Whether you customize your own display dolls or your children or grandchildren’s dolls are in serious need of a makeover, you’ve got quite a bit of research to do before you choose a fabric for your doll clothing project.
So, what is the best fabric for doll clothes? Cotton and silk both make great choices for doll clothes for their excellent durability and can withstand repeated washings without suffering damage. If you want more texture in your outfit, linen is also an option that will not wear out over time as synthetic fabrics do.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through some important considerations for doll clothing fabric and introduce you to our favorite fabrics for the occasion!
Choosing Fabric For Dolls
You’ll need to consider several factors while selecting fabric for doll clothes. The height and size of your doll are essential, as you want to make sure it isn’t too difficult or inconvenient to dress the doll or move the clothes around on them.
So, here are some important thinghs to think about as you’re searching for the perfect fabric to suit your doll.
1. Weight And Thickness
The weight determines how thick or heavy it will be when sewn, making a massive difference in doll clothes. Lightweight fabrics like chiffon are best because they have less bulk at the seams, giving them a more natural drape, especially on gathered areas.
Fabric that is too thick or heavy will bunch up and keep your doll’s from articulating correctly. Not to mention, if you’re creating a realistic looking doll, fabric bunching up in all the wrong places or sticking instead of draping will ruin the effect.
It’s best to go with a thin yet slightly heavy fabric that drapes just enough to look natural but isn’t a nuisance to put on the doll.
2. Softness Vs Durability
If you’re planning on dressing a doll that a child will be playing with, then the child will enjoy the doll more if it’s made with soft fabric.
It’s essential to make sure that an outfit is not too scratchy or stiff before a child can play with them for any length of time. Otherwise, they’ll be uncomfortable to touch and your child will lose interest.
However, in this case, you’ll also have to choose a fabric that is able to take a lot of abuse without tearing, as your child is likely to be playing with their doll constantly. Make sure it is also machine washable so that your kiddo’s sticky fingers don’t permanently ruin all the hard work you put into the outfit.
3. Skin-Friendly Fabric
If you’re planning on gifting the outfit to a child, the material should be free of harsh chemicals so it will not irritate sensitive skin. Moreover, materials like nylon and polyester are great for durability while still providing soft and pliable textures.
So, now that you know everything about the best fabric for doll clothes, its time to level up your sewing game and give a makeover to your doll’s wardrobe.
4. Small Prints
Have you been looking for a more unique outfit to dress up your doll in? Why not incorporate solids with some printed fabric to spice things up even further and give your doll a little extra personality?
The best printed fabrics to use for doll clothes have small and somewhat delicate designs that translate well to a smaller model. Fabric with a mix of colors, such as thin stripes and polka dots, will look perfect when made into outfits for dolls.
Besides, you can also try choosing fabric prints that are all the same color but different sizes and shapes like dots or small flowers. Avoid large designs as they will be cut into smaller pieces and won’t reflect the whole print. Moreover, geometrical prints are also a good idea.
If you’re making a close-fitting garment for your doll, make sure that the designs on her clothes aren’t so big that you can only see pieces of the design once it’s all sewn together. You have more flexibility if you’re using it for unsewn or gathered clothing.
The first step to making a doll outfit is figuring out whether the print will be suitable. To do this, fold the fabric into a 1×1″ square and see if you can still make out any of its features. If so, then it’s a good idea to use that pattern for your next project.
Best Doll Clothing Fabrics
Now that we know which prints will work, it’s time to pick a fabric type. There are two main types of fabrics: natural and synthetic. Natural fibers include cotton, wool, silk, or hemp, while synthetics usually refer to polyester and polyester blends like rayon.
Natural, synthetic, and blended fabrics all have different properties that work best for different types of clothing, purposes, or looks. Synthetic fibers tend to be smoother with less texture variation. They can be made from various materials that give you the look and feel of natural fabrics while still retaining their durability.
Apart from this, woven fabrics like quilting cotton are strong and don’t stretch, but they need a fastening device like elastic to fit over an object without cutting off circulation.
Knit fabrics are made by knitting a single fiber over and over. As a result, using this fabric instead of woven ones offers some clear advantages for crafting clothes for dolls, such as flexibility and durability.
1. Quilting Cotton
Quilting cotton is a fabric made from 100% cotton that can be plain or have designs printed on it.
Quilt cotton is sturdy and holds its shape well even after being washed, so it makes the perfect choice for any project requiring high-quality material.
It’s a soft, durable, and washable material perfect for children’s dolls which will get a lot of playtime.
This type of fabric has a low thread count, making it very easy to embroider, sew, and add other decorative embellishments to, such as beads, buttons, and lace.
Gingham is a fabric that traditionally has an array of colorful stripes. However, it can also be made in white patterns like checks and plaids.
One reason why it’s best for doll clothes is because it’s easy to find in stores and does not fray, so it can be easier to sew scraps together without having them come apart as some other fabrics do.
Another reason is that the pattern is so simple; there won’t be any worries about mistakes and matching the pattern with buttons like you might get with more complicated designs.
Chambray is a “shot” fabric, which means that it has a two-toned effect created by using different colors for the yarns in warp and weft.
This plain weave cotton fabric might look like denim but is woven differently with colored threads as opposed to one solid color.
Chambray fabric is in many ways similar to other lightweight woven fabrics.
Still, the reason it is preferable for doll clothes and sewing projects is because of its weave structure. Moreover, it is a super soft fabric, one of the essential factors to consider while picking materials for doll clothes.
Linen is made from the flax stems fibers.
It’s thin, lightweight, and smooth to the touch with an attractive sheen that can’t be matched by cotton or any other fabric. Besides, it dries quickly, which is great for impatient children who just want to get their play-pretend on after it’s been washed.
Linen is a sturdy fabric with densely woven yarns, allowing it to keep its shape under heavy use.
This makes it perfect for sewing doll clothes because it will help the clothing retain its shape and form without sagging.
5. Durable Lightweight Fabrics – Corduroy, Denim, Twill, Silk, Nylon, Polyester
The pattern in these fabrics is created by the loose/taut alternations of the woven fabric of each layer that gives it its characteristic look. In addition to this, they are lightweight, soft to the touch, wear well with minor wrinkling, and are easy to care for.
These fabrics are easy to cut and sew by hand, as well as resilient when it comes to avoiding rips or tears. Corduroy provides good stretch while still keeping its form.
Denim can be more durable because of its wear-resistance nature. Twill is a very affordable fabric woven commonly with cotton fiber, rayon fiber, or polyester fibers. It has properties like temperature resistance and certain “grabbing” capabilities exhibited with different finishes.
Other fabrics like polyester and rayon are synthetic and should be air-dried after a wash, but they are skin-safe as well as durable and stretchy. These fabrics are also lightweight but still drape to create a flowy look for coats and dresses. Silk is less stretchy but makes a soft, durable, natural, and even antimicrobial option.
Up Next: Best Yarns for Doll Hair