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April 29, 2012

Just sew

Here's the third part of my "Making of"-series, and this one is all about putting a Rag Pet together, quite literally! You can read the earlier parts of this series by clicking on the "Making of"-tag in the side panel there on the right.

After a Rag Pet has been cut out, it's time to attach their tail, sew on their bellybutton and give them a face. I use a ladder stitch (or mattress stitch, as it's also known) to sew the tail on to the Rag Pet's bum once the tail has been stuffed. The ladder stitch is one of my most favourite stitches in the world, because it's just pure sewing magic, being completely invisible once it's done. It's the most perfect thing for attaching Rag Pet tails, or closing openings left for turning.
Once the tail is sewn on, I pour out my button jars and lovingly shift through all my lovely buttons looking for just the perfect bellybutton. I've waxed poetic about picking bellybuttons (and my -very slight, mind you- addiction to buttons), and since then, nothing much has changed, except that instead of one big jar full of buttons, there's now two big jars full of buttons!

sewing on the belly button

After the tail and bellybutton are done, I give the Rag Pet a face. I usually start off by giving them blushy cheeks. I use a Copic marker airbrush to do the blushing, although occasionally I simply draw it on with the markers if I'm not wanting to get all the bits and pieces set up for the airbrush.
Then I put in the eyes. In the very beginning of making Rag Pets, I embroidered the eyes, then after a while started using teeny tiny buttons, and then I found teeny tiny safety eyes (I heartily recommend 6060 on Etsy, they have a really super selection) and I've been using them ever since, even if they are a bit of a pain in the fingers to put in; I use pliers to push the washers set real tight. Despite how cute safety eyes look on a finished soft toy, they do look a little creepy when seen from the reverse.

they look a bit scary

The final facial feature to get done is the nose, which is simply embroidered on with a few stitches. I use iron-on interfacing on all the Rag Pet bits that have something sewn (or in the case of the eyes, pretty much bolted) to them to make that spot more durable and stronger. It's good to cut the edges of the interfacing with pinking shears so their edges won't show through as well as if the patches' edges were just cut straight.

So, sew

Then it's time to pin the front and back pieces together and sew them up! The guideline I drew when I traced the pattern is a great help in getting the seam just so.


Hi, its been a while since I made dolls but a really good tip a friend told me when sewing together is to just trace around pattern and sew around then cut it out after stitching on the line. Makes it really easy. Cheers, lynn

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Rag Pets by Eerika Valkonen

Eerika lives in Helsinki, Finland and makes Rag Pets. They're 100% handmade and filled with rags, love and personality.

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