Traditional Rag Doll DIY

DIY Rag Doll (with free printable pattern)Grandparents are such a special thing. Growing up, my grandma would take me shopping, play ANYTHING I wanted (sorry, Grama!), and teach me little sewing projects. I remember making my first doll with her. She didn't really look like the one pictured above, but even with all her little quirks I loved her to pieces. 
In honor of my grandma, I fully intend to do these kinds of projects with my own kiddos. I thought a pattern for a traditional style rag doll would be a good place to start! Rag Doll DIY (click through for free printable patternSupplies:
-muslin or medium weight cotton fabric
-fusible interfacing (optional)
-patterned cotton fabric (for clothing)
-polyfill or any kind of stuffing
-felt scrap
-craft glue
-needle + thread
-free printable pattern  Download Rag Doll Pattern   Download Rag Doll Body   Download Rag Doll Dress PatternStep 1- cut out pattern and stitch on faceStep 2- Stitch around edges and clip the curvesSteps One and Two: print out your pattern (download above) and cut out the pieces for your doll. If you are going to iron on interfacing, this is the time to do it. With the arms and legs inside out, stitch around the edges and clip the curves. Step 3- flip right side out and stuffStep Three: Flip the arms and legs right-side out and stuff. You want them to be firm, but not so firm they aren't bendable. Step 4- pin the arms and legs to the body and stitch closedStep Four: Turn the body pieces so they are inside out. Pin the arms and legs inside of the body (with the open portions of the arms and legs attached to the body). Stitch around the perimeter, starting at the shoulder and continuing around to the other shoulder (leaving the neck open). Be sure to only stitch the arms and legs only at their joining points—this is a little tricky to keep the arms and legs inside the body, but you can do it!Step 5- flip right side out and stuff the bodyStep Five: Flip the body right-side out and stuff. Your body should now look like this! Step 6- pin the hair to the inside of the head and stitch around the perimeterStep Six: Stitch the face onto your doll head (you can see the beginning of mine in the Step One photo). I used yarn and two french knots for the eyes, and I cut a heart from a scrap piece of felt for the mouth. After your doll has a face, turn your head pieces inside out (the face cannot be seen at this point). Pin the yarn along the top of the head. It should run INSIDE the pieces as you sew. Stitch around the head, leaving the neck open. This is also a little tricky, so go slow and pay special attention to keeping the yarn in place. Step 7- flip right side out and stuffStep 8- stitch the head to the body with an invisible stitchSteps Seven and Eight: Flip the head right-side out and stuff. Attach the head to the body by sewing together with a blind stitch. Make sure the neck of the head and body are stuffed particularly full at the meet-up point; that way your doll doesn't end up having a droopy head. Step 9- glue the hair to the doll's headSteps Nine and Ten: Your doll should look like the photo above (left). Glue the doll's hair to her head using craft glue or fabric glue (optional).Step 11- clip the curves and stitch downStep Eleven: Now it's time to make your doll's dress! Print out the pattern for the dress and cut out the top portion. Your bottom section will be an 8" x 20" rectangle. Once your fabric is cut out, clip around the neck and arm holes (as shown above or the lines on the paper pattern). Iron these pieces down and then stitch on your sewing machine. Since we are not lining this dress, it's a good idea to use some tacky glue or fray check on the cut pieces. Roll the bottom portion and hem that now as well. Step 12- stitch the edges togetherStep Twelve: Fold your top in half and stitch the edges together (I've marked where in the photo above). Now is also a good time to hem the edges of the opening in the back of your top piece. Step 13- run a basting stitch and cinchStep Thirteen: Hem the bottom of your 8" x 20" rectangle. Run a basting (or tack) stitch along the top and carefully cinch. Go as slow as you need to because if you break the thread you'll have to do it again. Tie off the ends when you get to your desired length. Attach the skirt portion to the top portion like the photo below: Darling doll dress (printable pattern)Step 14- add buttons to the backStep Fourteen: Add loops and buttons to the back, and you are all done. Yay! You can skip the buttons if you are giving this to a baby or toddler and add a zipper or velcro (or stitch it closed if you don't care about changing the dress). Traditional Rag Doll DIY (click through for printable pattern)DIY Traditional Rag DollTraditional rag doll (click through for printable pattern)Darling rag doll (just like the kind I use to make with my grandma)This particular DIY has quite a few steps, but if you just follow one after the other, you might find that it's easier than it seems! Plus the possibilities of customization are endless. I added rosy cheeks to my doll with a Q-tip and chalk pastel and decided to cut my girl's hair short. You can use thinner yarn, skip the gluing step to make the hair braidable, or whip up a whole closet full of dresses. Felt dresses are a simpler alternative to the one shown above, and I know little ones would be happy to have either! Happy sewing! xo. Katie

  • I absolutely love homemade dolls! I recently gifted my niece with a doll I made from this pattern, and she loved it!

  • Is there a pattern for the bottom of the dress? I’m so excited to make these for my nieces for Christmas!

    • I just realized it’s in the instructions that the bottom is an 8X20 rectangle!

  • The gray yarn is at Michael’s for sure. I just bought some a couple weeks ago on clearance. I believe it was Patons but don’t quote me on that.

  • Beautiful! Where can we purchase the grey yarn? Or did you create that effect yourself?

    • The gray yarn is at Michael’s for sure. I just bought some a couple weeks ago on clearance. I believe it was Patons but don’t quote me on that.

  • Hi! This is such a great doll. I’m trying to make one for my daughter and I wanted to use this pattern but I am missing the pattern for the bottom of the dress. Could you help a Mom out?


  • Is the pattern for the bottom of the dress missing? I have the top but can’t seem to find the bottom…or am I just supposed to cut and 8×20 rectangle freehand? Thaaaaanks! 😉

  • This is so cute! Is there a pattern for the doll dress bottom or am I missing something?

    Thank you for posting this!

  • I remember the dolls I used to make as a kid… This one’s really cute!

  • Awe this is so freaking cute…I love the simplicity of this doll.

  • so pretty, i may have to make one for my little girl.


  • My granddaughters aren’t quite old enough for sewing projects yet but this is exactly the kind of project I hope to do with them in another year or two. 🙂

  • Hi, could you tell me the name of the gray yarn used for the hair? I’m having trouble finding it in the craft stores.

  • Could you tell me the name of the gray yarn? I’m having trouble finding it in the craft stores.

  • She’s adorable! I particularly love the cute little dress♥

  • This is a doll i always dreamed about! It is amazingly cute and lovely. Thank you for sharing the project! Would love to make it once….


  • I love this so much! I wish I knew how to sew… hopefully one day I’ll have time to learn!

    – Taryn Elise xx

  • Awesome! I’ve been promising my 4 yo daughter we would make a doll together. Thanks for the pattern and tutorial.

  • Great tutorial! I made one of these rag dolls for my daughters nursery before she was born. She is 2 now and loves playing with it. It is always so special for me to watch her play with it. I love that you pattern has a removable dress. The option for sewing different outfits is great.

  • This is adorable! My grandmother would make me dolls too. She used embroidery thread for the hair. For curly hair she would wrap it around dowels and bake it in the oven for a little bit.

  • So cute! What a nice and easy tutorial to follow. I’ve been making little fabric animals in my workshop, and it’s my favorite thing to do because they all turn out so differently and have their own personalities.

  • Love that doll!
    Look this pirate a friend of me made for my son ; )

  • Absolutely amazing Katie. You always make me want to do more things homemade for my little one!!! Too-many-projects-not-enough-time. LOL. I will get some done eventually. 😉 Your kids are so lucky!

  • This little dolly is so cute! I love it!


  • That is so cute. I love her heart mouth. I still have a rag doll my grandmother gave me when I was a child. She is very much worse for wear and I don’t have her on display, but I simply can’t part with her!

  • What a cute idea.

    I am currently looking for projects to freshen up my apartment this spring. First up: lots of indoor plants.

  • this is really darling:)

  • Oh, she is just adorable! I love the hair and thanks for posting the blind stitch .. this has always eluded me and pretty much why I stopped sewing cute things.


  • I’m actually going to be learning how to sew soon. I would love to make something like this and donate them to the children’s hospital with my daughters. Awe 🙂

  • this is just too cute for words!!


  • love!! i think i will attempt this for my friend who is having a baby girl soon! wondering if there might be some instruction on how you did the hair? i am not sure what i should be doing with the yarn to get it to look like the hair on doll above..thanks!!

  • This is such a sweet project! I love her little dress! My grandmother also taught me how to sew little dolls, but I only wanted to make them cat shaped 🙂


  • I always love your in depth sewing tutorials for the sewing challenged, especially people like me.
    The way her face is sewn is really cute!


  • Our Grandma is the very best… we learned a lot from her! She is an amazing woman!
    check out the interview we did with her…
    love fatcatconnectio

  • You are an artist, Katie!!!! That little doll is gorgeous!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • This would make a great gift for a young niece or nephew!

  • Oh my gosh, Katie, this is just the sweetest. I have memories of watching my grandma sew doll clothes for me. I was afraid of the sewing machine 🙂 so I wouldn’t help, but I loved those doll clothes so much.

  • this is such a great idea for my young cousin! love classic gifts like this

    xx Milly

  • This is adorable! I desperately need to brush the dust off my sewing machine and get back into these wonderful projects!

  • So cute! This will be a great project to do with my daughter, she is really interested in learning to sew with me.

  • This is so sweet! I recently found the rag doll my great-grandmother made me when I was a little girl, and two of her sweet little dresses. Homemade dolls are so dear.

  • Oh, the nostalgia! This was a really heart warming project! It just reminded me so much about how my grandmother taught me sister and I to knit 🙂 I would love to make a doll like this when I’m (hopefully) having kids. Thanks so much for sharing!


  • This is so adorable, Katie. It reminds me of one my Grandma made for me!

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