How to make a rag doll

This simple rag doll can be made in an afternoon and is a great project for novice doll makers. Use scrap fabric or inexpensive fabric remnants to construct the doll.

Draw the doll shape onto a piece of Kraft paper or any medium-weight paper. The pattern is drawn in one piece and should somewhat resemble the cookie cutter outline of a gingerbread man.

Keep both sides of the doll symmetrical by folding the pattern paper in half lengthwise. The fold will be the center of the doll pattern. Draw one half of the doll onto the paper.

Keep the paper folded and erase or redraw any lines as needed. Add ½ inch all around the doll's outline for a seam allowance.

Cut along the seam allowance line and unfold the paper.

Lay the pattern onto the doll fabric and pin it into place. Cut around the pattern. Repeat so that you have two identical fabric bodies.

Use fabric paint to paint in the features of the doll's face and hands or even the hair. You can also sew buttons onto the doll's face for eyes and use glued or sewn-on felt scraps to create the mouth, nose, cheeks and eyebrows. Embroidering features onto the doll's face and hands is also an option.

Pin the two fabric pieces, right sides together. Make sure that all of the edges line up evenly.

Sew the pieces together, ½ inch from the edges. Leave a 2 to 3-inch section unsewn where the doll's legs meet. Turn the doll right side out.

Stuff polyester fiberfill through the gap in the seam. Use the eraser end of a pencil to push the stuffing through to the head, hands and feet. Add as much stuffing as desired.

Hand-stitch the gap in the seam closed.

Add hair to the doll by gluing purchased doll hair to the top of the doll's head. Make pigtails or ponytails and tie them off with pieces of ribbon or yarn.


Use unbleached muslin for the body of the doll. Lightweight cotton fabric in any shades of brown can also be used to give your doll a darker skin tone. Use a pencil to draw the doll pattern. The lines can be erased and redrawn as needed. Make sure that all paint and glue have dried thoroughly before you sew the doll. See 'eHow to Design a Simple Cloth Doll' for instructions on making and attaching yarn hair to a doll.