Where to Find Fabrics For Custom Doll Clothing

When you look for fabrics for doll clothing (especially for small dolls or dollhouse dolls), you need to make sure the drape of the fabric, the size of the trims, and the pattern are suitable for the size of ​doll you want to outfit. Using fabrics which are too thick or too stiff will make your clothes seem poorly fitted.

  • 01 of 09

    Handkerchiefs for Fine Fabrics and Trims

    Range of printed and embroidered handkerchiefs suitable for miniatures and doll clothing.
    Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    Flea or vintage markets and thrift shops are great sources of plain, printed, and finely embroidered fabrics. Be on the lookout for vintage handkerchiefs as they are usually an inexpensive source of lovely fabrics for doll clothing for 1:24 through 1:6 (fashion or play scale) dolls.

  • 02 of 09

    Sources of Inexpensive Fine Knits for Doll Clothing

    Removeable briefs and camisole for a 1:12 scale ball joint doll.
    Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

    Finding fine knits which don't ravel for doll clothing isn't as difficult as you might think. Try the baby section for fine cotton knits in sleepers, shirts, and hats, or use baby leggings and tights for dollhouse tights.

  • 03 of 09

    Choosing Fabrics for Miniature Pleats and Gathers

    Effect of box pleats on a small scale floral fabric used for a dollhouse scale doll dress.
    Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

    Use a basic quilting cotton with a small print to show how the type of gathers and pleats affects how the fabric looks when used for small scale doll clothing. This example is set up with a 1:12 scale dollhouse doll.

  • 04 of 09

    Design and Print Your Own Miniature Clothing Fabrics

    1:12 scale shirt stripe and tartan designs for printable wallpaper or fabric.
    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Custom fabrics for doll clothing or upholstery can be printed from any printable design onto printable fabrics or fine iron-on transfer paper, like TAP papers.

    For special designs in small quantities, you can design your own fabrics, or scale down the designs of talented artisans on the Spoonflower fabric service. 

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Circular Stick Weaving Over Needles For Custom Fabrics

    Doll sleeve made from circular stick woven fabric.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

    A fairly easy process for hand weaving small scale fabrics involves using needles for the stick weaving technique. This technique works for both circular fabric sections or for flat sections of fabric.

    You can achieve very elegant results for doll purses and couture jackets using this technique to make your own custom fabric.

  • 06 of 09

    Paints for Custom Fabrics

    A three inch tall felt hippopotamus models an easy to make dollhouse doll dress.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    If you have a fine cotton or silk fabric for doll clothing, but it doesn't have a pattern, you can use rubber stamps, fine stencils, or a paintbrush to create custom colored or printed fabrics with fabric paints. Most of these paints are washable until they are set with the heat of an iron. Look for fine fabric markers or fabric crayons if you would prefer to draw, rather than paint.

    Two good fabric paint brands for miniatures are:

    • Jacquard Textile Color
    • Pebeo Setacolor
  • 07 of 09

    Types and Sources of Fine Leather for Miniatures

    Tooling leather for model horse tack shown next to a quarter to indicate the 2 - 3 oz. thickness.
    Photo copyright 2011 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Fine leather can be used to make doll accessories, as well as shoes and bags. If you can't find any of the leathers on this list suitable for your miniature scale, you can ​make your own "leather" by using paint and lightweight interfacing.​

  • 08 of 09

    Fasteners and Buttons

    Buttons are relatively easy to make for miniature dolls using polymer clay. This tutorial shows the process for miniature button making. Small scale plastic buttons are available, but usually only suitable for 1:6 scale dolls or as large coat buttons for 1:12 scale.

    Another useful fastener for miniature doll clothing is hook and loop tape. Sometimes sold as "doll velcro," this comes in shorter pile lengths and finer sizes which will work for doll clothing.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Online Suppliers of Miniature Doll Fabrics and Notions

    Online sources of fabrics and other notions for dollhouse and fashion dolls include: 

    In the U.S.

    In the U.K.

    • Little Trimmings - fabrics, trims, notions
    • Sue's Enchanted Cottage 404 - trims, fabrics, tools, accessories, kits

Creating your own doll clothes is a fun and rewarding hobby. You can bring your fabric scraps to life with these techniques. Once you start to make a few pieces, you won't look at found materials in the same way again.