Doll clothes patterns and patterns for real girls have one big difference. Dolls are small and girls are big.
If you’re sewing matching outfits for your special girl and her doll, you want to make them look as much alike as possible. But, since girls are so much bigger than their dolls, you have to adjust the proportions. For example, if you plan to use a patterned fabric, the pattern on the doll’s dress should be much smaller in proportion than the pattern on the girl’s dress.
Say you want to use a flowered print. If each of the flowers on the fabric you’ve selected for the girl are about the size of the girl’s hand, then you’ll want to find a matching fabric for the doll with flowers about the size of the doll’s hand.
It’s easier than you might think. A good place to start is with cotton quilting fabrics. These fabrics are often designed as coordinated groups, with the patterns in different proportions so they’ll look great when used together. Other fabric lines produce coordinates, so the smaller-sized print can be used as trim on the finished garment. But instead of using it for trim, the smaller-sized print is the perfect fabric for your doll clothes patterns.
For a quick-and-easy solution, start with gingham checks or striped fabrics. Both patterns come in a wide range of colors. These classics have been around forever, so they’re easy to find in most fabric stores.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to adjust the proportions of the trim and notions you use on both dresses. If the girl is 2 or 3 times taller than her doll, and the girl’s dress has a 1-1/2 inch wide ribbon belt, the dolls belt should be about one-half to one-third as big, or 3/4 to 1/2 inches wide. It’s not an exact science. Just ‘eyeball’ it, and do what makes sense visually.
The same rule applies to flower trim, ruffles, lace, etc… and especially buttons.
If you use solid colored fabrics, you won’t have this problem. But, you still may need to adjust the weight of the fabrics you use. Because the doll is so much smaller than the girl, select lighter weight or softer fabrics for the doll clothes patterns than you select for the girl’s patterns, so your doll’s dresses won’t look too stiff.