Archive for the ‘getting organized’ Category

Organizing Doll Clothing Patterns

June 3rd, 2012

I hadn’t bought any doll clothes pattern in quite awhile. I don’t always need to buy patterns, because I enjoy designing my own. However, McCall’s has published some very nice eighteen inch doll clothes patterns recently. I especially liked the fact that the patterns contain some interesting accessories. When Jo Ann Fabric and Crafts put McCall’s patterns on sale last week, I treated myself to several of the new patterns. I usually enjoy reading a good book at bedtime, but a new pattern guide makes a nice change.

After I had read all my new pattern guides, it was time to file my new patterns. When I got my pattern box down, it occurred to me that I could share a pattern organizing trick with you. I got the general idea from one of my husband’s aunts and then changed her system slightly. This trick only works for managing patterns for small things like doll clothes.

I cut out all of the patterns in one pattern envelope and sort them by outfit. I put the pattern pieces for each outfit in a separate small envelope. I label each envelope with the pattern number, the name of the outfit and numbers of the pattern pieces. All the small envelopes go into the pattern envelope with the pattern guide. Here is a favorite Vogue pattern that I had organized several years ago.

I wanted to remove cat and dog patterns from several envelopes, because I am interested in designing my own doll pet patterns. I want to study the techniques for making small stuffed animals. I labeled a brown envelope and pulled the pet patterns from several different pattern envelopes.

I have learned from experience to add an index card to each original pattern envelope to explain what has happened to the missing pattern. Here is my vogue pattern with the dog pattern removed.

getting organized, Patterns from other designers , ,

Organizing Tender Heart

January 29th, 2012

In the last few weeks I have organized Florabunda and Twinkle’s clothing. Today it was time to organize Tender Heart’s clothing. I found a blue plastic box about the size of a shoe box to use for Tender Heart’s trunk. I used two small bins for her shoes and hats. Her dresses, separates, and undies fit neatly in the box.

All three dolls now have their clothing organized. The dolls can be stored inside the boxes or basket with their clothes when play time is over. An advantage of small dolls is how easy it is to find storage for them.

Displaying Dolls, getting organized

Organizing Twinkle

January 22nd, 2012

A few months ago a friend gave me a vintage sewing basket. When I saw that the basket’s lid was padded and covered with part of a miniature star quilt, I knew that I would use it for Twinkle. Today I packed her shoes and hats in two of my mini bins and arranged her clothes in her basket.
Here is the top of Twinkle’s basket. Her shoes and hats are ready to go inside.

Twinkle can ride inside the basket with her clothes or sit on top. She may decide to take a nap when she finds her cover and pillow.

Displaying Dolls, getting organized

Organizing Florabunda

January 8th, 2012

Lots of stores have organizing tubs and bins on sale at this time of year. I bought two tiny plastic boxes at an office supply store. The boxes inspired me to organize Florabunda’s clothes. Here are Florabunda and her possessions. Her clothes and accessories will soon be organized.

The small boxes hold her shoes, socks, hats and undies. I found a designer box to hold her clothes.

Florabunda is organized. Now I need to work on the rest of my sewing room.

getting organized

Thoughts on Sewing Machines and their Accessories

January 23rd, 2011


It is much easier to sew small doll clothes and cloth dolls if you use a sewing machine with controllable speed. A sewing machine that only has a fast speed is hard to maneuver while you are sewing short seams and small curves. 

Two sewing machine feet that are very useful for sewing dolls and doll clothes are and open embroidery foot and a patchwork foot.

I use an open embroidery foot when I am sewing a traced shape such as an arm or leg for a cloth doll. The foot’s openness makes the line easy to see.

The patchwork foot is made for quilters, but it is great for sewing quarter inch seam allowances on doll clothes.

I have an ott-lite on my sewing table. It helps me to see the traced shapes that I am stitching with my open embroidery foot.

getting organized

An Easy Project

January 9th, 2011


I usually keep my needles in a strawberry emery. I learned years ago never to put my needles in a large tomato pin cushion. The needles will either vanish forever or work themselves out and surprise me with a prick when I’m trying to pin something together. Last week when I was writing about basic sewing tools, I cut a rectangle of black felt and arranged a selection of needles and a needle threader on it.

After the photo session, as I was putting the tools away, I found that I liked the black felt for needles. I decided to make a needle book.

My needle book is a bit thicker than most needle books, because I am going to try to keep most of my needles sorted in it.

I cut three rectangles of black felt and one rectangle of red felt for the cover. The cover is larger that the black rectangles. I placed the cover on the bottom and stacked the three black rectangles on top. I sewed a machine stitch down the middle of the stack to make a spine for the needle book.

I folded my felt stack on its spine of machine stitching to make a book. I glued appliques from my collection on the cover.

I sorted my needles by page. I put the needles that I use most often, size 8 embroidery needles, on the first page. I like that size for most hand sewing as well as most embroidery.


Sharps are on the next page. They have a smaller eye, so I put my needle threader on that page as well.

Longer needles have their own page. Large eyed tapestry needles for ribbon embroidery and other interesting things take up two pages. The last page is reserved for unusual needles like my curved upholstery needles. I don’t sew furniture. I like to sew little things, but I find a use for the curved needles occasionally.

My needles are all organized for the new year. Now all I need to do is refold all my fabric stacks.

getting organized, hand sewing

Stringing Fabric Along

December 12th, 2010

Last week I was sewing several items of doll clothing at one time. First I applied lace to several pieces of knit fabric to make doll underwear. I did not cut the lace between fabric pieces, but sewed a long string of fabric pieces on a length of lace. My husband wandered into my sewing room and commented on my technique. I explained that this was a known technique. I had not invented it. I read about it in a doll making magazine. I also had a friend who used the technique to sew for her daughters. The technique is helpful at this time of year, when there are so many demands on our time.

The method can be used for more things than applying lace. More than one seam or dart can be sewn at one time.The trick is to line up as many items as you have, and do as much sewing as you can without cutting the machine thread. Then cut the fabric string apart and do as much ironing as you can before going on to the next string of sewing.

This string of fabric pieces is on its way to becoming doll panties and camisoles.


getting organized, sewing tips ,

A New Year’s Suggestion

January 2nd, 2010

If you are looking for a good new year’s resolution, why not resolve to keep your sewing machine in good working order. Dig out your sewing machine manual and give your machine a good overhaul. Follow the directions to remove lint and add machine oil to the suggested moving parts. Change the needle if you haven’t changed it in a while. It is a good idea to clean and oil your machine after each large project. Because some of my doll projects are small, I try to clean and oil my machine once a month rather than after each project. Changing needles is a little trickier, because I use several sizes when I am making dolls. I save the exchanged needles for reuse. Trying to remember how long that I have used each needle is a good memory exercise.

getting organized, sewing tips

Organizing Patterns

August 11th, 2009

When I buy a doll clothes pattern from a big name company with tissue patterns, I like to cut out the patterns and place the patterns for each garment in a separate stationery envelope. I label the envelope with the name of the garment and the pattern number. I put all the small envelopes back in the original larger envelope and file it with my patterns. I use this method for keeping track of patterns copied from books of patterns. I write the name of the book and the garment on each small envelope. I put all the pattern envelopes from one book in a larger envelope, write the name of the book on it and file it in a box with my tissue paper patterns. I am now using the envelope system for keeping track of my own patterns.

getting organized, sewing tips ,

More About Storing Fabric

July 3rd, 2009


On March twentieth I wrote a blog about a great method I had just tried for folding and storing fabric. I am still very happy with this method and now I have a few more ideas for using it.


When you want a piece of fabric from the middle of the stack, take the whole stack off the shelf. Carefully remove the piece that you want and then replace the stack on the shelf. If you pull a piece from the middle of the stack, fabric pieces around it tend to come out, too. The result is an untidy mound of fabric instead of a neat stack.


Refold each fabric piece when you have finished with it using a six inch ruler. I had not been careful about refolding fabric when I replaced it and the tops of my fabric stacks were getting a little lumpy. I did some refolding today and my fabric shelf looks better.


I organize my fabric by stacking different categories together. I have one stack of solid colors, another for florals, a third for geometric prints, and so on. Another grouping might be a mixture of solids and prints in the same color.

getting organized