Blythe On A Budget: Shopping in your closet

Written on September 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
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I’m not the first one to think it: doll clothes have been getting more and more expensive.

On one hand, I definitely think that dolly seamstresses are entitled to being paid for their talent, their time and their work. If you’ve never tried it before, sewing doll clothes can be hard. Small seams, small hems, small everything! It’s difficult to come up with something that fits, plastic doesn’t have any give (at least not compared to humans). On the other hand, my dolls are demanding little bits of plastic and want ‘new’ clothes all the time. Or maybe that’s just an extension of my own personality (but let’s pretend that it’s not).

So what can you do? You could go and buy new doll clothes, but this is Blythe On A Budget, not Blythe On A Shopping Spree. What you can do is shop in your own doll closet.

243/365 - Blythe, Incognito

  • Rediscover clothing that you already own. Never really thought that orange top looked good on anyone? Try it on the newest addition to your family or try it when another pair of pants or a skirt or under a jacket.
  • Have your dolls out and change their outfits! Give them a new look for the few days (or weeks, or months – if you’re bad like me and never change your doll’s outfit).
  • Put together new clothing combinations. Striped tights with a polka dot skirt and a solid top? Sure! Horizontal striped dress with a plaid hat and dotted tights? Why not? After all, some dolls (and their humans) just lack fashion sense (just ask my own dolls!).
  • Maybe you got some new hair accessories? Maybe it’d look good with that dress that you don’t remember why you bought it? Time for a doll to get a new outfit on!

And when you’ve got all your dolls in new outfits that you shopped out of your own doll closet, now it’s time for your dolls to do a photoshoot! There’s always nice, budget-friendly ways to enjoy your Blythes.

How To: Cleaning Doll Clothes

Written on September 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
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Disclaimer: I do not hold any responsibility for any damage that may occur to your dolls’ clothing from what you learn from this post. This is what works for me and my doll clothing, which is why I’m writing this. Please don’t get angry at me for ruined dolly clothing and remember to TEST detergents and other cleaning solutions on small (hopefully hidden) patches first before dousing an entire pricey little dress in it.

Photo by user marekwo.

I clean all thrifted doll clothing, or at least try to (especially if it smells or has a visible but removable stain). The problem is that generally doll clothes don’t have a care tag label or even a label telling you what kind of fabric it is. The good thing is that most things can be washed.

First thing first: Is the fabric colour-fast? If you have dark or very bright clothing, you might want to check of the material is colour fast first. Just get the fabric a little bit wet and blot it with a paper towel. If the colour comes out, it is not colour-fast (and you most definitely do not want to put it on your doll). Blythe bodies get stained very easily so you’ll want to avoid all fabrics that are not colour-fast.

Hand washing is recommended for doll clothing, mostly due to their small nature. If you’re not wanting to use laundry detergents, you still have options:

  • Wash with water only
  • Wash with water and mild soap
  • Wash with water and vinegar (50/50 solution)

I tend to wash my doll clothes in the sink, if I need to. The clothing is laid flat to dry after I’m done cleaning them. I would avoid bleach, especially with vintage clothing items.

Washing machines can also get the job done. They are less gentle on doll clothing than hand washing is, but it takes less of a time commitment from you. What you’ll need to do is:

  • Separate your lights and darks (please check to see if fabrics are colour-fast before putting them in the washing machine!)
  • Put the dolly clothing into a lingerie/laundry bag or into a zippered pillowcase. Make sure to zip it close.
  • Put the bag in with similarly coloured (human) laundry. Put it on the delicate cycle.
  • Lay doll clothing flat to dry.

What about things made with yarn? If the item in question was knit or crocheted in acrylics or superwash wool – you can go ahead with washing it without any problems. If the item was made with mohair, non-superwash wool or any other animal-fibre, take care not to shock the fibres! But never fear, you can still wash them if they get a bit dingy.

  • Hand wash only!
  • Use cold water – not warm or hot water (warm/hot water will agitate the fibres and cause your doll clothing to shrink!)
  • You can use detergents specially made for wool/animal fibres or a very mild baby shampoo.
  • Lay dolly clothing flat to dry (much like you would a human-sized sweater).

What tips do you have for cleaning doll clothing?

Blythe On A Budget: DIY Sock-Sweater Dress

Written on May 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
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When I was younger, my parents refused to go out and buy clothes for my Barbie dolls beyond what came with the doll herself. But I still wanted new clothes for my dolls so my dad used to sew some for me, just to placate me long enough for me to stop from whining more. One of the things he used to make for me was little sweaters and dresses from socks, so with his help I wrote this tutorial.

Pretty much all of the directions are his, minus the use of stabilizer (I have no clue how he was patient enough to sew doll clothes for me with socks without stabilizer, I had a hard enough time with it!).

You will need:

  • 1 sock (I bought mine from a local dollar store, kids sizes at 3 pairs for $2 CAD)
  • scissors
  • stabilizer (makes your life so much easier)
  • thread (either the same colour as your sock or similar)
  • pencil (or something else to mark fabric with)
  • pins
  • sewing machine

Click to read more of this entry.

Blythe On A Budget: DIY Trimmed Skirt

Written on May 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
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My wardrobe is the opposite of my dolls’. I have a lot of separates (shirts, pants, skirts, sweaters) while they have a lot more dresses than I will probably ever have (if only for lack of closet space). In my need for more separates to go with the small amounts of tops that I have for my dolls, I decided to sew a simple skirt that is very much modelled after a skirt that I have.

You will need:

  • fabric – 8cm x 23cm
  • trim (optional) – 23cm
  • elastic – 3mm width, 9cm length (I got mine for $1.70 for 3.7m)
  • scissors
  • pins
  • stabilizer
  • safety pin (for threading elastic)
  • thread
  • iron
  • sewing machine

Click to read more of this entry.

Blythe On A Budget: Finding Patterns

Written on May 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
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There is a lot to be said for bought doll clothing. It’s generally fast, you don’t need to know how to sew or buy your own supplies. Let’s face it: the cost of various colours of thread, different types of fabric and then some kind of fabric to line it so that the darker colours won’t stain your doll? It takes money to make those clothes, but also energy and time. I’ve talked a lot in the past about where to find fabrics or small prints, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, unless we’re all ready to dabble in pattern design – we need to know where to go to find size-appropriate designs for our Blythes.

One great website is, a lot of people recommend this site for newbies because it has a lot of sewing patterns (many adapted from old Skipper patterns) along with some great tutorials on changing eye-chips, how to do the lock-loop method for rerooting dolly hair and tutorials on how to take scalps off of the doll’s head.

Some other great sites to check out are:

For non-sewing patterns, but these patterns will still aid you in expanding your doll’s wardrobe, check out:

Dress made with the Blythe Empire Dress pattern from

When in doubt, you can always do a quick search on Google for “free Blythe patterns” or “free Skipper patterns” (or another similarly sized doll). There’s a lot of resources that are available online, you can also find sewing tutorials (for machine and hand sewing). There are a lot of Japanese books available (although not inexpensive at all factoring in cost of the item and shipping!) like Dolly Dolly or similar books (these generally have patterns for Blythe as well as other dolls that are popular in Japan).

Please remember to read the terms and conditions outlined on each individual pattern. Many of them are free for personal use only (not for commercial use) and be sure to respect the wishes of the designers.

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