What Fabrics to Use When Sewing Doll Coats

The Chelly Wood doll stands to the right of McCall's Craft Pattern 2686, which offers 10 different doll clothes outfit patterns to fit Barbie and similar sized fashion dolls. The watermark on the image reminds us that this photograph comes from ChellyWood dot com, a website that offers free printable sewing patterns for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes. This particular illustration accompanies a website discussion about which fabrics are ideal for sewing doll coats for 11 inch fashion dolls like Barbies.

It’s summer time in the northern hemisphere, but it’s the dead of winter in our planet’s southern hemisphere, so today’s blog post is for my followers in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and South America. Let’s talk about how to keep your dollies warm!

Today I’m answering the question, “Which fabrics are best for making doll coats?” and I’m bringing to your attention the vintage McCall’s Craft sewing pattern #2686, which shows three views of fashion doll coats.

The original pattern isn’t marked with “View A” or “View B,” so I took it upon myself to provide markers like that for our general discussion here:

In this image, we see the photo of McCall's Craft Pattern number 2686 from Chelly Wood's vintage doll clothes pattern collection. These outfits are reminiscent of styles from the 1980's. Chelly has marked the image in the upper left corner with a letter A, and that image could be described as a bulky, calf length fur coat with a Russian style fur hat. She has marked the next image to the right with a letter "B." This image could be described as a doll wearing stretch pants, white boots, and a very bulky thigh-length pink fur coat. Another of the marked images (letter "C") is more of a business suit with a jacket that has no lapels but comes down to the upper thigh level of the doll. Under this print fabric jacket she wears a mini skirt and shirt. Now among the other outfits offered on this pattern are (clockwise from the top center), a puff sleeve, knee length dress with ruffle at the waist; a body suit with wrap-around skirt; a sweat shirt with stretch pants; a tank top with sash and stretch pants; a wedding gown with short puff sleeves and a neckline ruffle; a prom dress with short puff sleeves and no ruffle; and the turtle neck body suit by itself.

First, let’s take a look at all the great things this pattern offers!

How often do you find a Barbie doll clothes pattern with a body suit? Never! So that’s pretty cool. And it’s a turtle neck too, which is hard to find as well.

For anyone who stumbles across this web page in search of a Barbie or Ken turtle neck pattern, by the way, I have one of those available for free on my site. Just click here for that free PDF sewing pattern.

Another thing I love about this McCalls Craft #2686 pattern are those beautiful scoop-neck gowns! The Holiday Barbies often come dressed in similar gowns, and little girls just love to dress their Barbie dolls in anything with puffy sleeves and ruffled skirts.

But now let’s address the issue with making jackets and coats for 11 inch fashion dolls like Barbie.

What fabrics should we use? How do we keep them from looking frumpy and bulky? Well, you’re about to hear my take on it, but feel free to leave comments about the fabrics you’ve used that worked well for making doll coats and jackets…

The pattern suggests using fur fabric for the coats pictured in A and B on the cover of the pattern:

This photograph offers the wording found on the back of McCalls Craft pattern number 2686, and for the long coat it suggests, "Fake fur or quilted fabrics" on the outside and "cotton or lining fabrics" for the inside of the coat. As for the jacket, it can be made using fake fur with a lining but fails to mention a fabric for the business suit's jacket.

But it recommends a cotton or lining fabric to line these with. In my humble opinion, that’s going to be super thick when it’s all done, especially if you use a cotton fabric to line long pile faux fur.

Another option might be a lightweight flannel for a furry, moleskin, or leathery look to the coat or jacket. That’s what I used for my beautiful Barbie medieval cloak, seen here:

Visit ChellyWood.com for free, printable sewing patterns for dolls of many shapes and sizes. Image shows a Momoko doll wearing elegant Renaissance doll clothes facing a Texas A&M Ken doll wearing a medieval monk's hood and robes. They hold hands in a church. Visit ChellyWood.com to find out more about this doll version of Romeo and Juliet.

Of course lightweight short pile furs are available that would do the trick too, as would a thin wool, but most thicker fur fabrics would be way too bulky to look good on a Barbie doll. So be wary of thick, long pile fur fabrics.

I used a jersey fabric fur for my 28 inch Barbie sweater, which is shown in this image:

This image shows a 28 inch African American Best Fashion Friend Barbie wearing a handmade long sleeve sweater made of blue jersey curly faux fur fabric over a blue and tan cotton argyle mini skirt with knife pleats.

But of course the fabric doesn’t look too bulky on her because she’s a huge 28 inch Barbie doll! But I used the same Fabric to make my patterns for the Lammily LLC company’s commercial Lammily doll clothes patterns (and their photo examples), so I’m sure this fabric would also be perfect for Barbie sized dolls.

When it comes to sewing, I’m a rule breaker  — in case you hadn’t noticed — so I would most likely skip the fur coat idea and use the pattern in View A as a trench coat.

For it to be a true trench coat, though, we’d have to add a collar, of course, but just like I did with my Ken doll wedding tux, I’d stitch a single-layer collar of thin felt onto a matching cotton or polyester fabric, and that way I wouldn’t have to fiddle with creating a double-layered collar that has to be hemmed.

I also think quilted fabric — even in its thinnest form — is too bulky for fashion dolls. When I designed my Barbie ski jacket, in order to get that “slippery fabric” look that ski jackets have, I used two different  colors of thin and shiny polyester. The white polyester even had a bumpy texture to it, so that it seemed quilted, even though it wasn’t.

Image of Barbie-sized doll wearing a jacket that zips up the front.

To get that same “slick” look for a trench coat, I’d also recommend using polyester. It isn’t as thick as real trench coat material, but it offers the same visual perception.

For the dinner jacket in View C, the pattern lacks advice on fabrics, but it looks like they used a cotton print for that project. That’s not a bad option for bigger dolls, like my 16 inch Tonner doll, seen here:

Visit ChellyWood.com for free, printable sewing patterns and tutorials for dolls of many shapes and sizes. Image shows a Tonner doll wearing a hand-sewn business suit made of a solid blue fabric skirt and a floral blue-and-white blouse or business-style jacket with collar and front darts. Overlay says, "ChellyWood.com: Free printable patterns for dolls of many shapes and sizes."

But if you’re going to line a garment for an 11 inch fashion dolls, it’s important that the fabric you use be very lightweight.

Think of denims for example; there are thick denims and thin ones. Always pick the thin denims when you’re sewing for small dolls.

If you have additional advice you’d like to share, please leave it in the comments. Have you made doll jackets that turned out to have the realistic look and feel of a real coat or jacket? What fabrics did you use?

That’s it for my discussion of McCall’s Craft pattern number 2686, but if you’d like to buy this pattern for yourself, please use my links to eBay. Your purchase will help support this website.

And before you buy patterns on eBay, it’s a good idea to read my blog post entitled, “Tips for Buying Used Doll Clothes Patterns on eBay.” It may save you a little time and money!

Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:

*ChellyWood.com earns money by linking to Amazon, eBay, Michaels, Etsy, JoAnn Fabrics, and other online affiliate programs. Links provided above may be affiliate links. For a full list of my affiliate programs, and to understand how cookies are used to help this website earn money, please see my “Privacy Policy” page.

Chelly Wood and the ChellyWood.com website are not affiliated with the pattern company or companies mentioned in this blog post, but Chelly finds inspiration in the doll clothes designed by these pattern companies. To purchase patterns from Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick, or other pattern companies shown and discussed in this blog post, please click on the links provided here. These links below the “Disclaimer” section do not help raise money for this free pattern website; they are only offered to give credit to the company that made these patterns.

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