Doll clothes patterns are sized for an exact fit. You invest lots of time and money to sew them into great outfits for your American Girl and 18-inch dolls. But, you may be overlooking something very important. Did you launder the fabric before cutting out the pattern pieces? There are several good reasons to pre-wash:
- The most obvious reason is to maintain proper fit. When you wash and dry the fabric before cutting out your doll clothes patterns, you can be sure the doll clothes won’t shrink later. Shrinking makes the garments too tight for the dolls. It also causes the seams to pucker.
- Pre-washing helps to release the extra dye on the surface of the fabric. Even if the fabric doesn’t look like it will fade, the dye may rub off on your doll’s body. This discoloration can be very difficult to remove. Suede cloth or other ‘brushed’ fabric surfaces often fade. Beware of a colored fabric that stains your hands when you’re laying out your doll clothes patterns. (Helpful hint: Always remember to remove all clothing and accessories before storing your doll to avoid staining and discoloration from fabric dyes.)
- Pre-wash your fabrics to make them softer, so they’ll hang or ‘drape’ nicely. When you select fabric, consider that if it’s too hard or rigid, the doll clothes will look stiff and ‘unrealistic.’
- When you’re using denim to make doll jeans and jackets, pre-wash the fabric several times before cutting out your doll clothes patterns, to create garments that look pre-aged.
It’s better to be safe than sorry! Always pre-wash fabrics.