An Elfin Rag Doll

My second rag doll pattern is now available in my shop.  This one is an elfin-like, quirky doll.  I just love her striped legs.  (Not that she has to be made with striped legs.)  I have called her Ailla which is a Cornish girl’s name meaning ‘most beautiful’ and I think she really is!

She has a beautifully shaped face and a soft rounded body (but not too round; just right to be carried around by a small person).  I have added slim arms and legs, combined with pointy ears and large pixie boots to update her.  There is also a pattern piece for more realistic ears, so that you have the choice of making a little girl doll or a pixie/elf doll.  I think this pattern lends itself to being made in bright, unrealistic colours such as blue, green or pink for the hair.  Obviously, normal ‘hair’ colours would work just as well but you could also go a bit over board with this one.

Normally if I am making a rag doll, an embroidery, a drawing, or even a cake, I avoid trying to recreate something to look exactly as the real thing – this almost always results in failure and anyway, that’s what photos are for.  However, due to the shape of the face on this rag doll it does really need to have more of a real eye shape (sort of), but larger.  I always find that choosing how to embroider the face is the hardest part of making a doll.  There are so many variations and the slightest change makes a huge difference to the expression and way the rag doll looks.

The fabric I chose for the body, face and arms is a lovely soft, woven cotton especially for doll making and comes in a range of skin tones and a striped quilting fabric for the legs.  But, again, calico would work fine and could be dyed to your chosen shade using tea or coffee.

This pattern is more involved to make than the French-style rag doll.  It still isn’t difficult, there are just extra pieces to make a more rounded, 3D shape and the arms and legs are jointed so that they are re-positional.  There is also more detailed embroidery for the facial features, but obviously they can be simplified.

I have included patterns for her outfit.

 

A French-style Rag Doll

When I was about nine or ten, I can remember making little rag dolls and soft toys for my cousin Rachel.  At the time I thought they were pretty good, but it’s probably just as well I don’t have any photos of them as they were almost definitely terrible, given that they were made by a small child.  But I loved making them.  My girls always had plenty of homemade dolls and a pink furry flamingo with very long pink felt legs, as I recall!   But I’m not sure they would appreciate them now.  I do miss doing things like that, and in the absence of grand children (despite plenty of not-so-subtle hints), I decided to make some rag doll patterns to put in my shop and I shall give the finished dolls away.

The first one is a French style rag doll, so I have given her a French name, Élodie.  I have made her from calico which is a traditional fabric to use for doll making.  It is natural, cheap, quite firm and can be dyed with tea and coffee to the desired skin tone.  I left mine in its original colour as I wanted a very pale, neutral colour scheme.

In keeping with my use of natural products, I created the hair from cotton yarn (although embroidery silk would also have been good to use) and I used wool for the stuffing.  It is tempting to go into the local fabric shop and buy their toy stuffing off the shelf but I prefer to purchase either scoured wool or kapok as they’re much healthier and won’t melt if it comes into contact with a flame.  It does mean waiting a few days for my order to arrive but that’s the trade off.

This really is a very easy pattern to sew and you can be really creative with fabric use, facial characteristics (mine are simple and not very realistic, which is the way I like it) and decorations.

I have included patterns for two outfits.