Doll Hat Boxes

I threatened you with a tutorial on how to make these cute $2 craft boxes into hat boxes for your dolls, and here it is!

Naked boxes

To make these specific hat boxes (also called band boxes) you will need 1 larger sized piece of fancy wrapping paper – 18×24 is plenty. The reason for this is the outside measurement is greater than 12” which is the standard large size you will find at your local big box store. Original Victorian hat boxes came in many different shapes and sizes, but the ones we are most familiar with today are the round variety. I found reference to an enterprising young woman who created beautiful boxes covered with wallpaper so I tried to find papers that looked a bit like doll-sized wallpaper. Unfortunately I lost track of the website where I read this and can’t give you more detail.

If you are looking for a source of large format paper, you might be interested in the site Mulberry Paper and More. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but they have an amazing selection of papers that would be perfect for this use case. This tutorial is being shown with Japanese Chiyogami Yuzen paper. I’m visual so there will be a lot of pictures to illustrate this project.


You will need:

Tape measure


Scissors or exacto knife

15” ruler

Sewing ruler for small, precision measurements

Craft glue

Paper towels

Craft paper

Measure your box carefully. Allow for overlaps and edges! These boxes from Dollar Tree are 3 5/8” diameter on the lower box portion and 3 7/8” diameter on the lid. The circumference is equally important. Use your tape measure to find the circumference (outside and inside) plus a 1/2” overlap. I wound up cutting the following pieces:

(1) 12 1/2” X 3 5/8” rectangle (box outside sidewall)

(1) 11 3/4” X 2 1/2” rectangle (box inside sidewall)

(1) 13” X 1 1/4” rectangle (lid outside sidewall)

(1) 12 1/2” X 5/8” rectangle (lid inside sidewall)

(2) 3 5/8” diameter circles (box inside bottom and underside)

(1) 4 1/2” diameter circle (lid outside)

(1) 3 3/4” diameter circle (lid inside)

Each piece was labeled so I would know where they went.

Once you have everything cut the assembly goes quite quickly.

1. Glue in the box inside bottom circle (for fun you could make this piece from a newspaper print which was done in the past)

Inside bottom

2. Glue in the box inside sidewall. Be careful to overlap and press out any excess glue. I forgot to take a picture of this step, sorry!

3. Glue the outside box sidewall. This piece should extend past the box edges on both top and bottom. These extended sections will be folded down.

Lower edge extension

4. Run a bead of glue where you will fold down the extended section on the bottom of the box. Then press down the paper into the glue, making overlapping wedges so the paper confirms neatly to the round shape of the box.

When it is folded down, press the paper flat firmly so the glue squishes into all the places it needs to be, and then use a paper towel to wipe off any that oozes out from under the paper.

Upper edge extension

On the upper edge, run your glue onto the paper extension. This piece is going to be folded to the inside of the box. You may want to prefold it before putting the glue. Once you have run the glue, fold the paper inside the box and press, making sure it conforms to the shape and working the glue into place with your fingers. Wipe away any that oozes out.

5. Turn the box upside down and glue on the circle to the underside. All the folded edges should be covered by this circle. Set the box piece aside to dry.

Bottom of the box

The lid will follow a similar method, except in a slightly different order.

6. Glue in the inner circle to the lid.

7. Glue in the inner lid sidewall.

Lid inside

8. Glue the outside lid circle. It may be helpful to trace the lid onto the plain side of this circle so you place the lid right in the center.

Lid centered in the circle

Next, place the glue onto the box side and fold down the paper around the circle of the lid, again working the glue evenly and wiping off any excess.

9. Glue the outside lid sidewall. To do this, put glue on only half of the paper – the other half will be folded inside the lid.

Lid sidewall

Place the paper edge just a smidge under the top edge of the lid.

Lid side placement

As you did with the box sidewall, carefully fold the paper edge to the inside. Press firmly and wipe away any glue that oozes out.

Set the pieces aside to dry thoroughly. The lid will be tight at first but as you use the box it will ease. Use the box for hats or any other storage.

Your finished fancy box!
Filled with doll treasures


Follow Along: petticoat

The third installment of Caroline’s undergarments is this ruffled petticoat.

You will see it mirrors the three tucks seen on the drawers and also the insertion lace. The lower edge of the petticoat is made of a doubled piece that sandwiches the lower edge of the insertion, making everything nice and clean on the inside.

The ruffle is made by gathering on a narrow cord. Depending on the size of your doll, you could use pearle cotton or even some embroidery floss if you don’t have a narrow enough cord. The gathered ruffle is then stitched onto the lower edge.

The waist is gathered with 1/8” twill tape inside a casing. It calls for worked buttonholes but for some reason I am better at eyelets so that’s what I did. The benefit of a gathered waist here is that the petticoat can change shape for different eras. Right now I have much of the petticoat to Caroline’s back since I’m making her a bustle dress, but I could easily reshape this to the nice round shape of the 1860s.

Up next will be a fun one – a boned hoop skirt and then her corset. See you again soon!

What do you see here?

I was at Dollar Tree the other day. I always browse the craft section because sometimes they have fun stuff.

Little round boxes

They had these 3.5” diameter round paper boxes. I don’t know what you see, but I see doll sized hat boxes! Stay tuned for a paper crafting project. And then stay tuned for a doll hat project haha.

Follow Along: Loverly loverly

My Gram used to say “ah loverly loverly” sometimes when she saw something pretty or made her happy. Today I am saying loverly loverly about the latest finished item for Caroline.

A full set of drawers!

What with various demands on my weekends I finally got some “me” time Saturday and finished these drawers. I just love how they turned out! the front is pleated to the waistband for a tidy appearance.

Lots of tiny tucks

As you can see here, I used Swiss cotton insertion and edging. I felt like they would give me a better result and I’m very pleased with how they look.

And here is the back where the fabric is gathered to the waistband. Also a worked buttonhole and antique mother of pearl button.

The next piece of the project will be the petticoat. See you again soon!

An Accidental Treasure

I was watching an eBay auction recently of a doll listed as a 19th century antique. I screenshotted all the posted images because she was lovely and I found inspiration in the clothes perhaps for Ruby.

The doll was only $9. How is that even possible? Poorly listed? Not photographed or described well?

I threw a bid in there and promptly forgot about it. Until I won it. Whoops! At least she wasn’t hundreds of dollars.

As yet unnamed

When she arrived I discovered she is the largest doll in my collection at 25”. She is lovely and I’ll have the ability to study her clothing at my leisure and close up. It looks to be silk and machine sewn. There’s a bustle and drape, putting it into the 1880s fashion wise. Her foot is broken but I really don’t care.

My accidental $9.00 treasure could use a name. Have a suggestion?

Sewing Goals

Do you make goals for your sewing projects? I shared at one point that I have been using a project book to keep track of the different dolls I have and what needs to be done for them. The current book is a 8.5×5.5 inch Moleskin type book and it’s getting filled with notes!

Some pages have pictures glued in, while others have my janky sketches of ideas. I say janky because I am NOT an artist but I took one life drawing class so I can at least draw a body or dress – don’t ask for realism or details, and definitely no hands haha.

My idea of drawing

On the front page of the project book I have jotted down some ideas for 2023 sewing projects.

Caroline: drawers, petti, hoop, corset

Dora: practice making new body, make corset as part of torso

Screen shot of a doll on eBay with a corset body

Ruby: make new body, repair what I can, full wardrobe, research Harpers Bazar images 1888

Doll Quilt

Hummingbirds – Mom and A Ruth

We shall see if I stay on task this year. This is a very ambitious project list! Rest assured, I will share my progress with you here and on Instagram. Stay tuned!

Follow Along: Pretty, pretty

A teaser

Sometimes, mistakes are needed to make you slow down, pay closer attention and really focus on details. When I made the lovely but too-small drawers recently I spent a lot of time thinking about how I’d do them differently. I realized I’d made some errors on the tucks. I didn’t like the way the insertion turned out. (My doll Mernie however, loves her new drawers lol.)

So after many side projects and time to consider things, I’ve started a second pair of drawers for Caroline. I tried on her the 1875 drawers I made for Emma a couple years ago and then adjusted the waistline per that pattern. No, the drawers aren’t exact to the book I’m working out of, but it’s not like there are Doll Drawers Police ™️ who will be checking them haha.

I decided to go with Swiss cotton insertion and edging. It’s more sturdy for this tiny project and I think it still gives a lovely result. Sadly this is only one half of the drawers and I’ve been terribly busy so not gotten a chance to make the other half. Soon, I promise! Check out Farmhouse Fabrics, the source of this lace, fabric and much more that I use for doll clothing.

A quick corded petticoat

My girl Emalie has been a bit envious of her cousin Dottie and all of Dottie’s new clothes. So I made her a new dress, and decided to make her a corded petticoat based on an actual child’s corded petticoat my daughter wore when very young. Corded petticoats were handy and didn’t take the place of a cage crinoline. Children could wear them because there were more forgiving, withstood wear and tear, and they could be laundered more easily.

A new dress

Anyway, if you would like your dolly to have a corded petticoat, here are some simple instructions. Keep in mind that Emalie is about 10” tall and her waist is 6” around. You may need to customize measurements for your doll.


Medium weight white cotton fabric – 22” x 10.5”

Waistband – 1” x 6.5”

White crochet cotton (I think it’s called Sugar & Cream, I’ve lost the wrapper)

Needle & thread

Start by cutting your skirt and waistband. Set the waistband aside. Next cut 5 22” lengths of crochet cotton.

Lay the skirt fabric flat and measure 2” in from one long edge. Fold the fabric so the other long edge stops at that point. The doubled portion is where the cording will be placed and the single layer will be gathered to the waistband. The longer side of the fold is the outside, the shorter side will be on the inside of the petticoat.

Beginning in the fold, place one of the lengths of crochet cotton all the way into the fold. Stitch through both fabric layers very close to the cord.

Create your next channel by stitching 1/2” from the first stitch line. Then place your cord, and stitch again through both layers, encasing the cord. Repeat this process with the next three cords until you have 5 cords.

Fold under the raw edge of the shorter side of the skirt fabric – the inside piece. You will fold this edge so that the raw edge is enclosed. Stitch with a small running stitch.

I chose to make the back seam a French seam so the edges would be clean. To do this, trim all ends off the cords and tidy up the edges. Match the edges wrong sides together, making sure the cords line up. Stitch, leaving about 2” for the opening.

Turn the fabric right sides together and stitch close to the raw edges inside of the seam. Once completed all the raw edges will be encased in the seam. Finish the back opening in the way you prefer. In this case I whipped it.

Run a gathering stitch along the top edge, then place the waistband. Close with hook & thread bar.

I forgot to take pictures of some of the steps so I hope this is clear enough to proceed! If you have a better way to do one of the steps, please do what makes sense to you. ❤️

A Utility Satchel

Here’s another gift I made this year for Dottie – and she is an adventurer. She has visited many place and enjoys her travels. And every adventurer needs a good utility satchel.

Lots of goodies in her bag

The satchel was inspired by the contents. I found these a while ago and they are just so cute. There is a compass, a map, a passport and binoculars.

The satchel is lined and also has a functional button. Victorian doll accessories often were true miniatures of full sized items. A satchel is a very handy item for ladies who travel & adventure, read and sew, or like to shop and collect interesting objects during their day.

Ready for adventure!

It is lined with a pretty cotton and has a grosgrain ribbon strap. I’m sure Dottie and her person will have a lot of fun exploring the world with these new useful tools.

To make your own handy satchel, you will need:

Exterior fabric – firm twill up to light upholstery in weight

Lining fabric – a pretty cotton

Grosgrain ribbon – 4-6” of 5/8” wide

A shanked button – 1/4”

Needle & matching thread

Cut both fabrics in a rectangle 3” wide and 6 1/2” long. Fold each piece right sides together to form a square 2 1/2” by 2 1/2”. There should be a 1 1/4” flap. Edit: I wrote this rather quickly, so I apologize it is confusing. Starting with the outer fabric, fold one end right sides together, leaving a 1 1/4” flap. Stitch 1/4” side seams. This should leave you with a 2 1/2” by 2 1/2” square pouch. Repeat with the lining fabric.

Stitch the side seams on both pieces. Turn the exterior piece right side out.

Arrange the lining and exterior right sides together, aligning the open edges of the bag. Beginning at the edge of the flap, stitch down the flap side, across the bag, then back up the other side. Leave the end open for turning.

Turn the lining and then tuck it into the bag. Tuck in the raw edges at the open end of the flap and slip stitch it closed.

Add a buttonhole and button. Stitch the ribbon strap onto the back of the bag. Fill with whatever your dolly needs for her adventures or collects along her way!

Dottie’s Dress

Civil War costumers across America are likely familiar with this pattern from Simplicity dating to the early 00s. The pink and white plaid with black trim is strikingly lovely. It’s out of print now but copies can be found on eBay.

An iconic pattern

I always loved the color scheme of the pink and black, so for this year’s Christmas gift for my sister’s doll, Dottie, I decided to recreate it. It all started while browsing fabric and I came across a pretty pink gingham. Pink is my sister’s favorite color and while this isn’t the exact pink plaid of the inspiration, I think Dottie won’t mind.

Following the Elizabeth Stewart Clark pattern for Dottie & her clothes I put together the bodice fairly quickly, making sure to match the gingham design direction as best I could. When it came to the applied decoration I originally wanted to do some kind of laid work as the inspiration garment would have featured applied ribbon or gimp. But as I looked into it further, I decided instead to embroider the trim. I’m fairly good at a split stitch, so that’s what I used.

Starting the pattern

I did the sleeve stitching before closing the inner seam to facilitate the stitching. While the pattern shows a lot more elaborate trim, this is a doll dress afterall so it’s less embellished for Dottie. Sorry, Dottie. I hope the faux undersleeves I added will make up for it.

Finished sleeve

You will see here on the bodice I have simplified the trims because it’s just not big enough for the second section of trim. I did my best to make this as fitted as is practical to mimic the look.

Simplified bodice trimming

I also took some liberty with the skirt trim by not creating the secondary “box” within each of the square forms. It’s a lot of embroidery haha, I started on the project in October for just that reason. My fingers are tired. But, I think the buttons look pretty and they have a little floral design etched into them.

Pretty buttons

I also had to make the skirt from two 12” sections of fabric instead on one continuous piece due to the direction of the gingham. So there are side seams and I made a finished slash opening at the back.

Finished slash opening

Final finishing was, as always, a dream – these pieces are virtually flawless due to the excellent pattern instructions. Emalie modeled the dress for photos and I suspect she is a little jealous. She hasn’t had a new dress in a few years.

When do I get a new dress??