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 that 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 that 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

    Doll with clothing and quarter used for scale.
    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

    Teddy bear with fabric blanket.

    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd

    Custom fabrics for doll clothing or upholstery can be printed from any printable design onto printable fabrics or fine iron-on transfer paper, such as 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 flat sections of fabric.

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

  • 06 of 09

    Paints for Custom Fabrics

    A 3-inch tall felt hippopotamus model with clothing.

    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd

    If you have fine cotton or silk fabric for doll clothing, but if 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.

    Photo copyright 2011 Lesley Shepherd

    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. You can easily make miniature buttons. 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 the following:

    In the United States

    In the United Kingdom

    • Little Trimmings: fabrics, trims, and notions
    • Sue's Enchanted Cottage: trims, fabrics, tools, accessories, and 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.