Becoming a passionate doll dressmaker is not something that happens overnight. Most starting doll makers resort to the obvious, and much easier, path of buying clothes for their dolls so that they can concentrate on improving their skills as a doll maker. After a while it becomes obvious too that by dressing the dolls themselves they not only save a little money (although no time at all) but that the dolls develop a very distinct style, something that speaks more clearly not only to them, but to their customers, because the dolls speak of them.
I have always enticed, recommended, encouraged new doll makers to work hard at making their dolls' clothes, and I also tell them to be gentle on themselves. Sewing, knitting, felting, dying and crocheting are all wonderful skills that take time to develop, and some aspects might come easy to you, others not so much. But by always pushing yourself and investing your time on this you will be rewarded immensely. I guarantee it. I have written before of my own path with little seams for dolls.
Taking close photographs of the aspects of your doll's clothing that make you proud, or that you spent an unbelievable amount of time ironing, embroidering or hand-sewing, is always a must. You need to tell a story through your dress making, and your customers will appreciate to be able to see details of your hard work, not just of the full-view of the entire thing. I have always enjoyed immensely photographing things in snippets. Since I am extremely sentimental about my work, it allows me to cherish it through photography and also to re-live its creation while I notice all the little details I added to an outfit or a shoe.
Gathering inspiration should always be done with courteousness, in my opinion. It is so hard to work on your dolls' outfits, and you put so much of your passion into it, than to see it re-made with no mention, by the hands of somebody else, always causes the heart to pump a little sadder. Hearing from others that you made something that inspired them makes you feel proud and happy, people notice, people agree, people are motivated to do and to make because you made and you did. It's a great feeling, and part of why so many artists create. To share their work, to create a conversation.
I seem to have arrived at a spot in my life and career in which I want to help others create doll clothes. Not only because I would have loved for someone to teach me, but because I love it and I get asked a lot to make more of the doll clothes I make. While making more is not really my style, as I get bored very easily with a fabric or with something I have made already, I can try to create tutorials and patterns for you to try. Now, don't go and get all excited, by now you already know that I am possibly the slowest doll maker in the world, and that it takes me forever to accomplish something as easy as sewing a button on a dress. But, I will pencil in a daily hour of my day to invest in creating thoughtful, creative, modern and hopefully comprehensible instructions for you to dress your dolls. I hope that might make it easy for you to venture into creating for your own dolls, for the dolls you make for sale, for the dolls of your grand children or nieces, or just to start doing something with your hands.
Now if some of you knitters out there want to raise your hand to help me test some of the half-written patterns I have on hand, that would be lovely. If some of you have recommendations on easy software to use to create clear printable pattern pieces, that would be great. And if most of you grant me the courtesy of patiently waiting for me to accomplish yet one more milestone on my path, I would be forever grateful. Thank you for reading my meandering thoughts.