Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rag-A-Mama Dolls Workshop at the Beloved Pecos Gallery

I’ve been under the weather for the past few days. Now I’m experiencing allergies. It did not affect my participation in the doll show last weekend.

For me, the highlight of the show was teaching some gallery visitors how to make rag-a-mama dolls. Here’s how.

You’ll need:

Neutral cotton fabric scrap
Small ball of fiberfill
Two pipe cleaners
Yarn or string


  1. Rip or cut a piece of neutral fabric about 4” x 6”.

  2. Hold the fabric flat in one hand and stuff a piece of fiberfill into the fabric and tie it with a piece of yarn or string to make a head. At this point, it should look like a ghost.

  3. Rip or cut a piece of the same fabric about 6” long by about 3” wide.

  4. Wrap that fabric around a pipe cleaner.

  5. Tie each end. This will be the hands.

  6. Pick up the ‘ghost’ head and slightly pull apart the ‘neck’ of the ghost. Place the arms between the two parts of the ‘neck and tie in place with another piece of yarn or string. At this point it will start looking like a doll.

  7. Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 but this time the wrapped fabric will become the doll’s legs.

  8. Rip or cut a piece of colorful fabric about 2’wide x 3” long and crisscross the pieces of fabric over the chest of the doll. This becomes the shoulders.

  9. Rip or cut another piece of colorful fabric matching or complimentary to the shoulders about 4” wide that will wrap around the doll at least three times.

  10. Gather the fabric around the dolls waist and tie with another piece of yarn or string.

  11. Tie another contrasting triangle around the dolls head as a scarf.

    It’s not as complicated as it sounds. The 8 year old made a fantastic “radio-girl” doll. Instead of tying a bandana around the doll’s head, she took another pipe cleaner and fashioned a headset from the pipe cleaner. The 9 year old chose a flowing silk scarf for a skirt. The 4-year old son made a boy doll with Dad’s help. The boy doll quickly became airplane doll. The other adult went “out on her own”, did not follow the rules and concocted a wonderful, artistic creation. She should be an artist.

    The visitors chose this form of rag-a-mama doll because the primitive folk art doll can sit. An easier way to make a doll is to follow the directions of a corn-husk doll but instead of using corn-husks, cut or rip fabric pieces.

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