My soft sculptures are usually stuffed with a combination of plastic grocery bags, poly/cotton, and newspaper. It's pretty relaxing and therapeutic to sew dolls. I have made autobiographical dolls which I call "moppets" as well as versions of my family members, like my mom and dad. All my sculptures are hand-sewn. I don't like to use a machine. I like crafting these things with my hands and franken-stitching everything together.
Soft sculptures are not toys, so don't mistreat them. They have feelings just like you and me.