Sewing Raggedy Anns and Andys

by Ellen Hamilton

If you attended the Square Dance and Auction, you saw that the Raggedy Ann and Andy Factory is back in business. Ann and Andy sat happily on a table waiting for bids. Andy went home with Kathleen Boyles and Ann is keeping other dolls company while they wait for clothes or hair or even for stuffing.

We are working with a legacy from Grace Gates and Irene Bode who sewed as long as they were able (they are missed by all of us). The Gates family gave us Grace’s sewing machine and Irene’s family gave us a large box full of cloth and cutout clothing and dolls. I learned the fine points from Grace and Irene. Irene cut the cloth, I embroidered the faces and Grace sewed the parts together. Irene and I stuffed the dolls. Irene was the quality control; she did all of the cutting and sewed on all the yarn hair. She showed me how to do the hair. Now I am passing on the technique, but physically dragging yarn through tightly woven cloth isn’t for sissies.

We have worked out sort of a cottage industry with much of the work being done at home. Several people have volunteered to sew Ann and Andy clothes in their spare time. There is a lot of handwork that can be done at home or at meetings. The faces and a little heart on the chest have to be embroidered before the body is stitched up. Then the shoe button eyes need to be securely sewed in place. And finally the yarn hair has to be stitched onto the head. Occasionally, Joan , Erie, Janet and I meet at church to stuff and assemble the dolls.

We would be grateful to accept more volunteers and also donations of cloth and sewing notions. For Ann’s dress we need 1/2 yard of 35-inch small print fabric and narrow lace trim for the neck. For Andy’s pants we need white, four-hole buttons: four 1/2-inch and two f-inch. Please check that box of old buttons and the basket of remnants to see if there is something you don’t need. We will put it to good use.

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