Challenge: Accepted?

Written on August 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Musings with tags: ,


Part of the challenge with dressing my Middies is knowing that I challenged myself to develop their wardrobe myself. This means no buying Middie-sized clothes. If I happen to buy a bag of doll clothes at a thrift store and something happens to fit Middies, that’s a little different (because I was likely aiming for something to fit the Neos), or if I receive a Middie-sized gift – that’s okay too! I don’t have to craft shoes by hand (thank goodness!), but anything clothing wise needs to be made by me for the most part.

Sometimes I kick myself for issuing myself this challenge. But the other day I was looking through one of my Japanese doll clothing pattern books and I pulled this one off the shelf:


I bought it when I was in Hong Kong in 2012 because I went searching for a craft store that carried Japanese pattern books (score!). It does have Middie-sized patterns, as well as Neo-sized items (and some even patterns for an even taller doll, but let’s pretend those don’t exist). Felt is relatively inexpensive, and I could learn how to hand sew a touch better (straighter!), so I decided that I would make the Middie-sized items from this book to start off with.

Fingers crossed I don’t end up poking my fingers too much with the needle!

Things I learned from sewing for dolls

Written on May 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article with tags: , ,

I’ve learned a lot since I started sewing for dolls. Some things I kind of already knew, others I didn’t. I decided to compile a list of things that I’ve learned – whether I wanted to learn them or not.

Irons are your friends. Mini irons are your best friends.

I never used to iron a thing. Ever. I hated the idea of ironing and all I read online was ironing will change my life. Or something like that. And I didn’t believe it… until I had a seam that would not let me press it flat, no matter what I tried. So I pulled out the iron and then bang, like magic. It was perfect. I got a Clover Mini Iron last year for my birthday and while I don’t use it for everything (let’s face it, that little iron head is not large enough for doing an entire fat quarter at a time to get rid of the fold lines), it is fantastic for doing little things like collars, small seams, little hems.

Photo from user drniels.

Pinning is important, apparently. But plastic pin heads will melt under the iron.

I learned this very early on. Pinning is awesome! It keeps things in place, keeps all your gathers gathered until you’re ready to actually sew and make them permanent. But plastic pin heads. I used to only have pins that had plastic heads until I started becoming BFFs with my iron. And then I learned why glass pin heads exist. Because they won’t melt and deform if you press an iron down on them. Nothing makes me start sounding like a sailor than having plastic pressed and melted into my pretty fabric.

Tracing paper is a lot easier to pin to fabric than regular paper.

Oh tracing paper, I love you so much. I tried, at one point, to use regular letter paper as my pattern pieces. I’d cut them out, pin them, but it’d bunch or buckle and it just wouldn’t lay flat no matter how I pinned it. Cue tracing paper. It’s thin, light-weight, relatively inexpensive (even more so with a discount coupon to the Big Box Craft Store) and (best of all) it’s easy to transfer patterns to it and to pin it down flat onto the fabric.

My mother wasn’t lying when she said that there are fabric-only scissors and paper-only scissors.

When I was little, I totally thought it was weird that my mom had scissors labelled ‘general use’, ‘paper only’, ‘fabric only’. Because to me, they were all just scissors. Now that I engage in fabric-related crafting? I totally get it. I have a set of snips for threads, a pair for fabric, pinking shears and general paper scissors. And they’re all labelled and in their ‘home’. I totally get it now. Sorry mom, for doubting you and your scissor labelling. Of course, now that I understand why there are scissors for different things, I don’t lend them out to people. I’m likely to lend out the paper-only scissors. But my pinking shears? My fabric shears? Nope. Mine.

Photo from user lela1971.

You need to learn to pick your battles when it comes to knotted threads.

I hate knots. I really, really hate knots. But I know when I’m going to win (hopefully) and when I’m going to lose. If I’m hand sewing, I’m more likely to fix the knots because it’s a pain otherwise. If I’m machine sewing and there’s a knotted thread nest on the fabric…? Well, I’m slightly less likely to undo the knots. Especially if they won’t be seen. But then I’ll go and adjust tension and rethread the machine because it’s the right thing to do. But undoing the knots? Highly unlikely. It’s a design feature.

Seam rippers are fantastic. Except when they go under your fingernail.

I think seam rippers are awesome. They rip seams, which is great whenever I do a wonky line. However, seam rippers can be sharp. And they’re kind of annoying when I go and job myself underneath a finger nail and get blood on my project. So word from the wise (?) – be careful with sharp objects. That goes for pins, scissors and seam rippers. Getting sharp objects into your body is no good. Be careful, be aware of your surroundings. No hobby is worth permanent damage to yourself or others.

Photo from user mazwebs.

Sometimes it’s just easier to hand sew. Not faster, but easier. Sometimes.

Sometimes when I’m trying out a new or new-to-me pattern, I hand sew it because it’s just easier for me to ‘visualize’ it. It’s also easier for me to undo the stitches if I do something wrong. Also, I hand sew collars sometimes, if I can’t find any stabilizer, because my machine eats tiny bits of fabric like that for breakfast. It’s a nice way to get small seams when you hand sew, and you can also embroider details with hand sewing. Granted, you can do it with machine sewing as well, but some people like hand embroidery from time to time. Hand sewing is also useful for sewing tiny buttons, beads and snaps. And we all know how I feel about snaps…

Blythe On A Budget: DIY Sock-Sweater Dress

Written on May 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article with tags: , , , ,

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
Filed under: Article with tags: , , , ,

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.

Sew With Me – Part 2

Written on August 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm by Guest Author
Filed under: Article with tags: ,

This is a guest post by Mama Lisa. If you’re interested in contributing and writing for, click here for more information.

You just bought the very first Simplicity sewing pattern for Blythe. Now what?! Don’t panic! It isn’t as hard as you think it will be. Get a great pair of scissors and follow along as you learn all about sewing with patterns.

Click to read more of this entry.

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