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Knitting for dolls

This document was put together by Caroline McMillan,, with an addendum at the end by Jennifer, Many thanks to them both. You may also want to visit the page of patterns for dolls and doll clothes here at Wool Works.

A note from Caroline:
Dear doll clothes makers-- If you would like to send me actual knitting patterns that are OUT OF COPYRIGHT, or references to works in copyright, please do so and I will pass them on to those who have expressed an interest.

Books and patterns

  • Knits for Kids and Teddies Too (book)
    Bay Books, Sydney, Australia. ISBN 1-86378-145-5. No author, but all the patterns call for Checkheaton yarn. Price was $16, U.S. It's about 80 pages long. Contains sweaters, hats, socks, scarves and collars for teddy bears.
  • Dollie Daydreams--Patterns (not knitted) for dolls sized 16-24". 11 pages. Was selling for $8.00 through Patternworks (1-800-438-5464) as of October, 1994. The lady on the phone was VERY nice.
  • Doll garment and tote bag (sewn): Linda Keese design. Fits 20" and 18" American Girls dolls. Call Sunday's Finest at +1 (800) 491 9773.
  • Any book by Hinds and Becker, such as Best Doll Clothes Book and Best Storybook Clothes (or something like that). Has excellent full size patterns and instructions for sewn doll clothes to fit Pleasant Company and Goetz dolls. Call Nancy's Notions if you can't find the book.
  • The motherlode!
    Heirloom Knitting for Dolls, Classic Patterns in Knitted Cotton by Furze Hewitt. Kangaroo Press, 3 Whitehall Road Kenthurst NSW 2156 Australia or P.O. Box 6125, Dural Delivery Centre, NSW 2158 Australia. This book contains numerous patterns for various sized dolls, mostly for those with toddler bodies. I suspect they'd do very well on your standard Goetz, Pleasant Company, Madame Alexander and the various porcelain dolls. A lot of the information in here is about lace knitting, so you lace knitters might want to check it out too. Contains actual clothing patterns, doll-sized bedspreads, doilies, lots of lace edgings, and a fantastic section on suppliers and doll studios in the U.K. and Australia. These might be good sources of mail order patterns.
  • Barbie clothes: Leisure Arts Leaflet No. 2512 "Honeymoon Cruise Fashion Doll Wardrobe" copyright 1994, P.O. Box 5595, Little Rock, AR 72215. (Editor's note: there are a few patterns for Barbie clothes here at Wool Works, too.)


  • Hearth Song. 156 N. Main St., Sebastopol, CA 95472. +1 (800) 325 2502. Fantastic selection of crafts for children, looms, weaving kits, knitting kit (with kid sized needles), crochet kit, etc.
  • Teddy bears: Kids Vogue Knitting (fall of 1994?) issue called "A Bear in Sheep's Clothing." "A collection of sweaters for teddy bears. Half the proceeds benefit a children's aid soceity." Contributed by Susette.
  • Jane Woodbridge (catalog), 311 Bournemouth Park, Southend-on-sea, Essex, SS2 5LQ.
    A UK source of dolls clothes patterns, fine needles and yarn. There are 48 patterns listed on the order form, but she didn't send any details about them. There is also a book of 40+ patterns from a 1950s magazine for 14" toddler dolls.
    She does 2 1/4" baby dolls, and she has 8 patterns for them, including one for knitted lace christening robes, using 60 crochet cotton.
    She has size 14 (2mm), 16, 18 (1mm) and 20 8" straight needles, and size 22 and 24 dpns. She also has fine crochet cotton, 1-ply acrylic and "silky" acrylic, 2-ply soft cotton, fine 2-ply and 3-ply wool, and 2mm and 4mm silk ribbon. She doesn't mention yardage or recommended needle size, so I don't know how fine the yarns are. Lastly, she has 5mm and 7mm buttons.
    Does not take credit cards. Uncertain if she will ship overseas.

Kid-related ideas

"For my seventh birthday (some twenty-odd years ago) my mother invited over six of my friends for a slumber party. The four-year-old daughter of family friends was about to go into the hospital for open heart surgery, so my mother explained that we were going to give her a doll and together we were all going to crochet an afghan to go with it. She taught everyone the basics of crochet, and we each made a few five-inch squares out of different colored worsted weight acrylic yarns. Then she put them together after we all went to sleep and it was ready the next morning when we woke up to have our pancakes.

"As I remember, and as the photographs of all the beaming little girls show, this was a very successful party project. And the four-year-old loved it."

Knitting nellies

Use a large wooden spool (from carpet thread if I remember correctly), re-drilled the hole in the center to be about 3/8 inch or so. Then take 4 little brass nails and put them on one end. Now to start the knitting on the spool, hold the spool in your left hand, drop the tail of thee yarn down the hole, grasp the tail with the little finger of your left hand.

Just wrap the yarn on the outside of the nails, three times. You should have three strands of yarn showing on the outside of each nail. I know you can't just wrap it twice, it will just fall off. Have to have that third round of yarn for the bottom one to 'catch'.

Go to the first nail, then bring the bottom strand over the nail, repeat this on this nail. Now have one strand on the nail. Turn the spool counterclockwise in your hand and repeat around on each nail until you have only one strand on the nails. Keep pulling the 'hole' yarn to keep it taut.

Wrap yarn around the outside of the nails, and start pulling the bottom yarn over the nail, repeating around. A long "tube" of knitting will grow out of the bottom hole of the spool.

If you tie the tail to a small fishing weight after you drop it through the hole, you won't have to hold it while you work. If the braid gets too long you can just move the weight up. I hook a heavy paper clip through the hole in the weight and then I can hook the clip to the braid as I work. Variations on Knitting Nellies (or Nancies as they are sometimes known): "One that I hadn't seen before which had about 20 pins in a large circle, which produced a knitted tube, suitable, I suppose, for stockings or dolls clothes." Use a crochet hook to bring the bottom yarn over the top one.

Knitting for American Girl dolls

This section was compiled by Jennifer from replies to her query on the knitlist.

The Fifth Stitch
300 Clinton Street
Defiance, Ohio 43512
+1 (419) 782 0991
Ellen Upp carries all of the TE Corp American Girl pattern books, for $9.99 each, including Winterwear, Outerwear, Equestrian, Summertime, Nightwear. All of them would fit in $3 priority mail envelope.

Wooly Bear Handknits
258 Short Place
Louisville, CO 80027
Carries Designs for Dolls booklet, which is copyright 1995 and costs $7.

The newsletter Knitting NOW has been including an AG pattern each issue. These tend to be more complex, in sport-weight yarn.

LaGala Designs
67 Liberty St.
Montpelier, VT 05602
Carries Doll Designs by Renee Lagala.

Gaela Designs
109 Pelton Center
San Leandro, CA 94577
+1 (510) 351 5760
Carries Knit Patterns for 18" Girl Doll.

Lynda K. Roper
PO Box 34922
Richmond, VA 23234
Lots of different designs made of sport weight and worsted weight yarns.

Judith Shangold
PO Box 770
Medford, MA 02155
+1 (617) 438 9631 or +1 (617) 395 6491
Two books of American Girl patterns.

Dolls 'n Dolls
620 Miller Ct.
Lakewood, CO 80215

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Last updated May 22, 1998