“Details Matter…it’s the little things that make a difference”

I am very honored to be among the designers from the Dianna Effner, 13″ Little Darlings doll forum, who were given the opportunity to make a presentation to the group. I wanted to pick a topic that would be both fun and interesting, but still something you might learn from. The title of my post says it all…
The first part will probably be geared more for those selling their doll clothes on Ebay or Etsy. These are just a few of my thoughts and I’m not saying I have all the answers, but this is just what I notice.

* Make sure you comb your doll’s hair.. It doesn’t have to be perfectly styled, but when the wig is all messy or hairs are across your dolls face – it’s the first thing you notice.


Ahhh…much better!



* Invest in a variety of shoes… black, white and maybe a brown or navy. Perhaps save up your nickles and when you have enough, order a new color that you don’t have. You’d be surprised how much nicer it can make your outfit look when you have the perfect shoes for it. Don’t have your doll all dressed up and barefoot…it just doesn’t go together. You wear shoes – so should your doll. I keep each of my dolls shoes in a ziplock bag so it’s easy to see what I have to choose from. I don’t have a lot of shoes (compared to some people) but just enough to make them work for whatever my doll is wearing.



* Leaning your doll against a wall and snapping a picture isn’t the best way to showcase the outfit you’ve just spent time making. There are ways you can hold your doll forward without it showing.

* If you “have” to use a stand, at least put it on the inside of the outfit you are displaying, and not on the outside. It detracts from the pretty outfit you have made…


Here’s an even better way to do it…pull the part out that goes around your dolls waist and turn it around the opposite way. Then put it behind your doll leaning her against it. It’s just enough to keep her upright but not show…





* When you take pictures of your doll, tip her chin down just a bit instead of having her gazing off up at the ceiling. Most of my pictures that end up with my dolls looking upward are deleted, but I did find these two to use as examples for you…



* Think about the scale of the fabric you are using and also how thick it is – thicker ones don’t gather as nicely as the lighter weight fabrics do. I try to think of it like anything I would wear. If the print is bigger than my hand – it’s too big. The same applies to your doll: keep the print on the smaller side…it just looks better. Which of the fabrics laid across Isabelle do you think are too big?


If you guessed these two, you would be right. I try to use Isabelle’s hand as a guide and not use prints much larger than it.


* Dolls are just like people too… there are certain colors that look better on certain dolls. Find out what colors look best on your doll and use them to her advantage. My sweet Janie has peachy tones to her skin so she looks wonderful in soft colors like this:



Isabelle looks terrific in jewel tone colors…



…and Lian looks fabulous in just about anything I put her in… which is usually bright colors…



* Take advantage of the different wigs as well…and change them to fit the different outfits you have your doll modeling.
– a modern outfit needs something besides a wig of banana curls
– an elegant dress pairs up best with a wig of long flowing tresses
These are just a few of my wigs for different looks.


* There is a time and place for longer dresses, but most little girls don’t wear dresses that go all the way down to the ground anymore. Unless it’s a Regency dress, the dresses should probably be a little bit shorter and show off those sweet little Effner legs. I usually make mine about tea-length.




* Work on tweaking your bodice pattern, then use it over and over again when you get it just right…you can always change up the neckline as need be… round, square, up high, with a collar, etc.






* Take advantage of the holidays throughout the year. Many ladies like to dress their dolls according to the current one, so you don’t want to be selling Valentine dresses in July or Easter dresses in December. Allow enough time to make your outfits before those holidays so the buyer can receive them in time before that particular holiday.

* Try not to use the flash on your camera… it makes the dolls hair plastic looking and really distracts from the outfit. Find the area in your house with the best lighting or go outside…it’s much nicer and usually softer looking.



* Adding buttons, lace, trims and appliques is the easiest way to dress your your outfits. Hand work using silk ribbons, making bullion roses and smocking are special techniques that usually are highly sought after. Why not give one of them a try…













Okay, so now I’ll put myself out on a limb and share some of my favorite pictures, using the suggestions I listed above: hair combed, shoes on, no stand showing, chin down, fabric to scale, the right color for the right skin tone, the right style wig for the outfit, dress length, no flash and lots of embellishments! I hope you enjoy them…










Just one more word of encouragement to those of you who are struggling to make a dent in the Ebay market! When I first started selling on Ebay in 2006, the first year I averaged $27.00 per outfit. The next year I averaged $35.00 an outfit. It has steadily gone up each year as my customer base has increased. So don’t give up…sew till you’re exhausted, (sew till you’re crying… been there, done that), always try to keep something listed if you possibly can, do the best possible job you can, and always look for ways to perfect your sewing skills, your photography skills and most of all, your people skills! Yes, it takes time to talk to people, but it’s a wonderful benefit to this whole dolly thing we have going on.

I hope you’ve learned something from me. Stop by my blog any time as I talk about the Little Darlings fairly often.
If you’d like to leave a comment, it’s down at the bottom, just after my post, or you can do so on the our little darlings forum.
See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne


  1. Great job Jeanne!!!!! Soooo many beautiful pictures!!!

  2. Great tips…well put together, and so well illustrated!

  3. You are so inspiring, Jeanne. Thank you!

    • Hi Cindy,
      Thanks so much for checking it out! You are so inspiring yourself…
      those little tiny things you make are incredible.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Bobi Florida says:

    I am speechless. Your dolls and your sewing…your eye for details…all of it is beyond beautiful…beyond amazing. What a pleasure to read, learn and view!! Thank you for all your helpful hints!!

    • Bobi,
      Thank you very much for your comments. It’s just what I do, and it comes easy
      to me… but the presentation was a while in the works. I hope I helped lots of ladies
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Sharon in Spain x says:

    This is a lovely post Jeanne, your girls are beautiful, as are the outfits and photos. I laughed when I read about having them shod because we are shod ourselves and having neat hair……I look down at my own bare feet and put my hand up to my scrunched up pony tail…..OH BOY! Is there any hope for me do you think!!!! My poor girls! 🙂
    Keep ’em coming, your blog is so pretty, it’s a joy to come and visit from Spain!
    Big hugs Sharon xx

    • You are funny, Sharon. I, too, have bare feet and a scrunched up ponytail. I won’t even mention my old shorts and tank top… too busy sewing and knitting to make sure that I am presentable.

    • Thank you Sharon,
      Barefoot and hair pulled back… it’s fine with me… since we aren’t the ones in the pictures…
      I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and I’m enjoying yours too…
      Now that my presentation is over, I’ve GOT to get busy in my sewing room again!!!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Merle Perch says:

    Great tips and I agree with all of them. I always feel that a messy doll ruins the total picture no matter how nice the outfit. Dolly Hugs, Merle

    • Thank you Merle,
      I didn’t think I was alone on that “messy hair” point…
      Thanks so much for your comments.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. Patricia Hemmings says:

    Jeannie, I am sure your audience would have been jaw dropping at this wonderful presentation.
    Being as I live in the Southern hemisphere it was not an option for me to be at the Conference at this time, but don’t worry I will be trying to save for the next one.
    Your hints and tips were brilliant as we all like to know the finer points of presentation.
    Thank you again.

    • Thank you Patricia,
      I appreciate your comments and am so glad to have had you read through my presentation. I hope you’ll return to my blog for “more” dolly things.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Just “found” you! WOW!!! thank you for all the time and effort it took to put this post together – SEE, it’s timeless even two years later.
    Love most everything you do!!!

    • Hi C,
      I just saw your comments… I have been over at my mom’s all day. I appreciate your kind words about my work… I love to sew and I’m glad you enjoy
      seeing my things…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Sarah Danks says:

    Wow. What a great collection of tips and ideas! Thanks so much for sharing.
    The best one for me was about the pattern scale; I never heard of the “smaller than my hand” rule of thumb before, and I’ve been sewing over half a century. I’ve followed it as I’ve chosen and rejected fabrics for myself, the grandkids, and the dolls, but never heard it put in words like that. Light bulb!

    • HI Sarah,
      I’m so glad you were able to find something useful from this post. I worked for weeks trying to put things on it that would be the most helpful to everyone. I hope you can see the difference when you make something in the right scale. Thanks for letting me know..
      Blessings, Jeanne

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