It has been a while since I posted an interview with a crafter. I think we’re due, don’t you? Today’s guest, Lisa Lane, has really impressed me with her hand-crafted doll clothes and miniature bedding on Etsy and Facebook. So let’s see what she had to say in my recent interview with her:
CHELLY: Hi Lisa. Thanks for joining me today for an interview. I’ve been very impressed with your beautiful doll clothes creations.
LISA: Thanks for the compliment!
CHELLY: Shall we start at the very beginning? What got you interested in sewing for dolls?
LISA: I’ve been sewing since I was a kid but just recently started out on Etsy in February of this year. I have always loved Barbie™. My mom made clothes and furniture for my little families, including The Sunshine Family, and I’ve never forgotten the simple pleasures of those years. I decided to try to make a little extra money by sewing the things I enjoy and have fun with.
CHELLY: Your doll clothes are certainly eye-catching! Do you have any photography tips to share with my readers? Or is there anything that makes a doll dress look especially good for the camera?
LISA: You have to have a good camera. I bought mine used on Ebay for under $400. I’m also into photography of barns and rural scenes, so I had the camera all ready to go. Also important is a staging area with a few accessories such as a chair or couch in which you can take lots of photos and poses. Neutral colors are good to start out with.
My dad and I built a 2-sided wood box with a floor, and I painted it a beige/ neutral color, similar to the color I use in my own house. I made a very simple couch with a beige slipcover for a sitting room. I have also bought a chair and couch from DreamStudioDollHouse on Etsy that I’m going to start using for some different poses.
Natural light with no flash is the best way to make your items look great.
Clothes should also be ironed as you sew, to smooth out any seams that may look bulky or unflattering.
CHELLY: On your FB page, I saw that you had made outfits for Kelly dolls as well as Barbie™. What dolls do you typically sew for, and which dolls are your favorites?
LISA: I have four articulated Barbies™, which I absolutely love. I think Teresa is my favorite, but Raquelle is gorgeous too. They have much smaller chests than the old Barbies™, though, so I try to make sure that is clear to my customers when I post my doll clothes on Etsy.
As for the Kellys, they are so ridiculously cute, I thought I’d give it a go, but it is a definite challenge working with such tiny pieces.
CHELLY: What do you look for in a fabric when shopping for your doll clothes projects? Are there some fabrics you don’t like to use?
LISA: I don’t like to spend too much on fabric because I want to try to keep costs down, but I have found that second-hand clothing can work really well. I think small print fabrics are better, and too much bulk (heavy fabric) doesn’t look good on dolls.
I search the internet for outfits I like, and then I try to make something similar. I try to keep those ideas in mind when I look for fabric or used clothing.
I hate working with satin, chiffon, and stretchy material! They are hard to handle, they tend to fray, and that drives me crazy! But I am finding, the more you handle these types of fabrics, the better you get at working with them (with some research for tips of course)! And I found something called Fray Check™ to clean up the seams, which has been helpful.
CHELLY: What advice do you have for the beginner? Do you have any tips or tricks you can share with readers who may be new to sewing for dolls?
LISA: Start with simple items and practice making neat seams and darts. Don’t dive into a satin ball dress with four layers of ruffles on your first day. That might end any desire for sewing you have!
Make sure your machine is threaded properly, with the bobbin in correctly. (I had lots of headaches until I sorted that out).
Don’t try to make your own patterns at first. Buy a pattern – I like the Simplicity™ ones best – or look for free patterns online. Get to understand how things fit and where the darts should be, then you can try designing your own patterns. I still struggle with making my own patterns, but I keep at it and am continually learning.
CHELLY: Well, Lisa, I want to thank you for taking the time to share your expertise with the rest of us! If people wish to purchase your lovely doll clothes, where should they go to make their purchases?
LISA: My shop is called LisaLaneTreasures.
NOTE: If you’d like Chelly Wood to spotlight your Etsy shop or craft website, please use her contact form to submit a request with links.