Doodlebug Rag Doll Tutorial

Alright!  Are you ready to make Cora Jean?  Let's get started.  (If you missed my intro page about Cora Jean, you can find it here.)  I wrote this tutorial at a bunch of different times, so if something doesn't make sense or I made a mistake, please let me know so that I can fix it.

You are going to need to download the cloth doll template from my pattern store.  Don't worry, it's free!

Now let's talk about fabrics:

I used 100% cotton for the body.  You'll want something thick enough that you can't see your hand through it.  If it isn't think enough you will see the backside of your embroidery.  You can of course use a thinner fabric, but you'll want to double up the layers.  I actually double lined the front of my doll head, using another layer of my body fabric (fused to the top layer with fusible interfacing).  Get thicker fabric and you can avoid this).

I used fleece for the hair, although felt would work just as well.  I recommend splurging for the wool blend felt because it seems to hold up to wear and tear better.  It's for this reason that I recommend using wool blend felt for the feet as well as the cheeks. 

You don't need a lot of fabric to make this doll.  I'd recommend getting a 1/3 of a yard for the body, but you will have left overs.  You can get away with scraps for all of the rest of the pieces.  You'll also need some black and pink embroidery floss. 

1.  Print out the template (using fit to paper setting) and tape the two body pieces together.  Cut out your pieces.  I've added seam allowances when required (mostly 3/8 inch, unless stated otherwise), although if you'd like to use different seam allowances you'll have to adjust the pieces as needed.

2. Using a disappearing ink pen (I use Singer's water soluble disappearing ink), transfer the face pattern onto your fabric body cut out.  (You may notice that the outline of my body is smaller than my fabric here.  That is only because I was working with an earlier version of the pattern which didn't have seam allowances added in.  The pattern that you download has seam allowances accounted for.)

3. Attach the felt checks to the face body, using 3 strands of embroidery floss.

4. Using 3 strands of embroidery floss, attach just the edge of the hair line to body.  The other edges will be incorporated when you sew the body front to the body back.  You can also just sew along the hair line with a machine, although I think I prefer the hand-stitched look.  Attach the back of hair to the body backside in the same manner as you did the front. 

5. Using 6 strands of embroidery floss use a satin stitch to fill in the eyes.

6. Use 6 strands of embroidery floss to embroider the mouth, and 3 for the nose.

7. Hem the dollie's underwear pieces by folding over the top edge 1/4 inch and sewing a 1/8th inch allowance.  Attach to the front and back of the doll with a 1/4 seam.  If you'd like to add lace to the upper edge of your panties, now is the time to do it.

8. Sew the shoe pieces onto the doll front and back legs.  I did this using a sewing machine.
 9. Now sandwich the front and back arm and leg pieces together (right sides together). 
10. Sew a 3/8 inch seam allowance on the arms and legs, leaving the top open so that you can turn the legs and arms inside out.   

 11. Clip the edges of the turns.  This will just make your seams sit more nicely.
12. Now turn inside out.  Sometimes it helps to use the eraser side of a pencil to push out the inside edges.

13. Stuff the legs and arms, but not so well that the stuffing goes all the way up to the end.  Leave the end 3/4 inch or so, empty.
14. Now it is time to attach the arms to the body and sew the body together.  Sandwich together as shown and pin the arms in so that they are just above the top ridge of the underwear.

15. If you open up your sandwitch it should look like this:

 16. Sew from the top of one side of the underwear around the head to the top of the other side of the underwear.

Begin sewing at top edge of the underwear on one side.  You will need to move the arms out of the way as you sew.  At the beginning I have one arm positioned towards the middle of the body while the other extends out.  As I get closer to the end of the underwear line on the other side both arms have to take their positions inside the sew body.  Sew a 3/8 inch seam, taking your time to go around the curves.

17. Clip the edges around the curves.  Take this time to also trim off any extra hair that extends out beyond the body pieces.  This will just look nicer when you turn it inside out.

When you are finished it should look like this when you turn it inside out:
18. Fold down the edges along the sides of the body.  Now it is time to sew the edges together, as close to the edge as possible.  Leave the bottom edge of the doll open so that you can insert stuffing.

19. Stuff the body.
20. Position the legs at the base of the body, and then fold in the edges just like you did for the sides of the underwear.  Sew as close to the edge as possible, making sure that you incorporate the bottom edges.

Here's what that looks like.  I know.  Poor Dolly!  But I guess it is worth it to have legs!  (and I apologize for the bad picture, the lighting wasn't good when I took this picture, but I thought it was important to see.)
You are done with the main part of the doll!  You can tack on a few bows in the Cora's hair, or if you want, a piece of velcro so that you can make interchangeable bows.
If you found this tutorial helpful, let me know!  I love comments.  I also love followers, especially since this is a new blog!  Please take a moment to follow the blog on facebook, pinterest, email, or any of the blog readers.  The links are all located easily on the side of my page.  That way you won't miss a single post!  Up next week...Cora gets some clothes and a stuffed friend.  Hooray!



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