Sunday, June 5, 2016

How to Sew Doll Clothes: Sewing Small Buttons on Doll Clothes

When you sew lots of buttons on doll clothes you want an easy and fast way to do it. If you don't like hand sewing you want a way to use your machine for those tiny buttons.

I sew doll clothes for 18" dolls and 20" dolls.

Selecting Your Buttons


  • Choose small buttons to suit the scale of your garment
  • I use 6mm (1/4") buttons most often
  • I have also used 10mm (3/8") buttons on garments for the Australian Girl Doll (20")
  • 12mm (1/2") buttons are just a bit too big but you could easily use them on the back of a dress.
6mm (1/4") buttons on the shirts for the 18" doll

10mm (3/8") buttons on the shirt for the 20" doll

12mm (1/2") buttons on the 20" and 18" shirt.

Comparing the size.


  • The choice of colour determines if your buttons show up or not
  • Generally if you are going to the trouble of putting on tiny buttons you want them to feature
  • On the plaid shirts above the red buttons stand out much better than the black buttons
  • You could use white buttons on the pink check shirt to make them show up more
  • Sometimes you just have to use what you have


  • The smaller the button the more you can fit on obviously
  • How far down the opening you go can affect the look. You might also want to leave the waist button free for skirts to fit around the waist better.


  • I like the look of lots of buttons closely spaced as on the pink check shirt
  • These ones are spaced 2cm (3/4") apart
  • On the floral shirt I made button holes and didn't want them to be too crowded but I probably could have spaced them for 5 buttons rather than 4
  • The spacing for the floral shirt is 3.2cm (1/14")

On this shirt for the Australian Girl Doll (20") the 10mm (3/8")  buttons
look good with the 3.2cm (1 1/4") spacing


  • Use small strips of sticky tape to secure each button
  • Try to keep it away from the holes
  • To attach the tape lay the button on the table then stick on the tape. List the button and put it in place on the garment.


  • Attach your button foot
  • Set the stitch width to zero
  • Select straight stitch to start
  • Adjust the width so the needle goes down into the left hand hole.
  • Make several stitches to tie off. Lift the needle.
  • Switch to zig zag stitch and crank by hand until the needle goes into the right hand hole. You may need to adjust the width a fraction.
  • Stitch side to side 3 or 4 times. Lift the needle.
  • Switch back to straight stitch and make 2 or 3 stitches to tie off.
If you have several buttons just move to the next one and do it again.

Buying Buttons

I have bought buttons from my quilt shop and from Etsy shops.
My quilt shops don't always have what I want so I shop on Etsy more often.

The shop I bought these buttons from doesn't sell much any more (April 2018)

These 6.5cm buttons look great. They are not exactly cheap but then again they don't look cheap. They are thick and sturdy and easy to handle.

These 6mm buttons are very thin but also very cheap. They are great for using lots of on my sample items.
They are still quite sturdy and easy to sew.

I would love to hear from other doll clothes makers who have any good ideas for sewing buttons or maybe a good button supplier to share. Also feel free to ask questions.

Finally, I had a go at making a video of sewing on my buttons. It is not perfect but I guess that just makes improvement easier :)

Happy Sewing