Category: Dolls

Sewing tiny things for dolls

Monday Digital Download

One of the things I love about the internets is finding images to add to my historical clothing library. In the past, pre-offspring, I designed and made women’s historical corsets and wedding outfits, usually a customised corset and skirt, with matching bag, shoes or boots. Oh how I loved playing with the silk, satin, browsing for hours around images to inspire my wedding ladies. One of my favourites was an astonishing lady called Jean who chose a shot turquoise and black dupion satin to coordinate with exquisite brocade and had a bolero jacket, corset, long skirt with a contrast hidden pleat, bag and teeny tiny boots in turquoise made for her wedding to her long-term partner…

Jean 1

customised silk covered boots

customised silk covered boots

or another incredible Jean, who wore a crushed velvet corset with detachable sleeves, long velvet skirt and silk cape, matching bridesmaids ribbon laced frocks and arrived at her wedding on a white horse, complete with jacobite warriors. No I’m not kidding.

Jean K 1

She had a double layered silk and velvet skirt in the most incredible colours – and completely rocked it.

Jean K 2

So the point is: I couldn’t do any of the things I do without an internal visual library of source material, inspiration, pictorial cookies, to get my imagination moving. I’ve managed to collect images over the years which are unique and too cute to stay stuck in my files. Along with these, I’ll be sharing tiny patterns for things, other snippets that I hope you enjoy and want to keep. Most of these will be sold for the princely sum of…. ONE DOLLAR! I know, I’m based in the UK but I’m very happy – delighted – to say that some of you astonishing folk visit from all over the globe. And people wonder why I am rarely lonely, even though my travelling has been seriously restricted these last few years!

So, for your delectation and enjoyment, I’m delighted to offer my inaugural Monday Digital Download: a 1914 illustration of comfortable Winter doll clothes – and then I’m going to make y’all some PDF patterns to sew them up! As this is the very first, I’m going to offer it for $1 with those signing up to my email subscription list before the 20th of January 2014 getting a bonus PDF detailing pre WWI hair care! Just click [purchase_link id=”408″ style=”button” color=”inherit” text=”Purchase”]. You can get an idea of what’s included below. Please let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you.
Winter Doll Clothes

Doll Tote Bag: a sorta tutorial kind of thing. Maybe.

I wanted to blog a big more regularly than I have so far but I’ve been working very hard and then flopping in the evenings, rather than thinking ‘woohoo sewing time!’ – nothing dramatic but maybe just a hangover from sewing til insane o’clock all through June.

What was I sewing? Beautiful frocks? Kind of. Maybe. I was also sewing this, my first proper bag. It’s a pattern from the girl & doll book designed to make taking your doll anywhere easy. Except Wee Bear won’t let another child even look at Lily Sugar so… Mostly it’s doll containment right now.

In theory, should one have a child who takes a doll somewhere, this is a superb idea. I’m planning to retrofit a seatbelt for her, otherwise it’s all a bit unbalanced & she looks like she’s about to go for a burton out the back of the bag… In fact, a kind of sling/backpack might be better. But not if you’re wearing a party dress.

It’s basically a series of rectangles: here are the hand-drawn instructions. I found them really easy to follow and clear.


I traced all the pieces out & drew the unprinted pieces (the base and sides) onto my trusty Swedish tracing paper *insert smug face at having ordered two rolls ages ago* – makes it all much easier.


I ordered this spiffy & easy to cut ‘n’ sew laminated cotton in a cute Urban Zoologie print and teamed it up with some bright fuschia polka dots. As you can see I toyed with the spring-colour way chevrons but went for the punchier option. Hey, I am regularly whacked when Wee Bear overloads & melts down so punchy seems appropriate.

Putting it altogether was pretty straightforward: I particularly liked the pockets.

As they were incredibly easy – rectangles of fabric, held in place by a single length of cotton webbing: job done!

Assembling the sides was likewise easy – I do like a simple straight line. It looks like a box, especially if you interline with padded calico.

And even adding the base wasn’t too bad: until I added the plastic grid to keep it stiffened.

20130717-182158.jpg (the heinous photography caused by working after midnight…)

The rather cool-but-ineffective strap to close up: not really much use but I like it. The raw edges are all enclosed with bias tape (ready made this time).

It was finished in a night – a late one – and considering that it was supposed to be in plain quilting cotton, I think it turned out really well. A word of advice; Plush Addict is a dangerous site. They have a permanent discount in orders over £100 and their service is second to none. You’ve been warned.


A Proper Party Dress. Part 4 – and dolly came too.

On the morning of her 5th birthday, Wee Bear woke to sun & clouds, as usual for June in Scotland. The party dress looked amazing – for the ten minutes it stayed on!


Alas, some little girls arrived & announced they weren’t wearing party dresses – after her big entrance. Peer pressure starts early, so the party dress came off & another, normal frock went on. I tried not to want to throttle anyone too much… even though my eyes were still bleary from the late nights of sewing. I’m happy it fits her so well.


Apart from a frantic time tracking down a bouncy castle (ordering the first one for July wasn’t a great move!) it all went as well as I had expected. Too many girls in a state of high emotion and after the same fancy dress and balloon caused a bit of friction. Who knew that being five was so stressful?

The big presents came on her actual birthday, including her doll: Lily Sugar, as she was immediately renamed.

I had spent a while the night before making a little party frock for her doll – I used a plain lined bodice pattern from the All Dolled Up book, then gathered scraps of tulle and net all together – using them as one layer was much faster and made the skirt a lot neater at the waist. Finally, I attached the soft Velcro strips – a normal width strip cut in half. It is only made from the soft loops but seems to stick together nicely and doesn’t scratch.


I’ve never seen her so happy to get a present: she hugged her close, decided she had a new little sister but – best of all – immediately wanted to wear their matching clothes. I can see many happy hours of play in our future (and sewing in mine!).