History @ Home Make A Rag Doll

Episode 5: Toys Of The Past Part 2


Make A Rag Doll:

The term” Rag Doll” is used to describe a doll made from scrap fabric and other scrap materials. Rag Dolls are one of the oldest children’s toys in existence. Dating back as late as the 1630s in America. The rag dolls were often used to teach young children nurturing skills and used as comfort objects. Mass production of rag dolls began around 1830, when fabric color printing was first developed. Rag dolls were commonly used up to World War II. Today, doll manufacturers still make rag dolls for toy stores. 

No Sew Rag Doll Instructions:




Cotton balls or balled up fabric scraps

Six 1 inch wide and 10 inches long  strips of white fabric 

(or whatever color you want the head and arms to be. Be creative)

Forty 1 inch wide and 20 inches long strips of colored or patterned fabric.

(Be Creative. This will be the dress of the doll or pants if making a boy doll.)


Step 1

Take 3 of the white strips of fabric and tie one end off and braid them to about 6 inches in length. Leave one end untied. You will cut the length you want after attaching to the doll. Then you will tie it off. This will make the arms of the doll. Set aside for now.

Step 2

Place 3 strips of white fabric on the floor. Crisscrossing over each other. This will make the head. 

Step 3

Start layering 12 – 35 strips of the patterned or colored fabric over the white fabric strips. This will be the skirt or pants of the doll. Depending on how many fabric strips you use will depend on how big of a skirt you want on the doll. If you are making pants just use 12 colored fabric strips. Be Sure to leave 3 colored fabric strips on the side for tying the doll. 

Step 4

Place 1-2 cotton balls or a balled up scrap of fabric in the center. This will be the head of the doll.

Step 5

Reach your hand under the whole thing and flip it over, holding on to the middle. Then tie a thin strip of fabric around the neck. 

Step 6

Divide the colored or patterned fabric strips in half. So that you have a top layer and a bottom layer. Then place the braided arms in between the divided fabric strips close to the tied head. Then place a cotton ball or 2 on top of the braided arms. Then lay down the top half of the fabric strips onto the cotton balls. This is going to be the body of the doll. 

Step 7

Flip the doll over and wrap a fabric strip like a shawl over the doll’s shoulders. Then wrap around the body under the arms of the doll and tie it off in the back. This is the shirt of your doll. 

Step 8

To make a boy doll divide the colored or patterned strips in half. Tie each half off near the bottom of the strips to make the feet and legs.

To make a bonnet for the doll take a 3 inch x 3inch piece of fabric and fold it in half diagonally. Place it on the dolls head like a bonnet. Then use an extra fabric strip to tie it on around the head. 


Rag Doll Video Tutorial

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