Sewing Tutorial: Rag Doll “Emma” with a Daily Summer Dress – Tutorial

By Ellie on 04/06/2021 in Patterns


I am incredibly happy that you chose my rag doll pattern. Thank you! I hope you enjoy the process of creating your own rag doll as much as I did. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions on the process – I will be happy to help out!

Bellow is the tutorial. You can download the actual size pattern from my Etsy Patterns shop.


This is Emma:

1. Necessary materials

Here is what you will need:
• fabric in a suitable color for the body of the doll
• colorful fabrics for the dress (I used two fabrics for the dress: red dotted and blue and red fabric with a pattern of shapes, leaves and flowers)
• felt for the doll’s shoes
• yarn for the hair (I used light brown natural wool)
• needle and thread in colors suitable for the mouth and the eyes of the doll as well as thread in a color similar to the hair color.
• textile marker: for the eyes I usually prefer using textile marker more than using thread, as it will be easier to draw the eyes rather than sew them. After that you will probably have to iron the eyes (trough a piece of cloth) according to the instructions written on your textile marker.
• crayon for drawing the doll’s cheeks. I use red Stockmar beeswax crayon.
• different ribbons in matching colors (for the dress fastening, for the shoes and for doll’s hair)
• scissors, needle and thread
• a tape measure will be helpful
• silicone granules or another type of filling material to fill the doll
• the printed pattern
• sewing machine and – iron (that is not visible on the photo)
• *** 1” is 2.54 cm

2. Cut the body pattern pieces

Cut the pieces for the doll’s body. The final pattern has the seam allowances included. You need to cut the exact same pieces as the paper pattern. You need 2 pieces for the body (cut two layers of the fabric at once) and 4 pieces for the legs and the arms (again, please cut two layers from the fabric together). You can use pencil or tailoring chalk to draw the pattern shape on the fabric.

3. Sew alongside the doll’s arms and legs with your sewing machine.

Leave the top opening without stitching, like so:

4. Bring out the right side of the arms and legs.

Use any kind of stick that is not very sharp (a sushi chopstick is perfect for the job!) for bringing out the right side of the arms and the legs.

5. Fill in the doll’s body, arms and legs with silicone granules or another fluffy filling material.

Fill the arms and the legs with your filler – I use silicone granules, but any other type of filling material will be just as good. Fill the arms and the legs firmly but leave around ¾” (around 2 cm) at the top of each without filling. We will close the arms and the legs with a stitch in this area.

6. Sew along the main part of the body of the doll, placing the arms between the fabric layers.

Place the doll’s stuffed arms between the two layers of the doll’s body. Use pins to fix the place of the doll’s arms. This is why we did not fill in the top ¾” (2 cm) of the arms and the legs in the previous step. In this way stitching them to the doll’s body will be easier. Use your sewing machine to sew the doll’s body layers together, just leave the bottom without stitch.

Here is how the doll’s body looks like after we have sewn the body layers together with the arms placed and stitched in between.

7. Bring out the right side of the body and fill it.

Bring out the right side of the body and fill it with your filler. Fill it firmly bit leave around ¾” (around 2 cm) at the bottom of the body with no filling, as we will need to sew the feet there.

8. Sew the legs to the body.

Place the legs at the bottom of the body. Use pins and make a firm stitch with your sewing machine along the opening, sewing the legs’ top 3/4″ (2 cm) between the body layers, like so:

9. Draw the face, i.e. the mouth and the eyes.

Use pencil and draw the lines carefully.

10. Finish the doll’s mouth and eyes.

Use needle and thread to make a stitch for the mouth. And use the textile marker in a suitable color (in this case it is brown or black) to draw the eyes. After that, you may need to iron the face (through a piece of cloth), according to the instructions written on your textile marker.

11. Attach the hair.

Place the hair and sew tightly with needle and thread. It’s best if the wool you have is on the skeins, not balls, so you don’t have to unroll it. Use thread color that is similar to the color of the hair. Make many stitches at the middle of the hair on top of the doll’s head, as well as on both sides of the doll’s head and in between, so that the hair stays firmly in place.

Here is the doll with her hair firmly stitched.

You can now style the doll’s hair. I made two side braids.

12. Cut the clothing pieces.
You will need to cut:
• 2 pieces for the front top part of the dress
• 2 pieces for the top left back part of the dress
• 2 pieces for the top right back part of the dress
• 2 whole pieces for doll’s underpants
• 1 piece for doll’s skirt
• 1 piece for the ruffle part of the dress

13. Sew the top front to the top back parts of the dress.

Attach the top front piece of the dress to the back top left and right pieces. Use the shoulder seam. You will have two identical top parts of the dress – one is for the inside of the dress and the other is for the outside.

Here is how the attached front and back top pieces look like:

14. Attach the whole inner top piece to the whole outer top piece.

Attach the inner to the outer top dress pieces in three places: both armhole seams and the neckline seam. The two pieces should be facing together the right side of the fabric, like so:

15. Bring out the right side of the top of the dress.
Bring out the right side of the top of the dress through the shoulders. Pass the stitched together back pieces through the front piece using a wooden stick (or chopstick) like so:

16. Sew the back fastening of the dress.
Sew the ribbons to the left and the right back parts of the dress, like so:

17. Sew the small sides of the top of the dress.
Sew the small sides areas of the back left and the back right parts to the top of the dress. This area is still unsewn.

And here is how the ready top part of the dress looks like:

18. Prepare the skirt for attaching.
Hem the sides of the main skirt piece:

19. Attach the skirt to the top of the dress with pins.

Place the piece for the skirt in place and make as many pleats as necessary so that the width of the skirt equals the width of the top of the dress. Use pins to fix them in place, like so:

20. Sew the main skirt part to the top of the dress.
Sew the pinned pieces together, like so:

Here is how the attached and sewn pieces look like:

21. Prepare the ruffle.
The longer side of the ruffle part should be folded in half. You can use your iron to make this easier. Before attaching it to the skirt, close both sides of the ruffle with a stitch.

22. Attach the ruffle to the skirt.
Again, make pleats to make the ruffle width the same as the skirt bottom width. Use pins to fix the pieces into place. Then sew them together.

You can put it on the doll.

23. Make the underpants.

First step is to sew the upper part of the underpants. You have to sew the two layers together (with the wrong side of the fabric facing), as sown below:

24. Attach the elastic band to the led openings.

The first seam that we made is the middle crotch seam of the underpants. Now, we have to attach the elastic band to the leg openings, before making the inner stitch. Stretch the elastic band a bit while sewing it.

25. Make the underpants inseam.

After the leg openings are ready and the elastic band is attached, make the inseam, so that the legs of the pants are closed.

26. Attach the elastic band to the top of the pants.
Finish the pants by attaching the elastic band to the top of the pants.

Now you can put the underpants on the doll.

27. Make the doll’s ribbon.
This particular ribbon is filled with silicon granules as well and looks more like a small bow tie. First, cut 2 rectangle pieces from the pattern.

28. Sew the ribbon.
Sew along the rectangle, leaving around ¾” or 2 cm without stitching.

29. Bring out the right side of the ribbon and fill it.

Bring the right side of the ribbon and fill it with your stuffing material. Stitch the opening that was left with a needle and thread. Add several stitches through the fluffy part in order to make the rectangle look like a ribbon/bow tie.

After you are ready, you can either sew the ribbon to the doll’s hair directly or attach a ribbon or rope-like ribbon (in the example below) so that it can be placed on doll’s hair and tightened with it.

You can now put the ribbon on the doll’s head.

30. Cut the pattern for the shoes.
The shoes consist of three pieces: front top piece, back part and sole. Cut the pieces from the felt. You need one of each of the pattern pieces for each shoe.

31. Attach the back and the top front part of the shoe to the shoe sole.

Use pins to place the top front and the back part of the shoe on the shoe sole. This will be the inside of the shoe. When placing the top part, make sure that the piece is placed on top of the back part piece, like so:

32. Sew the shoe pieces together.
Make a stitch alongside the sole to attach the sole to the top and back pieces.

Then you can bring out the outer side of the shoes:

33. Finish the shoes.

Finish the shoes but adding a stich on both sides of each shoe, sewing the front and back parts of the shoe together and then adding ribbons on top of the shoe, like so.

You can now put the shoes on the doll.

Your doll is ready! Congratulations for all your efforts, I hope you like the result!

If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them, feel free to email me.

Thank you for creating with me!

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EllieView all posts by Ellie


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