Making Raggy the Rag Doll

If there is one thing I have learnt about myself this summer is that I seem never to throw things away.  I am a hoarder.  This has been exceedingly useful during a summer learning about pioneer living.  It has meant that we have spent almost no money on a really, really exciting and learning rich summer.  This has been because I kept a cot in the shed, clothes from all five children in boxes littered around our house and leather from our old sofa in a black bag in the cupboard.  It’s no wonder we feel there is not enough room for the humans in our house!

At the beginning of the week I attempted to turn two very old, stained aprons into a rag doll for my littlest girl.  It was to very much be a rag doll with an emphasis on the rag.  I wanted to turn something that really needed to be thrown into something that would once again be useful.  I knew it would not be a pretty rag doll, but as Gary said they were called rag dolls for a reason!

I wanted to not only make the rag doll but also clothe it using the remnants from the aprons.  I’m almost embarrassed to post about this, and I’m sure there will be seamstresses everywhere cringing, but this is what I did:

First A4 and I dyed the aprons using coffee grains as a natural dye.  This turned the rather grubby aprons even grubbier, but they looked slightly skin coloured so I was fairly pleased:


Each apron had a pocket, which I cut around and turned inside out.  I attached them together in pairs.  I stuffed them to make a circular type rectangle.  I sewed some scraps to make into legs and arms.  I chose not to stuff these.  Anything that makes life a bit easier, right?  I also tied some material around the top half of the rectangle to separate out a head and body.  This is my rag doll before stuffing:DSC_0968

After stuffing I rather haphazardly drew her a face using fabric pens and then started the laborious process of sewing on her hair.  I thought it would take an hour or so at the very most, and then I would move on to the dresses and all would be finished by the weekend.  Not so.  It took me at least six hours to do the hair, and really it could still do with thickening a little, which I may or may not do tonight.  Anyway, here is my slightly thin on top rag dolly, who A4 has named Raggy most probably on account of its complete likeness to a rag:

DSC_0978Yes, I made Raggy into a ginger nut just like her new owner!

Now, she won’t be remaining in her current immodest state.  I have dyed the left over aprons using experimental natural dyes.  I have finished the mustard (literally) coloured doll’s apron and the dress will hopefully be completed tonight (especially if I choose not to add any more hair).  I’ll pop a picture of her in my Little House post tomorrow.


  1. I think it’s great that you’re able to provide your children with such a rich learning environment without spending a lot of money. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that the more costly something is, the more valuable it is. I don’t think it’s true at all when it comes to real education. What you’re doing with your children have been truly inspiring! Keep up the good work. I’m waiting to see how the rag doll turns out. She looks very cute already!

  2. Good Day Mrs.Claire! Firstly, thank you SOO much for sharing this! I absolutely adore this doll. When I was growing up, this type of ‘Raggedy-Anne and Andy Doll’ was my very best friend. As a child I loved my Raggedy-Anne. I took her everywhere, and even put her in her own seatbelt in my mothers car! I will someday attempt this with my own children.
    Jeanine xo

  3. I don’t believe I would have had the patience to do the hair! Raggy looks adorable – A4 must love knowing she had a hand in dyeing the cloth.

  4. She is brilliant! I’m so impressed. What a great idea for a project.

    I’m in the process of decluttering and going through all those “Ooh, should I hang onto this..? It could be useful one day…” moments. I wonder – how do you keep track of what you’ve kept? I keep coming across stuff I’ve hoarded that I’d completely forgotten about! I need a system … any tips?!

    1. Absolutely none whatsoever! I try to keep the clutter to one room, but if anyone actually saw that one room they would call in Kim and Aggie from How Clean is Your House? to do a make over.
      Hey that’s a great idea! Give them a call for me, will you?
      No, I’m horrifically disorganised, scatty and about to get lost in the abyss I call my house…so no help from this corner, I’m afraid!

  5. Hello! Don’t fall off your chair with surprise… I am still around, just running my legs off and (feeling) like I am getting nowhere. BUT I love your little Rag Doll!!! What a trip down memory lane for me. I had a lovely doll called a “Raggedy Anne” and I am not sure if this was a South African thing, or if s he was from overseas, but she was one of my favouritest little friends when I was young and she looked so much like your doll! I am so impressed! NO need at all to cringe! Beautiful!

  6. I think she looks lovely. I had a rag doll named Suzy, made by a dear friend of my mom. Over the years the friend made a couple more dolls for me to try to replace Suzy because she got so ragged. I always thought she was perfect and didn’t need replaced. In fact, my rag doll has moved all over the country in my “memories” box.
    I’m sure your daughter is so pleased to have a doll made just for her.

  7. Love your raggy doll….When I don’t have the time or the patience to add hair to a rag doll, I like to cut off the sleeve of an old cast off sweater and make a beanie cap for the doll. SO easy and SO cute. In addition you can add a button, or felt flower, etc to the cap.

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