Polka Dot Circle Skirt

I have had fun styling Grace, the prettiest doll that American Girl has created so far. She is my third doll with freckles. She’s one of the few AG dolls with substantial lips. I wish I could say I’ve had as much fun sewing this skirt for Grace as I’ve had dressing her. Since I’m committed to including my sewing failures and challenges in each blog, hang onto your seats, my friendly sewists. This outfit that appears to be a success has been one long frustration.

Since saddle shoes don’t go with many outfits, I jump at this opportunity to use these navy and white ones. In addition, I’ve become a polka dot “freak,” and I can’t wait to use this fabric, dark/navy blue and a weird color of green that is almost turquoise. In spite of the goofs I end up making with this outfit, I pursue the finish line.

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This skirt is cute, but not as cute as the original pattern. (Usually, I like my version better when I use someone else’s pattern, but not in this case.) I’m going to post a version of this skirt pattern.

circle skirt polka dot

I had originally planned to make the version of this skirt with the tulle slip underneath. You can almost see this version in the little box on the lower section of the box, but here is a better photo. By the way, I recently found small rolls of tulle at Wal-Mart and Joann’s that are 6 inches wide by 40 yards or more. Tulle for dolls is much easier to handle this way on a small roll. The pattern for the slip that goes underneath is made of fabric cut like a circle skirt, but shorter than the outer skirt; then a gathered length of tulle is attached to the bottom of the slip. This slip ends up peeking out a couple inches longer than the skirt.

Unfortunately, I have trouble attaching white tulle to white cotton. This step is cumbersome; I keep losing the gathered tulle off the edge of the cotton slip; I have difficulty seeing the white on white (tulle on cotton), and I don’t like the way the pieces looked sewn together. I scrap the slip for now. Here’s another type of peeking slip that I have done in the past. I will work more with slips in the future.

I go on to the skirt, and I have problems with this as well. The waistband is a bit too tight. I either need to cut the waistband larger or make smaller seams at the ends of the waist band. I remove all the stitching (“in the ditch”) and recut the waistband and attach it, this time with more care to fit it on the doll before my final steps. Here’s a photo from a slightly different angle.

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As I iron the skirt and clean up the pieces of thread from the old stitching, I accidentally pull out a thread from the fabric weave and leave a tiny white mark on the skirt. At this point I’m ready to throw the project away. I certainly can’t sell the skirt like this, but I love the fabric too much to toss it.

I have planned to use my favorite Heritage blouse pattern to go with this skirt, but since I messed up the skirt, I use a blouse that I have previously featured. If I decide to remake this skirt, I’ll remake the same blouse at that time. While I iron the blouse, I notice a light spot near the bottom hem, so I wipe it with a wet rag and dry it with the iron. Somehow, while fixing the spot, I pick up two dark pink spots from my ironing board cover or my iron or the rag. I am always so careful, but now I have pink spots on the blouse. AND THE ARE IRONED IN!

Do you ever spend hours sewing and end up with NOTHING? LOL. Mistakes can happen to the best of us. And one of the purposes of this blog is to show that all of us—or most of us—make mistakes when we sew.

I happen to have a set of bows on hand. Fortunately, the green one matches the skirt polka dots. Then I make a scarf to tie around Grace’s 1955-styled ponytail. The scarf fabric is a soft polyester rayon blend. I iron and hand-stitch a rolled hem on every side. I comb Grace’s hair before dressing her in her skirt and blouse, so she isn’t a wrinkled mess for her photos. Voila! Grace is ready for her high school sock hop.

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5 thoughts on “Polka Dot Circle Skirt

  1. Hi Jane, I just want to complement you on a really cute blog AND outfit:) I’ve just read the posts about the skirt pattern with great interest, because feedback about a pattern design is always helpful (although I wish you’d had a better experience!). Here are some thoughts about fitted patterns that might be helpful for optimal results:

    (!) Because American Girl dolls can vary so greatly in size, fitted patterns (such as your waistband issue, for example) can really be a challenge from both a designer and consumer standpoint. One thing that I’ve started to do with all my patterns is to list the measurements of the doll that I sized the pattern on. (For me, it’s my 2012 Ivy, who has “medium” measurements in the AG doll world.) Anyone purchasing a PixieFaire pattern from Forever 18 Inches will see the measurements listed in patterns created in Spring 2015 and beyond. This way, you can check your own doll’s stats with the fitting model, and make any adjustments to the pattern before cutting it out.

    (2) I’ve also begun adding an additional set of cutting lines for larger dolls on fitted patterns, beginning with the Geometry Class dress. Directions are listed in the pattern to help the sewer choose which set of lines to use for their particular doll. I’m happy to report that the general feedback has been great!

    (3) If anyone has difficulty with a pattern, contact information is always listed. For me, it’s my Etsy shop address. I check it daily, and try to respond to inquiries within a 24-hour period or less. I’ll happily trouble shoot issues with a customer until we get things right. And although we try very hard to please, PixieFaire will cheerfully offers a 100% refund if a customer is truly disappointed with the pattern.

    (4) For anyone who would still like to sew a circle skirt, but might be feeling intimidated, I’ve just published a brand-new version on PixieFaire.com. This draft is designed to slip over the hips and has a flat front for an authentic look, but an elasticized back. It’s very quick and easy–simpler construction, and a universal fit (as long as your doll’s hips are 12 -1/2″ or smaller.) The feedback has been very enthusiastic with this version. (And for girly girls, there’s also an option for an attached petticoat.) Here’s the link for those who might be interested: http://www.pixiefaire.com/products/elastic-back-circle-skirt-18-doll-clothes

    I hope you and your readers find this information helpful. Thank you for your business and feedback. I hope all your future sewing experiences are joyful and productive!

    Very truly yours,
    Karen
    Forever 18 Inches

    • Hi Karen. You’ve called some things to my attention. Since I’ve been at this blog for awhile—with the idea of producing my own patterns eventually—I should develop a relationship with the designers I’ve used a lot. I should also make sure to include the designer labels/tags. For instance, I’ve used your pattens several times, and I should be able to key your name in and pull up your patterns. My goal is never to put down a designer or make myself look good with criticism. My original issues were with some of the published books of patterns that didn’t fit the dolls well at all, and I didn’t want beginning sewers to get discouraged.

      I’ve been wrestling with some health challenges lately, and I probably won’t get to my sewing or my blog for another few months, depending on how things go. I have to focus on getting plenty of rest, but I’ll be back for sure. My blog gets lonely when too much time passes without me posting something new. Maybe I’ll find a couple topics of interest that don’t include actually sewing. We’ll see.

      I’m putting a note to myself to revisit this issue later. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your patterns very much.

      Best regards….

  2. Even with all the mis-steps, the finished outfit is adorable! And I’m rather glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who had trouble with that skirt pattern. I thought the waist band was too small simply because I use a vintage AG as my model. But in the end we both prevailed! 🙂

  3. Linda, I have no business buying more dolls. I need an additional room for them at this point. I tend to favor the dark-haired dolls for some reason. I have Julie and Kit. I love Kit’s freckles, and I like to make clothes from the 1930s that are Kit’s style.

  4. Hi Jane, Boy can I identify with your frustration! But the outfit looks lovely and you’re right, Grace is beautiful. Congrats on adding her to your collection. (I’m deep breathing right now to control the I need a new doll urge. 😉

I love getting feedback. Yippee!

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