Doll clothes patterns can be confusing when it comes to achieving a proper fit. The first thing I discovered when I started sewing for my American Girl dolls is that not all 18-inch doll bodies are the same size. That means your doll clothes patterns require small adjustments and alterations to fit each doll. So, lets look at several different dolls and compare their body sizes.
The dolls shown in the photo above are (left to right):
- Lindsey, a Springfield Collection doll
- Julie, an American Girl doll made in 2008
- Girlz, a Madame Alexander doll
- A German doll made by Heidi Ott
- Kaya, an American Girl doll made in 2002
As a group, these dolls appear to be very similar. However, there are slight differences, even among American Girl dolls that will affect the fit of the doll clothes patterns. Because the 18-inch dolls have cloth bodies that are made by humans in sewing factories, quality control is sometimes an issue. I had to return my first Julie doll to the American Girl store. Her head was not attached halfway between her shoulders, but was mounted closer to one of her arms. Her body looked distorted, especially in a short-sleeved top. My point is… Even among the dolls made by one manufacturer, there are variations in body size. Sometimes seamstresses take larger seams, causing the bodies to be smaller. They may use more or less stuffing, which will change the size of the doll’s waistline. If the doll is not stuffed tightly enough, it will be difficult for her to stand on her own. She’ll need a doll stand, like the one shown in the photo above.
I have two American Girl dolls: Julie, made in 2008 and Kaya, made in 2002. Kaya, the older doll, is shorter. Much of this height difference is because the 2002 doll’s neck is considerably shorter than the 2008 doll’s neck. Although they’re different heights, it isn’t much of a fitting problem because the length of the neck doesn’t really affect the fit of the doll clothes patterns.
But, if you look closer at the photo, you’ll notice Kaya’s thighs are larger than Julie’s. This can be frustrating when they’re sharing doll clothes, like tight pants.
So, if you’re sewing for more than one doll, or you’re making doll clothes to sell, consider how the doll clothes will fit the different body types. Before you start sewing, you need to know how to adjust your doll clothes patterns to fit a variety of 18-inch dolls.
In the next blog post, we’ll look at three of the most popular 18-inch play dolls:
- American Girl dolls
- Gotz ‘Precious Day Collection’
- Madame Alexander ‘Girlz’
I’ll compare their exact body measurements to give you the information you’ll need to start adjusting your doll clothes patterns for a perfect fit.