Something bright and cheery like rag doll toys that can come in any character or size you can ever imagine.
To make a collection of rag doll toys to give to very young children at any orphanage, or in areas of the world where children have been displaced due to adverse weather conditions or war, you can work as a group, with your family or individually.
If you are the charitable type, as many people of today are, you can engage your children in this fun art of making rag doll toys while at the same time teach them to imbibe the spirit of giving to those less privileged than them.
Let them be aware that the fun task is for the less privileged kids who have no mums and dads to open presents with on Christmas day.
Characters for rag doll toys that you can choose from abounding in your subconscious minds (believe it or not!), children's books, comics, the internet illustrations, and so many other places.
If it seems difficult to craft one after illustrations of popular characters, then a simple and plain old fashioned rag doll will do just fine.
And while making these beautiful soft toys, 'fill' them with some love. Imagine the transfer of your love into this toy you are lovingly and peacefully making. Visualise their bright 'toothy' smiles of appreciation whilst they hug their new raggedy doll toy.
How to Make a Rag Doll
Deciding on what rag doll toys bodies will look like, and choosing the appropriate colours - that's if one wants to choose skin colours such as cream, brown, tan, white or pink - is simple but the body must be a plain solid colour without and pattern or texture.
If you have old pillowcases, bed sheets or old shirts in any of these colours, recycle them. Wash them and use to make the body of the doll. It’s preferable to use cotton.
Ragdolls head and body patterns are easy to make with a sketch and simple measurements. You can practice the rag doll's outline on paper until you get it right. Practice with making the head large with a round or oval shape.
Once you are okay with your sketch, you can move on to using your cloth. If you find this a challenge (probably not), there are rag doll toys patterns for sale at many online art and craft stores.
- On your cloth, draw out the outline for your rag doll.
- 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 piece of cloth with another piece of the same size. Remember to keep the right sides of the fabric together and on the inside. Cut out your pattern along the outermost line.
- Stitch around the outline and leave ample opening for the stuffing. You should relieve the seams around all curves and corners by cutting triangular notches in the seam allowance, i.e. the arm joints, between the legs, the corner of the neck and shoulders, etc...
- Now after hand stitching or machine sewing (a small hand sewing machine will suffice), turn the rag doll toy inside out.
- Stuff the rag doll with any scrap fibre or any other soft stuffing you choose. Again, it is preferable to use cotton material scraps.
- Once the rag doll is well stuffed and firm to the feel, seal up the opening you left for stuffing by turning the edges under and towards the inside, then stitch it closed by hand or machine.
You now have your rag doll toys body. If you desire - and it's recommended - stitch straight across the arms at the shoulder points, and the legs at the hip point to form flexible joints.
This way the rag doll toys are easier to manipulate by kids, and also comfy and warm to hug and hold.
HOW ABOUT A GIFT MADE WITH LOVE TO THE ABANDONED THIS CHRISTMAS?
Sourcing for Materials to Use
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. They may have what you need and decide to join in the fun of rag doll toys making too.
You can always find scrap fabric at local fabric stores or at arts & crafts shops around your locality. You will also find arts & crafts shops online that have special prints, vintage children prints and seasonal prints that will make unique modern or classic rag doll toys.
The Exciting Part of Ragdoll Making
Now for the really exciting and fun part of making rag doll toys. Decorating the cloth dolls.
The face can be embroidered or alternatively stitching on old lovely and bright buttons for the eyes and the nose is very effective.
You can sew pretty and even chic doll clothes for rag doll toys, using leftover or recycled textile materials.
And for rag doll hair, you can stitch on knitting wool or add yarn hair, cutting it into a beautiful hairstyle. The hairstyle can be the popular 'Goldilocks' waist length hair and if you want crazy colors or crazy hair, simply make the doll that way.
Ragdoll toys can also be made with no doll clothes on. However, they look prettier when adorned, and when they are made prettily dressed up, they will make better Christmas gifts to some wonderful but deprived children out there.
Creating the Doll's Hairstyle
You may have learned how to make rag doll toys because it’s quite simple to make one, but making rag dolls hair, giving them a personality, is a simple art on its own.
Making rag doll toys hair is very exciting and it's the most rewarding aspect of rag doll making. Your newly made rag doll needs to have a personality and what better way to achieve this than with the hairstyle. - Read further...
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