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The Pattern-making Bodysuit for Fashion Dolls

Nope, she's not Storm ;D

Hey guys, welcome back to my little corner of the world wide web.

I am currently developing a new pattern-making tool that I hope will help me ease the trouble in draping my muslin on the slippery doll body. I had been thinking about making this for months now but it's only recently that I got to lay out all my tasks in my business, and see clearly my priorities from a macro perspective. F-I-N-A-L-L-Y. And this one has got to be among the firsts.

"Why?", you may ask. Well, as some of you know, I mainly design patterns for doll clothes, but I don't do it the way the school-trained dressmakers draft theirs. Instead of developing patterns from blocks drawn from the flat paper, I drape on the doll, and that is my first step. And I drape directly for the specific pattern I designed. After draping some kind of cheap fabric and taping them securely to get the contours of the body, I remove and trace them on paper to get the actual shapes. Once I have them on paper, I continue to refine from that first block/sloper until I'm happy with the fit. That is my most recent process so far.

I had shared a video on YouTube back in 2017 about how I develop my own doll patterns when I was starting. Warning - the video has low resolution and awful audio mixing, thanks to my newbie video editing skills then. But if you want to check it out, here is the link.

Graphing paper was my favorite draping material back then because it already comes with measurements printed. It has 1x1cm-squared grids so it is easier to visualize the shapes I'm getting. Then I moved on to the softer kitchen paper to get the contour shapes/block/sloper. Guys, please bear but I have no idea which jargons to use here as for such a super huge industry, fashion terms differ per country, era, fashion house, etc. But for the sake of us not getting confused for this entire post, let's use the block as the doll's basic body shape patterns. The term "pattern", which we will develop from the block, will be applied for the actual design, okies? 

So, yes I did have a block for each of my dolls back then. But I didn't use them much, as I always just either develop patterns for a specific design I want to make, or adapt from an existing similar pattern (not a block). I do less of the latter. This then makes me depend heavily on the process of contouring/draping directly from the doll.

So here go my issues. Firstly, most of my dolls' bodies are quite challenging to drape on. Some of them have really super-smooth and hard plastic bodies like the high-fashion dolls Poppy Parker, Fashion Royalty, and NuFace gals made by Integrity Toys. My only Audrey Hepburn Silkstone doll is the hardest to drape on, while the rest of the Mattel play scale ones are easier to work on.

Nevertheless, I realized that working this way, I mean draping directly on dolls, is something to be improved. I find myself marking directly on my dolls. Ugh, I even scraped lines on a sacrificial Made to Move Original body to mark seamlines on. All of which I feel very sad about. I don't want to see my dolls like this, to be honest. 

And so, after developing the bodysuit pattern for my shop, a new idea sparked. Finally, I thought, I can protect my dolls from any harsh pen marks, but still drape on and develop patterns from their bodies. Yassss!

So I made a prototype on my Finnick doll a couple of weeks ago. I started with him because I had been wanting to create a capsule wardrobe for the guy, and this new tool I invented will be able to help me ease my process.

Then while I'm at it, I also developed one for my pivotal girl.

These bodysuits are made from stretchy fabric, which I took from the t-shirts I buy for the purpose of making doll t-shirts. They are not as thick as other stretchy fabrics like the rayon knits, so we don't get unnecessary additions to the doll's original contours. 

I also added seam lines on the bodysuit by hand stitching a contrasting thread around. I used zippers at the back to avoid the bulkiness of metal snaps.

Now, I can use my pins to easily pin my muslin on this bodysuit.

I am looking forward to designing an outfit for both Pivotal and Finnick this coming new week as I want to know if this will work to my expectations. I'm also excited to report back to you guys as soon as I complete their outfits.

And that wraps up the first part of the this series on the new pattern-making tool. Thanks so much for dropping by as always! Please comment below on what you think about this project. I'm really excited about this one. Looking forward to seeing you around here and join me in my mini journey!

Enjoy the weekend, dollings!




  1. Well, I almost guessed what it was! I do think this is a fantastic idea, and the stitching will really help you to see where everything is. Making doll clothes seems super difficult to me, because on one hand you have tha actual sewing but there's also the construction/pattern part, which seems to be quite complex. However, I'm willing to give it a try this year, at least the sewing part. I'm planning to go to the fabric store next week to get some plain white fabric to make pillows, and maybe something else to get started.

    Wish you a lovely new week ahead.

    1. Hey MC ❤️ How have you been? I bet you'll be having extra time for sewing this year and yes, starting simpler things like throw pillows will kickstart it right 😉 Have you tried making human-sized pillowcases before? That is one of the pieces I started with to just practice the control on the sewing machine 😉 Or anything that doesnt require a lot of pausing to go different directions like miniature sewing would.. Home curtains, too! I am excited to start the week even if having body aches due to cleaning our bedroom yesterday for hours 😜

    2. I haven't tried it, but if learning how to sew goes right, I might start making things for the house and clothes for myself. Sewing isn't really something I feel very attracted to, but I do see the advantages of learning. I don't like the fashions Mattel puts out there and the price is too high for the cheap quality. So learning how to sew will help me expand my doll wardrobe and allow me to have more unique clothes for my dolls.

      Yesterday I went to the fabric store for the first time and got some plain white cotton and a light ochre cotton fabric. I'd love to use the ochre one for your trousers pattern, and maybe something like a romper. The store also had a similar fabric to the one you used on your "Deep V Neck top" video, and I thought of you when I was there. I'm nervous but really excited about getting started. Hopefully, this weekend I'll find some time to sew my first doll pillow.

      On a personal note, I'm doing pretty well. I'm busy studying and working on some blog posts. Recently I painted some mini-artwork for my dioramas, and one of them was a monstera leaf that reminded me of the style of your paintings. Guess I've been thinking about you a lot recently!

      I hope you're doing well and that you didn't have many body aches after all that cleaning!

    3. The very reason that you don't like what's offered out there for our dolls is reason enough to start making doll clothes, even if it didn't interest you that much. As a child, I would make my own doll clothes because doll fashions were super rare in my town/city. That started the enjoyment of constructing small garments, but I didn't know then if I was interested or if I could do it. I just did hahaha but I had to note that I came from a family of seamstresses. My granny's sister, Lola Vera, was one and she would constantly send us fabrics from the US where she retired. A couple aunts were seamstresses before they retired. I'm so far the only one doing it in my generation ;)

      But, just by the utter disappointment on playscale quality will definitely get you moving, dear. As they say - necessity is the mother of invention ;) It's the goal that gets us there, the process will be loved along the way.

      Yes, home stuff should be perfect to start learning the machine with. I used to mend a lot of busted pants and shirts, and made pillowcases as gifts for loved ones on special occasions. The straight seamlines in rectangular pillowcases are just beginner-perfect.

      Awww that was sweet of you to remember the fabric I used in the Vneck ;) Looking forward to seeing your first creations!

      That's wonderful to hear about you busy studying and writing blog posts. I would have wanted to write more often too but it's just so hard to prioritize, given that I operate my business alone.

      Awwww, I wanna see that monstera painting soon! It's refreshing to paint leaves, to be honest. I am set to paint a new portrait for my FOliage Muse series. It helps me relax and it adds a product in my shop ;)

      I am doing really great, super busy but happy and grateful. For some reason, the body aches healed fast, thanks to the body oil I used that night and the night after. It is super warm (minty) and it did wonders to my tired body.

      Take care of you and as always - I appreciate you dropping by! I may not be on social media all the time but know I am always there if you fancy some good old chat, okies?

      hugs hugs,

  2. This is a great idea. I hope it makes your pattern making easier!

    1. THanks, Champs.. Me, too - very excited how this suit can ease the two main issues I have with my traditional pattern-making process. I am also looking forward to report to you guys once I've done a good amount of garments from it ;)

  3. Thank you for this pattern. 😊😊😊😊

    1. Always my pleasure, dear... What i do satisfies my super curious mind (and hands) and having you guys appreciate what I do is such a wonderful bonus! Thank you so much....xoxo..


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