Doll Clothes 2010

Brainstorming session

This story began around the end of October, and now that some pictures of the dolly modeling her togs have become available, I am giving the whole rundown. To begin at the beginning:

Back in the fall I heard that Littlest Granddaughter could use some clothes for her 18″ doll Lucy, and that the craft store carries that sort of thing. It would be a welcome Christmas present. 

Coat lining from leftover dress fabric

But Lucy is a fancy doll, and it pained me to think of her wearing cheap clothes bought at the craft store, so what could I do, now that I have an organized sewing room (that’s another post) where I can actually find the materials needed, but dive in and put scraps and patterns together and come up with some outfits.

I wanted to use scraps not just to save money, but because the constraint made it easier, somehow, to come up with ideas for outfits. If I had started out at the fabric store I’d still be wandering the aisles, overwhelmed with too many choices.

I didn’t dream I would spend an impossible number of hours before I was through. But even now that I know, I would do it again. I learned a few lessons this go ’round, which should speed things up next time. I expect several more Next Times, because I absolutely loved doing it.

Would an aspiring painter count the hours he worked on one canvas, in order to calculate how much he might make per hour? If that were all there was to it, he might go into another line of business. Or if he needed a painting for his wall, he could look in galleries to find one. But there is joy in the creating, in the details that satisfy when they are done “right.”

I did run across some handmade doll clothes online, while I was looking for a glossary of decorative braids. One would have to greatly streamline and simplify a doll dress in order to make any amount of money on it. One cute dress was $18; I hope there was no hand sewing involved in that one.

When sewing a collar or a sleeve cuff for a little blouse, sometimes it was easier for me to sew the whole seam by hand, rather than to risk bunching the edge of the fabric under the presser foot and having to take out messy stitches.

Attaching the two types of braid took forever; I won’t ever used twisted cord again, and the Chinese braid I would sew by machine. My clever use of scrap fabric for the coat necessitated sewing the braid by hand so as not to spoil the lovely lining with contrasting thread. Now I know to plan that kind of thing more thoroughly.

Even though her mama likes to put her blouses on backwards, it appears that Lucy is very happy with her new clothes. And to complete the wardrobe, she got a new pair of black shoes from the craft store.

19 thoughts on “Doll Clothes 2010

  1. Wow…thanks for sharing this is amazing…I especially love the coat with hood!
    My girls would really like to get an American Girl doll…they're $100, so they're saving their $$$ but they're a standard 18″ size, so if we do get one…we'll be sewing some outfits for her!


  2. Thank you for sharing the doll's clothes with us! I've been looking forward to it. They're gorgeous — I esp. love the black cape, the short green jacket, and the large collars. You do wonderful work! Your granddaughter is a very fortunate little girl, to have a grandma who is talented and loving. Wasn't the doll in “Little Bear” named Lucy?


  3. Oh! This brought back a flood of memories. My adoptive mom gave me her cherished doll (an apparently valuable antique) when I started Kindergarten. “She” was complete with silk, elbow-length gloves, a bra, pearl earrings, and 3 lacy petticoats to go underneath her wedding dress. It's too bad my brothers used her as pillow skeet practice, along with my Ballerina Barbie. Both dolls lost one of their their legs in the boy battles. Chuckle. Your granddaughter is very lucky to have you!


  4. The coat is actually dark green and looks gorgeous with the light green outfit. My little girl is very, very blessed by all the love put into those clothes! And yes, Harmony, the doll in Little Bear is named Lucy. I think that may be why F. chose it!


  5. The clothes are darling! My mother used to make clothes for my Barbie doll, of all things (I've just remembered this!), but I don't recall getting clothes for my larger dolls. What fun for your daughter to have a wardrobe for her baby.



  6. You have made doll clothes with such loving care! And how beautiful they are. I attempted to do this for my twin grandaughters' 18″ dolls and went completely mad doing it. Fortunately I have a best friend who is so very good at this (she also holds a PhD in nuclear genetics) so I asked her if she would some for my twins. And she did! I admire all you sewers of doll clothes out there. Such patience…


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