Photo credit: Blondie's Patterns on Etsy
Thank you so much to Wendy, Katherine, Katie, Sarah, Lynne, Elaina, Debbie, Patsijean, Shannon and Linda for talking back to my confession a couple of weeks ago. I asked about sewing doll clothes.
So, the doll-clothes-making experiences generally fell into 2 life-stage categories and 2 types-of-doll categories. The 2 life-stage categories were (a) I made doll clothes for my own dolls when I was young and (b) as an adult I make (or have made) doll clothes for the dolls of young girls that I love (daughters, nieces, etc.). People who said yes, usually gave examples from one or the other of these times in their lives.
Ditto with people who said no. For example, Patsijean said no, because she was too much of a tomboy as a young girl and would rather run around playing Cowboys and Indians outdoors than sit inside and play with dolls.
Similarly, Elaina reported that raising a son did not produce many opportunities to make doll clothes. Apparently her son DID have a Barbie doll for a while - strictly as a helpless victim to be rescued by his GI Joe and Optimus Prime action figures - but apparently her one outfit - a bikini - was sufficient. ;)
The 2 types of dolls that were generally called out were (a) Barbies and (b) larger dolls, like American Girl dolls. The big difference, of course, is size. Making Barbie clothes (or other similar sized dolls) was generally called out as difficult or not fun because they are so small, so fiddly, etc. Some people, like Shannon, don't even try to do these on a machine - she just sews them by hand.
In fact, overall the 2 main thoughts echoed by many of the commenters were (a) that sewing with such small bits of fabric isn't always a lot of fun and (b) it's more rewarding to sew clothes that real people can wear.
As for advice, Wendy strongly recommended flat top construction - putting sleeves in flat, not as columns after sewing up the side seams of the top. Based on my one experience with Mattie's shift dress, I second that! ;)
Lynne, who has an amazing amount of experience - even professionally designing doll clothes! - gave a list of such excellent advice that I am just going to cut and paste it in directly:
"Okay Gwen...sewing doll clothes takes a lot of patience because you do a lot of problem solving quite honestly its a lot of trial and error. My advice is:
1. Don't attempt doing it for longer then 3 hours at a time.
2. Use size 10 needles, and fine thread.
3. Reverse grip tweezers for holding parts you cannot find with your fingers.
4. A single hole needle plate for your machine is a must.
5. Use 1/4 seam allowances.
6.fray check and 1/4 steam a seam lite(works well for hems).
7. super fine silk pins, fine point mechanical pencils and marking tools
8.Sew with a 1.5 - 2. stitch length."
Thanks, Lynne! This is going to get me off to a great start. :)
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to share your stories and advice! I especially loved your doll clothes stories this time! Wish me luck with Mattie's clothes! :)