Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
We’re sharing 7 lessons we learned during the Dolly Sewing Crush.
During our 12 month quest, we sewed from 12 books, authored by 10 different doll designers.
We hope the lessons we learned give you new insight into sewing tiny and encourage you to give doll sewing a try.
1. Read The Instructions Before Starting A Sewing Project
In the beginning of the Dolly Sewing Crush, we were so eager to get started. So we jumped straight into the project without reading the instructions first.
Big mistake! We ran into so many issues & experienced a lot of confusion.
Had we taken the time to do the prep work of reading the instructions first, we could have lessen our sewing pains.
By reading the instructions before sewing, you get a basic understanding of what’s needed to complete the project.
This preparation step is helpful especially if you stumble upon a term or technique you’re not familiar with. You can use the prep time to research the answer.
With prep work complete, you can focus on sewing instead of searching on YouTube for sewing tutorials.
2. Fray Check
To reduce your frustration, fray check your fabric.
When fabric frays, it isn’t a pleasing sight especially if you have to constantly rip out seams (which if you’re a beginner or starting a new project is a natural occurrence).
Without fray check, the more you rip, the more it frays and before long you’re left with a useless piece of fabric in your hands.
And even if you sew perfectly, without adding fray check to the tiny doll seams, it’s only a matter of time before your perfect sewing begins to unravel.
So seal and secure your fabric with fray check.
3. Not All Beginner Friendly Patterns Are The Same
Majority of the books we selected for the Dolly Sewing Crush stated, “beginner friendly”
We found that the words “beginner friendly” varied from book to book and from publisher to publisher.
Unfortunately there is no sure-fire way to know how beginner friendly a book is before purchasing it.
So if you happen to get a pattern that’s beyond your skill level, there’s no need to agonize over the money spent.
You can at least take pleasure in knowing you’ve supported an independent pattern designer.
4. Practice On Inexpensive/Not So Pretty Fabric First
There’s nothing like making a sewing mistake and ruining an expensive/beautiful piece of fabric.
For a smoother sewing adventure, practice on lesser priced/not so pretty fabric first.
This will remove the pressure of sewing perfect on beautiful fabric.
And allow you to focus on understanding the instructions & learning from your mistakes.
Then when it’s time to sew with the expensive fabric, you can do so with confidence.
Because you’ve conquered all the sewing issues with the inexpensive fabric.
Which in the end . . . saves you time & money.
5. A Work In Progress Bin Is A Must
It’s so easy to get disorganized and have pieces mysteriously disappear when you sew tiny. We learned this the hard way.
So now, whenever we do any type of sewing (for dolls or humans) we keep all supplies, patterns & material in our Work In Progress bin (WIP bin).
It’s amazing how something so simple like a container will serve you well while sewing.
6. When You Start To Feel Frustrated, It’s Time To Walk Away From The Machine
Not understanding what the instructions wanted us to do. And working on the sewing crushes late at night caused us to experience waves of frustration.
We realized if this continued we’d never finish a project.
So we established a pact. If either one of us started to feel frustrated or confused, we’d take a break and walk away from the sewing area.
By grabbing a drink, watching something funny or getting a bite to eat (I usually got frustrated & hangry) it allowed us to reset & clear our minds to tackle the sewing project from a place of joy instead of annoyance.
7. Sewing Tiny May Seem Impossible But Anything Is Possible When You Take Baby Steps
When looking at a doll pattern for the first time, it can be a bit overwhelming.
From the materials to the instructions to the translations – it “seems” impossible to finish.
We realized, early on, that the only way we’d get through the projects is if we took baby steps on our sewing journey.
If we had looked at everything at once, it would have been super overwhelming.
And there’s a good chance we would have stopped within the first month or two.
But because we kept taking baby steps, we managed to complete 12 months of Dolly Sewing Crushes.
Here’s are some additional helpful tips from Georgia (thank you Georgia for the awesome tips)
- stick with woven cotton fabrics as much as possible
- press often and
- baste stitch to control tiny seams
Over to You
Sewing for your dolls is fun.
It unleashes your creativity, gives you a sense of accomplishment and you can apply the skill to earn money to support your doll collection.
We hope the 7 lessons we learned will help you along your sewing journey.
What are some lessons you’ve learned while sewing (for dolls or humans). Share them in the comment section below.
We look forward to learning from you.
And if you have any questions while on your sewing journey, please feel free to contact us.
We’re here to help.
Revisit the 48 Dolly Sewing Crush projects here