Sewing something tiny that little hands can enjoy is very fulfilling to me.
I am so funny to think I am an expert at making doll clothes to write a post about it. I am not. However, with over 40 years of sewing I have learned something that I can pass on to you, I would hope.
Here are 10 things that might help you get started:
Don’t think it has to turn out perfectly.
So many people won’t start anything unless they have all their pretty little ducks in a row. Just dive in the water and get wet.
You can do this and it is not brain surgery. Set your mind out from the start that this is something you want to try and realize from the start, you don’t have to be good at it. Just have fun!
Do you want to make these for children to play with or to sell?
I wanted to get to making doll clothes for grand children when they came to visit. Now so many years have passed, the older ones are 10, 11 and 12.
I might be too late for them, but still have young ones coming up in age. Don’t procrastinate. Stop with the excuses. I am so happy I have finally started to get serious about this work I wanted to learn.
Also, I plan to add these to my store. Even the ones not so well made can go in a give-away pile for my buyers as a gift to their order.
Look at pictures to get ideas.
I used to be more creative when I did daycare. I always planned a craft we would do each week. The ideas just kept coming to me. It is the same with anything. The more you spend time with a thing, the better you become at it.
Answers come, ideas and even people come into your life that either need what you have or also enjoy the same things. Pictures inspire us, articles we read may motivate us, a good walk outdoors will give you the energy and help your mind’s wheels turn for you.
I have kept those catalogs that come around at Christmas, with all the pretty American Dolls in them and the fancy outfits. So many are making clothes for these dolls it seems. They are a very popular item.
I think because the demand for the smaller fashion doll clothing might be greater because it is hard to find someone who is making them and selling them, as much as the larger doll category. I could be wrong. But, I know they are more difficult to make.
Decide what it is you want to make. Maybe the tiny fashion doll is not for you. Maybe the baby doll would be an easier place to start.
Just start somewhere.
Make sure you have enough supplies on hand.
You will need a sewing machine if you want to do things faster.
You can sew tiny things by hand too.
You will need obviously thread, needles for the machine and hand-stitching (to sew on tiny snaps, buttons or embellishments),dressmaker scissor,ribbons,trim,snaps, buttons, velcro (for closures).
Fabric – reuse or repurpose old clothing
Find remnants at fabric store. Buy fabric on sale. Use light/medium weight fabric. Knit is best like that of a t-shirt or lighter weight knit pants or leggings or socks.
Make items in multiples, not one at a time.
You will be working hard on one item but because these are so tiny I usually make more than one at a time. Say, three tops at one time and then sew them up assembly-line fashion.
You will feel a greater sense of accomplishment when you are through, having made three at one time. Children love to have a lot of pieces and if other children are sharing, it will make things more fun to have an abundant supply!
Choose a good fabric.
I started out using quilt-type fabrics. The type for masks when we were all just getting started, learning how to make masks. It was not the best idea.
Cotton tends to fray so I had to overcast my edges (zig-zag stitch) so they would not become all unfurled with little hands handling the outfit so much. Also, it was sometimes harder to manage putting on and off the outfit, with no stretch.
Lightweight knit works very nicely. Use the zig-zag stitch (narrow width) to sew all the seams. Success!
Work with a pattern and then you can make your own.
You can purchase patterns (PDF files) from sellers online that you would just download to your computer and then print off. You don’t have to buy a brand new pattern at a fabric store, but you can. Wait for a sale. They are always having sales on patterns.
Once you get very good, you can make your own adjustments to the patterns. Say you want knee highs rather than the long pants. Maybe you want them flared rather than a straight leg. A long skirt on a pattern can be altered to a short one or vice-a-versa.
The sky is the limit to designs in clothing you can come up with!
Let your child/grandchild help. It may inspire them to become a clothing designer some day.
Reinforce your seams.
Imagine a small child playing roughly with your new outfit you just finished. Do you think your seams will hold up under such pressure from their tugging and pulling?
Sew over seams twice at underarms and side seams where there will be the most likelihood of a break in the thread. You don’t want to leave them discouraged so they loose interest in ever playing with these things again.
Don’t make junk and expect someone to love it!
Sew on tiny embellishments securely.
I like to add a tiny jewel or flower or ribbon sometimes to my outfits. I really need to go out and find some more things like that. I love yard sales and thrift stores in the summer.
Those tiny little touches will mean so much but sew them on very securely so they won’t be lost.
Test taking on and off your article.
Does what you made, work for you. If it does, it should work for them even though children sometimes need some guidance.
Try putting on and off the outfit. Maybe it will need a larger opening if it just goes over the head with no other means to get it on.
Maybe a snap just needs to be moved.
Children know what is quality work and what is not.
If interested in taking a sewing class let me know!
I can help you with your doll clothes.