Part 5: Facings, Fastenings and Finishing
Tulle for Facings
Fashion dolls made in the early 1960's used tulle (bridal netting) for facing necklines or for yokes on skirts. It makes a clean-looking edge without adding any bulk.
Tulle comes in many colors and is inexpensive. It can be used instead of the main fabric for any facing. Also, instead of making a folded and topstitched neckline, the entire bodice can be lined with tulle so that the neckline can be stitched and turned. This is a technique that can be used on any doll clothes pattern.
Factory-made doll clothes use hook-and-loop tape. It can be attached by machine and is easy for children to use. Hook-and-loop tape needs to be cut down to ¼" or 3/8" wide to be used on tiny doll clothes. Before hook-and-loop tape was invented all doll clothes used tiny snaps. When making doll clothes at home, either fastening can be used.
If buttons are called for they are sewn on the outside of a closure, just for show; not even factories make button holes for 3/16" buttons. But small zippers are available to the home sewer (usually online) to make zip-front jackets.
Fitting Your Doll
As when for sewing for people, the fit of a garment can make the difference between something looking professional or home-made. Doll clothes that are intended for children's play need to fit more loosely than for collector doll clothes.
The garment should be tried on the doll at different stages, while it is being made. Tape can be used to hold it on the doll if needed. When sewing on such a small scale the slightest variation in cutting or seam allowance can affect the fit a lot. Even different fabrics can fit differently, so don't be surprised if the fit needs adjusting. An adjustment of 1/16" or 1/8" taken in at the side seam can make a big difference.
Always place snaps or hook-and-loop tape for closures after fitting the doll. Don't go strictly by the markings on the patterns. Pinch together the garment so that it fits well; then use a pin, pencil or other marking tool to indicate where the two sides meet. Trim away fabric if needed and sew the closures on so that the markings meet when closed.