My 2 favorite tools when sewing for small dolls…

It’s no secret when you sew, if you have the right equipment, things just go faster and much smoother. I have almost everything a seamstress could want in the way of tools and they really do help speed things up. One time my hubby and I were at a yard sale and he found a hem marker and was carrying it around. The person who was having the yard sale asked him, “Do you want that?” He politely replied, “It has Singer on it, so I’m sure my wife needs it!” He was right, I didn’t have one at the time so I got it.

I sew for a few small dolls, 10″ and 13″ and sometimes those little bodices can be tricky to get turned and then pressed. I thought I would show you the two tools that make my life much easier…

The first tool I couldn’t do without is a pair of hemostats. I only have the shorter version but really don’t need the longer ones. They have a locking feature on them so you can grab your fabric and pull it through without it coming loose.


Once you have your bodice sewn around and clipped and trimmed, you are ready to turn it,


slide the hemostats up through the bodice front, over the shoulder and down the back. Open up your hemostats and grab a piece of the back lining and then lock them in place.




Gently pull the fabric through the bodice…it will look something like this…Sometimes it feels like it’s too big of a bulge, but just gently pull it slightly wiggling it back and forth and it will come through. Then do the other side the same way.



I use a crochet hook to push out the back corners…


Once I get it all pressed, I’ll show you the next tool I use… It’s a wooden point press.


You can easily slide your tiny bodice on the tip of the point press and iron your seams open….



It’s as simple as that!

I also wanted to show you what’s coming up… I’ve eaten chocolate today and the caffeine in it keeps me awake at night, *sigh* so I’m planning on sewing for a while into the night to see if I can’t get this bunny dress finished… My plan is to see if I can’t get it listed on Ebay tomorrow night.


See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Linda Doyle says:

    Well, this is certainly an eye opener for me! That is exactly why I don’t like sewing doll clothes—too many teensy outfits that take a lot of patience and struggling to get them done—–if you don’t have the proper tools, and I don’t! Where do you find such things, Jeanne?

    It certainly looks like that is going to be a darling outfit and just in time for the Easter Bunny! Who is that going to be for?

    • HI Linda,
      You can find the point press at JoAnn Fabrics or probably Hobby Lobby. I found this one at another yard sale… brand new and the lady didn’t even know what it was. (???) She had several sewing items I picked up. I’m not sure where I found my hemostats… I think my hubby got them for me from the hardware store…

      I got the dress finished at 2:30 this morning and it IS cute! Isabelle was the chosen doll to wear it because she felt left out when the girls were trying on the yellow one! I just have to get a slip made today and get it listed…and it will be good to go on Ebay tonight.
      Thanks Linda,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. I love all my little sewing tools as well. They make life so much easier. 🙂

    • Hi Christine,
      Yes, all those sewing tools… I’m in the fabric store Notions aisle, like my hubby is in Harbor Freight Tools… practically in heaven!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Hemostats, check. Couldn’t live without them. I’ve got LOTS of crochet hooks, but never have used them for pushing out the corners. I have one of those plastic thingamajigs (or whatever they are called) that is made for pushing out corners. I think that I may need a point presser though. I use one of those doll ironing boards which works okay enough.
    It’s so much fun and interesting to see your sewing processes. Everyone has slightly different ways and we all achieve the same results.
    Thanks for a fun post. Your bunny dress looks like it will be super sweet. Love your white fabric. What kind of ribbon do you use? Is it rayon? I love silk, but it is so delicate and my hands get so dry. I get snags very easily.

    • Good morning Cindy,
      I knew you’d have hemostats! I have one of those little point turners, but I always grab my crochet hook to turn the corners. The plastic point turner might be safer and not as easily pushed through the corner, but I’m gentle and usually have success with the crochet hooks.

      Yes, you should get a point press. I grab mine all the time… and I’m sure you looked at my “open” side seam…and were thinking… “why doesn’t she enclose them?” I usually do, but I wanted to show how the seam looked when pressed open.
      I went to bed at 2:30 this morning but I got the dress done except for a slip underneath it. I am hoping to get it listed on Ebay this evening and do a 3 day listing. It will end then the same night as the yellow and black one.
      I use silk ribbon myself. Do you use the rayon?
      Thanks Cindy,
      Blessings, Jeanne

      • A lot of ladies use Hug Snug and I wondered if you used that too. I got a roll of rayon ribbon from Dharma and it is very soft with lots of drape. I used it for the first time on Patience’s last set.

  4. Jeanne I love tools! I have a Tailor Board by June Tailor and it really comes in handy. Also, those hemostats are a definite must. Your finished garments always look so beautiful and fit perfect. Thanks so much for sharing. Hope to see more tools!
    God Bless

    • HI Marsha,
      Thanks so much for your comments. I’d love to visit your stash of tools and see what you use… I’m sure I don’t have “EVERYTHING” out there and surely need “something” else!!!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. I have had hemostats since my doll making days; they’re perfect, as you say. for turning, and they’re also perfect for getting those tiny fingers filled. Another tool I had for turning those tiny fingers was a small set of brass tubes in different sizes. But I’ve never seen a pressing board like that and I’ll be looking on-line for one today! Looks like it would work much better than the small countertop ironing board I use. Looking forward to seeing the finished dress!

    • HI Jevne,
      I’m guessing most seamstresses of dolls have a pair of hemostats… It probably isn’t anything new to you all. They are good, like you say for pushing things into tight areas too… I’ve done that with them as well.
      I used to have a set of those tubes but found I hardly ever used them. Now I do my tubes on the serger… I might have to show how I do it that way.
      I just checked on googled “point press for sewing” and you can find one in most fabric stores. Use your 40% off coupon on JoAnn’s and pick one up. You’ll love it.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Jeannie B. in TX says:

    Guess I need to buy a hemostat. I see that it would certainly help when turning that small bodice right side out. I do have one of those “thingamajigs” that Cindy has. I use it everyday to push out tight little corners. I used to do tailoring so I have all sorts of pressing tools. I also have a small set of interchangeable irons. Sort of like a curing iron with different tips to change and use. I really like that for small items.
    One item I use all the time is stabilizer. It is often used for embroidery work but I use it to start small seams and avoid the bunching and pulling of the fabric under the presser foot. I cut the stabilizer into narrow strips about 1/2″ wide. I use just a little to start the seam and tear it off when I clip the threads. It is an extra step but it has helped me avoid many messes when getting those small seams nice and flat – no bunching.
    I do believe that pressing as I sew always makes for a better garment. This is a step I learned when entering a dress competition and being reprimanded by the judge in front of all the contestants. Humiliation at age 14 !!!
    Have a great day. It is cold, cloudy, gray and very windy here today. Yesterday was warm and breezy. Never try to understand TX weather.

    • HI Jeannie,
      Yes, a pair of hemostats needs to be added to all your pressing tools! I highly recommend a pair for you. I’ll have to get our my little point turner and give it a try again. I just always grab my crochet hooks…
      I bought one of those little Clover craft irons and it was a neat idea, but it just didn’t have the heat that I needed to get my seams pressed open. I returned it after one trial run.
      I have stabalizer too, but for starting seams I always use little strips of paper. It just tears right off. I use it for starting my seams too. It makes a HUGE difference.
      I press as I go too. My iron stays on all day when I’m sewing. I shut it off at 2:30 this morning when I finished the pressing of the little bunny dress. Yes, I got it finished and it’s adorable too. I have to make the slip and I’ll get it listed on Ebay for a 3 day auction.
      Sorry about your awful experience with the pressing incident… Just think of it as a “learning moment.” I bet you’ve pressed as you’ve sewn ever since, right?
      Thanks Jeannie,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. Jeannie B. in TX says:

    Sorry, forgot to mention how very cute the bunny fabric is. The dress will be so cute. Cant’ wait to see the finished product.

  8. Me who has a bout 6 hemostats….and never even thought to use them for that reason…I’m SO glad you gave us that lesson! I will use it today!!
    Darling bunny fabric…and love the color…not pink…not lavender and the buttons are the perfect color.
    Oh…there are hemostats all over ebay too

    • HI Kathie,
      Glad to have shown you something useful! You’ll have to let me know what you think!
      Yes, it’s a weird color of pink/lavender…I can’t believe I had 6 little buttons that worked… the ones in the back are slightly a different color…but don’t tell anyone….
      blessings, Jeanne

  9. I definitely need to get a pair of hemostats and I would love to have a press point too. Thanks for sharing your tools for sewing little dresses. I love the fabric for the cute bunny dress. Looking forward too seeing it.

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