Sewing Questions
*Ask Elizabeth*

As far as asking sewing questions is concerned, my motto is "The only stupid questions are those left unasked". So ask away.

Hello! I thought I would tell you a little about myself so that you can get to know me and feel comfortable in asking doll clothes construction questions.

I started sewing for dolls in the 60's and it just seemed to evolve over time. I used to teach garment construction (real people clothes) but that fell by the wayside in the 90's. Now it's dolls, dolls, dolls! And the thing I want to do most now, is to help others learn and enjoy the craft too!

Some of my doll outfits have won prizes in sewing contests and I have also had the honor of one of my creations being purchased by Rosalie Whyel's Museum of Doll Art.

Riley doll poodle skirt

If there is any sewing mistake that could be made, I've probably done it...more than once! So if I can help you to avoid some of the problems and pitfalls in doll clothes construction, all you need do is ask.

Ask your question below and I will respond to it as soon as I can.

Ok, now on to the questions and answers........

Machine Eats Fabric

Dear Elizabeth,

Whenever I'm working with lightweight fabrics, my sewing machine eats it! What can I do?


Pulling My Hair Out

(Click here to read Elizabeth's answer)

When sewing historical recreations should I keep to the methods used in those periods?

Elizabeth, I'm just getting started sewing for dolls. I've spent years working behind the scene in many different sewing shops. Theater, the Ballet and most historical sewing. I've noticed sewing for dolls can be a bit different than sewing full scale. Since I'm working mostly in historical recreations I'm wondering if I should keep to the methods used in those periods. I'm not one to hand sew, so that is the only drift from the historical I plan to do.

Hello and thank you for your sewing question. With your experience in historical sewing as well as Theater and Ballet, you've no doubt got a lot of fascinating design ideas floating around in your head.

When I started sewing for dolls after having sewn in human scale and teaching garment construction, the first thing I learned was that I had to let go of a lot of my human size sewing techniques. You will find that the smaller the scale, the more difficult it will be to execute the same methods and in many instances you will have to 're-invent' a new methodology to achieve the results you are looking for.

Have you been to a doll museum of any kind? You can get a lot of clues as to construction utilized by looking closely at the costuming of the dolls they have (although you are not allowed to touch them). Some of the dolls I have seen go back to the 1700's and of course their costumes are period, but they were sewn differently from full scale clothing because their size did not permit regular methods. Even way back then they had to improvise because of the scale. However, the overall appearance of said clothes looked exactly like their larger scale human size versions. So ultimately, the method used to achieve the period look does not matter as much as the appearance of the finished product.

I hope this information is helpful to you. I hope you will enjoy putting your experience to use for dolls. I imagine you will make some absolutely wonderful things!


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