Dolly Donations Rag Dolly Tutorial – Free Pattern

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I made this very Quick & Easy Free Doll Sewing Pattern to use as much scrap material as possible whilst providing a fun Dolly for a child in need. I have no qualms about you using this pattern for your own kiddy winks, but I really would appreciate it if you would consider making one for a child in need also. For more info, please check my FAQ page. Thanks & Happy Sewing!

My other doll patterns can be found at my: Instant Download Shop ♥

This Dolly is a huggable 16 inches when finished :)
Click to Download PDF Pattern

Paper/card for pattern
Sewing machine (or by hand!)
Poly-fill (or other stuffing material you use!)
Scrap fabric
Brown fabric for face (arms and legs if you wish too!)
Felt (or fleece) for the hair
Water color pencils, pen or chalk

(You can Click on the photos to enlarge them)

(1) Down load the PDF and print out the pattern. Please note a ¼ inch sewing/cut seem has already been added!
(2) I then transferred it onto card (old pasta boxes etc) as I knew I was going to be using it a lot!!! Just glue the print out directly onto the card and cut around it.

(3) Take a piece of prewashed ironed fabric and draw around your template. I love using water color pencils. If you make a mistake it washes right off in seconds. If you are using patterned fabric, always mark on the WRONG side.

Cut out the pieces:  1 head in brown fabric, 1 head in felt, 1 hair in felt, 4 arms, 4 legs, 1 body and (4) pin the arms and legs together.

(5)Sew the felt hair onto the face/ head, and then (6) pin it (RIGHT way to RIGHT way) to the body. Pin the back felt head to the other body and sew them together (7).

Sew the arms, and leg seems, tie a knot (8) in the ends so that the fabric doesn’t loosen when you turn it the RIGHT way ……. Once both sides are knotted turn the legs/arms the RIGHT way (9). And stuff with poly-fill (10). A blunt pencil helps push out the corners of the foot and push the poly-fill all the way in (11).

(12) Pin arms to body making sure they are tucked into the center and out of the way. I find it helps if you don’t over stuff the arms all the way to the end (see how flat they look on one side of the pin vs. the other side).

(13) Make a sandwich with the other body part, RIGHT sides facing in, and pin (careful not to pin the ‘hand’ on the opposite side of the body as you’ll send up sewing over it!!!).

(14) Sew around the edges, taking care around where the arms are and the neck (it can be a bit fiddly at first! But by Dolly number 3 you’ll be a pro!).

(15) Take out the pins and turn your Dolly the right way (watch out for the two pins used for the arms!!) (16) Stuff with Poly-fill. Don’t over stuff the head so that it looks like a ball, keep it a little squishy, so you can flatten it down with your hand (17), I find it keeps the shape better this way and allows a good surface for when you apply the face….

(18 - 19) Now for the bottom of the dress (or shirt if it's a boy).  Pinch in the corners and tuck approximately 1/4 inch fabric inside and pin to create a seam.

(20) For the girl Dolly leave the center open and pin in the legs next to each other. For the Boy Dolly, pin the legs at each end. (21) Then sew straight across, tie off and use a needle to hide the threads inside seam or the body.

Ta da!!!! You Have Made Your First Dolly!!!

Ok, now for the embellishments! If it’s a girl Dolly add a bow or a flower to her hair if you like. Use fabric paint, or acrylic artist paint for a face. Felt work well for eyes, and you can’t go wrong with embroidery thread. :)

Please check out the Tutorials for:


My other doll patterns can be found here: Instant Download Shop ♥

Please send me your Dolly photos, or join the Dolly Donations Flickr Group and share them with everyone!

Have a Question? Please check my FAQ page., leave a comment and/or Click to Email Me


jeanie* m a d e January 28, 2010 at 10:28 PM  

I can't wait to make some dolly's!

Sarah January 31, 2010 at 10:55 PM  

Thanks Jeanie, i can't wait to see some photos of the Dollies!

Blueberry Park February 8, 2010 at 3:07 AM  

I'd love to make one if you still need. What an amazing project x

Sarah February 8, 2010 at 8:32 AM  

Hi Karen, Oh yes please, sew away! We need all the dollies we can get! It would be wonderful if you could make one. I’m trying to get the end date pushed out to March 31st, which would be brilliant …. I’ll keep you updated! Thanks again, please spread the word! Take care, Sarah

Rosario February 11, 2010 at 12:28 PM  

Thanks for the post, the patterns, and be blessed for the work you are doing to bless this children in Haiti. I just did a doll a week ago following my own pattern, not knowing that God has special plans for my "Tomasita". She is more fluffy than your dolls, but I am sure she will be perfect for a child. I am getting started on more dolls following your pattern. I learned about you from Vee at Paper Dali.

Sarah February 11, 2010 at 1:14 PM  

Thank you Rosario! I can’t wait to see the dollies you make! Tomasita is so sweet! Please send me photos so I can add them to the flickr photo pool and our Thank You Dolly page! Take care & Happy Sewing!

Anonymous,  February 14, 2010 at 1:47 AM  

hello, ive only just read ur page about doll donations, im hoping to help u out, im from gibraltar so i need to know who to send the dollies too?

not sure if i can make enough, will try!!


Sarah February 14, 2010 at 7:56 AM  

Hi Louise, i am so happy you wish to help! All the details for the haiti dolly drive can be found here:

We are sending them to a New York Foundation & they will ship them to Haiti for us all. (please send me a photo of your finished dolly/dollies too, i'd love to see them!)

Even 1 dolly will be enough Louise, as it will make such a difference in 1 childs life :)

Take care, and Thank You! Happy Sewing!!!!

Anonymous,  February 15, 2010 at 2:21 AM  

THank you for your reply....ill get them done and send u photos

Diane March 4, 2010 at 8:32 AM  

These dollies are absolutely adorable!!! My sister and I are making blankets and bears for children in Haiti, we have made 40 bears so far and many many blankets...

I must try my hand at making one of your adorable dollies....I'll let you know how it goes and hopefully will make your mailing deadline.


Sarah March 4, 2010 at 8:49 AM  

Oh that’s so lovely of you Di, I am sure the children will love the teddies.

I am so glad you love our dollies, they are a lot of fun to make!

Stay in touch, and Happy Sewing!

Barbara@BabyBloomingBlogger July 21, 2010 at 7:06 PM  

I just wanted to add another comment and tell you I think your idea is great and I have added a link to this article on my blog. I hope all my friends and family join in to help!

Anonymous,  December 19, 2010 at 10:06 PM  

Sarah, this is such a wonderful idea and the little dolls are beautiful. I am a teacher and I am taking some students to Cambodia. We are going to be making some dolls to deliver to an orphanage in one of the smaller provinces. So, your idea has spread. I will see if I can take some photos of the children with them so you can see how your act of kindness is spreading. All the best, Monique (Melbourne)

Anonymous,  March 31, 2011 at 10:23 PM  

Hi Sarah, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your dolly pattern. I am a first time mum to a 6 month old baby girl and I just bought my first sewing machine. Your dolly is the first thing I have made. It's for my little girl - thanks for saying that's ok :-) One day when I'm faster & more skilled I'll make another for your appeal. Thanks again! Pam, NSW

Sarah@Dolls And Daydreams April 1, 2011 at 6:52 AM  

That's my pleasure Pam! Enjoy your new Sewing Machine :) If you want some more dolly tips check out this post on my other blog:

Take care and Happy Sewing!

Mary Stephenson,  May 13, 2011 at 1:03 PM  

Are there any groups in the Dallas, TX area?

Sarah@Dolls And Daydreams May 13, 2011 at 1:06 PM  

Hi Mary,

You can find all our active doll drives here:

If you would like to start a doll drive with some friends do let me know!

Take care and Happy Sewing!

Dolly Donations: Sending Love, 1 Dolly at a Time!

Marion July 19, 2011 at 3:39 PM  

Hi there Sarah! I am happy to find this site. I will be making dolls for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for kids. Check it out here:

God Bless all the Children!!

Lourdinha,  February 9, 2012 at 8:46 AM  

hi there Sarah!
I have collected so much material to do dolls for donation, for children's school.And today I discovered your work, which pleased me so much. What I do is similar to what you do, but in your case it involves much more people than I could ever dream of. I'm so happy that I found your blog and I'm really looking foward to join you!
I live in Brazil, in a city called Belo Horizonte (it means something like beautiful view, in english).
I'm waiting for your answer!

Sarah@Dolls And Daydreams February 21, 2012 at 7:48 AM  

Hi Lourdinha, I am so pleased you want to take part in a doll drive :) Our current drive is for the children in Brazil and you can find out all the info here : take care and happy sewing, Sarah x

Anonymous,  March 25, 2012 at 1:11 PM  

Thanks so much for the patterns and history. Our dolls are going to Haiti . . . Many thanks!

Anonymous,  August 2, 2012 at 9:47 AM  

This is a wonderful pattern. With your permission, I intend to use them for the Purple Stitch Project in Austin, Tx, which gives toys to epileptic children ages 8 to 18. The 'skin' color will be varied, but the 'clothes' portion will be purple, as that is the color that signifies epilepsy. I like that you have both boy and girl body patterns; it saves me from making separate clothes and thus allows me to make so many more dolls. The simplicity of the pattern also allows me to size it up or down for smaller or larger children.

Klockarbarn August 21, 2012 at 11:22 AM  

Look what I made from your pattern. These 2 dolls I made will go to Gambia.

Thank you for the inspiration. I will do some more to donate and I think painting faces is the funniest part of it all.

LucyLovesYa October 16, 2012 at 11:02 AM  

I have just found your site and will be downloading the dolly pattern tonight to make asap!

Nena January 4, 2013 at 9:12 AM  

Belo trabalho.Obrigada pelos moldes.

Anonymous,  February 9, 2013 at 12:26 PM  

I made 80 of these dolls for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes last year and i am currently working on 200 dolls for this years OCC shoeboxes with a group of ladies from our church. Thank you for the idea and pattern. They are adorable.

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Thanks so much for stopping by & Happy Sewing!

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