Make Your Own Ugly Monster Rag Doll

I had a rag doll when I was little that I hated. My parents made her and she was bald on one side; my brother drew an evil face on her bare head so she became Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. I hated her because she looked like a Coraline-esque version of me. Not quite a real person. It freaked me out tremendously.

I like this abstracted monster rag doll because it’s supposed to not look like a person. It’s supposed to be kind of ugly/cute.

It uses a simple shape and whatever material you like. Felt, flannel, plush, old dish towels, Polar fleece, toile, whatever you feel like using. Use leftover buttons for eyes.

My kids were excited by the project and drew their own monsters. I promised Kaiya hers first.

The whole thing took me a few hours to make. My sewing skills are in the “Wing-It” category, so if you know what you’re doing go right ahead and disregard it all. You could also obviously use a sewing machine, but I didn’t.

Le materials:

  • Fabric of choice.. Amount varies depending on size. You’re okay with a quarter to half yard of each.
    Thread that matches fabric.
  • Needle.
  • Scissors (duh).  Tip:  Use your paper scissors to cut out the paper; using your fabric scissors on here will dull them.
  • Paper and pencil.Stuffing, the polyester kind used for pillows and dolls.
  • Buttons for eyes, unless that’s too Coraline for you. Then you’re on your own.

First, I drew the monster to figure out what I wanted it to look like. Then I made a pattern by taping two 8.5 X 11s together. Make the body, the ears, the legs/feet and the arms all separate. Here’s the body:

paper pattern

Double the material and pin the pattern to it. Cut it out. You can also fold it on one side so you don’t have to cut it; I’m not sure how that would look though.

Body cut out

Cut out the other body parts. This one is getting a contrasting green.

Body parts

On the body, MARK where the arms, legs, and ears are going to go. Do not sew this part yet.

Sew the body together, wrong-side out. I used an overcast stitch one way, then the other. Now that I look at this handsewing chart it looks like the smaller overhand would have worked well. Live & learn.

I left the entire bottom unstitched for the stuffing.

Next, sew the arms, legs/feet, and antenna separately, WRONG-SIDE OUT. Turn them inside out gently with a chopstick or pencil. Stuff.

Turn your body right-side out.

Sew the arms into the holes you left. Fold the exposed fabric on the body under to make it look nicer. I used the Half-Backstitch. Just sew the thing straight across and tie a knot where you can’t see.

Repeat with the ears/antenna. Whichever you made.

Now, stuff the body. Add the legs and sew closed.

Ta-da! You’re done. Add eyes of buttons and a mouth. You can use black embroidery thread, but all I had was black thread.

And here she is, being held by her new owner, Miss Kaiya:

2009 11 08 002


2009 11 15 002

I love how it came out. It’s cuddly flannel and so soft. I might retire.

Except Ethan and Elyse are making their own, too, so I’ll post those when I finish. They think I’m an elf or something and can churn these out.

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

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