Seams and Finishes

What’s So Different About Sewing Doll Clothes?~Sewing Seams on Your Doll Clothes~

Welcome to the fun and sometimes challenging world of dolly clothing! Whether you have sewn all your life or are just getting started, sewing from doll clothing patterns offers a unique opportunity to put your skills to the test, all while using common sewing techniques. Discover every day tips and tricks that make sewing easy and outfits perfect the first time!

Before we begin, here a few considerations to keep in mind when sewing on a smaller scale:

  • Each pattern is created to accommodate the doll’s unique body structure- larger head and shorter neck.
  • A smaller size may call for changes in material and technique. For example, use fabric that is not bulky or stiff. Recognize that as you fit small pieces of fabric, such as when you piece together a set-in sleeve, the arm’s opening may be too small to get under your machine.
  • Little hands might dress the dolls so choose closures accordingly.

Let’s begin!

The first item to note is that when sewing doll clothes, all seam allowances are 1/4”. It is important to be exact as too much will make the outfit too small. If you have a 1/4” presser foot, use it.

To find the correct 1/4” seam allowance follow these simple steps:
seam allowance diagram

  • Cut 3 pieces of fabric 1 1/2” wide by 3” long.
  • Sew the pieces together lengthwise, so they line up side by side.
  • Press the outside edges to the seam and measure the width.
  • It should measure at exactly 1”. If it is less, your seam allowance is too large. If it is more, it is not large enough.
  • Once you find exactly where 1/4” is, use blue painter’s tape across the throat plate of your machine to use as a guide for when sewing doll clothing patterns.

It is important to backstitch in order to secure the stitches, but limit the amount you include. It only takes 2 or 3 as any more can make the area too stiff. Start stitching 1/4” in from the beginning of the seam. If you start on the edge, your machine will chew up the material. As you start your stitching, leave a long tail of thread to hang on to. This will prevent the thread from being pulled into the bobbin.

Tips & Tricks

  • Having trouble stitching? Place a sheet of typing paper under the fabric piece and let it become a stabilizer while you stitch. Pull the paper off when you are done.
  • To finish raw edges after sewing the seam, zig zag close to the edge of the fabric. This prevents dolly’s clothes from coming apart when washed. When you use knit or polar fleece, you won’t need to finish the seam.
  • Use the serger on straight edges only.
  • Fully line the bodices and vests and eliminate the need for facings. Clip curves closely on the neckline and armholes after stitching so the seams lay flat.
  • Press your 1/4” finished seams to one side. This quilting technique makes the seams stronger. Sew and press as you go along.

Congratulations! You are on your way to successfully sewing doll clothes that fit your doll’s unique body type.

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