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Making Raggedy Ann & Andy Dolls
Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls
Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls were created by author Johnny Gruelle around 1915 when his daughter Marcella brought him a rag doll from the attic and he drew a face on it. Looking for a name, he pulled a book of poems by James Whitcomb Riley off the shelf and took the name Raggedy Ann from two of his poems, "The Raggedy Man" and "Little Orphant Annie." In 1918, he published his book Raggedy Ann Stories and introduced Raggedy Andy in 1920 in his book Raggedy Andy Stories. Since then, the dolls have been one of our most beloved rag dolls. I started making these dolls in 1970 while I was in college. My mom had made a pair and loaned me her pattern. I have made dozens since then and still have the same pattern although it is beginning to be a little tattered! The pattern by McCall's has been reprinted several times and you can find variations of this pattern both by McCall's and Simplicity if you do a Google search. My 1970 pattern cost $.85 at the time which I thought was interesting. When I did a search I was able to find this same pattern for $5.00. This pattern contains three sizes--15 inches, 20 inches, and 25 inches. I usually make the 20 inch size, but have made the other two sizes and they all turn out adorable.
Cutting Out the Dolls
The first step in making your dolls is to gather your fabric. I like to use white 100% cotton percale for the body with red and white striped cotton for the lower legs and navy blue cotton for the shoes. Pin the body, upper legs, and arms to the white cotton and cut 4 of each. You will be making two dolls, an Ann and an Andy. Pin the lower leg pattern to the striped fabric so that the stripes run vertically and cut 4 of each, enough for 2 dolls. Then pin the shoes to the navy blue fabric. You need to cut eight of these in order to have enough for 2 dolls. Set these aside.
Now for the Emboidery
You will need black and red six-strand embroidery cotton, divided into 2 three-strand pieces, and a needle. I like to use a pencil and faintly sketch in the facial features and the I Love You heart. Work the eyes in Satin Stitch in black. Then work the nose and lips in red using a Satin Stitch. Work the eyebrows and smile lines in a Back Stitch in black. Embroider the lashes in black with a zig-zag Back Stitch. Now that the face is finished, you will need to embroider the heart and I Love You in red using a Back Stitch. Do this for both dolls. The dolls are alike except for their clothes.
Buy Your Pattern Here
After you have finished making your dolls, you might want to read stories about them.
This is a similar pattern to the one I use.
Sewing the Body Parts
Now it is time to sew all the pieces together to make the dolls. Stitch the upper legs to the lower legs. Pin the 2 foot sections right sides together from center front around foot . Now stitch foot to lower leg, and then stitch the center back seam of the leg to make a complete foot and leg. Do this for the other legs so that you have 4 legs completed. Pin the two arm sections, right sides together, stitching seam so that you leave upper edges free to stuff. Clip thumb corner and inner curves. Do the same for the rest of the arms so that you have enough arms to make two dolls. Stitch the body from to the body back, right sides together, leaving places on sides open for arms to be attached. Do this again for the second body. Now turn the legs, arms and body right side out.
Stuffing the Dolls
Now it is time to stuff and sew together the parts to make a whole doll. Stuff the lower half of the arms firmly and then stitch across the arms. This allows the arms to bend. Stuff the upper parts of the arms softly and then baste the raw edges at the top together.Stuff the lower part of legs and shoes firmly. Stitch across the lower and upper legs so that legs bend easily. Then stuff the upper part of the legs softly. Baste the raw edges at the top of each leg together. Turn in seam allowance on the body, front and back, at arm openings and press. Insert the arms into the body and edge stitch through all thicknesses. I like to double stitch the arms and legs into the body so that they are doubly secure. Now stitch legs to body front. Stuff body firmly. Turn in seam allowance on body back and sew securely over seam. Now your dolls are put together and ready for their hair to be attached.
I like to use a burnt orange worsted weight yarn blend of wool and acrylic for the hair. I used to use rug yarn which was a little heavier, but can't seem to find that too readily now. Cut a piece of yarn about a yard long. Draw the yarn through the needle to make double yarn. With the doll's face toward you start on one side of the head and pick up a short stitch and pull yarn through the head, leaving the ends about 2 and 1/2 inches long. Take a second stitch just above the first stitch and pull tightly. Take a third stitch above the second stitch and pull the yarn through the head to make a loop of about 2 and 1/2 inches. Continue doing this, alternating the second and third stitches, making rows of hair until the entire scalp is covered. Sometimes I cut the loops when I am finished and sometimes I just leave the loops, depending on the look I am trying to achieve. I actually like the look of the loops in the hair, but you can try it both ways and see what you like best.
Finished at Last
Now make some outfits for your Raggedy Ann and Andy and you are ready to give them away as baby gifts or sell them or you may find them so adorable that you cannot part with them. After all, that little hidden "I Love You" just may capture your heart!