Pattern Making for Dolls is a complete resource for drafting patterns for larger dolls by hand for beginners. It includes sections on drafting and then stylizing patterns for men, ladies, children and baby dolls. You will learn to measure and draft a pattern “by the numbers” resulting in a basic block set that can be modified into any design you can dream up! All the beautiful patterns on this site were created using this book’s methods for drafting for dolls!
Please right click and save the Word Document to your PC/Mac or save a copy of the Google Doc to your Google Drive for your own use.
Since most dolls are evenly made on both sides, the measurements are taken on the half or in the case of an arc the quarter. The exception is circumference measurements, which are all the way around the body. It is advisable that you mark somehow, either with scotch tape on the body and a pencil mark or however you are comfortable, the center front and back along with where your doll’s bust, waist and hip fall. Deciding this before you start measuring will make a big difference in how your patterns will turn out and how accurate they will be. For scale and 1/2 scale miniatures use metrics, as a millimeter is more accurate than rounding to the nearest fraction. When working with dolls this tiny it is imperative that your measurements be accurate.
Please note that after 9 years this tutorial has been updated to reflect several minor errors that were made during the original writing.
This is a master list of all the measurements needed for all dolls. Copy the entire list and fill in the ones you need for whatever doll you are going to be currently using. Following will be explanations of how to do these measurements for each type of doll. Permission granted by author to copy this page.
Key: A= All Dolls L= Lady dolls only C = Child dolls B = Babies M = Man
The chart on this page is a list of all the measurement amounts for places within the drafting instructions that say ‘see chart’. It is divided so that you can find the right measurement for your size doll that you may currently be working with and use the correct numbers for the step you are on. Most are for all the different types of dolls but one or two are for specifically just lady dolls or just babies and say so in the doll column. The chart is for just the drafts of the basic blocks – bodice, sleeve, skirt, and pants for the lady, child, baby and man sections in section I. Separate charts will be in later sections for other measurements as needed.
Copy the following to your paper before you start and fill in with the correct measurements for the doll you are working with. The ones in italics can be found on the Miniature Draft Chart.
Sleeve Cap Bottom Marks
Sleeve Cap Top Marks
1) Sleeve length-Otherwise referred to as center
2) Cap height-1/3 of sleeve length marked and squared out from the top, 1/2 of the upper arm measurement
3) Wrist or finger span-Mark out 1/2 of the wrist or finger span (whichever is larger) to either side of center
4) Sleeve sides-Connect cap height to wrist level, forming the sides of the sleeve.
5) Sleeve cap bottom marks- 1/8 of upper arm measurement marked from the outside in and up according to Miniature Draft Chart for your size doll
6) Sleeve cap top-Square out to either side
7) Sleeve cap top marks – Using the same 1/8 of upper arm from the bottom marks, mark from the center out and down according to the Miniature Draft Chartfor your size doll.
8 ) Sleeve cap mid marks- Measure diagonally from the tips of the small marks and divide in half. Mark.
9) Sleeve cap curve- Form sleeve cap by using your French curve to connect the side to the bottom mark tip, then to the mid point, up to the top and down the other side.
Measurements Needed Copy the following to your paper before you start and fill in with the correct measurements for the doll you are working with. The ones in italics can be found on the Miniature Draft Chart
****Armhole circumference- measure your finished bodice pattern’s armhole from shoulder tip to shoulder tip
= light gathers
= medium gathers
= very gathered
Only does puff sleeves that are gathered at the top and then pulled in by way of elastic at the wrist
*Determine how full you want the sleeve (see chart)
*Measure from shoulder tip around elbow to wrist this will be your sleeve length
*Measure your armhole of your basic block
*Multiply the armhole circumference by desired fullness (see chart) draw first line as the sleeve length
*Label sleeve length
*Square out to one side only the distance of the armhole circumference from the top and the bottom
*Now draw the other sleeve length line
*Your result will be a rectangle that is your desired fullness wide by your dolls arm length long. From here you can add seam allowance to the top and bottom length and gather to fit.
*This sleeve draft ONLY makes a puff long or short sleeve.
This tutorial was originally created in 2000-2001 and tested on my daughter at about a year old (she’s 13 now). I have also used this tutorial to draft for a doll as small as 1/2″ tall of course using magnifying glasses and a very sharp pencil! This is a preview of the techniques used in Pattern Making for Dolls and Pattern Drafting For Miniatures which were originally sold as hard copy books, moved to CD and finally are now available only in PDF as an instant download.
Included in this tutorial series are all the items that will be needed for all the pattern drafts and even some of the items that will be needed for the stylization in following sections of the full book. Please feel free to draft patterns and critique anything you find that doesn’t work quite right for you. Please also remember the full book covers ladies clothing and babies clothing too along with stylization and construction tips and techniques. If you pass this on to anyone else please remember to give me credit and point them to my website or contact information. Feel free to contact me with any questions you have regarding my technique.
At some point in the future, I will be expanding this series of books to include Computerized Drafting and a book on Advanced Stylizations for Dolls and Miniatures. Keep an eye on the site and the blogs for announcements!