From Pattern To Doll|How I Make My Dolls’ Clothes

Hello, dear readers! I’ve been asked many times where I get my doll clothing. Really, it’s all over the place, from OG, Etsy, AG, and other brands. But for the most part, I make my doll clothes from scratch. Here’s how I do it;

Today, I’m upcycling an old dress shirt of my brother’s and turning it into a doll dress. A lot of my doll’s clothes are made from upcycled fabric, and the fabric I’m using often inspires an outfit.

I start with a pencil and paper. I usually sketch out what I want the piece to look like before I make it, and then pin it up for easy reference.

In most cases, the actual finished product turns out looking a little different from the original sketch, as I almost always make a few tweaks as I’m going along. But I do try to make the finished piece recognizable from the sketch.

Next, I find or make the pattern pieces I need for what I’m making. I frequently ‘hack’ patterns from books or the internet, altering them to make them more usable or more to my tastes. Then I cut out the pieces and label them, since if I don’t, I’ll never remember what they are.

When I start cutting out the pattern pieces, that’s when I grab my phone and turn up my music, since all the cutting is probably my least favorite part. And y’know, musical accompaniment makes everything better.

I pin my patterns to the fabric, since they always slip if I don’t. And of course, if nobody’s around, I sing along to whatever I’m listening to. (this time, it was Captains Of The Sky by Sky Sailing)

Once everything is cut out, I lay my pieces out and pin them.

And now comes the actual sewing part! I typically blow through this, because a) my sewing machine has better tension if you go faster, and b) I’m impatient, haha.

The bodice and facings all laid out here, the next step is the sleeves.

*snaps fingers* Voila! Sleeves and a placket!

After stitching on the skirt, I add some kind of fastener. This is velcro (or hook-and-loop tape) 99% of the time. Sewing on functional buttons always seemed like way too much work to me, especially when there’s the magic of hook-and-loop tape!

Ta-da! Finished!

Onto my favorite part; trying it on the doll! I generally just grab whoever is closest, although I always try it on one of my Pre-Mattel dolls and then one of my newer dolls to check that it fits both without too much wonkiness.

And it’s done! I love this dress already, and I think it’ll become a staple in my doll’s wardrobe.

It would appear that Eileen likes it, too. Have I mentioned how much I love her adorable strawberry blonde hair in combination with those freckles?

The two questions I get asked the most are, 1) where did you learn to sew? And 2) how long does it take you to finish a doll outfit?

My mom taught me to sew when I was five or six, first with a needle and thread and then with a machine. I learned a lot from the internet, too, and am definitely still learning, haha.

How long an item takes me really depends on what it is. Simple things like sleeveless tops and skirts can be as little as 15 minutes. More complicated things like fancy dresses and things with lots of little embellishments can take longer, around 2-3 hours. This dress was on the simpler side, and took about 45 minutes from start to finish.

Do you sew? What’s your favorite clothing item? Any post requests?

21 thoughts on “From Pattern To Doll|How I Make My Dolls’ Clothes

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  1. Oh wow! I wish I could sew like that! I’ve sewn a few times, but with someone guiding me along the way. I’m hoping that the home ec class that I’m taking this year will help a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, that’s super pretty! This post was really helpful, because I want to try making some doll clothes. I have a basic sewing machine, but it’s small so hopefully it will work. Also, how do you get Velcro to fasten? Thanks so much, I loved this post! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Ara! I have a pretty basic sewing machine, too, so don’t worry that your sewing machine can’t do it. I buy 1/2” Velcro from Walmart and then fasten the hook side to one side of the opening, and the loop side to the other. I just sew two lines of running stitch down the sides. Hope that helps!
      ~Natalie

      Liked by 1 person

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