• Karole from Kimberling

Sewing for 18" Dolls - How Hard Can It Be?


If you grew up in the sixties and seventies, you are aware of the role folk singers played in raising political awareness across the United States. Ironically, they are unsung heroes.

My Tribute to the Folk Singer.

This is one of the most expensive outfits I have made, because it has many purchased, and pre-made components. When I make an outfit, usually the shoes/boots are purchased, as is most of the jewelry I use. For this outfit, the hat and skirt were the only items I made -- everything else was purchased.

I didn't start out to make a folk singer outfit; I started out to make a hat. Once the hat was done, it seemed to "belong" to a folk singer. Funny, how that works. I went from a floppy black felt hat to a folk singer outfit. Fortunately, I already had all the materials and components on hand -- except for the guitar.

The Floppy Black Felt Hat

Four months ago, I came across an old black felt hat at a local thrift store, and almost passed it up because it wasn't anything I'd wear. (Like I really wear the vintage felt hats I have now.) But, the hat was made of a thick high quality felt, and I had always wanted to make a felt doll hat, so I bought it. At that same store, I also found a child's ball that seemed to be the right size for a hat mold.

First, I cut part of the brim off of the hat -- to remove the wire at the edge of the brim. Then, I washed the hat -- with warm water (no soap), molded it over my new hat mold, secured the wet felt around the sides of the ball with rubber bands, placed the bottom of the ball in a tall glass, and put the glass near a heat vent for the felt to dry.

When the felt was almost dry, I removed the rubber bands, took the hat off the ball, and let it dry completely. Then the hat could be placed on the doll's head, and the brim could be cut to the desired shape.

To keep the hat's shape, I sewed black elastic on the inside of the lower crown, and sewed a heavy black and red lace trim on the outside for a hat band. The flowers, sold on eBay as a baby's flowered headband, were removed from the headband, and sewn to the hat brim.

The Black Flocked Satin Skirt

The skirt is made from a rich medium-weight black satin remnant with black flocked roses on it. The pattern? HintOfHistory Victorian Walking Ensemble pattern. If you have read previous blogs, you know that I have used this pattern, especially the skirt, for several outfits.

The Jacket and Body Suit

AudreysDollClothes is an Etsy shop I have mentioned before. The jacket and body suit were purchased many months before "on speculation" -- I liked them and knew they would work as components in future KimberlingCouture outfits.

The red jacket is made with a shaggy, unlined knit fabric. The black and white striped bathing/body suit serves as both a tank top and underwear for this outfit.

The Black Braided Necklace & Pendant

This bracelet was also a thrift store find. The shiny black enameled purse pendant holds tiny red enameled hearts. I have found that small bracelets make great necklaces for 18" dolls.

The Red Faux-leather Boots

The boots (hidden in the picture) set off this outfit perfectly. They were purchased on eBay.

The Folk/Country Guitar

Is a plastic prop, not a working instrument, and was purchased from a vendor in the US on eBay. The most expensive component (the boots cost almost as much), it was "a must" to complete the outfit.

You've probably heard the saying, "Isn't it great when a plan comes together?"

It's even greater, when "it" comes together without a plan.

Hope to See You Next Week . . .

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