Things used to be so easy. You’d see a pattern for “11.5 inch Fashion Doll” and you’d know that fit Barbie, and every other fashion doll that size, because there was only one size doll. Since the late 90s there has been a huge increase in dolly diversity, with dolls coming in more colors, sizes, and shapes than ever–but that makes sizing SO COMPLICATED! To figure out if a doll can wear another doll’s clothes without having to buy it or sew it, you have to go online and look at lots of comparison pictures and lists of compatible doll clothes, and then you’re really just making an educated guess. There has to be a better way!
Therefore, I started to measure and categorize dolls into basic sizes according to their sizes but more importantly, their proportions. As long as 2 dolls have the same proportions, you can scale up or down a pattern by a % and end up with patterns that fit both dolls perfectly, even if they can’t share clothes between them (like the 10″ Monster High dolls and the 17″ Monster High dolls). Here’s what I’ve developed so far!
Girl Fashion Doll Sizes:
‘Petites’ are for the shorter-than-standard-11.5″ fashion dolls, just like they are for shorter people. Most are around 10.5″ tall, but this can vary quite a bit in limb length. Still, most dolls will fit into one of the following 2 categories.
Petite Slimline are the smaller, skinny fashion dolls with oversized heads/hands. This is the fashion doll size/shape de rigeur at the moment: popularized by Monster High and Ever After High, you’ll find this shape on a lot of the smaller fashion dolls. There is a lot of variation in arm/leg length, but the torsos are generally the same, and they can all share clothes. In some cases the torsos are a little longer/shorter but have the same proportions as the other dolls. When this matters, you’ll find variations in my patterns for long and short torso dolls.
Petite Regular are the smaller but generally proportionate ‘kid sister’ size. Blythe, Licca, Skipper, Pure Neemo. This is the older style body type for shorter fashion dolls, usually the little sister size to a standard 11.5″ Barbie doll. They have thicker torsos and limbs and and usually not a lot of articulation.
The end result is that even though Petite Slimline dolls are a bit shorter overall, and have MUCH taller bodies, they have much smaller, curvier clothes than older dolls in that size class:
‘Medium’ Dolls are dolls that usually fall in the 1/6, 11.5″ height. There is not a lot of height variation in this size, but a good variety of body shapes.
Medium Standard dolls are modern Barbie sized, and all the various dolls designed specifically to be Barbie Sized, like Disney Princess dolls.
Medium Slimline fashion dolls are the dolls who are proportionally similar, but skinnier. Like size 00: Model Muse Barbie, Momoko, Pullip Type 4, some Fashion Royalty. The difference between these dolls and Medium dolls is not so great: it’s like two people who are the exact same height but one person is two sizes smaller than the other. Slimline Medium dolls can wear some Medium doll clothes, especially if you pin them at the back or overlap velcro closures. You can’t scale one size to fit the other because they’re already the same height, and have proportionally the same length torso and limbs, just different thicknesses of those body parts.
Medium Classic Fashion dolls are the hourglass wasp-waisted size that virtually all fashion dolls were prior to the 90s, being both larger in some areas and smaller in others. Again, these have the same general lengths of body parts as the other ‘Medium’ dolls, but different thicknesses and proportions and so can’t be scaled to fit other dolls in the same height but different size.
Boy Fashion Doll Sizes:
Slimline Male These boys are adolescent/androgynous proportioned. Here are the smaller sized Obitsu dolls that the only differences between them are the male/female chest plate, the original Bratz Boyz, Monster High Boys, Isul, and the skinny 27cm dolls like Obitsu. Like the Petite Slimlines, this shape has the most arm/leg length variations.
Medium Male: is moderately muscular, but has a tapered waist. This is the size of Ever After High and Taeyang/Namu dolls. Not a lot of dolls in this size.
Large: This is the traditional Ken size, which hasn’t changed much over the years. It is moderately muscular, but instead of a V shaped torso with a narrow waist, it has a longer, straight torso with very little waist-hip difference. This is the most common sized male fashion doll, and the (only?) one with readily available pre-made fashion packs.
XL: (not pictured) Action figures usually fall into this category. They’re usually slightly taller and much thicker in torso and limbs than a Large doll, and you won’t find them in any fashion doll line.
Kid sizes are the androgynous sizes with no differences between boys and girls, shape-wise.
Tiny BJD: I probably should have called this “Toddler Size” This size shows up a LOT, both in fashion doll lines and high end ball jointed resin doll lines. There is a pretty big variation in sizes, but the shape stays almost exactly proportionate with a couple of long-limbed variations. Kelly dolls are this size. So are 28cm Yo-SD sized dolls, 14cm tinies, and the super-teensy PukiPuki and Lati White dolls that are almost too small to sew for.
There are a lot of other sizes in this category (Disney Princess Toddlers, American Girl, Journey Girl, etc) but these are more baby doll type dolls than fashion dolls, so I don’t have much experience with them. Maybe at some point I’ll get involved and add more size classes in this category, but for now it is a mysterious world of which I have no ken.
A note about measurements in the size charts:
A seamstress’ measurements are 3-Dimensional. For well tailored clothing, a piece of flat fabric has to be made to go in and out and around and probably a few other things too. For example, the length of the torso is taken from collarbone to in between the legs along the curve of the torso. This is usually longer than if you put a doll next to a ruler and measured the same dimension but only looked at the height. Remember that when you look at comparison pictures, as it will save you headaches down the road 🙂