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Have you been thinking about sewing for your dolls but don’t know what tools you need to begin the rewarding journey of tiny sewing?
Trust me, I’ve been there too.
Sewing is a fun and rewarding skill but sometimes the 1st step can be the hardest especially when you’re unsure what tools you need to get the job done.
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 – For attaching buttons and closing seams by hand, needles & threads are what keep the project together.
2. Page Tabs – They help you quickly land on the project your working on and limit the chances of you accidentally doing the wrong pattern.
Trust me it happens, read all about my experience here.
3. Paper, Coffee Filters & Straight Stitch Needle Plates – 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 ensure 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 about 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 & Clips – Fabric likes to wiggle out of place, to keep it from misbehaving, pins or clips will be your best friend.
I like to use glass-head pins because they are heat tolerate 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 video from Maile Lani sharing why she uses these neat clips.
5. Turning Tool – Make Turning Tiny . . . A Big Relief
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 can make the job easier.
You can use forceps or depending on the project, thin wooden dowels can do the trick.
6. Marking Tools – It’s good to have a variety of colors and styles, this way you’ll be prepared to mark on a wide range of fabrics.
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, water-soluble pens, fabric pencil , gel pens, disappearing Ink, and tracing paper.
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.
If you want to start a project, you’re gonna need a pair of scissors.
I recommend at least 2 pairs of scissors.
Use one pair for paper only, like cutting the paper pattern.
And another pair to cut only fabric.
Bonus: A tiny pair of scissors dedicated to snipping threads is good to have on hand too.
8. Iron – Press your luck and your clothes to get a finish project that looks crisp and professional.
An iron can make a big difference in the finish result.
For small seams a small iron is a good option.
A favorite iron among doll artists is the MINI IRON II “The Adapter”.
9. Fray Check – Keeping Your Edges In 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 – Leave The Confusion In Another Room
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.
You can use all sorts containers to store your project in.
Here are a couple 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.
By using a 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.
Tip: Sometimes when removing your 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’re now equipped with knowledge about specific tools to build up your sewing kit!
We hope you found this list of recommendations helpful.
If you have any questions, leave a comment and we will try our best to help you.
What tools would you suggest to a dolly sewist?
Leave your recommendations in the comment section below!