Where to Find Fabrics For Custom Doll Clothing

Where to Find Fabrics That Look Correct for Doll Clothes

When you look for fabrics for doll clothing, especially for small dolls or dollhouse dolls, you need to check that the drape of the fabric, the size of the trims and the pattern are suitable for the size of doll. Using fabrics which are too thick, or too stiff will make your clothes seem badly fitted. This list has suggestions for where to find small amounts of fabric suited to doll clothing.

  • 01 of 09

    Handkerchiefs for Fine Fabrics and Trims

    Range of printed and embroidered handkerchiefs suitable for miniatures and doll clothing.
    Printed and embroidered, handkerchiefs offer a wide range of fabric types and designs suitable for dollhouse miniatures and fine doll clothing. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    If you have access to flea or vintage markets or 2nd hand shops, you can often find great sources of plain, printed, and finely embroidered fabrics by looking for vintage handkerchiefs. These 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
    Removeable briefs and camisole for a 1:12 scale ball joint doll.
    Set of removeable briefs and camisole made for a 1:12 scale miniature ball jointed doll. Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

    Finding fine knits which 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 (the baby tights are designed not to ravel or run).

  • 03 of 09
    Effect of box pleats on a small scale floral fabric used for a dollhouse scale doll dress.
    The effect of tiny box pleats (two directional pleats) on a small scale floral print used for a dollhouse doll dress. The larger visible space of a box pleat does not interfere as much with the design as would a knife pleat. Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

    The article linked here uses 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. The example is set up with a 1:12 scale dollhouse doll.

  • 04 of 09

    Design and Print Your Own Miniature Clothing Fabrics

    1:12 scale shirt stripe and tartan designs for printable wallpaper or fabric.
    Menswear fabrics in scale designs are hard to find. These printable miniature tartan and shirt stripe designs are scaled for 1:12 or dolls house scale, but can be made smaller using your printer. Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Custom fabrics for doll clothing or upholstery can be printed from any printable design onto printable fabrics or fine iron on transfer paper, like the TAP papers. Linked above are printables for a tartan design and a fine shirt stripe suitable for small dolls. Other printable designs on the miniatures site can be used as well.

    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
    Doll sleeve made from circular stick woven fabric.
    Circular stick weaving over needles can be used for small projects such as sleeves or leggings for doll clothing. 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 (as linked here) or for flat sections of fabric.

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

  • 06 of 09

    Paints for Custom Fabrics

    A three inch tall felt hippopotamus models an easy to make dollhouse doll dress.
    Hortense the Hippo models an easy to make dolls house scale doll dress which can be removed from a doll. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    If you have a fine cotton or silk fabric for doll clothing, but 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
    Tooling leather for model horse tack shown next to a quarter to indicate the 2 - 3 oz. thickness.
    Tooling leather shown next to a quarter to show the thickness of 2 - 3 oz tooling leather used for miniatures and model horse tack. Photo copyright 2011 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Fine leather can be used to make doll accessories, as well as shoes and bags. Check out the sources and types of leather on the list linked here.  If you can't find any of the leathers on this list suitable for your miniature scale, you can make your own "leather" using paint and lightweight interfacing by following the tutorial in the link above.

  • 08 of 09

    Fasteners and Buttons

    Buttons are relatively easy to make for miniature dolls using polymer clay. This tutorial shows the process for miniature button making.  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: 

    In the U.S.

    In the U.K.