Archives

Vintage ’40s in Blue and Red

Although this dress is obviously influenced by years past, Bunny Bear Patterns describes her design, “Soda Pop,” as vintage 1940s.  I’m no expert, but I see this more like the 1950s or even the 1960s. The clothes from all these years make me happy, so I guess the point is moot. Here is the dress:

DSC_0009

The bodice fit is this pattern’s best feature. I love the darts in the front and back; few doll clothes patterns include darts. This pattern has no neck facing; it is impossible for me to make my work neat without a facing, or better yet, without a lining for the bodice. I lined the bodice and hand-stitched the hem of the cap sleeve and the lining for it.

For some reason, white collars have almost become a trademark of my doll dresses. I often spend time perusing fabric stores for white print on white so that I can easily mix the white collar or white blouse with a bolder print. This closeup view features this collar in all its glory. Hopefully, you can see the white design on the white background that is machine embroidered. I was a bit nervous about getting this collar even. A mistake is always more obvious with a white collar against a darker colored dress. This collar is just about perfect.

Here are some thoughts about sewing collars, lapels, pockets, ties, or any shape that is sewn together and turned right-side out. This is a bamboo point turner like the one I’ve used for several years. When I started sewing with more delicate fabrics, I added more point turners to my sewing tools. Amazon has a variety of them. In the past, I was so hung up about getting my collars or other items perfectly pointed that I’d accidentally stretch the fabric while trying to shape the corner. I’m learning to hold back. This particular collar was a challenge because the embroidered fabric added bulk to the seam. I trimmed the seam very close to the point before turning the collar. Then I was careful when I turned the collar. My “point” is “round” at the end, but it looks pointed from a distance.

point turner

This pattern suggests using 1/4-inch ribbon. I couldn’t grasp the idea of sewing two rows of stitch on delicate ribbon so I used 1/4-inch double-folded red bias tape. I’m getting pretty good at sewing on bias tape. In case you didn’t know, one side of double-folded bias tape is slightly wider than the other side.

DSC_0003

If you sew on the narrow side, you will be certain to catch both sides without falling off the under side edge. Further more, if you try different presser feet, you can find one that makes sewing very close to the edge easy. I didn’t go off track once with this sewing project. My stitching is not perfect, but it is close to it.

DSC_0010

I’d planned to attach two bows to this finished dress, as the pattern suggests. I’d purchased ribbon that matched the bias tape thinking the similar colors would fool the eye. But I realized that my ribbon was 3/8-inch wide, 1/8-inch too wide. It didn’t look right. I decided to fall back on my favorite rose that I learned to make with McCall’s 6875.

This dress is unequivocally one of my favorite projects EVER. I give the pattern designer much credit for this sweet dress. However, I think the pattern requires lots of experience because the photos aren’t as clear as they could be. I can usually get by relying on the instructions, but I’ve sewn many dresses and only need guidance on the details. I think the pattern would be better if the bodice were lined, like I lined mine. The neck should at least have a facing. Otherwise, there’s just a small clipped 1/4-inch seam on the other side of the neckline.

DSC_0013

You might be able to see how straight my stitching is in the photo above, especially with the red thread on the white lining. I’m not bragging about my talent; I’m showing you a skill I have learned, not based on talent; it’s based on trial and error and figuring out what to focus on in order to sew in a straight line. In this case, the edge of my presser foot lined up close to the edge of the bias tape. I still have trouble controlling the presser foot when I’m sewing over something too thick for the feed dog to work properly. In that case, I’m liable to go off the edge or get stuck.

A little word about using Velcro. I’ve tried pinning it on, and/or basting it, but pushing straight pins through the Velcro and the layers of the garment is difficult, even risky. I’d always stab myself. Now, I use one straight pin for general placement only, and then I hold the strip of Velcro in place with my fingers as I stitch it. I start sewing somewhere in the middle of the long side of the strip, instead of the end; this way the Velcro doesn’t shift out-of-place while I’m stitching over the bumpy beginning of the strip.

~~~~~

You can find us on Pinterest.

soda pop clip art

Saige Dresses for Success

I loved making this dress. I want to rave about Matilda’s Closet who designs and distributes this pattern in PDF form. Although this pattern is on the complicated side (I didn’t know how to put it together without reading the directions), the pattern directions were easy to follow and so were the photos.

A closeup of Saige's dress with a large collar and pleats down the front

Since this is a close shot, I’ll interject a note about these buttons. I have a beautiful collection of buttons, and I have more pink accessories than I could ever dream of using. But I was surprised that I had no tiny pink buttons, except for buttons with four holes. I prefer two holes so I used these. You might notice that my sewing stitches on the buttons are all horizontal. No matter how you stitch your buttons, I suggest that all buttons be stitched in the same direction. This way, the precise direction of the thread adds to the design. In addition, the stitches look better if you overlap the button threads as little as possible.

I love these little hoop earrings (or demi-hoops) that are made by 2 Sisters Sew Crafty. These earrings are classy like plain hoops can be, but the ends of them are straight so that they fit into the doll’s pierced ear and head. I think I got the pearl bracelet from Carpatina awhile back. I don’t see it now but the site has some pretty jewelry.

Here’s a full shot of the dress that only looks good with long hair that is pulled back or off the neck due to the size of the collar.

Full view of this dress for success

The two pleats above the waistband and the two below the waistband are simple to create. The pattern pieces are marked with notches on the pattern edges. The marked fabric pieces are folded so that the notches meet, creating a fold for each pleat. This same method is used at the skirt part of the dress. When the top and skirt are sewn properly to the waistband, the pleats line up. If you look at both these top photos of the dress, you can see the pleats. If you go to the Matilda’s Closet pattern, you will see other photos of this dress. The pleats are much easier to view on the dresses made of solid fabric.

A view of the dress off the hanger reveals more of the construction. These attractive tabs are inserted into the side seams.

Dress off hanger

The side zipper (four inches long) can be spotted below. I also hand-stitched a strip of one-inch bias tape to cover the seams of the wrong side of the waist band. When I can, I keep the inside of my doll clothes tidy. In general, both finished and covered seams hold up better than unfinished seams if a garment should need laundering.

Off the hanger with view of zipper and liner band

I haven’t used other patterns by Matilda’s Closet, and I don’t know her personally. I usually favor “vintage-styled” doll dresses, but I adore this dress pattern.

I originally planned to try out patterns by a few doll clothes designers before creating my own. But I’m having so much fun sewing that I’ve gotten sidetracked. I’ve come across various patterns in PDF form, all of them good in one way or another. I’m impressed by the pattern pieces, even the ones that are hand-drawn. I enjoy looking at dolls styled by designers, bloggers and AG lovers on Instagram. I love American Girl (and Madame Alexander), and I’m having a great time styling these beautiful 18-inch dolls.

~~~~~

You can find us on Pinterest.

angel moon

Separates with Two Polka Dot “Looks”

I decided to make separates for a change when I came across this cute top pattern called Summer Breeze by Doll Tag Clothing.  The instructions give several ways to finish the front panels. Since I prefer to have the inside of my garments tidy, I opted to line the front. In addition, I lined the back, but I still used the provided neck facings. I was able to tack the neck facings down to the inside lining without leaving visible tacks near the outside neckline.

I wish that this pattern included armhole facings, instead of instructions to hem a curved armhole. Hemmed armholes are not a good look for me. I picture myself re-doing the narrow hem several times before I’m happy with it. My handmade polka dot bias tape solved this problem, but the armholes turned out a bit tight. Next time I sew with this pattern, I will make little armhole facings, or I will trim the armholes 1/4 inch before adding the bias tape.

Summer Breeze Top with Shorts and Emma Bag in Pinstripe

I adore these coordinated shorts that I made with my own generic pattern. I generally put a waistband in front and a casing with elastic in the back. The pink cuffs on the shorts were simple. I sewed a rectangular piece of solid pink fabric to the wrong side of each shorts leg and folded the hem over onto the right side and top-stitched the solid piece.

This pinstriped “Emma Bag” with an adorable gathered pocket was easy to make using a pattern by Bonjour Teaspoon. I look forward to making this bag out of various prints (like the one below out of pink polka dots). I appreciate coordinated clothing but not too matchy-matchy. The pink bag would have been too much for the outfit above. But with the gray dotted Swiss pants below, the pink bag is perfect.

Summer Breeze Top with Pants and Emma Bag in Pink Polkadots

I use a lot of dotted swiss. Some of it is better quality than the rest; some of it loses its shape. This gray dotted Swiss unravels a lot, but it combined well with the pink and gray polka dots and the pink and white polka dot bag.

I’m not sure why, but I rarely make separates. Give me a vintage dress to sew anytime. But I was intrigued by this Summer Breeze top pattern. Its clean shape is versatile with the shorts and long pants. I should probably add a little skirt. I love these smart pink clogs, and my models tend to wear this fabulous bracelet by 2SistersSewCrafty.

Clockwise Beginning on Top with Pinstripe Bag, Pink Polkadot Bag, Shorts with Pink Cuff, Summer Breeze Top, and Gray Dotted Swiss Pants

Each separate shares the above photo. The Summer Breeze Top has a back closure with a white slim strip of Velcro. You may see a glimpse of the polka dot bias tape around the armhole. The bag was easy to make, using the pink polka dot cotton. But the striped seersucker is another matter. The fabric unravels like crazy and must be handled with care.

~~~~~

tulips in pot

You can find us on Pinterest. 

Pink on Pink Ruffled Dress

I love this colorful dress, but while sewing it, I realized that I don’t enjoy gathering skirts that much. I will continue to make skirts that are gathered but this one has two rows of gathers, one on top of the other.

DSC_0008

For this reason, this dress was a challenge that required much patience. I tried to line up both tiers and gather them together, but—as you may guess—the ruffles lost their personality when lined up together. On the other hand, as careful as I was, after I’d attached the top ruffle to the bodice, I noticed that the bottom ruffle had unraveled away from the body (bodice), and there was no quick fix. I had to take everything apart and regather both tiers.

This pattern by Eden Ava Couture is influenced by vintage 1930s fashion. However, once I cut out the dress, I decided to use a different collar. I took the removable collar from a different Eden Ava Couture dress that I previously made, added it to this dress and sewed three buttons to the color.

I also trimmed the bottom of the drop-waisted bodice; I didn’t like the way it was cut. Let me say that I like the style of Eden Ava Couture patterns, and I admire anyone who is brave enough to create a pattern and offer it for sale. It’s like publishing a book. Credit goes to those who do. So far, my patterns are not ready for sale, so I don’t want to slam Eden Ava. You can go to Pixie Fair patterns and find other Eden Ava patterns and judge for yourself. I love the Vintage Silhouette Dress with the removable collar.

Here’s another look at this dress with a hat.

DSC_0002

I added the same hat that I often make. I can practically make this while I’m blindfolded.

Don’t you think these pink clogs are cute? They have a little push-in button that hooks the back strap to the shoe, making it easy to get dressed.

I always line my doll clothes whenever possible. Here’s a view of the inside of this dress and the Velcro fastener on the back.

DSC_0020

I think that this 1/2-inch double-folded bias tape on the edge of each ruffle creates a nice effect. In this case, I was able to use some printed (pink checked) bias tape that I found in my personal collection of ribbon and tape.

~~~~~

You can find us on Pinterest.

DO_Swirly Stem3

Vintage Green Print

For this dress I use another favorite piece of fabric, instead of saving it that elusive special day. No more saving. The holidays are approaching quickly, even though January 2014 was yesterday; wasn’t it?

Saige wears a dress that is perfect for a December party. Perhaps she’ll wear this to The Nutcracker Ballet. Who ever said that red wasn’t a great color for red-heads?

Because some of the flowers on this print are on the large size, I took care in where these flowers were placed. For instance, I tried to have roughly the same amount of flowers on each sleeve, instead of all green background on one sleeve and a huge flower on the other.

DSC_0003

This “look” is a bit childish perhaps. I didn’t simulate Young Vogue or Seventeen as I usually try to do. My 10-inch Madame Alexander dolls come dressed like this, wearing several layers of gathers. I wanted to try something new that I might use for formal dresses and wedding gowns.

The obvious standout of this look is the polka dot slip that purposely shows underneath (it matches the sleeves and the collar); FYI, it has less gathers than the dress to cut down on extra bulk at the waist. The lace was simple to attach. I look forward to adding more undergarments to future doll clothes.

This basic dress begins with Simplicity 9381:

s9381

The version of the dress I made is on the right side with the shades of pink and green on top of a red slip. If you look closely, you can see that the dress hem has been pulled up on each side by gathers, and a bow is placed on top of each gather. My big problem with this pattern is that the placement of these two side gathers is too far from the center. The rendering of the dress on the envelope doesn’t match the real placement of these gathers. Therefore, my own gathers are difficult to see unless Saige is turned sideways. This type of gather creates permanent holes in the fabric so I wouldn’t want to move them. I ironed some interfacing to the back of the skirt to prevent the holes from getting larger.

The short sleeves of this pattern are actually too long and puffy for my taste. I prefer to stick with the short sleeves from my “vintage” patterns. I used the same sleeve pattern that I’ve used on my last two dresses. Using a sleeve from a different pattern is perfectly acceptable, as long as the armhole shapes on the bodice of each pattern are similar.

The slip and the skirt are perfect lengths but the bodice of S9381 is too large. I should have cut it smaller. Instead, I added this red belt to give it shape. I had to include one of my berets.

DSC_0002

I added some single-folded bias tape to prevent raveling and to cover the rough edges of the gathers at the waist.

~~~~~

Please find us on Pinterest.

DO_Spotty Flower