Saturday, September 24, 2016

Making Cloth Dolls

I am still in the throws of this delightful little cloth rag doll.  These two are my fourth and fifth dolls from Ann Wood's Tiny Rag Doll pattern.  She is also now offering the pattern as a written booklet, in addition to the PDF format.

There are some tricks I've learned over the years (largely from Gail Wilson) for making cloth dolls, that apply to any size.

1.   Wool roving is a marvelous stuffing material!  It comes in long 'ropes' of long staple fiber wool.  You cut a length of it, then peel off what you want to use.  It stuffs into the doll smoothly, and has the added advantage of giving your doll a warmth that polyester fiberfill just doesn't do.  Hold the doll in your hand, and she will warm to you :-)

It is more expensive than polyfill, but for these small dolls, a little goes a long way.

2.  The right stuffing tool can make all the difference, especially if you are using wool roving:

Along with the wool roving, I purchased this stuffing tool from Gail Wilson's website:

Gail's stuffing tool

On this page you can also find the wool roving, and a lot of other tools to help in your cloth doll making.

3.  Dampen your unstuffed doll before you start to stuff her.  This is particularly helpful when stuffing the body of the doll with a single head/torso configuration.  A lot of times, a doll like this will end up with neck creases as you go from stuffing the head to stuffing the neck and shoulders.  Spray your doll with water, not to saturate but to dampen, then begin filling up the head with your wool roving.  By dampening the cloth, it stretches slightly, and also 'grabs' the filling a bit.  You can pack the doll tighter, and you will notice no neck creases with this method.

This is my doll, dampened and ready to stuff

Miriam and Jean Marie are the latest additions to my growing Tiny Rag Doll family!

Happy Stitching!


  1. Replies
    1. Good words from such an accomplished cloth doll maker are sweet indeed, Sandra; thank you :-)



  2. The new dolls are great. I really like their leg fabrics. They match the body fabrics so nicely. The curls on the brown wig are adorable. I like how you are adding the embroidery to their bodies too.

    When I spotted that tool I thought it was a paper quilling tool. It looks just like one. My dad made mine by filing down a large eyed needle. I hope I can find it. I was wishing that I had something that would grab onto the stuffing. This would be perfect.

    1. Dawn, I think that is exactly how Gail makes the smaller stuffing tools; filing down a dollmaking needle, then she glues it into a wooden handle.

      And I was delighted I had some print fabrics that so closely matched the body fabric I was using. Thank you for your good words!



  3. Son muy bonitas. Un trabajo con mucho detalle.