Pattern Drafting Crash Course – Tips & Tricks for Pattern Construction

Here are some suggestions for some common items that can make drafting and sewing for smaller dolls easier!

Dryer sheet— can be used for any spot that requires interfacing of sorts as in collars and cuffs but should not be used for the entire garment. I have tried it several times and cutting it away sometimes ends in holes in the actual garment no matter how careful I am.

Tear away stabilizer— this is useful for china silk that is slightly heavy yet still slippery. The bad thing is that tearing it away sometimes will distort the stitching and fabric.

Water Soluble stabilizer— my latest discovery! This stuff is easy to use simply trace the pieces to the stabilizer and construct the garment. When ready to get rid of the stabilizer simply dunk in cold water and it all dissolves like magic leaving soft silk in it’s place. It is also handy to use in bodice construction as when you turn bodices sometimes pointy or even dull tools can poke through the fabric the stabilizer helps to prevent this thus avoiding the ruin of a lot of work! So far I haven’t found a downside to this yet.

The 2 stabilizers mentioned above are available in the machine embroidery section of any sewing or craft store and are usually very light weight. My current packages of both the Tear Away and the Water Soluable (Solvy) are by Sulky. No I do not sell the items mentioned I just use it and love it!

Machine basting patterns to fabric is a lot of work. I’ve found that hand basting is faster and less of a hassle as you do not have to pin the pieces to the fabric first. Slightly larger stitches are ok for this too as you want to be able to see to take them out later!

Best tools I’ve found so far are crochet hooks. A size 5 crochet hook has a blunt butt end that is smaller than a bodkin which is useful also but the crochet hook also has a rounded end by the hook that is great for getting bodice pieces to turn nicely too. This is especially important for half inch scale bodices!

Got small kids in the house? I do!  Mischief makers both. Now being that I sew and do it A LOT I use needles and pins…. standard pin cushions don’t babyproof enough to suit me. My solution is to take the nice childproof prescription medicine bottles and put pins and needles in those. I have a nice fat one for pins and several skinny ones for various types of needles including sewing machine needles. This makes good storage…. and the kids can’t get into them!

Alternate to ribbon for measuring small dolls accurately is a twist tie.To measure simply place one end at the starting point and the other end you bend then measure the tiny portion before the bend against an accurate ruler.

Dressmaker’s Ham Pattern (pressing aid) – originally on Perfect Patterns but not on the current site it’s on an old page.

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