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How to Design Doll Clothes Patterns Using a Body Template

Here is a method I use to create patterns using templates of the sections of the doll's body.

Take measurements
First take your doll's measurements - length of doll, circumference of neck, chest, waist, hips, length of torso, length and circumference of arms, legs and feet.

Then from these measurements you can draw a templates of each of the pieces of your doll's body as if it were squashed out flat to 2 dimensions, rather than the round dimension it really is. The pieces will most likely be much larger than you think they would be.

Trace the large template of each body part onto sturdy cardboard or a plastic sheet - something that will hold up over time.

Draw a picture
Now, draw a picture of what you want the finished outfit to look like. This gives me a basic idea of how to cut the pieces.

To use the body templates to create doll clothes patterns be sure to leave enough fullness for movement of the doll's arms and legs and don't forget to add the seam allowance you prefer.

Make a practice outfit
First make the pattern on some old sheeting and pin and baste all the pieces of the outfit together before cutting up your good fabric.

Skirts are the easiest to design. For a medium full gathered skirt double the waist width and for a very full skirt triple the skirt width.

With pants or slacks, be sure to allow enough fullness so doll can bend its knees and enough width at low edge to be able to slip over the doll's foot.

Template storage
Mark each peace of doll template with the kind of doll it is and the doll piece it is.

Put the collection of pieces for each separate doll in a large envelope and mark the front of the envelope in large letters with a magic marker. That's the only way I can keep track of my clothes pattern templates.

I store my doll body templates in separate envelopes from the outfits I design. I also take a photo of every outfit I design and keep it with the pattern.

I line up the envelopes on the bookshelf on end so I can easily look for and pull out the templates of choice.

Bring your doll making questions to the forum at the foot of this article.

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Article by Susan Kramer

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Content copyright © 2013 by Susan Kramer. All rights reserved.
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