The “Details” truly do matter…

In September of 2014 I was given the opportunity to make a presentation to the Dianna Effner, 13″ Little Darlings Doll Forum. Several of the dress makers were asked to put together some kind of presentation for the group talking about something they thought the group might be interested in. I thought and thought about what to do… Cindy Rice did one on how she embroiders on her tiny knitted sweaters and dresses. Some other ladies did how they knitted things, or how fabrics were picked.

After a lot of thinking, I decided to call mine, “Details Matter… it’s the Little Things That Make a Difference.” It was mostly presented to anyone who was a seller on Ebay or their website. I gave tips and ideas for how I do things. Yesteday, several ladies commented on how I seemed to get the details just right on my dresses. While I was flattered, it has been something that I’ve learned over the years…and I’m still learning. I still don’t have all the answers, but I know what works for me and it will probably work for you!

I hope you enjoy seeing this post again…maybe a first for some of you. :o)

“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.

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Ahhh…much better!

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* 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.

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* 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…

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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…

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* 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…

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* 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?

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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.

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* 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:

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Isabelle looks terrific in jewel tone colors…

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

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* 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.

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* 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.

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* 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.

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* 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.

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* 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…

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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…

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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

So that was my presentation to the Little Darling group. Now to show you something from yesterday’s post. Remember I said my Samantha never seemed straight to me, or her neck was too short or something? Well, here is the nude pictures of her. See how her shoulders seems wide and from the back they don’t seem even from side to side? I always wondered if someone replaced one of her arms and someone got her stuffing twisted.

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Well, that’s it for me today…
See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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Comments

  1. Charlotte Trayer says:

    Hi Jeanne, Thanks for posting this article on your blog. I remember when you originally posted it to the LD forum, but it was good to read it again–it reminded me of that trick with the doll stand, which I had forgotten!

    You know, if you want to tackle it, you could probably undo Samantha’s cord in back and add a bit more stuffing, or at least rearrange what’s in there. Hm, you could even do a post about it!!

    Charlotte

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Charlotte,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the presentation the second time too… I enjoyed reading it all again myself…
      I sold my Samantha doll a few years ago and used Rebecca as my turn of the century girl. I just was unhappy with her so I let her go.
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. This is absolutely a wonderful blog posting, Jeanne. I appreciated reading it all from you, a “master” in process! The photos are just enchanting.

    Take care.

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Becky,
      Well I’m not so sure about the “master” part but I’m glad you enjoyed today’s post.
      Thank you Becky,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. The presentation you gave for the Little Darlings forum is very informative for anyone selling dolls or doll accessories or really selling anything. The presentation of an item is so important when selling.
    It also reminds us doll lovers, when we display our dolls, what ideas to follow in our displays, even if it is for our own pleasure. I like the doll stand idea as I have made the mistake of the stands being too obvious. And the hair… I’m a real stickler for the hair being very neat. I use a dryer sheet to control fly-away hair. ( it doesn’t seem to hurt the hair)

    I love love the black and white check dress with the red buttons and the red dress with black polka dots Lian is wearing. ALL the dresses are just beautiful. So hard to pick favorites!
    *Linda, thank you for the info on Melody. I’m kind of thinking of getting her BUT first I need to let go of at least one AMG doll or a few small dolls. I think Melody, and what I can gather on her story, is very interesting. I like her hair and clothing style. I’d move her back into my 50’s AMG’s even though she’s from another era.
    By the way, what’s worse than stepping on little plastic army men? Chewed on doggie bone treats! Ouch! I’ve even found those nasty smelly things buried in our bedding!

    • Jeanne W says:

      Thank you Paula,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the presentation I gave and happy you found things in it that you could use or put into practice.
      If you and others are thinking of getting Melody, it won’t be long now.
      I too know about those chewed up doggie bones…they really hurt!
      Thank you Paula,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Aw, love the dresses, dollies, settings, and great information. Janie with the braids is so perfect for back to school. Coming soon. 🙂

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Joy,
      Thank you for reading this long post. I hope you got something out of it…
      You are SO right… school is just around the corner…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Anne Johnson says:

    A wonderful presentation for doll clothes vendors and doll collectors alike, Jeanne! I appreciate the repeat, as the original was posted before I joined your blog. I especially enjoyed the section on trims and the close-ups of all the beautiful details that make your clothes so special. Just love your dreamy designs! Wishing you a relaxing weekend–

    • Jeanne W says:

      Thank you Anne,
      Since you missed it the first time, I’m glad you got to read it today. When you mentioned the other day about trims, I thought of this post and checked it out to see what all I had talked about.
      Thank you for your kind words, Anne,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Linda Doyle says:

    What a wonderfully informative presentation you gave, Jeanne! Every last bit of information is so timely and important when trying to sell. I will never sell anything I have, but just to fix my dolls up and to follow your guidelines makes for a wonderful display. You know what bugs me so much? It’s when people on Playthings show off their new doll clothes, whether they make them themselves, or buy from AG, but they don’t IRON the outfits! And then they say “Isn’t that darling?” My gosh, straight out of the box and put on the doll to be photographed? I just can’t stand that!

    I certainly learned a few things from you too! No flash? Well, that might be my problem, since I don’t know how to turn off the flash on my camera, but never thought it would made things look worse. And tilting the heads down, or up. Never thought about that either!

    Oh my gosh, all those simply adorable dresses you have made! Love the one with Lian holding Minnie Mouse! I don’t recall that long red wig you have, or just maybe you haven’t used it lately.

    I kind of thought you sold Samantha, but I guess you still have her. What in the world are you feeding her??!! Yes, she does look a bit crooked, maybe you could take her apart and restuff her like Charlotte mentioned. With your expertise, why not? You seem to be able to do anything anyway!

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Linda,
      Well it appears your pet peeve and mine are the same. I can’t imagine sewing or even buying something and not pressing it before putting it on your doll.
      I’m glad there were things in my presentation that you enjoyed…and thank you for the compliments on my doll dresses. I really appreciate that.
      You were right…I did sell Samantha a few years ago. She was just too cockeyed to suit me so she got the boot!
      Thanks Linda,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. What a wonderful presentation you gave. I just loved all the pictures of the various ways you embellished each dress- that’s one of the things I enjoy seeing each time you create a new outfit. It is incredible, that even though it appears you only use a couple of patterns for the LD’s, that you are able to make each dress a truly unique creation. The one with Janie is long sleeves is lovely, I don’t think I’ve seen you do a long sleeved LD one since I found you. Lian’s royal blue print is another favorite.
    Hope you have a great Saturday!

    • Jeanne W says:

      Thank you Laura,
      Thank you for the sweet compliments on my dresses and you are right…I do have one pattern for the Little Darlings that I use over and over but its easier that way. You are right…that long sleeved dress on Janie probably was my last long sleeved dress.
      Thank you Laura,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. What a wonderful post! Lovely pics of your girls in your gorgeous dresses!

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