Block letters \

Make a Handkerchief Doll

Materials needed:

  • 1 Lg. Man’s Handkerchief (Today we will have to put lace around the outside. In the olden days the man’s hanky was made as pretty as the lady’s but larger.)
  • 4 pieces of 1/2 inch ribbon (Blue=boys Pink=girls) or whatever choice you may make. Thin rope or twine was used as well.
  • 6 inches x 6 inches of light material (head) stuff with cotton or straw. Head should be about 2 inches round with neckline hanging in order to make wrap with ribbon.


  1. Lay the handkerchief out to form a square. Take head after stuffed and put it at the center of the hanky just below the top. Enough room should be present in order to cover toward face of head. Wrap ribbon around neck area and the first step is completed.
  2. Next take tips of upper handkerchief one at a time and pull up from middle section of the point below. This will make the first arm. Tie a piece of ribbon at the shoulder joint. Repeat for 2nd arm.
  3. The third step is the easiest. Take a piece of ribbon and tie it around the waist. This makes the hanky look like it has a body.
  4. The last step is to make a face or not. Many times in old the dolls had what we call prayer faces. Closed eyes sewed on by hand with just a basic stitch. As time moved on in history of course doll faces became more involved.

The History of the Handkerchief doll has been known for years especially in the more religious rites ‘they were known as the prayer doll. Little Girls were given these dolls to take to church with them and if they dropped them no sound would be heard to disturb the congregation.

As time past more dolls and larger dolls were being made. The other dolls that were made at this early age were the pillow case doll and the pioneer doll. The first one being made very much like the handkerchief doll.

The Pioneer doll had arms and legs made from material as well as the trunk and head. Dolls like Raggedy Anne and Andy came along quickly to please many a child. Today Dolls are made from different types of rubber, plastics, Porcelain, and various other materials

Just as a fact to remember the prayer doll could have been made out of straw as well as with material.