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Friday, July 1, 2016

Doll Owner’s Corner: Sewing for Dolls

First of the month, time for Doll Owner’s Corner.  Where I, the doll owner, can talk about anything at all without Hikaru getting in the way.

This month’s Topic: Sewing for Dolls

I want to talk about how sewing for dolls compares to sewing for people.  There are a few differences that you don’t always think about until it sneaks up on you while attempting to sew.  This goes for most dolls, not just ball jointed dolls.

First up, it the difference in size and scale of what you are sewing and using.

Doll Owner's Corner: Sewing for Dolls: Difference in Scale of Trims

You see it here with trims used.  On the left is the sleeve of a sailor school uniform I made for Phoenix Comicon this year. 

I added a very thin ribbon along the edge of the cuff for decoration.  The same ribbon is used on the right for bows to decorate one of Hikaru’s dresses.  Not quite as thin looking now.

Another difference is how easy it is to add details.  Things like adding ruffles or pin tucks to skirts can take quite a deal of time when it’s for a human sized piece.  A ruffle takes considerably less time and effort on a doll skirt. 

Pin tucks can still be tricky since they would have to be smaller on a doll, but they still take less time.  This makes it possibly to make more elaborate outfits for dolls more easily than for humans. 

Moving on from embellishments, there’s the actual construction.

Doll Owner's Corner: Sewng for Dolls: Difference in Constructing Things Like T-shirts

First I have the t-shirts I made recently for Usagi and Hikaru that open in back with Velcro to make it easier to put on.  If I did that to one of my t-shirts people would look at me funny. 

But with doll clothes it’s common and greatly encouraged, especially for bjds.  Pulling clothes over the head can be difficult and the rubbing might ruin their face ups.

Doll Owner's Corner: Sewing for Dolls: Difference in The Order of Sewing

Here is a pair of knit shorts I’m making for one of the dolls.  The two legs are cut out and I have it pinned and ready to hem, before sewing any seams.

This is an example of the difference in the order of steps you take when sewing.  I have always been taught to hem things only after sewing seams and such, but with dolls clothes you do it first because it is so small. 

Like if you made a doll skirt and did the sides first, you would have a harder time trying to get the skirt around your sewing machine to hem the bottom. 

Actually this brings up another point.  Because doll clothes are so small, sometimes parts are too small to even use a sewing machine no matter what you do.  Makes hand-sewing a must at times. 

Luckily the small size means it won’t take as long to complete a piece by hand.  Imagine trying to sew a dress for yourself completely by hand.

Now let deal with some of the advantages of sewing for dolls.

Doll Owner's Corner: Sewing for Dolls: Using Leftover Fabric for Doll Clothes

On the left is a dress I made for myself last year.  Lovely, I know.  I had enough scraps of fabric leftover from it to make the skirt on the right for Hikaru.  Actually I have more than that, I think a matching doll dress may be in the future. 

I think of fabric scraps as free fabric, and even if I have to buy fabric to make doll clothes I don’t have to spend much because it doesn’t take nearly as much fabric to make something for a doll.  Not even a yard of fabric for a dress for a doll compared to 2-4 yards or more for a similar human sized dress.

Doll Owner's Corner: Sewing for Dolls: You Can Use Socks for Doll Clohes

Plus things can be repurposed for doll clothes.  Like this doll swimsuit I made a few years back using a sock of all things.  Yes, that is a Barbie doll, and yes, Hikaru will be angry to see the photo. 

Anyway, it is easy to make cute knit clothing using things like socks.  You can also make doll clothes with t-shirts, handkerchiefs and scarves, and even baby clothes.  All stuff available at thrift stores, yard sales, or in your closet.

Doll Owner's Corner: Sewing for Dolls: When You Dress Like Your Dolls

And one strange advantage for me.  This is a dress I made for myself last Easter.  I have made many dresses like this to wear.  They have a very doll-like look to them which isn’t a bad thing.  But the first time I wore this one, someone walking by told me they liked my “costume”.  Gee, thanks.

Basically, I can go wild with lace, bows and ruffles on my doll’s clothes and no one thinks they look strange or “costume-y”.

Now to those of you who regularly sew for dolls, bjds or otherwise, is there anything I left out?  Please share below.  I wish you luck in all your dolly crafting.


  1. I'm so impressed with the beautiful work that you do with dolls' clothes. Thanks for sharing at the Blogger's Pit Stop.

    1. Thank you, I've never heard that much said about them before. :)