Tips for Sewing Sweater Fabric for #SewingTip Tuesday #DollClothesPatterns

The image shows a 28 inch best Fashion Friend Barbie doll by Mattel. She's in a winter outdoor setting with a bare tree behind her and yellow grass. A road winds around the corner behind her as well. She looks out at the wintery landscape with one hand over her eyes to shade them. This 28 inch Barbie doll models a handmade shirt made of sweater material. She also has a heart-shaped necklace on and a handmade skirt. The skirt has knife pleats and is made of tan and blue argyle fabric. This doll's clothes were made using the free doll clothes patterns available at and the URL is on the watermark for the image of this doll. offers free printable sewing patterns for dolls of many shapes and sizes, including but not limited to free sewing patterns for 28 inch Barbies.
Please visit for FREE printable sewing patterns for dolls of many shapes and sizes.

This 28″ doll’s sweater uses “sweater fabric” that I purchased on the sale tables at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts.

As winter approaches here in the northern hemisphere, you may find sweater fabric becomes available at your local fabric stores, so the time to buy it is drawing near. With a little bit of sweater fabric in your stash, you can try making different doll shirt patterns out of this textured material.

If you sew for Barbie or Ken, you may want to try making my turtleneck pattern out of sweater fabric, for example. Here’s a link to the page where you can print that turtleneck pattern, as seen below.

This is a free printable sewing pattern for making a Barbie or Ken sized turtleneck sweater out of jersey fabric. It's marked with Creative Commons Attribution and the logo.
Please visit for free printable sewing patterns for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Sweater fabric is generally stretchy like T-shirt material, but it has the softness of a knitted or crocheted garment. Because of its stretch, I recommend switching to a walking foot on your sewing machine, if you’re going to be making any doll clothes out of sweater fabric.

There is another alternative though…

Giving a garment a lining can make it easier to sew the stretchy fabric on your sewing machine, especially if you sew with the cotton or flannel against your machine’s feed dogs. (The sweater fabric will be up against the presser foot; the flannel or cotton will be down against the feed dogs.) So if you don’t own a walking foot, this is one possible alternative.

Here we see a graphic of two sweaters. One has green, white, and red zigzag patterns running through the sweater fabric. The other is more of a knitted turtleneck with an orange leaf woven into the fabric of its creamy colored sweater fabric. The arms of this leaf-sweater are a burnt orange-red color. It has tiny orange dots across the upper area of the chest, as if leaves are falling.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Also, you should be aware that sweater fabric doesn’t always do well under the heat of an iron, so it’s a good idea to iron a piece of your sweater fabric as a “test run” before ironing the garment itself. If you find that your iron damages or discolors the sweater fabric, it’s a good idea to place a piece of cotton between your garment and your iron before pressing.

(We see this technique in my tutorial for sewing a velvet shirt for 18-inch dolls.)

The image shows a Madame Alexander doll wearing a hand-made long-sleeved shirt with buttons in the front and snaps in the back. This doll shirt fits most 18" dolls, including the American girl dolls and the 18-inch Madame Alexander dolls among others. The shirt is made of velvet but can be sewn using other fabrics as well. The overlay says, " free patterns and tutorials".
Please visit for FREE printable sewing patterns for dolls of many shapes and sizes.

If you are new to sewing, you certainly can give sweater fabric a try, but if you want to use your sewing machine instead of sewing by hand, I would definitely look into using a walking foot for a project like my 18 inch doll’s long-sleeved shirt (shown above).

Here are some links to a walking foot attachment for some of the most popular sewing machine brands:

Sewing by hand does solve the “stretchy fabric” issues as well, though.

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