Doll Photography Tip #7: Maintain Ratios #Miniatures #DollHouse

Image shows three Breyer dolls standing next to two Barbie dolls, as a size-comparison.
Visit for free, printable sewing patterns for dolls of many shapes and sizes.

In the image above, I’ve included dolls from both a 1:6 scale (i.e. Mattel’s Barbie) and a 1:9 scale (i.e. the Breyer dolls). For a brief period, I used this image to demonstrate that offers FREE printable doll clothes sewing patterns for dolls of — as my catch-phrase states — “many shapes and all different sizes.”

However I got a little bit of negative feedback from people in various doll-collecting Facebook groups whenever I’d post this image. “Those dolls aren’t on the same scale,” they would say, or “Are the small dolls supposed to be the children?”

What people were commenting on is something called scale, a concept in which the doll-to-human ratio should be maintained. In the photo at the top, the small dolls have bodies like grown women, but so do the taller dolls. That’s confusing to the eye.

Dollhouse builders and dollhouse collectors are quite familiar with the scales for miniatures. There are a lot of dollhouse builders who work in 1:12 scale. That’s where one inch in a dollhouse is representative of one foot in a human person’s house.

Barbie and many other fashion dolls use what’s called 1:6 scale, which is about double the scale of a typical dollhouse. The American Girl 18 inch dolls use 1:3 scale, which is about double the scale of a typical Barbie diorama. Etc…

But some doll companies make dolls in varying scales, so be advised that just because a doll is made by Mattel, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s made in the same scale as other dolls made by the same company. For example, the American Girl dolls, which typically come in a 1:3 scale (being 18 inches tall) are now also available in a 1:6 scale (being only 6 inches tall).

Therefore, when you place a doll into a background, like a dollhouse or a diorama, and when you set one doll next to another, it’s important to make sure you create a scene that matches in scale. That’s why, in my videos, when I say “dolls of many shapes and sizes” you sometimes see the image below:

This image shows the Chelly Wood doll holding a tape measure next to the 6 inch Mini American Girl doll. Beside these two is a blond haired, tan-bodied made-to-move Barbie doll. All three dolls wear handmade doll clothes. They appear to be standing in a tiny sewing room, complete with a desk, a sewing machine, and other sewing-related furnishings. It looks like the dolls are about to use the tiny tape measure to take measurements of the little American Girl 6 inch doll, for a sewing project. This image accompanies a blog post for hashtag tape measure Tuesday in which we learn the specific measurements for the 6 inch American girl doll mini. The blog post for measuring a 6 inch doll is found at, and this watermark appears on the photograph of these dolls.
Please visit for FREE printable sewing patterns to fit dolls of many shapes and sizes.

The dolls in the image above include a 1:6 scale Barbie, a 1:6 scale Liv Doll, and an American Girl Mini doll, which fits nicely into a 1:6 scale diorama.

For some reason, when people miss the mark for scale, it sort of grates at the back of viewers’ minds. I’m not sure why that is, but I’ve certainly felt it myself from time to time. So if you want people to leave comments on your doll photos on Instagram; if you want people to retweet your doll photos on Twitter; if you want people to “pin” your doll photos on Pinterest… well, it’s probably a good idea to pay attention to scale/ratios (the size of a doll in comparison to other dolls around her and objects in her surroundings).


Additional Information:


My Gallery Page is the easiest way to search through all of my patterns to find what you want. Each image on the Gallery Page takes you to links for patterns and tutorials.

If you’re wondering why I make patterns and videos without charging a fee, please visit the “Chelly’s Books” page, and that should explain my general motivations. My patterns are available through “Creative Commons Attribution.” This means that I created my patterns (and therefore I own rights to them), but I’m willing to share them with everyone who will tell people about my website.

Here are some helpful ways to tell the world about my patterns:

Are you new to sewing? I’ve got a playlist of tutorials for the beginning sewists on my YouTube channel. It includes video tutorials showing you how to do a basic straight stitch when sewing by hand, how to use the whipstitch to hem a garment, and how to sew on snaps. You might also learn a lot on my “Helpful Tips and Frequently Asked Questions” page.

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