Colonial rag dolls came in many shapes and sizes.One of the more simple methods of rag doll making involves a process similar to corncob doll creation, the only variation being materials. Colonial rag dolls were often made of a mix of different fabrics, depending on what the individual family had in terms of scrap fabric. The modern day crafter is not limited in terms of fabric choice, allowing these simple, yet endearing creations to take life in vivid colors, wild patterns and modern, washable fabrics.
Select the fabric for your project. Accumulate between 10 and 15 yards of fabric, in various colors or fibers. Scraps of around 18 inches in length work well for making colonial rag dolls. Period accurate fibers such as cotton, wool or linen may be used, but more modern polyester blends work as well.
Cut approximately 35 strips of fabric, one to two inches wide. Cut the strips to about 18 inches. More strips or wider strips will produce a bulkier doll. Thin strips or fewer strips will produce a skinnier doll. The length determines the overall height of the doll. A doll made from 18-inch strips produces an eight- to nine-inch-tall doll.
Cut 20 strips from the fabric. The strips should be one to two inches wide and about eight inches long. These will become the doll's arms.
Gather the 18-inch-long strips into a bundle, making sure the ends match up. Fold the bundle in half.
Cut a piece of yarn two to three inches long. Tie the piece of yarn around the fabric bundle 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches from the fold. This tie creates the head of the doll.
Gather the 20 eight-inch strips into a bundle. Cut two pieces of yarn, each about an inch in length. Measure half an inch from the end of the bundle. Tie one piece of yarn around each end of the bundle.
Stuff the bundle of eight-inch-long strips into the doll's body, just below the piece of yarn that separates the head from the neck.
Cut another piece of yarn approximately two to three inches long. Tie this strip of yarn around the body of the doll, just below the spot where the arms are inserted. This marks off the waistline of the doll.
Cut two one-inch-long pieces of yarn. Arrange the strips of fabric below the waistline tie of the doll into two separate bundles. Measure half an inch from the bottom of the strips, and tie one piece of yarn around each bundle, making two legs for the doll.
Cut any strips of fabric that are too long. The ends of the doll do not need to be perfect.
Embellish the doll by making clothing out of fabric scraps. A dress, apron and hat make a colonial girl doll, while breeches and a shirt make a colonial boy doll. Add hair made of yarn, if desired.