Fashion Fabric for Doll Clothes

The choice of fashion fabric for your doll clothes can make or break how the final costume will look! It is very important to stay in scale with your doll when you choose fabric for her clothes!

Plain fabrics always work well. But prints and plaids can be tricky.

Be sure the scale of the print or plaid is small enough to look plausible on your doll. Barbie dolls and Fashion Royalty dolls will be harder to fabric shop for than Tyler or the Sybarites. It can be particulary difficult to find fabric with tiny prints for the smallest dolls. Large ball-jointed dolls—BJDs—will be relatively easy, since you can use larger patterns with them.

Stand back and image how the pattern will look on a small doll. Will it over power the doll? Or will it look like a perfect miniature? Be picky!

Another thing to consider when choosing fashion fabric is how thick and heavy is it?

For Barbies and FRs, you may have to use much finer fabric than you would for a person or even a larger doll. For instance, for a coat, you may choose flannel or light-weight wool. On a small doll, this type of fabric will resemble the heavier coat fabric, like camel or tweed, you would use for a person.

Natural fabric is easier to work with than a synthetic. Polyester can be made in many textures and types of fabrics, but it is harder to press, and iy doesn’t take creasing as well as a natural fabric. Plus it is often heavier in weight and hand than its natural equivalents, like silk fabric or cottons.

Light-weight cottons, silk fabric, wool fabric, linen fabric, and even rayon fabric will work well, especially for the smaller dolls.

You will have a bit more leeway with 16-inch dolls or 18-inch dolls. Doll over 20 inches and up will be the easiest to find appropriate doll clothes fabric for.

The main thing to keep in mind is—how does it look on the doll? If it looks like a perfect and believable miniature, go for it! If it looks too big and the word “clown” pops in your mind, it’s probably not right.


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