Sewing for small dolls is a bit more difficult than sewing for regular sized dolls.
What is considered a small doll? Height is not the primary consideration. Leg and head height can make the size of a doll deceiving. Your doll's width (waist, chest, neck and hips) is the determining factor. Thinner dolls and dolls with smaller torsos can be small even if they have long limbs or large heads.
ExtraSmall Phoebe is small. Wellie Wishers by American Girl are small. Blythe is very small.
Sewing doll clothes for smaller dolls uses many of the same techniques as sewing for larger dolls. But you also need to know a few extra tricks. It's harder to get fussy. It's harder to pin things since pins are made for a human scale, I use wonder clips, often just one. Small quilters pins are good too.
In this tutorial, for a basic Wellie Wisher dress I cover a few of those tricks. The Wellie Wishers Dressmaking Pattern set is now available in my shop.
Cut out dress pieces including lining, basic sleeve and Peter Pan collar.
- Clip two identical pieces of Peter Pan collar together.
- Sew Peter Pan collar pieces together. Seams are just slightly under 1/4 inch. Do not sew top closed, because you will be turning this inside out.
- Turn Collar inside out, I use a point turner to push the curves smooth.
Sew shoulder seams for the dress. Do the same for the lining. Press
Next sew the collar to the dress.
- Because the collar is one piece, you will not need to fuss with the placement and pinning of two little pieces. I use one wonder clip to center the collar on the dress. match center to center.
- Carefully stitch, making sure your needle is going through all four layers, two layers of collar and two layers of dress.
- Sew over the space in the middle.
- Continue until the other edge of the collar.
Next sew the lining to the dress.
- Place right sides together.
- Clip together up the center back edges and around neckline.
- Sew up center backs, around neck edge, making sure to sew below the line of stitches for tacking the collar in place, and then sew down the center back on the pther side.
- Carefully clip away excess fabric along the neck line, where there are 4 layers and this can create bulk.
Pin dress fabric and lining fabric together along the armhole edges and sew together. This will keep the fabrics together when you attach the sleeve.
Hem the bottoms of each sleeve.
Puff sleeve which require gathering and elastic are harder at this scale, so I recommend starting with a basic set in sleeve.
- clip sleeve into armhole space.
- Sew, taking clips out as you go.
- I take a tuck at the top of the sleeve. Helps it fit better.
Sew side seams. Hem and add back closures. I use snaps. The Wellie Wishers Doll dressmaking pattern is available here.