How To Transfer Doll Clothing Patterns

How To Transfer Doll Clothing Patterns

My favorite way to bust my fabric stash is making doll clothes. Barbie clothes help get rid of even itty bitty pieces! Here’s my easy way to transfer doll clothes patterns.

How To Transfer Doll Clothes Patterns | SewsNBows

Tiny paper pattern pieces get torn up quickly, especially if you use them often like I do. So to keep my patterns intact, I transfer them to poster board.

First, I lay the pieces out on my copy machine…

How To Transfer Doll Clothes Patterns

No need to cut them out, just a trim will do :)

Doll patterns often have piece names and instructions outside the pattern piece.

How To Transfer Doll Clothes Patterns

So cut the patten piece out, then use a glue stick to glue it to the poster board. You can glue the information to the back of the pattern piece.

Cheryl wrote in that she simply copies the pattern pieces onto cardstock in her printer. Even easier! See her comment at the end of the post. 

If the piece is too small, or if its easier for you than glueing, just write the instructions on the back. Easy peasy!

Here’s my favorite part. Use a hole punch, and link the pattern pieces together with a carabiner! Now, it hangs up nicely and out of the way.

Update: I wrote this post back in the day- the photos aren’t the best but I think you can see what I’m doing. Nowadays I sew a lot for American Girl dolls, and instead of gluing my photocopied pieces to card stock, I’ve been using interfacing. It makes it a easier to cut around those small, curved edges! If you’re cutting an armhole from your card stock pattern, trace the curve rather than trying to cut around it. Hope this helps!


About The Author

Amy Mayen

Hello. I'm Amy and I'm addicted to sewing. I borderline-hoard fabric, buttons, & patterns. Sometimes I wish I could pile my fabric up on the floor and just roll in it!


  1. Susan Gaidica

    I have a laminating machine and laminate all my pattern pieces…they are super easy to trace and last forever!!

    • Amy Mayen

      I’d love a laminating machine!

    • Susan

      I’m with you Amy!! When my mom passed away I inherited a lot of her sewing materials. And now when people find out that I have carried on her tradition of making Barbie clothes, I get donations all the time… I love it!!

      • Amy Mayen

        That’s awesome!! I love getting donations.

    • Mimi H

      Posterboard! What a GREAT idea!! And Laminate!Even better! Just one MORE machine to add to my tool box!
      Amy! I laughed when I read your self description! We could be twin sisters from different mothers! I think I have more yarn than material, but both occupy bins to the ceiling in my “spare” room! As an empty nester, I’ve replaced children with stashes! And now my grandchildren have just reinvigorated the old passion!

  2. Ida

    How about laminating the pattern pieces?


    I have even ironed my pattern prices onto freezer paper this too gives them some stiffness and saves the pieces as well.

    Do you or, does anyone have suggestions on how to make sewing patterns from vintage doll clothes?

    I have purchased vintage Thumbelina doll clothes some a little damaged and, want to make patterns from what I have but, not shire how to do this.
    Once I have the pattern created from vintage offit I want to put the original back together and, use created patterns to make additional clothes and , want to also creat office to fit the larger 18/20 doll all vintage clothes are for the 14 inch doll only.
    These projects are my stress busters.

    Thanks for help and ,suggestion

    • Amy Mayen

      I would gently seal rip the old doll clothes and trace them. Sounds like you know what to do in theory…just be careful with the old fabric. It may not go back together without further damage.

  4. Mo

    LOL I went through all of my patern pieces and naturally I found seperate pieces that I have no idea where to put them. Almost all are on cardstock and are in envelopes with the photo of item on the front. They are stored in file folders in my file cabinette.
    I recently had to move my sewing room to the smallest bedroom, what a shock when |I actually had to move it all. So much stuff. Having said that, my yarn stash is by far more. I am addicted to yarn, I knit and crochet, love making toys.
    Right now I have a huge bag full of all kinds of critters

  5. Kitty J Wilcox

    love it. i am always loosing pieces not anymore with this trick!

  6. Cheryl

    This agreat ideal. But instead of glueing the printed paper patterns yo the posterboard I use card stock in place of paper in bmy printer. Saves a lot of time and not bad on nerves.

  7. Natalie

    My question is, how do you transfer the pattern onto fabric , if the pattern is made out of poster board? If the pattern is paper you can pin it onto the fabric. I am not sure how I would keep the pattern piece on the fabric if it’s out of poster board.

    • Amy Mayen

      I use pattern weights to keep the patterns in place. (You can use anything that is small and has a bit of weight to it.) For complicated pieces, I trace the pattern onto the fabric with chalk or a fabric marker. I prefer not to use pins when cutting patterns at all, because I’m lazy mostly; but also because it can distort the fabric. Good question!

      • Maureen

        I’ve purchased sewing chalk pencils but they don’t seem to show up well on the fabric. Are there brands you would recommend? I have been using printer paper and pinning them but love your idea better. Using cardstock would be more efficient. I’d like to trace them onto the fabric but haven’t found a good utensil to use. Any suggestions?


    Hi there – just wanted to pop in and say thanks for the great idea…..
    I don’t have daughters of my own, but recently promised a friend to make clothes for her granddaughter and re-discovered the joys of making dolls clothes…

    Thanks again – one idea i will surely use!

  9. jennie smeath

    lovely site. I have been making dolls clothes for more than sixty years and just love it, I started when I was in the infants school when we had “free time” altho they were not too successful then! I graduated, after a few years to making my own dolls from china clay as I had a kiln back then, but now I make cloth dolls and all sorts of clothes for modern and antique dolls also quilts as sewing is a real passion for me.

  10. Liz v.d. Merwe

    Hi – I run “The Dolls Hospital” in a small town in South Africa. Admittedly I do a lot of repair work to all types of dolls – wax, composition, celluloid, plastic, porcelain. I get work from all over as I have being doing this work from the 1960’s.
    I received a order for Barbie Cloths – must admit that I have refused this in the past but just decided to get along with it this time – and I am enjoying the change. I do a lot of the tiny “dump doll” resporation and it was a bit hard to accept the absolute modern image of Barbie and not have pin tucks and antique lace etc. I was able to find some or the original Barbie Dolls and am using them as models. What a pleasure to find your site with all the ideas on it. Many thanks for shariung them.
    If I can share any of my many years of experience in doll restoration with anyone, don’t hesitate to contact me by email.
    Rgards – Liz

    • D7ana

      What I have liked about making Barbie clothes is that you see the results soon and it doesn’t take a lot of fabric.

      from #RetroRepinParty
      D7ana recently posted…Must-See Barbie 2015 Doll LineMy Profile

  11. deborah zarp

    Thanks fo rthe great idea. I do a lot of American girl doll ouitfits for my granddaughters and love to kit and sew. Keeping the pattern pieces together and stop all of the torn pieces togdther without scotch tape. Wow I like the idea Thanks alot.

  12. deborah zarp

    Well I planonrunning out and getting white poster board to glue my patterns on. This will be a livesaver when all of the same pieces are held together with a ring or ribbon. No more lost pieces.
    Thank sl much for the great idea.

  13. Helen Shubert

    Thanks for sharing your clever idea RE tag board patterns. Right now I’m looking for really simple dresses for 8 or 9″ floppy-headed baby doll. I’m collecting dollys for my great grandchildren who will soon be visiting.

    • Amy Mayen

      Hi Helen! Thanks for the comment. I emailed you some great places to get free patterns!

  14. Gail

    Cardstock works great for this too and fits in the printer gluing :)


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