What I Made Wednesday: My First Rag Doll

what i made wednesday

Halloween was last week. You know what that means, right? Christmas is everywhere! Sure, maybe you haven’t started pulling out your decorations yet, but you know that you’ve been planning out the calendar, thinking about what gifts to buy, and I’m certain you’ve been seeing Christmas merchandise pop up everywhere!

Many people hold off until the month of December to start decorating, while others are already pulling out items. In our house we try to wait until after Arun’s birthday (November 18) until we pull out our decorations. If not for that marker, I probably would be part of the group that is already decorating!

But this post doesn’t count as Christmas decorating. Nope. This is preparation. This is learning something new. This is anything but Christmas decorating. Let’s call
It is Christmas practicing. Practice, because when I first decided to make my own Christmas elf, I knew I wanted to do a test run…and then maybe make a million of them.



Cute right? Definitely not perfect, and I still need to trim those darn strings, but I’m very happy for my first attempt.

Take a look at the whole thing (ignore the nakedness!).

elf diy




So why did I decide to make a rag doll? Earlier this week on Facebook, Amanda of Refocus on Being shared a link to the Kindness Elves as an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf craze. That got me thinking.  I love all things Christmas and have debated over whether or not to buy into Elf on the Shelf.  My main issue with Elf on the Shelf is that he’s super creepy.  I guess the best elves are.  Look at Hermey from Rudolph, Buddy the Elf (who is my personal favourite), and even Dobby the house elf from Harry Potter, who isn’t even a Christmas elf but is both cute and creepy! I was searching for ideas on how to make my own Elf on the Shelf when I discovered the cutest elf ever by Elena of Just ME. Everything about this doll is sweet and all things Christmas.

Here’s what I did:

Step 1: Design
Plan out what you want your doll to look like.  How big, what proportions?

Step 2: Make a pattern
Elena does have a link to a pattern but I was having trouble with the website and when things slow me down, I skip past them.  So, I simple drew out what I wanted my rag doll to look like. You need a head, a torso/main body, two legs, and two arms. I made the mistake of first drawing the whole body together and then realized that it wouldn’t work that way (unless you don’t mind if your doll’s arms and legs can’t move). I re-made the pattern and it worked perfectly the second time around.

Step 3: Cut out the material
Remember to keep room for seam allowances. Make sure you have double of everything (two heads, two torsos, etc.).

Step 4: Add facial details
Sew hair, features, ears, etc., onto the doll’s face.  I used felt for the hair and eyes and used some of Little Bear’s crayons to help me with the cheeks and the mouth.

Step 5: Sew the upper body
Sew the head onto the neck (remember not to attach the front and back yet).


Step 6: Limbs
Sew the two right arms together (inside out). Repeat for left arms, right legs, and left legs.
Now, turn the limbs right side out with the help of a chopstick, pen, straw, or other long object.  I used a chopstick. Check out this video to see what I mean.
Stuff the limbs with cotton batting.  Make sure you limbs aren’t stuffed too much, or they will be too stiff.  Sew or pin shut.

Step 7: Attach limbs
Now you need to sew the arms and legs to the torso.  Take the front of the doll (the face and front torso) and pin the arms to the sides and sew.  Pin the legs to the bottom and sew.  At this point the doll looks like arms and legs with a flat body and head (since you haven’t attached that part yet.). For a fantastic explanation, check out Make it & Love it (you can also find pattern pieces in her tutorial!).

Step 8: Finish
Pin the two parts of the doll together, right sides facing in (the face will be on the inside for this part).   Tuck your arms IN and pin around the head and torso.  The arms should now be inside, crossed over each other. Sew around the torso and head.  Leave the bottom open.

Turn the doll right side out. Use your chopstick to help you again. Stuff with batting and stitch shut. Voila! You have your basic rag doll.

You’ll notice my “elf” has no ears. *Ahem.* I totally meant for that to happen. Well, I guess it just means lots more doll making in the future. Oh and clothes.  Gotta make some clothes for the cold little guy!

What is your favourite type of handmade toy?



One thought on “What I Made Wednesday: My First Rag Doll

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