Sindy doll wearing a coat
Make a Coat for a Small Doll like Sindy, Barbie or Kruselings

If you’ve ever tried to make a coat for a small doll like Sindy, Barbie or Kruselings then you will know that it can be very fiddly, especially when inserting the sleeves. Trying to fit the rounded top and curved underarm of that sleeve into those tiny armholes can seem abnormal. Then of course there’s the easing of the top of the sleeve so that it fits neatly. That’s the part I absolutely dread. Also there’s the collar and trying to make it sit level but given the option between the two, I’d choose the collar over the sleeves any day. However, there is another way for a beginner sewist to make a small doll’s coat without giving up over the sleeves, or the collar but more about that below………

When I stumbled across an old, vintage sewing pattern that was without any instructions it gave me an idea of how a beginner sewist could make their own Sindy or Barbie a coat with relative ease. Having made adaptations and sewn several of these coats now I’ve developed my own method of construction so that it can be made in less time and with less chance of error. For me it really has been a journey of practise makes perfect!

make a coat for a small doll

The coats I’ve made with this sewing pattern are listed for sale in my Etsy shop. They’ve proven popular and have had lovely reviews (click on the shop link to view them). The template is so versatile. It can be shortened into a jacket or have patch pockets added. It suits different types of fabric and I’ve made it with wovens, knits and fleece. One thing to bear in mind though when thinking about fabric for a small doll’s coat is that it cannot be too thick. There just isn’t the wiggle room for those small hands if the coat has thick cuffs, and a bulky neckline does not help the coat sit right on the shoulders.

But I’d encourage any Sindy or Barbie doll lover who can use a sewing machine (or confidently hand-sew) to try and make their own doll’s coat. If you can sew in a straight line then you can follow this pattern. If you use my pattern template and follow each step of my instructions then I’m sure you will succeed, even if a little practise is required.

This sewing pattern I’ve developed will soon be available for purchase as a PDF download from my Etsy shop LittleMissDressyUK and it’s also my intention to provide the option of a hard copy for those without access to a printer. If you do purchase the pattern and have a go then please send me a photo!

This is the coat you can make from my sewing pattern

Sewing Pattern Details – Make a Coat for a Small Doll

  • The sewing pattern is sized to fit small dolls like Sindy, Barbie and Kruselings.
  • Instructions are written in English in a step-by-step method with colour images provided for each step.
  • The sewing pattern comprises 24 pages in total detailing 40 steps and the pattern template is on the last page.
  • The coat’s style is a raglan sleeve with edge-to-edge front opening. It is unlined and the neckline is finished with bias-binding.
  • The doll’s coat can be made from an A4-size piece of fabric. The neckline needs a five-inch piece of bias-binding, 18mm wide. Also needed are a needle, pins, matching thread, marker pen and sharp scissors.
  • There are three pattern pieces; a body section and two sleeves.
  • The pattern has a ¼ inch seam allowance for the arms. The hem and front edges have 1/3rd inch allowance for turning under.
  • The written instructions assume a sewist has knowledge of using a sewing machine. Some hand-sewing is required for piece placement and for hand-finishing the neck.
  • The coat can be made in a half-day with a sewing machine but it could be wholly hand-sewn, although this would be more time-consuming.
  • Suitable fabrics for beginners to use are those that don’t fray, such as the medium-weight fleece shown in the sewing pattern instructions. Stable knits and wovens are ideal for more confident sewists.
  • The use of an overlock machine is optional, not a necessity.
  • Sewists are advised to read through the entire instructions before cutting and making the coat.
  • The sewing pattern is for personal use only and is the copyright of Little Miss Dressy with all rights reserved.
Kruseling dolls
Small Articulated Dolls – Under £25

Researching online for small articulated dolls sent me down a rabbit hole. I got totally lost and absorbed in vintage Sindy. So much so, that I spent hours on several websites, reading everything there is to know about Sindy.

Amanda Volley’s brilliant write up instantly transported me back to my childhood, triggering long forgotten memories. If only I had kept my Sindy!

Fast forward to now and I’m wanting to buy the newest Sindy, a fully articulated version, totally geared for the adult collector. Only I’m not a collector in the true sense; I simply love dolls of a certain type. They must be easily stored, poseable and realistic. Realistic in the sense that they are able to be handled, dressed, undressed and pose-able for regular adventures. I like a doll to be small enough to come on holiday with me without it taking up most of my carry bag.

I’m not sure if I’d want to do that with the latest Sindy though. Priced at £79.99, she’s too immaculate, smartly dressed and preened with a bit too much make-up, for travelling economy class. So, I took a step back and reminded myself of what I want in a doll, if I intend to buy one. It must be a small articulated doll under £25.

This video from Kid Kreations shows all six Sindy dolls from their Sindy Collectors Range that they launched last year.

I shall carry on searching for my vintage Sindy before I decide if I’ll buy the new 2020 articulated one. But thanks to Amanda’s post with lots of useful links, including Vintage Sindy, with great delight I’ve found and have started following @sindyobsessed, @sewsindy, @jollydolly and @sindycollectorsclub on Instagram. Anyone care to join me!

With the price of ball-jointed dolls these days, Kruselings offer very good value for less than £25. Although not true BJD, they are adequately articulated for realistic posing. They also fit well with economy-style travel, having been tested with my grandchildren of primary-school-age, albeit with my supervision.

If there is a downside to choose buying a Kruseling, it’s the lack of finding UK sellers of Kruseling dolls. Maybe it’s due to the dolls being readily available on Amazon. My latest purchase was Luna Kruseling (pictured below).

I purchased Luna via Amazon and was disappointed with the quality. Everything was perfectly good, apart from one of her legs. It looks like she has two right legs (knee to ankle, photo below). There is a distinct shape to left and right legs of Kruselings and I compared her to the others I have. They are OK but Luna’s left knee definitely points sideways, making that leg slightly longer than the right one.

I’m in two minds to contact Kathe Kruse in Germany to make them aware of this quality flaw but as I purchased from Amazon, I suppose that I should really complain to them. Meanwhile I don’t mind having a 2-right-legged Luna as these days I’m trying very hard to reel in my OCD of perfection!

If you’re looking to buy a Kruseling doll, I found three UK online sellers today with stock of Kruselings. Here they are:

  • NonsuchShop, with a bricks-and-mortar-shop in Devon and an online shop.
  • EvesToyShop, with a bricks-and-mortar-shop in West Wales and an online shop, and voted best independent toy shop in the UK for 2017/18.
  • My Doll Best Friend, with solely an internet-only shop.

Since owning a Kruseling doll I’ve developed a keen interest in ‘scene setting’. You only need to search Instagram for #Kruselings to discover lots of inspiration and I try my best to participate when the time allows it. Scene setting is popular for doll owners and their creativity never ceases to amaze me. Check out @windrose_dolls, @escapetodollworld, @thesunflowerfrog, @bellie_beth_baby, @my_other_world, @wandylovesdolls and @little_miss_dressy of course!

Back to the subject of reasonably priced, small articulated dolls. I’ve yet to check out the complete range of Made To Move Barbies. Although I’ve never been a big fan of Barbie dolls, these ones have definitely caught my eye. There are some great Instagram images showing the doll’s pose-ability and I especially like #barbiemadetomovecurvy and #barbiemadetomoveyoga. There’s certainly a wide range to choose from.

It was this ‘scene setting’ interest of mine that led me to vintage Sindy and where this story started. It’s hard to find interesting 1/6th scale accessories at a good price and Sindy popped up on my eBay search. There she was in all her glory, surrounded by her ‘scene setting’ accessories.

I have attempted to make some of my own accessories and so far I’ve made a garden seat, plates of food, doll’s bed, bean bag chair and slider sandals. All of these are detailed in previous blog posts.

Kruselings are 1/6th scale so I’m hoping that Sindy accessories will fill the gap (I currently have my eye on her yellow scooter). When I finally get to buy at a reasonable price then I shall let you know.

Kruselings dolls
Kruselings Dolls – Chloe joins her friends

Kruselings are depicted as fantasy/fashion/action dolls and there are six of them; five girls and one boy. As I already had three, Christmas provided me with the perfect excuse to add to my Kruseling doll collection. My initial selection for purchase was based on the doll’s hair. Vera’s is blonde, fine and straight, Joy’s is dark brown with tight curls and Sophia’s is dark brown and very thick.

Here are my three little ladies recently having fun in the snow wearing their Christmas knitwear. Vera’s hair works well with a hat but Sophia’s is too full. I just about managed to get a hat on Joy and it stayed-put for the photo, but it sprang off after a while. They all became very excited with the prospect of more friends joining them!

None of the main toy shops physically near me stock Kruselings, so once again I searched online and I found the best price to be on Amazon. Although at the time of writing this post most of their Kruseling dolls were out of stock. However, if you don’t mind paying a little more, they are currently in stock from the My Doll Best Friend website.

So my fourth Kruseling doll arrived today. Here’s Chloe with her auburn hair and fringe (bangs).

Chloe is soon to be followed by black-haired Luna, who also has a fringe. I’m holding off on buying Michael as (apart from the hair length) I don’t think he looks much different from Vera. Plus I read a review whereby the person didn’t rate Michael’s hair well at all and found it to be a big disappointment.

By the end of January I’ll have a full house with the Kruseling girls and speaking of houses, my husband bought me a second-hand one last summer. It’s a Barbie doll’s house and being 1/6th scale, it works perfectly for my Kruselings. I’m slowly decorating it and making accessories but so far, my bean bags and doll’s bed are perfect for it.

When buying a doll, it’s difficult to not get side-tracked by the sheer amount of choice there is within the doll market. The main factors I look for when buying are pose-ability and ease for little fingers to manage by themselves (as well as with supervision), but I don’t buy to collect for myself, I buy for role-play with my grand children. As they grow older the role-play is moving more towards designing and making dolls clothes, with them bringing forward their ideas and me having the challenge of making them!

The reason why I decided to make clothes for Kruselings dolls is detailed in a previous post. In that post I also tell/show the difference between 9” Kruselings and 8” Paola Reina Mini Amigas. It was a happy accident when I discovered that most of the outfits I make to sell on the website also fit the 8” Mini Amigas.

Here’s a Mini Amiga and Kruseling side-by-side.

Barbie has also joined in the fun with our Kruselings dolls. I’m not a big fan of Barbie but when I made the Little Miss Dressy knitwear range I realised that it also fits the 11½” Barbie. So perhaps my future Little Miss Dressy creations will be tailored to fit all three doll-brands. I recently discovered the Made-to-Move Barbie doll, which has 22 joints with a big range of motion and I’d love to see one in-the-flesh, but it’s best I hold that thought for another day!

Kruseling dolls bed
Making a Bed for a Small Doll (Kruselings)

Here’s how I went about making a bed for our Kruseling dolls, using lollipop sticks and a glue gun. Once I had worked out how to make it, it took me about an hour to cut and glue the pieces together. Initially there was more thinking than doing but after I had drawn the template the assembly was quite straightforward.

It’s not true 1/6th scale but it’s size was dependent on these 3 factors;

  • Long enough for a 9 inch Kruseling doll
  • Fit within the doll’s house room and still look realistic
  • Shallow enough to fit inside a 12 inch carry case.

Once I had decided on the size of bed I started the preparation;

  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Measuring tools
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Clippers
  • Weights
  • 11.5 cm long lollipop sticks (I used 41 sticks but allowed more for error)

Mark out the paper template

This is a rectangle measuring 11½ cm by 24½ cm (I used my quilter’s ruler to get the angles correct and I drew the rectangle).

Using a lollipop stick, draw around them to mark out their placements within the rectangle.

Cutting the lollipop sticks

There are 6 cuts in total using 4 lollipop sticks. Measure at the 8cm mark and cut 4 sticks to the 8cm length. Using 2 of the remaining 3.5cm pieces, measure 1cm from the cut end and cut to shorten the stick to 2.5cm. You will have 4 bed corner posts and 2 centre-bracing bed frame posts.

Assemble the Bed Frame

The template was used to line up the lollipop sticks and I used my sewing weights to stop the sticks from moving while I glued them together.

Start with the long sides and place a lollipop stick at each corner. Use another stick to overlap at the centre.

Using the weights to keep in place on the template, add the 2 ends to form a rectangle. Turn over and add 3 more vertical sticks (left, centre and right) for rigidity.

Using the paper template a a guide, continue adding vertical lollipop sticks to form the slats along the base. Also add 4 sticks horizontally at the sides.

Assemble the Bed Posts

Using the template, set the 8 cm long sticks at the correct distance apart and with weights in place, glue the horizontal sticks across.

The spacing is up to you, but the lowest stick needs to be situated so that the base is set at the correct height. Draw a line at 2.5 cm from the floor-edge.

Attach the Bed Frame to the Bed Posts

Place the bed post flat on the table and glue the bed frame to it above the 2½ cm line, ensuring it sits at right angles. Add more glue to the underside edge of the bed so that it’s not seen. Do the same for the 2nd bed post. Check that it all sits level.

Attach the Bracing Bar

With the bed turned upside down, glue one 2½ cm stick vertically to both sides at the midway point. Use a 3rd stick to form a bracing bar to help hold them in place.

At this stage I could see the bed was in its final stages and Sophia #Kruseling got to try it out.

Finish

There were glue strands that needed picking off and I tried as best I could to lightly sand any parts that required smoothing down. Then it was ready for painting! It got two coats of Liquitex Gesso and I left it with the matt finish.

After I had made the mattress, pillow and duvet I secretly wished I were that size, small enough to snuggle down in the bed next to Sophia.

With the prices of 1/6th scale beds these days, I was absolutely delighted to have been able to make my own. My 11½ cm lollipop sticks cost £1 for 100 and I used 3 or 4 glue sticks.

Three beds have been made so far, two are for Xmas presents (that fit in a little carry case with a Kruseling doll) and I get to keep one. I hope you feel inspired to have a go!

Party outfit by Little Miss Dressy
Kruselings miniature plate of food
Making a Miniature Plate of Food for Kruselings 1:6 scale

If you want to know about making a miniature plate of food for your Kruseling doll then this post may interest you. I’m always looking at ways for making miniature accessories for my dolls. There are lots available on the internet but it can work out expensive if, like me, you’re looking to build up a good and varied collection.

I was on the hunt for some plates of food and after not being able to find what I wanted, I set about making them myself. I found plenty of 1/12th scale, but not 1/6th which is the size needed for Kruselings (or Mini Amigas, or Barbies).

To make the miniature plates of food I figured that I would need 4 plates, food, glue, tweezers and varnish. I already had the glue, tweezers and varnish, so I scoured online (including eBay and Amazon) for the right size plates and food but again, search results were not quite what I wanted.

Quite by chance I came across nail art accessories that resembled fruit slices and they looked the right size so I took a chance and ordered them. I intended using milk carton tops for plates but they were a bit too deep for displaying the food.

I’m lucky to have a handy husband who made me some aluminium plates to the exact diameter I wanted, otherwise I’d have probably gone with buying 1/12th scale from eBay, which would have been fine for a tea plate but I wanted a dinner size plate.

Materials & Tools Used to Make a Miniature Plate of Food

  • 32mm diameter plates
  • Nail Art Decoration Fimo slices (£2.99 incl postage from uk_beauty_supplies on eBay)
  • PVA glue
  • Small paint brush
  • Reverse action tweezers.

Method:

1) Prepare the fimo fruit slices according to how you want them laid out to get an idea of how many will fit the plate. I chose lines of overlapping slices. (My pack contained 12 compartments of at about 10 slices in each and my plates have 21,29, 31, 33 slices on them).

2) Work on 1 plate at a time and place a thin layer of glue on it using a small paint brush. (I think my slices are 1mm thick and I made the glue layer the same thickness.)

3) Use the reverse action tweezers to pick up the fimo slice and place it on the plate. (A second pair of ordinary tweezers also helps to steady the plate when doing this.)

4) Leave to dry completely. A coat of clear nail varnish on top will give a shiny glaze and finish it off nicely.

If you have the patience to make your own plates, I found some great YouTube videos for making them;

  1. This one uses plain 300gsm card and nail varnish.
  2. This one uses plain card.
  3. This one makes fancy plates using a computer print out.

Here’s Vera #Kruseling preparing lunch for her friends!

Sofia Kruseling sat on her bean bag chair
Making a Bean Bag Chair for a Kruseling Doll 1:6 Scale

Making a bean bag chair for your Kruseling doll is quite straightforward and uses two pieces of fabric of exactly the same size. It can be made in under an hour and the trickiest part is filling the bag without spilling anything.

My inspiration sometimes comes out of nowhere; I recently had a clear out of old gift boxes and discovered some bags of tiny polystyrene beads that had been used as padding. It was these that gave me the idea to make my Kruselings their bean bags. I had no idea if there was enough but I thought I’d start with making one and see how much filling was left. It was mostly guess work by eye.

I started looking for a picture of a child-sized bean bag and came across a great blog post by Project Nursery that details how to sew one up. The child in the post’s photo looked about the same age as a Kruseling doll and so I used those measurements detailed in the blog post and divided by six to scale it down.

I drew out the pattern for a Kruseling doll bean bag as shown below. It’s a rectangle 7.5 inches by 5.5 inches, with one end curved.

To test if the size was correct, I first cut out the pattern using some plain cotton and sewed around three sides with a 1cm seam, leaving the shortest straight edge open. (Folding in the seam allowance and ironing the open edge at this stage helps for when sewing it up later.)

I filled up the bag to about one inch from the open edge. This left enough fabric to sew closed the seam and gave the right amount of bagginess to the bag. I machine sewed the seam closed, as near the edge as possible.

Happy with the size, after testing it out on Joy Kruseling, I made a cover for it in exactly the same way but hand-sewed the opening closed.

The key thing to remember is that the opening seam has to be twisted or off-set, like shown in the photo below; the side seams get brought to the centre.

I had enough filling to make three bean bags, so one for each of my Kruselings. If I were to make any more I think I’d try dried rice as the filling in place of polystyrene balls because no matter how careful I was, static made them dart everywhere.

One bean bag cover requires half a fat quarter but of course it’s not entirely necessary to make a separate cover for the bag because it’s twice the work, but it does give some flexibility for changing colour scheme whenever you like.

The bags were finished just in time to get a shot of the girls relaxing in the garden before the sun went down.

Joy, Sofia & Vera Kruseling