In today’s first post of our new series of tutorials to learn how to make a rag doll, we take inspiration from the tropical land of Hawaii. This tutorial is complete with doll making pattern, as well as details of the stitches you’ll need to make her beautiful floral embroidery design. This exotic imaginary friend is just waiting for playful adventure!
what you need:
- paper pattern download
- light pencil and air erasable fabric pen
- piece of base cotton, approx. 22” x 22” (this can be any colour)
- piece of black felt, approx. 12” x 8”
- piece of green cotton fabric, approx. 12” x 8”
- embroidery hoop, any size.
- embroidery threads in brown, red, fuchsia pink, yellow and green
- embroidery needle
- large, sharp scissors
- sewing machine with white cotton thread
- polyester stuffing
- dressmaking pins
Download the paper pattern and trace the body, arm and leg pieces onto your base cotton, making sure it is ironed and crease free. Trace the flower pattern and face onto the front body piece using an air erasable pen or light pencil. Then draw around the hair pattern onto your black felt and the skirt pattern onto the green cotton. Don’t cut out anything yet!
Next, work on your embroidery. Fasten your body piece into the embroidery hoop and use your threads to make a pretty combination of colours on flowers and leaves. The embroidery shown above uses the following stitches:
i) To do back stitch
Use backstitch for the outline of the flowers. Go up through your fabric and then back down through the fabric to the left of where you first came up. Then go up through the fabric again, but this time to the right of that first stitch. Then, go back down through the exact spot of the first stitch and keep going on in this way, going back on yourself.
ii) To do french knots
French knots are the little yellow circles at the centre of the flowers. Pass the needle up through your fabric, wrap your thread around twice before passing needle back through and pulling tight to make a smart, cute little knot.
iii) To do stem stitch
Use stem stitch for the outline of the leaves. Pass the needle up through the fabric and make a small stitch along the outline. Next time you bring the needle back up, make it on the right side of your first stitch, about half way along it. Repeat to make a lovely outline.
Cut out arms and legs. Match a pair of each with right sides together, then stitch all the way around with 1cm seam allowance, leaving the top open to turn through. Trim off the excess in the seam and make a few small cuts into the seam around the curve, stopping just before your stitch line. This will help to make a smooth shape.
Turn the arms and legs right side out and fill with stuffing. A chopstick is a very handy tool for you to get all the way to the end!
Cut out front hair, back hair and body pieces. Pin, then baste hair around top edge to roughly in line with the eyes.
With the right side of your doll face up, pin then baste the arms and legs to the body. Make sure the top of the arm matches up to the notches on the top sides of the body.
Pin the hair loosely into the middle of the face to make sure it doesn’t get caught in the seams when you sew.
Now, take the other body piece and with right sides together, pin all around, matching edges and making sure that arms and legs are not caught anywhere in the seam that you don’t want them! Stitch all the way around the edge with 1cm seam allowance, leaving a gap of approx. 5cm along one of the doll’s hips to turn through.
Turn the dolly right side out through the gap you left on the hip, fill with stuffing, then sew the gap closed by hand.
TO MAKE THE SKIRT
Using the paper skirt pattern, cut out the skirt in the green cotton fabric, then sew the short, straight edges together with 1cm seam allowance. Next fold over the top edge of the skirt waist and sew a hem with a small running stitch. Turn skirt right way out.
Put the doll into the skirt, then carefully snip in lines to make grass-style fringes.
Now your Hawaiian doll is ready for play! Look out for next month’s doll, inspired by Parisian style!