When Piper Tupper was a child, she cherished alone time with her mom at the sewing machine. What did they make together? Clothes for her Barbie dolls.
A few decades later when her own daughter was born, Piper sat down at her machine again to make doll clothes. For Christmas one year, she made an entire Barbie wardrobe.
“To this day, tiny doll clothes sewing still has my heart,” says Piper, who now owns Esther’s Fabrics on Bainbridge Island. “My doll-playing child is now in her 20s, but if the need arose, I’d bust out those tiny patterns again in a heartbeat.”
Tips for sewing doll clothes
- Start bigger: Sewing sleeves and pant legs for Barbie can be tricky — they are small! Starting with American Girl dolls or Luna Lapin will save you some frustration.
- Stash busting: Raid your stash of scrap fabrics or look through old clothes you’re planning to donate to charity. You don’t need much yardage to make a full outfit!
- Stock up on notions: Use clasps, snaps, buttons or Velcro to create closures on doll clothes, and take time to make sure they’re sewed on securely — they’ll see a lot of use!
“Doll clothes are a great beginner project. You get to practice a lot of techniques that will transfer to larger projects. And because you’re using much less material, mistakes are less expensive.”
Sewing classes for kids and adults
Summer is here, the kids are out of school, and Esther’s Fabrics has plenty of classes to keep the whole family busy.
“Lily Lashmet will be running our day camps this summer. She’s a long time sewist, an engineering and education major at the University of Washington, and has lots of experience as a camp counselor,” Piper says.
Visit esthersfabrics.com/pages/eventcalendar to see a full list of upcoming classes. In addition to their classes for kids, there are single-session and series classes for adults from beginners to advanced.
“Our roster of instructors continues to grow! They’re all so talented, passionate, and great at sharing their skills.”
Esther’s Fabrics now has a curated selection of Janome sewing machines for sale! A selection of machines (including a long arm quilting machine) are also available for rental. Find Esther’s Fabrics at 181 Winslow Way E on Bainbridge Island, an easy walk from the ferry to Seattle. Learn more at esthersfabrics.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for news and inspiration!