Updated on September 7, 2022 by Sarina

I live in a comparatively strife-free part of the world; the problems I have in my life are mostly me-made and others-made and not so catastrophic, for the time being. And then there are the health-related worries, which come and go according to flu-season and the food I eat.

Even then, there is a pandora’s box full of anxieties inside me all the time. There are these worries about the future and, the past – what might be, what might not be, what could have been, what should not have been, what I didn’t do, what I did do —–

A worrying person might seem silly to those blessed with a carefree mind. But the worries are the real deal for the worrier. And it is a deal breaker in everyday living.

The constant worrying makes such a difference in the quality of life – for the person and all others around. They can be crippling to some, distressing to some others, mildly irritating to the rest, and can make life miserable to all if they are allowed to.

And all of us cope with anxieties in different ways. One of the methods I have been told is effective is to use the worry dolls.

With worry dolls, you can choose not to worry – ok, maybe that is a tall claim? (and if only this is true) but no issue trying, right?

what are worry dolls

What are worry dolls?

Worry dolls are very small fabric dolls made in human shape – decorated with fabric scraps. You can read a lot about worry dolls on this page on Wikipedia. According to the page, it helps ” brooding, anxious or sorrowful children.” It originated in the Mayan culture, but the tradition has spread all around the world and many psychologists use it to calm anxious kids.

They are listening dolls that look like cute little fairies (depending on how you make them)

If you recite your worry to the worry doll (one worry per doll per day, I think) before going to bed and keep it under the pillow, the doll is supposed to relieve that particular worry from your mind. You now have an opportunity to start your day with a completely new set of happy thoughts (my sarcastic mind almost made me type “a new set of worries’)

How to make the worry dolls

In Guatemala where these dolls are really popular, they are made of wooden chips wrapped in yarn. But you can make them with anything, for eg, some fabric scraps and some basic hand sewing.

Steps to make the worry dolls – 2 ways

Make a head for the doll

make head of the worry doll from beads

You can make these small doll heads with large wooden beads or batting covered with fabric.

Mark the eyes and ears

Mark eyes and lips on the head

On the wooden head you can mark with a permenant marker – mark cute eyes with lots of lashes so that it doesnot look more worried than you are. And a smiling lips with red pen. If you are making a fabric head, mark and stitch the eyes and lips.

Make hair

Tie several yarn pieces together

Wrap yarn around several times to make hair. Tie the yarn loops with another piece of yarn, by the middle.

Thread the bead

Thread the bead through the tying yarn.

Make a knot at the other end

worry doll head and hair

Fix the bead by tying the remaining yarn into a knot. You may need to make several knots so that it will not pass through the hole of the bead.

Cut off the ends

You may want to cut off the loops at the end for the hair to look nice.

Tie hair

head of the worry doll

Use yarn pieces to tie hair. At this point you can fluff the yarn to seperate the fibers for a more fuller looking hair.

Dress pattern for the doll

dress for the worry doll

Cut out two wedge shaped fabric pieces which are 3 inch tall and 3 inch wide at the bottom edge and 1 inch at the top edge.

Make a dress

Keep them together right side to the inside and sew along the outer edge at the sides.

Insert the head into the dress

fill up the triangle shape with cotton/filling

Push the head down the dress. Sew in place. Fill the inside of the dress with batting. Sew the bottom edge also closed

Worry doll

worry doll

Fill the dress with with batting -and stitch it closed. It maynot look much in the photo but believe me, it is the cutest in real life. When you are worried, just squish it and forget about all your worries. Make a lot of them, if you love them as much as I do.
If you are bothered about the lack of limbs on your worry doll, follow the tutorial below.

Another method to make the doll

yarn hands for the worry doll

Make it with fabric head and fabric body filling with batting. Cut out flat shoe lace or cord and tie one edge. Cut out 2 for hands and 2 for feet

Sew the hands and legs

sew the hands and feet

Just hand sew the hands and leg to the back

Attach hair and make a pretty dress

worry dolls

Make hair as described earlier and attach it by sewing. Make a dress ; decorate your worry doll in some pretty fabric.

Finish your worry doll

worry doll sewing

Your teeny tiny doll is now complete – Decorate your doll with different types of fabrics to match each of your moods and worries.

Now just keep it under your pillow and talk to it whenever you have a worry. Make more worry dolls for more worries.

Conclusion

Is this worry doll just a superstition? Or does it act as a counsellor? Is your belief in the doll going to eliminate all your worries? I do not know.

Whenever someone has cramps or muscle pain in our house, the first thing I take out is a hot water bag. But my daughter is not convinced about its real effectiveness. She says that it only camouflages the pain; According to her, the hot water bag is so hot that it masks the other pain, and that is how it works.

She may be wrong about that, but a worry doll maybe working on this principle;  ie it takes your mind off your worries. If you believe in something, they might work – that is my philosophy.

And even if they don’t work on your worries, they are too cute – you can just look at them all day. 

Would you make them for yourself or your loved ones? Try it and tell me if it works.

Related posts : How to sew toys for kids.; Make finger puppets

 

 

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  1. I am going to make these for Christmas presents for some of my family and friends Do you know of an appropriate book or printable story I could attach to explain the gift? These are adorable!

  2. Ingenious for anyone to put their worries into a doll rather than keep those negative thoughts inside you. I am making some dolls for confined persons in nursing homes, hospitals and children. I Love This Idea! Thanks for the pattern. I have seen children’s faces light up when the fireman give a bear to a child whose lost everything.

  3. Very cute idea, and I found your dialogue very warm and funny,..might try to make one of these dolls now! Have a stress free day ❤️