Those who have bought rag dolls know how expensive they are. The best and most fascinating ones cost as much as 4s. or 5s. each. Yet even better dolls than those sold in the shops can be made at home for a few pence.
Many different materials can be used to make dolls. For instance, white calico, linen or muslin, black glazed lining, sateen, or satin (black or white), chamois leather, pale pink felt, old black stockings (ribbed or plain), old white woven vests, old silk stockings, skeins of wool, etc.
Therefore, it is evident that something can be found at home which may be used in the art of doll-making. As a rule, it will be found that the home-made rag dolls give children infinitely more delight than the bought ones, as they can be more varied in size and design.
The illustrations show some good models. To make "Salina" cut out two pieces of lining to the shape of the doll, place the two pieces together, and machine round. Leave a small hole at the side to put in the stuffing. Kopok, or vegetable down, is the best for the purpose; it is only Is. a pound, and a pound of it is sufficient for many dolls. Or old rags can be used. After the head and trunk are completed, the limbs are made. Start with straight pieces of stuff, and shape them a little during the machining - that is, graduate off a little towards the wrists and into a clubshaped sort of foot. Fill with padding from the top, draw in tightly with small stitches, and sew on to the body. The nose is made in the same way, and sewn on afterwards; it can be straight or Roman-shaped, according to taste.
All these dolls may be made at home, if the directions given in the article are followed
Note. It is possible to make golliwogs out of two pieces of material, and machine round, and leave one opening for all the padding, but they look no better, and take much longer to do, as the padding is difficult to get in. The nose is sometimes padded, and shaped on the wrong side, as will be explained later on in dealing with "Sophia." The eyes are composed of large white linen buttons with black boot buttons sewn in the centre, and the mouth is made with scarlet wool, and a few small straight stitches, and a few white cotton stitches in between for the teeth. The curve of the last stitch of the mouth wonderfully alters the expression. For the hair, sew on soft dark brown or black fur, and shape it nicely on the forehead.
Costume, of course, varies according to taste. "Salina," as shown in the photograph, has a particularly well-fitting knitted jersey, and very pretty crochet wool bonnet, and her skirt is of blue material.
The small wool doll in her arms is one made of a skein of white wool, tied with scarlet wool.
The second little friend to be introduced is "Sammy"; he is also of the golliwog family, but is much thinner and more intelligent-looking than "Salina." His costume consists of dark blue trousers, a coloured knitted jersey, and a blue tie.
"Sophia" is of the calico class.
Method of Making. Cut out two pieces of calico in the same way as before, except that the portion for the head must be rounder. Then on one piece of the calico shape the face. To do this machine down the centre of forehead, put a small piece of padding to form the nose, and machine at the back of it.
Cut away a piece of the calico at the end of nose, and machine downwards, forming the chin. The small seam down the centre of forehead and chin is scarcely noticeable. It is necessary to make three or four stitches with a needle and fine cotton to keep the nose in position, and to make it a good shape at the end.
Pull up a tiny piece of the calico at each side, and sew round into the shape of ears, then machine both pieces of calico together, and leave a space at the side, and put in the padding, and sew up. Make the arms and legs, and put on. Next put boot buttons for the eyes, sew a few stitches in black cotton round them, and some over them for the eyebrows.
Sew along with a piece of scarlet silk or wool for the mouth, and shape it a little by arching the stitches upwards. Make the hair with straight long stitches of thick black wool from centre of head to neck, leaving a fairly wide parting. Plait some wool, and arrange in coils at the back of head.
As regards dress, "Sophia" belongs to the "old school," and, as seen by her plaid dress, full skirt, and poke bonnet, does not believe in the knitting-sheath style of skirt and big hats, and objects to sport of all kinds. Knitting is in the bag at her side.
"Sambo" is of the old stocking tribe.
Method of Making. Take a third part of a stocking leg, machine it across, and pad it out to form the head and body of the doll, and tie firmly round with black thread, or, better still, machine (if possible) on the wrong side, arching inwards to shape the neck, and make the head the shape and size required. Cut long, narrow pieces of stocking for the arms and legs, and slightly shape the foot; pad them, and sew them on. Pull up a round piece in the centre of face, and sew round it, so that it forms a nice little snub nose. Sew on linen buttons, with boot buttons in centre, for the eyes, and use red wool for the lips and a few stitches of white wool between for the teeth.
Make a nice curly-looking wig. Use thick black wool, and work small stitches, leaving big loops all over the head.
Dress. A sailor dress looks well on this doll, or, as seen in the illustrations, a nigger costume. "Sambo" wears blue and white striped trousers, a black velvet coat, and a straw hat, made out of the crown of an old sailor hat.
"Johnson" is a boxer. To make him, use an old cashmere stocking for the body, arms, and legs, and a piece of black satin or sateen for the head. Make the body in the same way as the other dolls, but the legs and arms need to be very long and thin.
Cut two pieces of satin, one small round, and one fairly big square. Make a flat-shaped head first of rag, and sew on the body; then cover it with the black afterwards. To do this, sew on the round piece for the face, and gather up a piece of stuff at each side and leave hanging down loosely to represent the ears. Fold the square piece corner to corner, and machine along one side. Put the seam to the back of head, and fold in the front point to make a straight line across the forehead. Sew it round the front of face and back of neck. With white, or white and red paint, make the eyes, nose, and mouth. Make a circle with a spot at top right-hand side for the eyes, a line, or two, for the nose, two long curved lines for the mouth, and three white or red spots down the front of body as buttons. If a piece of black kid or American cloth is available, cut it into pointed shoes, and put them on his feet, as they give a smart appearance.