doll making tips and tricks

One of the challenges in tiny rag doll sewing is getting a smooth neck. It is challenging when sewing any doll that has a torso and head as one piece, the stuffing wants to sneak out of the narrow part. I always recommend wool stuffing and that helps but stuffing still escapes sometimes. This past week I came across a great post on stuffing small dolls by Beth, author of By Hook, By Hand, that includes this genius tip for getting a smooth result, particularly in the neck. Spray a little water on the fabric before you stuff.

dampening the fabric before stuffing a doll

I gave it a try this week and the result is marvelous. It’s so simple. Also I was impatient so I used a blow dryer to speed things up after I stuffed, not sure if that made a difference or not.

adding stuffing to the doll torso

I stuff most of my figures, owls, songbirds etc. as firmly as I can but rag dolls are different. I like rag dolls to be stuffed just enough to completely fill out the shape but not too firmly.

moving stuffing inside a rag doll with a needle

Sculpting from the outside with a needle helps refine the shape too – I mean moving stuffing into little cavities with a needle from the outside after a doll is stuffed and closed. I almost always do this with any stuffed thing I make. And I find it easier to feel the areas that need to be filled in more than looking for them.

tiny rag doll with a shawl and satchel

While we are on the subject of tiny dolls, find the easy way to turn tiny parts here and tips for hiding knots here.



PS – the songbird print pattern is back in stock and ready to ship


  1. Dawn Sillato

    Thank you for these tips they will be very useful. I am new at stuffing dolls and I am getting better. I also paint the faces. I am an artist so I am not doing a bad job

  2. Wow! Thank you for the mention in your blog! I love how this just works like magic when stuffing dolls.



  3. Kay Hanks

    Can your tiny ragged Ann and andys pattern be purchased if so where and how much also do you have a book out on tiny dolls

  4. Kathleen E. Arnold

    Just found you today, and so enjoying looking at each project. Thank you for sharing to those of us that love hand stitching.

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