Doll Sewing and Maplelea

Admittedly I am pretty slow with these things, but I get to a point where the fiddling overwhelms me. This particular dress is the Holiday Flair sleeveless dress from the book Sew Trendy Fashions.

My first effort was done in good fabric with a lining, and did not fit in the bodice and I didn’t like the low neckline. I took half an inch off the centre of the bodice pattern and redrew the neckline. The second effort was pretty good but the “wings” by the armholes bugged me so I drew right on the fabric and transferred a modified armhole to the pattern. This time I just did a paper towel test, and it looks fine but I felt so defeated by this rigmarole to sew a small dress that I have left it for a few days. At least it can be sewn now.

I’m sure this might be improved further but I know little about pattern drafting and keep telling myself “It’s a doll for God’s sake, get a grip!” We perfectionists do tend to overthink things. Nothing kills impetus like not having something fit.


Then I got the bright idea to write to Maplelea and suggest they could develop and sell patterns that fit their specific dolls, so people could confidently sew clothes for the dolls, and that they could sell them in PDF format for instant download and no printing and mailing costs for them. I also suggested that it would make an interesting idea for one of their photo contests to show pictures of items people made from patterns they sell for Maplelea dolls.

After having my e-mail shuffled off to someone because the male manager didn’t want these “cold call e-mails” the woman who replied said they had many new products they were developing and did not expect they would be interested in ever offering patterns, but thanks for your letter blah, blah, blah.

Sure Maplelea, first insult your annoying customers for their letters, and then stick to the marketing and development plan laid out by the American Girl model thirty years ago. What innovation. It’s hard to keep a business running in Canada and they’ve been quite successful for ten years. Who am I to question their product development? And yet, I do feel they dismissed an idea that could spin off into bigger things.

Once I get some fitting issues rectified and master patterns developed myself, I won’t have to bother with Maplelea thankfully. No writing to them or buying from them and I stopped their newsletters and catalogues. Go away backward-thinking management finks.

UPDATE: In August 2016 they started sending me catalogues again three years after I wrote to be removed from their mailing list. All of a sudden. You are still batting a thousand for disrespect to customers Maplelea.


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4 Comments on “Doll Sewing and Maplelea”

  1. murielmakes Says:

    Oh I can sense your frustration and I would be immensely dissatisfied with the fit of that pattern – how different are these dolls in size to American Girls any way I wonder? Surely not that much – that pattern doesn’t look like a good fit at all. To my way of thinking you shouldn’t have to fiddle around so much with a pattern designed specifically for an 18 inch soft bodied doll such as these.

    Sounds typical of a company – not willing to think outside of the box and address any needs of the customer. What a shame they’ve missed the boat I would say like many others.

    I do like that little crop top you have knitted. It is a nice fit.

    Sympathising with the nerve pain, I have had a couple of bad flare ups the last week or so – even had to come home from choir early…so much for those feel good endorphins that music are supposed to produce!

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      I couldn’t believe the fit of the pattern either. On the photos and cover of the book they used Springfield dolls, so I don’t know if they are very different from AG or Maplelea or not.

      I couldn’t let it defeat me!

      Yes, I agree, these companies have all missed the boat with regard to offering patterns for their dolls. Not everybody buys all the dolls and clothes, they are missing an opportunity for sales and a secondary market.

      I just sewed the snaps on the crop top, it is fabulous, one of the nicest patterns I have ever worked up for fit and finishing.

  2. ironwing Says:

    I know what you mean about not having a pattern fit properly. Inspiration bogs down in frustration and all the energy goes out the window!
    I have a book called “Make Your Own Patterns” by Rene Bergh. It has been a great help to me in designing and modifying my own patterns. I’ll send it to you if you like.
    The little knit top is very cute and is obviously a perfect fit for the doll!

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      That’s exactly it–all the energy disappears (often for days) until you can face it again!

      I was so pleased with that knit top!

      That book looks pretty good, I’ll send you an e-mail about it and we can discuss.

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