Ragdolls are traditional folk art toys that were, in times past, typically made by mothers or grandmothers for children. By the 1850s, however, commercial dollmakers in the United States and abroad began to manufacture these cloth toys for the mass market. Well-known rag doll images such as Johnny Gruelle's Raggedy Ann and Andy have lent themselves to the creation of toy lines and costumes alike. Ragdoll costumes can range from store-bought Raggedy Ann outfits to simple handmade items.
Simple Homemade Ragdoll Costume
Design your own homemade ragdoll costume with a few inexpensive pieces. Look for items that you already have around the house to save time and expenses. Pair a patterned flannel shirt with a denim bottom; jeans, overalls, or a skirt will do. The older and more worn the clothes are, the better. Hair and make-up should be simple and somewhat messy-looking. Tousle your hair into loose braids secured with brightly coloured pieces of yarn or make your own wig from a new yarn mop top turned upside down. If you have a large quantity of thick yarn, cut several pieces to at least 12 inches in length, create two braids and secure the braids to a scarf or hairband. Add a few prominent freckles to your cheeks with eyeliner, lipstick or non-toxic washable marker.
Elaborate Homemade Ragdoll Costumes
If you have a talent for sewing, then making your own ragdoll costume is a cinch. Buy a pattern at a local craft or fabric store. Look for materials that convey a ragdoll effect, such as mismatched patterns or blue and white checks. For a female, cut and sew a simple dress and white apron. For a male, make a shirt and flood-length trousers. Attach cut red yarn to a headband (for females) or hat (for males) to complete the look.
Store-Bought Ragdoll Costumes
Whether you are shopping for yourself or a young child, many commercial costume retailers offer a variety of ragdoll outfits. Look online at sites such as Costume Craze, Wonder Costumes or the doll-specific Rag Doll Costumes for outfits that range from simple designs for toddlers and preschoolers to more grown-up looks for adults. Wear the costume as is or add in your own special touch with a pair of striped tights or patterned socks. Although many costumes come complete, if yours does not have a wig, look for an accessories or hair/make-up section on the site to finish the outfit.
Raggedy Ann and Andy
Celebrate the most famous of all ragdolls with a Raggedy Ann or Andy costume. Many commercial stores and websites offer fully inclusive Raggedy Ann or Andy sets. These costumes typically include a blue and white checked or patterned outfit with an apron or smock for girls and a wide collar and loose tie for boys, as well as a white sailor-type hat and red yarn wig. Many costumes also come with striped socks and plain black footwear. If you choose to make your own Raggedy Ann or Andy outfit, look for a costume design pattern at a retail craft store or put together a similar outfit using clothes from around your house. Don't forget to add the signature freckles on the cheeks.
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