There are lots of talented doll dressmakers in the world and I wanted to introduce two of them, Joanna and Mieke. I asked them about their stories, how they got into making doll clothes and how they manage to make such beautiful, tiny works of art. They also shared some tips. I hope you’ll find their miniature creations as inspiring as I did!

Kamelia Dolls

Let me introduce to you Joanna. She runs a blog, and the Instagram page @kameliadolls, where she posts pictures of the gorgeous doll clothes she makes. The styles go from everyday clothes to fantasy, all intricately crafted in miniature.

Joanna lives in Rzeszów, a city in the south of Poland. Her adventure with dolls began six years ago when she renovated her old porcelain doll and sewed a dress for her. While Joanna was looking for some tips about restoration of dolls, she found out that there are many doll collectors in Poland. So she became more interested in this topic and from one doll to another, found a new hobby.

Doll Collection

Joanna’s husband bought her the first collector’s doll as a gift a year later. It was a Tonner doll, Elizabeth Swan. That’s when it all really begun. Now Joanna has several dozen of dolls -her collection isn’t large, but diverse. It mainly consists of Barbie dolls, but she also has some Tonner dolls, Evangeline Ghastly and two BJD (ball jointed dolls). Each of them means something to Joanna and she really enjoys having them.

Joanna's doll collection. Photo from @kameliadolls

At the beginning she used to get second hand dolls, without clothes and accessories. So she started to sew doll clothes and make jewelry. Joanna has learnt everything by herself, searching for tutorials on the Internet. The only clothes she made earlier were some simple things she had sewed as a kid for her Barbie dolls. So she really started from scratch! Sometimes it wasn’t easy but sewing was something that made her really happy. And it still does.

Sources of Inspiration for Doll Clothes

Joanna finds ideas for outfits everywhere – on the streets, in movies (she loves costume movies!), in magazines or on the Internet.You never know when the inspiration will appear.

Doll Costume from @kameliadolls

She makes all the patterns by herself, for every outfit she sews. They are not perfect, more like guidelines, but they work for her.

Miniature Sewing

Joanna likes to sew almost everything but her favorites are outfits with thread and bead embroidery. She loves making these miniature decorations, beading and inventing new patterns.

Doll dress with tiny embroidery from @kameliadolls

She has sewn the vast majority of clothes using the sewing machine. And assures that attaching even sleeves is possible this way! Maybe not the first time, but it is.

With the very tricky parts Joanna sometimes does basting and then stitches with a machine. It’s better than using pins – they always distort such small elements.

Tiny details in a Safari outfit from @kameliadolls

For Barbie’s clothes Joanna uses about 3 mm seam allowance, for bigger dolls and with very fraying fabrics she sometimes makes it wider. Usually she sews clothes with a lining so she doesn’t have to hem anything. But if she does, she hems fabrics with her sewing machine, using overlock stitch. Sometimes Joanna uses her overlock machine but this is not suitable for all clothes, as it may stiffen the edge of the material too much.

And when it comes to manually sewing, Joanna sews on details such as belt loops. She also makes embroidery by hand – with thread and beads.

Joanna’s Tips

“First of all – sew slowly. At the beginning I wanted to finish what I had just invented as soon as possible. Sometimes it just ended with a crooked stitch, fabric destruction and a lot of nerves, and work had to be started from the beginning. It is better to sew something twice as slowly but sew it right. It also makes it easier to maneuver these tiny pieces of fabric.

Doll-sized denim details from @kameliadolls

You need to find the right materials to make your clothes look nice. They must be thin, but pleasant to work with. I don’t like stretchy fabrics. I definitely prefer the natural ones, such as linen or cotton. It’s much easier for me to get along with them. But on the other hand, some of my sewing friends love everything that stretches. So you just need to find the right fabrics for you.

And something that is obvious to all dressmakers, but I had to figure it out myself – choosing the right needle. There are some fabrics you just can’t sew with universal needle. You just can’t. 😉

And it’s best to ask someone who knows better. It will save your time and nerves.

What more can I say? Do not give up. Not everything will succeed on the first try. When something goes completely wrong, I have to do something instead, rest a day or two. Then I come back to it and try again. “


Instagram: @kameliadolls

Website: https://kameliadolls.blogspot.com

Mieke Timeless Dolls

Mieke De Keyzer, the lady behind @mieke_timeless_dolls, creates amazing reproductions of historical clothing in miniature. She’s been active on Instagram since September 2019. Besides admiring the costumes, you can read interesting stories about famous historical figures on Mieke’s feed.

How it All Started

Mieke has always loved sewing. First she sewed for herself, and later did some clothing repairs.

She made lots of clothes for her little sister’s Barbie dolls. But the trigger to start making historical clothes was a TV series about Henry VIII that Mieke was watching around 2007-2008.

The costumes were breathtaking with lots of pearls, lace and fur. Mieke had to make those clothes! She did some research, looking for the right examples in books and on the internet. The well-known portrait of Henry by Hans Holbein was perfect for her. Those portraits are very detailed, you can see the fabric, the lace even the silver wire. It took some time to find the right fabrics as brocade and silk, but once Mieke found them, all she needed was a pattern.

For every doll she makes a new pattern, starting with the basics, but every time a little different.

Miniature Catherine of Aragon from @mieke_timeless_dolls

Above you can see Catherine of Aragon, but if you’re curious, you’ll find more pictures of Henry and two of his wives on Mieke’s Instagram. Often she has included photos with the painting that served as an inspiration.

History of Clothes

Besides making clothes, Mieke loves history and especially the history of clothes. She’s fascinated by how the styles were always moving and changing, sometimes slow like in the middle ages, or fast like in the 19th century.

There is a book she uses, a Costume Guide with a lot of drawings and a good explanation on the costumes during time. Mieke has followed the groupings of the book, such as crinoline and Biedermeier, making reproductions from ancient Egypt all the way to 2015. There are still some holes in the time line, but so far Mieke has finished about 65 Barbie and Ken dolls. Until now she hasn’t sold any of them.

Doll Hair and Make-up

Mieke doesn’t limit herself to the clothes: During the history of fashion, the make-up has also changed, just like the clothes. So she started to repaint the dolls, always learning and improving… Besides that, there is the problem with the hair. Some dolls needed a wig and sometimes even re-roots. It’s difficult to find a Ken with long hair!

Typical Workflow Making Doll Clothes

As you might imagine, it takes some time to make the reproductions. First, Mieke searches for a good example, a photo of a portrait or even a wall painting and makes a drawing with all the details and colors. Then she tries to find the right fabrics and makes the pattern.

Composing a mini garment, from @mieke_timeless_dolls

Mieke usually starts with the underwear. You can’t see it, but most of the times it is there! Then the clothes and the jewels, the repaint, the hair and don’t forget the shoes. It takes a lot of time before they are finished, but Mieke doesn’t mind.

Personal Favorite

Mieke doesn’t have an actual favourite, but is particularly fond of Queen Elisabeth I as there was a lot of work involved in the making.

Miniature Queen Elisabeth I from @mieke_timeless_dolls
Dress detail, embroideries and patterns. From @mieke_timeless_dolls

She couldn’t find a fabric with the right kind of pattern, so she created it. Another thing to figure out was a fardegalijn, a kind of crinoline in the 16th century. You can see picture here.

Inside miniature garment: crinoline. From @mieke_timeless_dolls

Mieke’s Tips on Sewing Tiny Clothes

“When you make tiny clothes, work slow, and make them as if they were big ones. Except for the sleeves, it is better to sew the shoulders and then put in the sleeves, it works easier. Then trim the seams and iron them out.

Making doll clothes: seam allowance. From @mieke_timeless_dolls

Do some fittings on the doll. Be careful when you start sewing a small peace. It’s best to start on a sample.

From time to time I do hand sewing especially to finish small things, for the rest I use my sewing machine. It is a Bernina B 435, and I also have a Juki overlock.

The best fabric has a little stretch in it. There is no button closure, except if it’s a coat, so you can take it off.”


Instagram: @mieke_timeless_dolls

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  1. Dear Minna,
    thank you so much for inviting me for the interview. It was a great experience. Thank you very much!
    I will visit Mieke’s profile for sure. Her works are amazing!

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      It was absolutely my pleasure. 🙂 Thanks for participating. I loved learning more about you and your craft. Yes, Mieke’s work is amazing, too. 🙂 Keep up the good work! Can’t wait to see what you’ll create next.

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      You’re welcome. I hope Mieke and Joanna see this comment. 😉

  2. Lovely work and thanks for the tips just began creating for my bjd doll Bee…fascinated by tang dynasty clothes and hai ornaments..so far made kimono ,cheong sam and Kurta, and Han fu..x

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      You’re welcome. That sounds like a cool theme for doll clothes! Feel free to add your webpage or instagram handle here in the comments if you have those and want to share. 🙂

  3. Anuradha Thakur Reply

    Thank you so much I am impressed with your method of pattern making very easy way

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      You’re welcome! 🙂 Pattern making is a very useful skill.

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  6. Wow great! This is the exact thing that I was looking for, and I found this article informative and amazing thanks!
    A good blog always comes up with new and exciting information and while reading this article, I do get a vibe that this blog really have all those qualities.

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