Want to know how to make a doll? If you’re in for a little sewing project to repurpose old clothes you hold dear, this is a great upcycling project for it. Learn how to make a rag doll and doll dress with this easy tutorial.
How to Make a Rag Doll | Homemade Dolls
Have you ever found yourself sentimentally tied to a piece of clothing? Perhaps it’s a dress your daughter has outgrown that you can’t bear to get rid of, maybe it’s a t-shirt from a concert you went to as a teenager, or maybe it’s your favorite pair of pajamas you’ve had for years that finally ripped. We all have them – stuffed into bottom drawers, or folded away in closets as fond memories.
There is a way to take these tucked-away memories and give them new life – especially if you have kids! Why not take that old clothing and repurpose the fabric into a loveable doll for your child (or you) to cherish?
I’m hoping this will serve more as inspiration than a detailed sewing tutorial – the beauty of creating rag dolls is the unique personality that comes from the making!
Here’s what you’ll need for your rag doll:
- Skin-tone fabric (I used 100% cotton jersey) – an alternative would be to die an old white t-shirt with tea or coffee
- Nylon sock (if making a Waldorf-style doll like I did)
- Yarn (for hair)
- Embroidery thread in multiple colors (for eyes and mouth, and to attach the hair)
- Thread in appropriate colors
- Old clothing or fabric of choice (to refashion into clothing for your doll)
- Sewing machine (optional)
Step 1: Decide what kind of doll you want to make
There are many sources for free rag doll patterns online. Be creative! Search around and find out what style of doll you like.
Step 2: Draw (or find) a pattern
I decided to make a Waldorf-style doll and drew my own pattern – essentially a long rectangle with the bottom half becoming the legs and the top half being the torso. The head and arms were then made separately.
Step 3: Trace the pattern onto the fabric
I used a regular pen to trace my pattern. An alternative would be to use chalk or actual fabric pen/marker.
Step 4: Pin and sew
Be sure to leave a seam allowance and a gap large enough to add the stuffing.
Step 5: Turn right side out and stuff
Use a chopstick (or something similar) to get stuffing into arms and legs. Stuff until your doll is firm.
Step 6: Create the face
Embroider on eyes and a mouth. Add freckles, rosy cheeks, eyebrows – the possibilities are endless! Give your doll a unique personality through the expression on her face.
Step 7: Attach the head or other limbs (in necessary)
Depending on your pattern, you may need to attach the body and head together. Be sure to close up all the seams.
Step 8: Add some hair
I used a whole ball of yarn to give my doll extra thick locks, attaching it in large sections with a long embroidering needle and embroidery thread. The method for attaching the hair will change depending on the shape of your doll’s head.
Step 9: Make your doll an outfit
I made a really simple pinafore/apron-style dress out of an old pair of ripped pajamas. It’s made up of several rectangles sewn together (skirt, waistband, top, straps) and then fasten at the back with a hook-and-eye closure.
Give your doll a name.
And there you have it! A fun DIY project you can put together on a weekend on your own or with your child’s help!
Did you our tutorial on how to make a rag doll? Let us know in the comments section below what your thoughts are on this homemade doll. Do you have any other DIY ideas you’d like to share? Share it with us and we’ll give it a try. We love doing cool DIY projects by making craft projects, home decor projects, upcycling ideas, recipes, tutorials and anything you can do yourself. That’s why we created this site, we want people to be more in touch with their creative side and realize that there’s a lot of things that they can do themselves. We’d love to hear from you and create a community of DIY enthusiasts where any project is just a click away. Stay connected with us onFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!