How to Find Tiny Stretch Knit Prints for Making Doll Clothes

I love stetch knits in tiny prints. Love them. Dolls love them too :]. These are perfect for the smallest scales because they are resistent to fraying, fairly easy to work with and oh so soft. But they can be very hard to find. Here is my pound the pavement go-to guide for finding tiny print stretch knits. What to look for and where to find it!

 

For knit fabrics, Fabric.com is a great source and I often check there first when I am looking. (The above purple knit was purchased in the Liberty of London knits.)

You can order as small as a half yard and most of their yardage is $5-6. You can also Google to find 'fabric.com coupons' and enter the code into the site to get things like free shipping or 15% off your order. 
If you search 'stripe knit' in the box, quite a few fabrics come up. Every image has a ruler, so you can click the image to pull up the larger picture then scale the screen to the size of your ruler (hold one up to the screen) to see what the scale is like. (To scale your screen larger or smaller hold down "Ctrl" and then use the + and - buttons on your keyboard. To set the screen back to normal size, hit "ctrl" and "0."
If the scale is right and you like the pattern, make sure it is indeed a stretch fabric--usually fabric.com will tell you the percentage of stretch in the description--anything 20% or more is great. Also, the orientation of the fabric in the image is important--usually horizontal stripes stretch horizontally and vertical vertically--sometimes the fabric has a 4 or all-way stretch, so the orientation doesn't matter.
 
If price is not an issue, I highly recommend the knits in their Liberty of London collection--these are gorgeous--I have a half yard of every small scale style they have carried. :]
Two other online places you can look are ebay
Another place to try locally is discount stores, yardsales or thrift shops for knit clothing. I once found five extra, extra large micro stripe long sleeve shirts at a Ross Dress for Less for $5 each and they came in black/white stripe, pink/white stripe, blue/white stripe--you get the idea :]. I also bought a micro heart print stretch baby blanket brand new for 25 cents at a yard sale. Always be on the look out for tiny prints and they will find you!
Additional tips:
  • Search terms like stretch knit, striped knit, pin stripe knit, polka dot knit, jersey knit, printed knit, interlock knit, cotton stretch, lycra, print knit etc.
  • When shopping for fabrics in person, use your pinky finger to test the weight and drape of the print--wrap the fabric snuggly around your finger to view the print when it stretches--does the image distort too much? Does the pattern fade out when stretched? Does it have enough give for chubby doll legs? Does it stretch in the right direction? 
  • Lycra and spandex based fabrics are slippery and generally more difficult to work with--if you are a beginning sewer, or new to knits, look for cotton based fabrics. 
My tiny sock tutorial is a good mini intro for working with knits in doll scale. 
Best wishes in your search!!