How to make rag doll clothes

Making doll clothes is a great way for a young seamstress to gain experience; it is also a quick and easy way to create personalised gifts for a favourite youngster. Creating clothing for rag dolls is especially simple, thanks to their very basic body styles.

A-line dress

Place the doll on the paper. Trace a rough outline around the doll. Remove the doll. From the shoulders, trace an A shape, ending the lines at a little below knee length. Using a ruler, draw a straight line from one leg of the "A" to the other. Use the ruler again to draw a line across at the shoulder level from one top point of the "A" to the other top point. Trace another line around the "A," about 6mm (1/4 inch) from the original line. Cut along the outer line. This is your pattern.

Find a piece of fabric or an old garment that is no longer wearable and that is large enough to fit the pattern. Iron out any wrinkles.

Pin the pattern to the cloth, using straight pins. Cut two pieces. Fold one piece in half and cut a "V" or a little scoop out of the fold side, leaving at least 13mm (1/2 inch) of fabric on either side of the cut. This is the front of the dress.

Stitch the dress together at the shoulders. Check to make sure the neckline will go over the doll's head. If the head does not want to go through, cut a slit about 13mm (1/2 inch) long in the centre of the neck back or the neck front.

Stitch up the sides of the "A," leaving 5 cm (2 inches) or more open at the top for arm holes. Check to make sure it is possible to get the dress on the doll. If the openings are too small, it may be necessary to remove a few stitches. If too large, they may need to be stitched up a little more. Hem the neck, arm holes and bottom of the dress by folding over the edge once and ironing it. Once more, ironing it and stitch it down flat with a running stitch.


Trace around the doll on a large piece of paper. Remove the doll. Across the midsection of the tracing, draw a line. Draw lines across both ankles. You now have a basic trousers shape. Trace another line around the first about 6mm (1/4 inch) outside the first line. At the top, add another 13mm (1/2 inch) to the pattern.

Cut out the pattern on the outside line.

Find a piece of scrap fabric the correct size and in a colour you like. Iron out any wrinkles, and cut two pieces.

Place the fabric right sides together, stitch around the inside of the legs, then stitch along the outside edge of the trousers. Be sure to leave the top and the bottom of the legs open.

Keeping the trousers wrong side out, fold down the top of the trousers to form a waist band. Press, and stitch down, leaving a 13mm (1/2 inch) gap. Fasten a safety pin in the end of the elastic. Thread the safety pin, pulling the elastic, through the waistband tube. Check size on the doll. Pull the elastic tight enough to be snug, but not so tight that the trousers cannot be removed. Straight-pin the ends together, and cut off the extra elastic. Stitch the ends together and finish sewing up the waist band.

Hem the bottom of the trousers or cut them off a tiny bit with pinking shears to keep them from ravelling.


Soft cotton fabrics are easiest for beginning sewers. If you make the clothes out of felt, you will not have to hem anything.


Rayon and silk tend to fray and pull apart at the seams. Denim and canvas are hard to stitch through.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Large piece of paper (newspaper will do)
  • Rag doll
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scrap cloth
  • Straight pins
  • Elastic
  • Safety pin
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About the Author

Daisy Peasblossom Fernchild has been writing for over 50 years. Her first online publication was a poem entitled "Safe," published in 2008. Her articles specialize in animals, handcrafts and sustainable living. Fernchild has a Bachelor of Science in education and a Master of Arts in library science.