When you buy a baby doll for your child, you’re relatively limited with the choice of clothing they wear. You usually get one amazing outfit with the doll, but what if you want a different baby doll outfit for every day of the week?
Doll clothes are surprisingly easy to make and are a great way to give your interactive dolls a fresh new look whenever you feel they need it. If your little one has loads of dolls or they want to give their favourite toy a fashion makeover, here are some helpful tips.
Check out our comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about interactive baby dolls, reasons why daisy chain are the best dolls prams and christmas present ideas for girls and chirstmas present for boys.
Why make your own dolls clothes?
You may wonder why it’s worth making your own dolls clothes when you can easily buy them online. That’s true, but there’s a lot more enjoyment to be had by making the clothes yourself.
It’s a fun activity
Making doll clothes is a fun activity that can pass a few hours in the day, whether it’s in the evenings after school or during the weekends when you’re looking after your child or grandchild.
Sewing doll clothes together is fun, and it’s something that you can improve on, particularly when you’re a beginner. There’s something therapeutic about the design and assembly process, and it’s a great way to encourage your children to be creative and learn how to express themselves.
If you’re on a budget, you’ll undoubtedly benefit from this way of dressing your dolls. Making the clothing yourself will ultimately be a lot cheaper than buying online or in-store.
A huge benefit is that you’ll be spending money on just the materials, rather than on the manufacturer or labourer used to make them.
You can pick your own designs
With doll clothes patterns, there’s an unlimited number of designs that you can pick from, making for a creative experience. You choose the designs rather than being limited to just what’s available when purchasing pre-made outfits.
Making doll clothes: A step-by-step guide
Whilst it can be challenging as a beginner, it’s easy to make your own doll clothes with the proper steps. This guide below will take you from start to finish so you can end up with beautiful clothing for your dolls to show off to anyone and everyone.
Step 1: Select a pattern
Before panicking about sewing, you’ll first want to select a pattern. There are lots of doll clothes pattern options to choose from.
There are plenty of free doll clothes patterns that you can find online. Otherwise, you can buy them if you find one you really like. Before you buy or choose any patterns, make sure you find ones that match the doll’s dimensions.
Step 2: Gather your supplies
Next, you’ll want to gather the supplies needed to make the clothes. It’s good to have all this ready to go. That way, you’re not wasting any time or delaying the fun for any longer than it needs to be!
Here is a list of supplies you’ll need to get started and sew doll clothes successfully:
- Sewing machine/needle and thread
- Scissors for cutting – A cutting mat and rotary cutter are also handy as you progress
- Acrylic ruler, tracing paper and writing utensils
- Tape, pattern weighs and tailor’s chalk
- Pressing tools like an iron and ironing board
- Tape measure/seam gauge
- Sewing machine needles – various types and sizes
- Presser feet – rolled foot, zigzag foot, walking foot, etc
- Pins and glue
- Elastic, bodkin, hook and loop fastener
The supplies you need will likely rely on what size of doll you’re making the clothes for.
Step 3: Select a fabric
Next up is the fabric. The fabric is often influenced by the pattern you use, so it’s important to know what is available to work with the design. The fabric can help compliment the doll, from a dolls dress to a dolls skirt.
It’s always good to find a fabric that will flatter your child’s doll, not drown it in fabric or make it ill-fitted.
Fabrics will either be woven or knitted, with woven ideal for tight-fitting outfits and knitted best for a larger sized doll.
Step 4: Measure the doll
Just like designing clothes for real people, dolls need to be measured too. It’s good to check the dimensions of the doll garment to ensure it’s the right fit. The last thing you want is to design a long doll dress that looks like a mini dress instead!
When you sew doll clothes, it’s good to have measurements to refer to as you go. Some of those essential measurements will include the chest, neck circumference, waist, hip and leg length, and arms.
It’s always good to do this whenever you start a new piece of clothing and for every doll you design.
Step 5: Trace the pattern pieces
If you’re looking to have a copy of the original pattern, it’s good to take a trace as a hard copy first and foremost.
Doing this is easy enough, and all you need is some tracing paper. There are lots of variations, so find one that suits you best. Place it over the pattern and use a pencil to trace it, including all the relevant pattern information for reference.
Things like the pattern name or where it’s come from can be helpful to include and which doll it may be used for.
When cutting the traced patterns, ensure that you’re using craft scissors and not sewing scissors, as this may dull the blades over time.
Step 6: Cut the fabric
For any fabric, make sure to prewash them to prevent any shrinkage from occurring. This will help to sew doll clothes perfectly to the shape and size of the doll. It also avoids the disappointment of a lovingly created outfit being unusable.
You may need to wash and dry the clothing often, so it’s good to do this as a precautionary measure.
Cutting the fabric is best done with a small rotary cutter and cutting mat if you have one. Otherwise, you can simply pin and cut with scissors.
Step 7: Sew the pieces together
Now comes the challenging part – how to stitch clothes for dolls. Many beginners to sewing doll clothes can get thrown off by its complexity. However, it’s not as bad as you might think.
It’s good to use tiny stitches to make a doll skirt or challenge yourself with a doll dress. Take your time when sewing, rather than trying to rush it and making mistakes.
If you’ve never used a sewing machine, then be sure to read the manufacturer’s guide and use the available resources that can be found online.
A good tip – be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of sewing each seam. This will help keep the fabric pieces in place for long-lasting fits.
Step 8: Add the finishing touches
Finally, it’s time to add the finishing touches to the doll clothes. This could be sewing on buttons to a doll dress or adding a bow.
The little details can often make the most significant difference to your outfits!
How to sew doll clothes perfectly
When it comes to sewing doll clothes perfectly, it can take practice. Not everyone knows how to make doll clothes overnight, so don’t stress if you don’t get it right the first time! Here’s how to sew doll clothes perfectly every time.
Press the seams
When you’re working through every step in the process, make sure you press the seams. This can help give the appearance of your stitches that professional finish. Once the outfit is complete, give it one final press.
To help create seamlessly smooth seams, clip the curves before turning them. Trimming the corners of your seams will help reduce any bulk built up around the edges. It all adds to the outfit’s overall look, especially on more complicated pieces.
Neaten raw edges
Raw edges can look sloppy and diminish the final look. If you’re making them for yourself, you could just leave them as they are. However, neatening up these edges can be beneficial. Trim away with sewing scissors to create an effortless finish.
Finally, the best bit about making these clothes – the accessories! This is where you can let your creative imagination run away with you. It’s good to inject some personality into your outfits, whether your impression of the doll’s character or your little ones.
There are some great additions you can add to the outfit. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
The world is your oyster for accessories, so don’t hold back!
Learning how to make doll clothes: Tips & tricks
When you’re figuring out how to make clothes for a baby doll, some helpful tips and tricks can make the process a lot easier.
Start with a larger doll
A larger doll is a lot easier to design than a more petite doll. It’s good for a beginner to work on a bigger doll because it’s less fiddly than the smaller garments you’ll need to get your hands around when it comes to fitting them properly.
Play around with stretch fabric and work towards woven fabrics as you downsize the doll you’re designing outfits for.
Use pre-made patterns first
Pre-made patterns will always be the best option as a newcomer to sewing. A free pattern is also a great way to help save you some money, and they tend to be reasonably basic to begin with. Make sure you’re exploring all the different pattern pieces online to develop your craft.
Take your time
Sew slowly! There’s no need to rush when it comes to sewing. Even if it’s a basic dress, it’s essential that when you start sewing, you do everything correctly. There’s less room for error and more opportunity to create fabulous outfits for your dolls.
FAQs about dolls clothes
Is it difficult to make homemade baby doll clothes?
Not at all. It can seem a little daunting, but you and your little ones will pick it up in no time with a bit of practice. From pattern-making to tiny sewing clothes, it all becomes easier once you get the hang of it.
You never know what you may be talented in, so it’s always worth giving something new a go at least once!
Where can I find baby doll clothes patterns?
You can find baby doll clothes patterns all over the internet. From Pinterest to Etsy, there’s a lot out there from amateur creators and professionals. When figuring out how to make doll clothes, the internet can be a great resource.
Do tiny baby clothes fit on a doll?
Some small baby clothes may work on some dolls, but the measurements likely won’t be accurate. Not all dolls have been made to fully mimic the shape of a real baby. With that in mind, it’s always good to hang onto these clothes if you have them, as you can constantly adjust the sizing to fit the doll.
Can I make baby doll clothes with no sewing?
Whilst it might not be as professional-looking as sewing, you can make baby doll clothes without a sewing needle or machine insight. This is a great option if you’re wanting to make clothes with your child or grandchild.
All you’ll need is the relevant pattern, fabric and cutting tools, and glue to bond the pattern pieces together. You may need to give any younger ones a hand with any cutting or gluing.
Find your little one’s dream doll
Making dolls clothes for your child’s favourite toy is a fantastic way to spend time with them. It’s also a great way to personalise their interactive doll and add a new sense of style.
Read some of our other guides for more inspiration, from how to make a dolls pram quilt and fun craft ideas for kids with paper to the best dolls prams for your Susie interactive doll and the best doll accessories.
For more on interactive dolls, read our guide on what skills children develop by playing with dolls.