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Create your own Doll Patterns

I get a lot of questions about how to create 'your own' doll patterns because wouldn't you know it, a whole website full of doll patterns but you are looking for something else.


These are the steps I take when I design a new doll pattern:

First I 'doodle' the designs on a piece of paper. I'm not the best artist in the world but you do not need to be, you just need to put the general idea down and anything special you would like to design.

Then I draw the patterns onto paper by hand. For this I use my base patterns. I designed these some 10 years ago and I adapt them to the design I would like to create. I use metric paper with 1cm x 1cm squares.

Once a pattern is 'in' the computer this is what it looks like

Because doll clothes are small you can draw at 100%. There is no need to draw smaller and then enlarge like you need to do for larger clothes. OK, now I sew the clothes, make changes if needed and then I draw the patterns in the computer.

To create the computer pieces, I scan the paper pieces. You can see this in the photo above. The left piece is the one I drew by hand and the right one is the one drawn in the computer. For my computer drawings I use Adobe Illustrator. There are dedicated pattern drawing programs on the market but I really like illustrator and you can use it for loads of other things. For this kind of drawing it really helps if you have a nice big monitor. I have an iMac with 27" screen and it's fabulous without getting industrial in your craft room.


What do you really need?

To make your own doll patterns you do not need anything fancy, no computer programs or large monitors what you really need is graph paper with small squares, a pencil pens in various colors (you can redraw in another color and know what your last change was), a half yard ruler and most importantly this book:

This book has all the information that you need to adapt base patterns to a design change that you would like to make. The sizes in the book are wrong for dolls, that is understandable but all the pattern drawing principles apply and because it’s well written it’s very clear what you need to do to create certain design aspects. I love this book and can highly recommend it.