Tips and Tools for Creating Designer Doll Clothes
By Linda Carr

Doll dressed in a brown dress and pink boots.
Vogue 7007 
 

I started making dolls for my children when I could not find any fabric dolls for them to play with. As a former art teacher, I had always worked with fabric and paint, so armed with these skills, I ventured into the world of dollmaking. For the past 20 years, I have been designing dolls for Vogue Patterns. I am as excited today about dollmaking, as I was the day I created my first doll. Here are some of my special tips and techniques for making beautiful doll clothes. Pattern Selection
Doll patterns are available for different size dolls, ranging from an 11 1/2" fashion doll up to a 36" doll. Select a pattern that is the same size as your doll. Take your doll's measurements, using the Narrow Tape Measure (#4032). The 3/8" width is easy to wrap around tiny waists. Record your doll's chest, waist and hip measurements
as well as the leg and arm length and overall height. Compare these measurements to the actual pattern pieces. If necessary, alter the pattern.

Using a Dressform
Dritz For Dolls Dressforms are available in 2 sizes - 18" Doll Dressform (#4060) and the 11½" Fashion Doll Dressform (#4061). These dressforms are padded so you can pin into them. Compare your doll's measurements to the dressform. If necessary, the dressform can be "padded out" with polyester batting to match your doll's measurements.


Be Creative

  • Create your own designs!
  • Check the fit of your doll's tissue pattern.
  • Fit doll clothes as you sew.
  • Determine the placement of pockets, buttons, ribbons, trims, appliqués and other embellishments!
  • Display your doll clothes.

Fabric Selection
Fabrics for doll clothes are limited only by your imagination. Experiment with all types of fabrics, from silk to UltraSuede®. Make use of fabric , lace and trims cut from old garments, hats and bags. It's the little details that will make your garment special and unique.


Marking Tips
Use the Mini Tracing Wheel (#4040) with a 5/8" diameter and serrated edge and Double-Faced, Tracing Paper (#4056) to transfer pattern markings. Using a pen, the Tracing Paper can also be used to transfer the details for doll's face.

Transfering pattern markings Transfering the details to a doll's face.
Using the Mini Tracing wheel with a 5/8" diameter and serrated edge and Double-Faced Tracing Paper to transfer pattern markings. Using a pen, the Tracing Paper can also be used to transfer the details for your doll's face.

 Pressing Tips

  • The 11½" Doll Ironing Board (#4062) is a small wooden board with a padded cover that is designed to clamp to a sewing table for stability. It's perfect for pressing miniature garments.
  • Try the Seam Presser (#4042) for hand pressing short, narrow seams or seams in hard-to-reach places.
Doll Ironing Board Pressing a short, narrow seam
The 11½" Doll Ironing Board is perfect for pressing miniature garments. Try a Seam Presser for hand pressing.

 Sewing Construction Tips

  • Use the flat method of construction for sewing most doll clothing, especially for the 11 1/2" doll. Flat construction is simply working on the garment flat. Stitch the shoulder seams; attach the sleeves, collar and trims. The side and back seams are stitched last.
  • Eliminate Bulk wherever possible. Trim seam allowances closely. Instead of making facings and cuffs, trim sleeves and necklines to the finished length. Secure raw edges with Fray Check™ (#4040) to stop fabric from fraying. Stitch continuous side and sleeve seams. Hand stitch lace or trim over raw edges.
  • When hand sewing trim to sleeves on 11 1/2" dolls, insert a pencil into sleeve. This prevents catching other side of trim while sewing.
  • To attach elastic, zigzag stitch over narrow elastic without catching it in the stitching. Pull elastic to gather to desired size.
  • Use a Flat Bodkin (#4057) for threading ribbon through eyelets and for pulling elastic through narrow casings.
  • Create fashion style by adding Mini Shoulder Pads, available for 18"dolls (#4058) and 11½" - 15½" dolls (#4059), to dresses, jackets and coats.
  • Stiffen and support curved hems using Mini Horsehair Braid, White (#4038) and Black (#4039), now available in a ¼" width, which is just right for doll clothes.
Using Fray Check™ to secure raw edges. Using a pencil to prevent catching the other side.
Secure raw edges with Fray Check™ to stop fabric from fraying. Insert a pencil into sleeve to prevent catching other side of trim while sewing.
Zigzag stitching elastic Attaching a Mini Shoulder Pads
To attach elastic, use a zigzig stitch. Create fashion style by adding Mini Shoulder Pads.
Mini Horsehair Braid  
Stiffen and support curved hems using Mini Horsehair braid.  

  Creating Designer Accents with Notions
Today there are many helpful notions to give your doll clothing a very professional-looking finish. Your doll comes alive with these realistic touches.

Backpack made with Mini Release Buckles Attaching Mini Sew-On Snaps with Monofilament Thread.
Mini Clasps and Mini Release Buckles are great for making belts, backpacks, and bags. Regular thread creates too much bulk. Stitches became "invisible" with this fine, transparent nylon thread.
Corset Loops Mini Skirt Pin attached to skirt
Use in combination with boning to create corselettes. Mini Skirt Pins - The perfect accent for your doll's skirt.
Mini Suspender Clips on pants Jacket with Mini Drawstring Locks
Use Mini Suspender Clips to give pants a grown-up look. Use Mini Drawstring Locks to secure drawstrings on jackets.

 

Embellishing Tips

  • Make use of all kinds of scraps. A few inches of lace or trim can create a beautiful hat.
  • Don't be afraid to use glue! Unique StitchTM (#4071) is a permanent fabric adhesive that can be used to attach pearls, beads, feathers, ribbon and appliqués to doll clothes, hats and bags. It can also be used to make doll hair with yarn.
  • Make your own narrow bias tape with scraps of organza using the 1/4" Bias Tape Maker (#4033). It's a beautiful finish for necklines, sleeves and hemlines.
  • Make a collar or necklace by stitching rhinestone buttons, pearls, shells and beads to elastic.
¼" Bias Tape Maker Three dolls in evening formalwear.
Make your own narrow bias tape with the ¼" Bias Tape Maker. Vogue 7422
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