At age 16 Maggie Hamel's sewing is impeccable. I asked her for a few tips to help others sew doll clothes. Here they are:
When you are just starting out sewing doll clothes, I would start with a project such as an elastic waist skirt or a drawstring dress. These projects use only straight seams, so you can avoid sewing tiny curves. Additionally, the proportions and measurements of the doll are less crucial in achieving a nice fit.
After a few simply projects, I think it is a good idea to go through Lisa's Doll Dressmaking Series, starting at the beginning. The tutorials are fantastic, and guide you from simple to more complex dresses. Once you get the hang of the basic reversible sundress, you can add a collar and sleeves, or try a bodice and skirt dress.
When first starting out, I would sew for a doll that isn’t too small, such as regular sized Phoebe or an 18-inch doll. It is fun to sew for a small doll, like ExtraSmall Phoebe, but it can be tricky to maneuver around tiny curves.
There are also a few tools that making sewing doll clothes much easier;
- Using pinking shears to clip the seam allowances around curves help a bodice lay flat when it is turned right side out, and they are much faster than clipping individual “v”s with scissors.
- A not-too-sharp knitting needle is helpful for poking out the corners of bodices.
- I also use my iron all the time when sewing doll clothes; take time to press seam allowances open and iron hems for a crisp-looking dress.