33 comments on “Is there Money in Making Doll Clothes To Sell?

  1. Kate Clemens on Sep 27, 2015 1:55 am | Reply

    Hi Rosie, thankyou for this inspirational piece. As you know I have been toying with the idea of perhaps purchasing/creating a dolls clothes online store in the future and it is really good to know there are several avenues open to potential clients. Thanks again for a great store. Katie x

  2. Debbie Lake on Sep 27, 2015 11:30 am | Reply

    I kn ow that this is true. I started selling at craft shows then was asked to be a consignor in a small boutique. I then started holding a themed party monthly for girls and their dolls. I now have anywhere from 20 – 30 girls attending my parties monthly. Most Moms do not leave without making additional purchases.

    • Oh Debbie, this sounds like so much fun. What an awesome and very personal way to sell your doll clothes. How do you advertise the parties and is it by invitation only?

      • Debbie Lake on Sep 28, 2015 1:09 am | Reply

        They are so much fun. The boutique where i have my doll clothes has a Facebook page for her business. At the first of the month, picture is posted of the outfit for the month. Moms sign up their daughter on that site. I also provide and snack and drink for them. We will also do an activity or craft elated to the theme.

    • Hello
      Can you please give more details of how the theme parties work? I would like to try to do something like that.
      Thank you

      • Hi Dora, I have sent Debbie an email asking if she could provide more information. Her comment is from 2015 so I am hoping that she still has the same email address as I’m sure she will be happy to explain further. Happy sewing, Rosie 🙂

  3. Anne Trott on Sep 27, 2015 5:15 pm | Reply

    Thankyou for that blog, and so good of you to share your knowledge and information on how to go about it. Makes me want to have another go at selling at markets. I wasn’t very successful the first time I tried. Thanks Rosie.

    • Hi Anne, well now is the best time to give it another try. Use some Halloween fabric in some of your outfits or make a couple of Halloween costumes if you are are looking to sell before Halloween, otherwise make some outfits in Christmas fabric or use Christmas colors like red in some outfits as they usually go quickly in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Don’t make too many in the Christmas or Halloween fabric though as it is always better to sell out and have your customers requesting more by special order, than to have them left over and in storage for 12 months. Taking contact details and a deposit for special orders at markets is always recommended though, to ensure that they come back for the items they have ordered.

      Ann, you might also like to share a stall with a friend who makes other things and that way you share the cost of the stall and you have company during the day. Happy sewing 🙂

  4. Thanks so much for the insights on selling doll clothes. Friends have been urging me to do the same and I am beginning to get quite a stock pile of outfits. I was wondering what you would consider an adequate number of items to open an etsy shop with?

    • Hi Laura, I can’t answer this one from experience but I know I started on Ebay with only about 4 or 5 outfits and I’m sure you could start with a few of your best to see how they go, then just keep adding them as you get them made and the photos taken. I guess the more they have to choose from, the more chance that they will purchase more than one item at the same time to save on shipping and the more chance you will have of getting a return customer. One tip that I forgot to mention when selling online is, the more outfits you have that are the same, the less photos you have to take and the less loading onto the website you have to do so if something is selling well, make more of the same and you just have to change the quantity that is available. Good luck 🙂

  5. Debbi Rummery on Sep 27, 2015 10:54 pm | Reply

    Hi Rosie,
    As you know I am a big fan of yours. I love your patterns and make heaps of outfits each week as I am a market seller and I have an Etsy shop. You can start your Etsy shop with just one item and list more as you make them. I find it affordable and very easy to use. I have customers from all over Australia and many of them return again and again to see what’s new. My daughter set up a Facebook page for me as well and while I don’t usually sell on Facebook I often sell items that people have seen there. All your Market tips were brilliant but one other thing to add is a Paypal facility as sometimes people come with limited funds or have just discovered you are there and want something now . Regarding the dolls quilts I have a few made and also some sheets and doona covers with pillows. Some markets I sell out and other times they are sitting there for months!! If you were making patchwork quilts I doubt you’d get your money back on them as far as your time goes but I make them to use up my scraps and they add interest to my stall. They also look great hanging from the frame of my tent. If you are a knitter then don’t forget some jumpers, cardigans and hats. Living in Cairns I don’t often have “seasonal” times like summer and winter but I still make them and display them at each market as we get a lot of tourists from the colder parts of Australia. I also do a “Dolly Dress-Up” at home where the girls can bring along their dolls to try on the outfits (with supervision) but more often than not it is the mums who bring the dolls when the kids are at school so they can shop for Birthdays or Christmas.
    One thing I do love about the markets is the many older ladies who just stop for a chat about the dolls they had as a child.
    Kind regards,
    Debbi x

    • Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions Debbi. Yes, having a Paypal facility is a wonderful idea especially now that you can just use your smart phone – that has come such a long way since I did the markets, people had to go and find an ATM in my day. I also love your tip on knitted items to compliment your sewing. Thanks again for your input and Happy sewing 🙂

  6. Cher Carter on Jan 11, 2016 4:37 pm | Reply

    Hi Rosie
    I have just found you and am sooooo delighted! After voraciously reading your website and blog and tips, I am rather inspired! I’m a retired teacher and live at the opposite end of our lovely state and just getting started!
    I recently came across a largish whole collection of vintage Cabbage Patch dolls for sale (at the right price and there’s over 100!) – a many of their original outfits after storage for many years are affected by mould – guess I’m nuts right?.
    I realised it may be a challenge to restore them and who doesn’t like a challenge? So I’m researching all about the collecting, value and more importantly the restoration of doll and clothing processes.

    I realised quickly, that socks, tights, shoe laces and undies + diapers didn’t stand the test of decades too well and I need to make myself – as many of the collectors and sellers do this.
    if I was to restore them back to as original as possible, I must purchase a sewing machine…
    I did read your conversations on choosing one, but for the items abovementioned and repair of the existing vintage CPK clothing, and of course a few modern – er – digital dooverlackeys as well as being quite robust, what do you recommend as a few top quality machine brands? My question is – are you able to mention 2 or 3 brands for me to begin looking, as I won’t be able to progress until I have this part of it all – ‘sewn up’ lol! I don’t have any friends or family who sew unfortunately, so I really need some recommendations to point me in the right direction.

    Price is not a factor at this point, and you are welcome to email me if you think it best. Oh and by the way, I will be definitely doing your video tutorial sewing course and becoming a member of your site as soon as I get set up for it… as your patterns, discussion tips and info sharing are fabulous – so informative!
    ….challenge did I say? the knees feel a bit weak now…..lol!
    The discussion about the markets (above) was really very interesting and informative too! I know that I will learn so much from you!

    kind regards
    Cher- the newbie
    Gold Coast

    • Hi Cher, great to hear from another Queenslander! I have used a Janome for years now and only replaced my last one because it looked rather daggy on my videos and I was a little embarrassed – silly I know 🙂 So I would definitely recommend a Janome sewing machine and I know my mother had a Husqvarna machine for years and when she changed brands, she was rather disappointed so I guess the Husqvarna is another good one. I guess the best thing to do is go into a couple of different shops that sell different models and try some of the machines out, this will certainly give you a good feel for them. When you have your list narrowed down to a couple of models, do a Google search on reviews for these machines – that is always helpful. Perhaps others reading this blog may also like to share their thoughts on the best sewing machine brands to look at.

      I’m actually in Brisbane so if you are ever in town, let me know and you are most welcome to drop in for a coffee, I’d love to hear what machine you settle on and how you go with restoring all these dolls. 🙂

      Good luck with your new challenge and happy sewing, Rosie 🙂

  7. sheila tomlinson on Oct 14, 2016 11:21 am | Reply

    Hi Rosie,
    I am emailing you from South Africa, and found your article very interesting. I am a pensioner looking to earn some extra money, to supplement my pension. I was thinking of hand knitting baby premature clothes, and then saw your article on making dolls clothes., now i am very confused to know what to do. Perhaps some people can help me?

    Kind Regards
    Sheila Tomlinson

    • Hi Sheila, If you enjoy hand knitting then why not give it a go and perhaps your baby premature clothes could also be sold as doll clothes which would increase your target market and mean you can potentially make more sales. If you enjoy sewing as well, you could perhaps do a mixture of sewing and knitting for both premature babies and dolls. Please do let us know what you decide and how you go. It would also be lovely to hear what other people think too 🙂

  8. sheila tomlinson on Oct 15, 2016 12:02 pm | Reply

    Hi Rosie,

    Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, you have given me some good ideas. Which is the best site to put something on. Living in South Africa is a bit difficult, with payment as well most people here do not deal a lot with Paypal. Have you any other suggestions payment wise?

    Kind Regards
    Sheila Tomlinson

    • My Pleasure Sheila. I’m thinking that perhaps Etsy would be the best site to list your items and also attend local markets, especially craft or child orientated markets. As far as suggestions for payments, local markets would obviously be cash but online, I’m not too sure as to accepts credit cards you need a merchant account or go through a Payment gateway such as PayPal. I’m not too sure how Etsy works as I’ve never used it (it came in after I developed my own website). Perhaps you can accept direct deposit into your bank account or ask around at the local markets if anyone else sells on Etsy and see what payment options they find work. I had a quick look at Etsy and I can see there is a community Forum where you can ask questions so why not ask your question on there.

      Wishing you all the very best success and I’d love to hear how you go so please keep in touch 🙂

      Happy sewing

  9. Michele B. on Jan 7, 2017 4:44 am | Reply

    Hi there! I was reading everyone’s post to you and realized there’s a lot of people out there with the same idea I have. I want to start my own doll clothing line as my 2nd career. I have some sewing experience but was looking to go back to a sewing school to get professional results when sewing for myself and for doll clothes. Is going to a school necessary or are there the same options online?
    Thanks, Michele

    • Hi Michele, It’s great to hear that you are looking to get into sewing doll clothes as a 2nd career. I’m not sure if you have looked at my ‘How to Make Doll Clothes’ video course but it may be just what you are looking for. It is available online or as a DVD set and comes with 8 bonus doll clothes patterns to get you started. You can find out more information here.
      I wish you lots of success and would love to hear how you go.
      Happy sewing
      Rosie 🙂

  10. Tina Jones on Jul 22, 2017 7:13 pm | Reply

    Hi Rosie, I am just getting started with the selling of my doll clothes, but what advice do you have to share with me, I am planning on selling on etsy?


    • Hi Tina, It’s great to hear that you are interested in selling your doll clothes on Etsy. As I mention in my blog above, I don’t have any experience of selling on Etsy so cannot give you first hand advice. If you read the comments from other readers above, you will find that some of them have shared their experiences and advice for selling on Etsy and this information may be helpful for you. Good luck and let us all know how you get on. Rosie.

  11. Tina Stock on Sep 29, 2017 10:22 pm | Reply

    Hi Rosie
    Enjoyed reading all your comments, I also make dolls clothes that I sell on Ebay but what a good idea to sell at markets thank you from England.

  12. HI Rosie! I am also thinking about making and selling doll clothes/accessories. Because these will be used by children, do you need any special insurance. Or do you need to put lables such as “not intended for children under 3”, or “small pieces could cause choking hazard”?

    Thank you

    • Hi Dianne, I don’t have to have these types of labels but it depends where you are and where you are selling them. You will need to check the regulations in your local area. Regarding insurance, again it depends where you are selling them as I know when I was selling at the markets some markets required me to have insurance and some didn’t. I’m sorry I can’t help you further and good luck with your venture. 🙂

  13. Hello Rosie, I am considering making and selling dolls clothes to supplement my social security income. I have a lot of fabric scraps and pieces large enough for dolls clothes. (and lots of them) I am a very creative designer and seamstress. What I want to know about is how and where to sell my dolls clothes ? I am disabled and unable to get out to any shop’s to show my clothes and perhaps get orders. What is a good way to advertise my dolls clothes for sale? I know absolutely nothing about having a website. So are their people who build and manage a website for someone like me? I’m wondering also, about hiring an agent on commission to go out and get orders for me? I also wonder about maybe hiring others on commission to host a dolls clothes party at their own homes and getting orders for me that way.

    • Hi Arneta, it’s great to hear that you are keen to try selling your doll clothes. As I mention in this blog, there is a lot of work and money required starting your own website and building up your online presence so that you can easily be found on the first page of Google, Bing, etc. I would suggest you try other platforms first e.g. Etsy and any other online craft website. In Australia we have madeit.com.au and after doing a quick Google I found mycraft.com but I can’t tell you much about them as I haven’t used them. There are also some Facebook groups where you can sell your doll clothes, perhaps that would be the best place to start. Using one or multiple of these platforms is a good way of testing the water before investing too much money. Good luck with your venture.

  14. I used to sell homemade Barbie doll clothes and accessories at craft fair booths and did pretty well. One suggestion for getting free material is to ask for scraps at bridal shops. They have lots of beautiful, very expensive materials like silk, satin, etc. they throw out from hems and tailoring of both bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses. Sometimes you get the matching slip underlayers and trim as well.

  15. Rebecca Bowman on Feb 14, 2019 4:37 am | Reply

    Hi Rosie;
    I really enjoyed reading your story!
    I love sewing and recently I got a request for some doll clothes. By the time I priced materials and added labor, it was much more than she was ready to spend. So I guess that’s my first inquiry; what’s a fair way to calculate my costs?
    The other question I have has to do with how to photograph my outfits so they are appealing when viewed on a site such as Ebay.

    I would appreciate any advice you are willing to share with me. I’m very excited to do this venture!

    • Hi Rebecca. It’s great to hear that you love sewing and are looking to sew and sell your doll clothes. Firstly, I’m so glad you sat and worked out the price based on the cost of materials PLUS your labor because that is a great start. Unfortunately, many people do not appreciate the time that goes into hand making items and they often compare your price to some cheap, poorly made item that has been manufactured in the 1000’s in another country. As well as your time and labor you also need to consider other overheads such as Ebay, Etsy or stall fees if doing a market and the time it takes for your to photograph your product and load it onto the website. Do some research on what others are charging for similar items and that may help you to determine which online platform will be best for you i.e. if everyone seems to be giving their items away, that is not the place you want to be selling your items. It may take some time to build up a following so be sure to set up a Facebook or Instagram page and post your items on there too. Ask your friends to share your posts and tell their friends.
      If you can find somewhere that is prepared to sell to you at a wholesale price, that makes things a little more cost effective too.
      Regarding your question on how to photograph your outfits so they are appealing, it is important that your outfit is the focal point and there is not a lot of clutter in the background. I like to remove the background from my photos but that takes some time so when first starting out, you could just have a plain white background and good lighting is essential. If you don’t have good lighting inside, you may be best to do outside photos with a nice wall or bush as the background or again a large plain white background, I have a large piece of white cardboard. You will just need to play with it to find out what works best for you. Crop the photos so that you can clearly see your outfit and have as many photos as you need to show any special details. I understand Etsy likes lots of photos. Because of all the time involved in taking photos and loading them onto a website, I always like to have multiples of the same item therefore reducing the cost per item. If you are just making ‘one off’ outfits you may be best selling those at markets because then you don’t have to worry about photos and loading to a website.
      Hope this helps and all the very best of luck with your venture. 🙂

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