• Karole from Kimberling

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


In my first post, I mentioned that I had cut out and assembled components for one hundred outfits -- all neatly packaged in Ziploc bags -- before I started to sew any of them.

In May 2017, when I made the decision to open my Etsy shop, KimberlingCouture, four of the six outfits I had made were left to sell. (Etsy recommends at least seven to ten items of inventory for a store.)

It took me only a few hours to set up my shop on Etsy, and with ninety-four outfits ready to be sewn, you'd think getting a few more completed wouldn't take that long.

But .... at a local thrift store, I found several vintage doll clothes -- sample doll clothes that were hand sewn and hot-glued to fancy wire hangers to be hung on a wall. The fabrics were in like-new condition, the seams unfinished.

"Surely," I thought, "these would make lovely 18" doll clothes. All I have to do (famous last words that occasionally take hold of my psyche) is finish the seams, remove the parts that are glued, and tailor the items to fit the American girl doll and VOILA -- beautiful vintage doll clothes.

First Remodel -- the easiest one.

All I had to do to this one was finish the seams, add snaps in the back, put elastic at the bottom of the pant legs, and add pink shoes.

While ironing it, I found that in addition to stitching the pocket to the romper, someone had also hot-glued it, and the glue melted to the front of the pocket!

The person I gave it to thought I was being too picky about the glue -- Nah.

Reworking clothes is the same as remodeling a house -- you never know what you're going to find until you are well underway -- in this case I was done when I found it.

Second Remodel -- Replace & Rework

Because it was hot-glued to a hanger, all I could salvage was the bottom -- but isn't that beautiful, flowered, polished-cotton fabric worth saving?

I found a color match for the top in my stash and some lace, made a top for the romper bottoms, and added elastic at the pant legs. It is being modeled by an 18" Madame Alexander doll, one of my favorite dolls to work with.

This one is now in my Etsy shop.

Third Remodel: Replace, Rework, and Add

This had been a really cute dress with a very full skirt. The fabrics on the skirt are mauve polished cotton, a flowered peach polished- cotton, and ivory lace.

The top had been hot-glued to the hanger, so it needed to be replaced. I found a pretty light peach cotton and some deep mauve lace to replace the top. There was enough peach fabric to make a pair of pants, which gave the outfit some versatility. A hair clip and ivory shoes finished it off.

This one went to a charity craft sale.

Every one of these remodels took longer than sewing an outfit from scratch -- just as it does when remodeling a house. But I got a great deal of satisfaction knowing that, in addition to saving vintage fabric, I saved a part of someone's work for others to appreciate.

Hope to see you next week . . .