This article contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of the product links, we’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please read our affiliate disclosure to learn more.
Picture me, all fired up to whip up a cute dress for my doll.
I figured it would be a breeze because I’ve sewn pillows, purses, & quilts.
But halfway through the project, the dress started to unravel, I struggled to turn the tiny pieces right side out, and my free trial of Alexa Music abruptly ended, replacing my sewing jams with a flurry of annoying ads.
I thought I could get by with the tools I had on hand but in reality, that was not the case.
It wasn’t until I shifted my mind from human sewing to doll sewing that I realized that doll sewing required a specific set of tools.
Below you’ll find an in depth recommendation of 11 Tools that I know can help make your project come together smoothly.
1. Needle & Thread – These tools are used to attach buttons and close seams by hand and are what keep the project together.
2. Page Tabs – Use page tabs to bookmark the project page. They’ll help you stay organized & prevent you from wasting time by sewing from the wrong instructions
Trust me it happens
3. Paper, Coffee Filters or Straight Stitch Needle Plate – When you need to fend off a hungry sewing machine, go to your kitchen, printer, or sewing machine shop for relief.
If your machine frequently “eats” your fabric (pulls the fabric in the throat plate) one way to prevent this is to use paper or coffee filters.
Place the paper underneath the fabric while you sew, this will prevent your fabric from being pulled into the machine.
Use a short stitch length, I use a 1.8 stitch length.
This ensures the stitches won’t be loose when removing the paper.
To remove the paper from the fabric, fold it back and forth along the stitches and carefully tear the paper from the fabric.
If you don’t want to use paper, check to see if you can purchase a straight stitch needle plate for your machine.
Straight stitch needle plates have a smaller hole that prevents the machine from gobbling the fabric.
Be mindful of the plate you have on the machine and the project you’re working on.
For example, if the project uses a zigzag stitch and you have the straight stitch needle plate on, the needle will break when it comes in contact with the solid throat plate. Ouch.
4. Sewing Pins or Clips – Fabric likes to wiggle out of place. To keep it from moving around too much use sewing pins and clips.
I like to use glass-head pins because they are heat tolerant and won’t melt when you use an iron.
If you’re not a fan of pins, you could use Clover Mini Wonder Clips
Here is a video from Maile Lani sharing why she uses these neat clips.
5. Turning Tool – To turn projects right side out, a turning tool is a must.
The small scale of doll sewing makes turning things by hand a challenge.
But fortunately, a turning tool makes the job easier.
You can use forceps or depending on the project, thin wooden dowels can do the trick.
6. Marking Tools – These are used to make marks on fabric that are necessary for accurate sewing.
To ensure you can mark a variety of fabrics, it’s important to have a range of colors and styles of marking tools on hand.
Different fabrics require different types of marking pens, so you’ll want to choose the right one for the job.
Here are a couple of things to consider when deciding which marking tool to buy.
You want a marking tool with dark ink, so you can mark bright fabrics and likewise, you want a marking tool with light ink so the markings will show on dark fabrics.
You also want to look at the type of marking tool you’ll use.
The options are:
- Chalk – Temporary and easy to remove
- Water-soluble Pens – Nice choice when you want your markings to last longer. Use water to remove markings.
- Fabric Pencil – The lines are fine and can be removed with an eraser.
- Gel Pens – Thin line but permanent.
- Disappearing Ink Pens – Just like the chalk, the markings are temporary. The air causes the markings to disappear right before your eyes.
- Tracing Paper – Comes in an array of color choices. Use a stylus or a tracing wheel to transfer markings to fabric.
Here is a video demonstrating how to use tracing paper
Note: For all the marking tools, be sure to test them on a scrap of fabric before using it on your project, to see if it can be removed.
7. Scissors – When starting a sewing project, I recommend you have at least two pairs of scissors – one for cutting the paper patterns and another for cutting fabric.
For paper cutting, a pair of standard household scissors will work just fine.
When it comes to cutting fabric, it’s best to invest in a pair of fabric scissors. These are specially designed to cut through fabric cleanly, without fraying the edges.
8. Iron – By smoothing out any wrinkles or creases, you can achieve a crisp and professional look for your finished project.
Ironing also helps to set the seams and improve the drape of the fabric.
For small seams, a small iron is a good option.
A favorite iron among doll artists is the MINI IRON II “The Adapter”.
Make sure to use the right temperature setting on your iron. Check the label on your fabric for guidance.
9. Fray Check – To help prevent fabric from unraveling, apply fray check to the edges of each pattern piece you cut.
Get in the habit of fray checking your pattern pieces, it will save you time and frustration in the long run.
An easy way to tell if the fabric needs fray check, is to see how it looks when you cut the fabric.
If you see string along the edges when you cut the pieces, it’s usually a good sign that you need to use fray check to prevent it from further unraveling.
10. A Work In Progress (WIP) Bin – To stay organized and not accidentally lose pieces of your project (yes, this happened to me sadly) place everything related to the project in a dedicated bin.
This not only ensures that everything is in one place but also helps to prevent clutter and confusion.
You can use all sorts of containers to store your project in.
Here are a couple of images of bins we found at Daiso.
If you’re the type who likes to work on multiple projects at a time, you could use a 3-Tier cart where each section could house a different project.
With a work in progress bin, you’ll know where everything is and you’ll no longer spend precious time searching in an organized chaos, instead you’ll be sewing!
11. Seam Ripper – When mistakes happen, become best friends with your seam ripper, it will help you erase any missteps you encounter while sewing.
It’s a useful tool for removing unwanted stitches in sewing projects.
Tip: Sometimes when removing stitches, you’ll have pieces of thread still in the fabric.
Grab a pair of tweezers to easily remove these threads.
You’ve Gained The Knowledge
You now have the knowledge about sewing tools to build up your sewing kit!
You know how handy a needle and thread can be and how page tabs keep you organized.
You’re now equipped to handle your hungry sewing machine with finesse using paper or coffee filters and how to keep fabric pieces together with sewing pins and clips.
And you’re ready to effortlessly turn your fabric with turning tools, mark your way to accurate stitches, and how to always be prepared with two pairs of scissors.
We’re sure you’ll press on with ironing for a polished finish and safeguard your edges from fraying.
And we’re confident that you’ll stay on top of your projects by using a work-in-progress bin and by remembering a seam ripper is truly your best friend.
Building up your sewing kit can be a fun and exciting process, especially if you’re just starting out with sewing.
Your crafting adventure just got a whole lot smoother!
Over to You
If you have any recommendations for dolly sewists, please feel free to share them in the comment section below.
And if you have any questions, leave a comment and we will try our best to help you.