This Tuesday we held the first of four sessions for our Rag Doll Workshop. We are making our own Betty Buttons Rag Dolls using the Simplicity pattern 1900, supplied to us by Simplicity to use in our workshop. This is an excellent project to start with your child, especially if they like dolls. Children of eight upwards are very capable of making up this doll mostly using hand stitching alone but will need some guidance along the way and some help with machine stitching the arms and legs.
Every week we will show you how the girls are getting on following the pattern and give you some of our own tips and tricks. We are making a couple of amendments to the pattern to make it easier for the age group we are working with and to show the girls that you can be creative and unique with what you make!
We chose to make our Betty with bright red hair and tights and co-ordinating clothes, here she is with matching reversible cape!
After explaining to the girls how and where to find sewing patterns, we showed them the instructions and tissue paper pattern pieces and as per the Simplicity instructions, we started with the face and hair. During the 1.5hr workshop the girls worked on the details of the face using satin stitch and back stitch, some chose to use small French knots for the nose and others opted for the small curve as per the Simplicity doll. They all decided to stitch a smile rather than the straight line suggested, using back stitch in bright red thread.
Even with a large choice of coloured felt for the hair, they all chose to make blonde haired dolls, with the exception of Tabitha who chose bright pink! We lined up the triangles on the head and hair, pining the hair on the front and back before tacking it into place. We decided to simplify the stitching on the hair to following the outline only using small, neat running stitches. The pattern suggests stitching this using the machine but as we were concentrating on hand stitching this week, we decided to attach the hair by hand. The bunches are made up of 2 identical pieces of felt which the girls stitch together, again using small, running stitches. Their homework this week is to finish attaching the large hair pieces to the head.
We found it easier to mark on the eyes nose and mouth first with a washable marker (we used a Prym Aqua Trick Marker) which can be dabbed off with water on a cotton ball if it still shows. It’s probably best to dot on the line with the marker so it is easier to cover with the stitches and this will minimise the amount of dabbing needed to remove the blue marker.
If you are familiar with this doll you may notice that we have cut the head/body section a little shorter. This is so we can give Betty a nice big pair of bloomers. Well, a girl wouldn’t want to get caught without any on would she!