The important thing about making doll clothes is scale. Look at the little dollies-- they're small. We humans (even child humans) are much bigger. So you can't expect to take big human fabrics and make doll clothes that look right. If I used regular jean denim for these tiny pants, they'd look thick and bulky. I used a thin, soft work shirt I got at thrift for a buck and placed my pattern pieces so that the side seams on the shirt worked as the outside leg seams of Rilla's jeans. The lighter weight of the fabric lets it fold and crinkle and fit like heavier denim does on big people. A scrub on the knees, cuffs, and other strategic areas with fine sandpaper gives the impression of long wear, and a rub across my workshop table picked up enough dirt to make them look pretty much exactly like my own jeans after a day of work. Rilla isn't a fashion plate-- she likes to get her hands (and jeans!) dirty.
I slid a button into her back pocket and buffed it with sandpaper to leave the impression of a Skoal can. Of course Rilla doesn't chew tobacco -- I just think it's hilarious. A little inside joke to see what my friends notice.
Now of course a t-shirt is standard to wear with jeans, but why not take things a little farther? It was pretty easy to come up with a pattern for a cowgirl shirt, and once I found the perfect fabric, it practically made itself.
Tiny pearl buttons are just for show -- underneath there are a few snaps to hold the shirt and cuffs closed. Because I hate doing regular-size buttonholes, and I doubt I'd like making little tiny buttonholes any better. I'm still deciding as to whether I want to do any embroidery on the yoke of the shirt. And I'll make the collar a little narrower next time, too.
Rilla shows off her sweater and shop apron. Look at that crocheted sweater -- isn't that the cutest thing ever? I used Patton sock yarn, which is nice and thin, because again: scale. Regular sportweight yarn is much too thick and would look bulky and wrong. This sweater took one skein, and I had enough left over to do a cute winter hat and scarf to match, although she wouldn't wear those with the sweater because she has more fashion sense than that. Dave got me a tiny screwdriver set (used for eyeglass repair or something) so Rilla has her own set of tools that are just her size. ..or maybe even a bit small.
And I made her a pretty necklace because beads are fun.
And in the midst of all this silliness, I decided she should have one thing I couldn't make -- a friend. (Meaning I couldn't sew her a friend, not that I can't make friends for myself. Of course I can. If I want. As long as they don't mind listening to me prattle on about dolls and horses and 14th century underpants and stuff.)
Goodwill came through again with a Madame Alexander doll. So here's Rilla's new friend, Sangeeta Gupta, all the way from Nashville.
She's dressed up in her salwar kameez because it's a special occasion and she likes to show off, but once the welcome party was over, she was happy to slip into something more hard-wearing.
That blue sweater is made from a two-ply Scottish wool that is just a tiny bit thicker than the sock yarn I used for Rilla's sweater, and you can see that it's a little more bulky. But who doesn't love an nice thick wool sweater when it's cold and rainy out? I certainly wouldn't use anything heavier than this, and I kinda wish I'd made it two rows longer at the bottom hem. Oh well, it's not the last sweater I'll be making for the girls. She's also wearing brown corduroy pants that I haven't quite finished yet. I need to put big square pockets on the front. I cut them from a pair of fine-wale children's pants that were, again, a dollar at thrift. (I love those 99 cent sale days.)
Sangeeta's hair is something else again. The care label on her side cautions against getting it wet, and when I contacted the company for clarification, they assured me that water + this doll's hair = ruination or at least awful damage.
I wonder what it's made of.
So I'm learning to deal with the texture of it, and as a woman whose hair is just stick straight and who never played with dolls as a kid, and whose styling experience is pretty much limited to brushing out my horse's mane and tail, I will admit it's a challenge. But Geeta is pretty tolerant and I'm sure soon I'll learn other ways to style it. For now, she's rocking this twisted ponytail and keeping it out of trouble.