Tag Archive | bodkin

My Beautiful Asian Doll Wears a Peplum

Since Madame Alexander dolls have no visible stitching at the neck and armhole, I choose “Lily” to wear this Peplum top by Liberty Jane at Pixie Faire. Her waist is slightly smaller than American Girl’s waist. Last time I worked with this Peplum pattern, I combined the print top with plain pedal pushers. Today I use a generic skirt pattern that matches the top.


This peplum top is easy to make, and, as usual, the Liberty Jane pattern is easy to follow. I had no matching zipper for the back closure, so I used Velcro which made the closure a little tight in back. Always check the fit as you move along.

This skirt is a generic pattern that’s a rectangle measuring 13 inches x 5.5 inches, or cut on the fold, it’s 6.5 inches x 5.5 inches. If you’re fortunate to have a serger, finish the top and bottom edges. Create a casing for the elastic at the top. After threading the elastic through the casing with a bodkin or safety-pin, secure both ends of the elastic with a straight pin and stitch the side seam together. I basted the seam with the regular sewing machine and then finished it with the serger. You can make this skirt in an hour or less if you do everything by machine. I like to hem by hand, once the lower edge is finished.

I don’t always use a serger so if you don’t have one, you can still keep the inside of your doll clothes nice and neat. However, I’ve never been successful at using a zig-zag feature to finish my seams. The thread bunches up, making the zig-zag stitch bumpy. Or if I stitch close to the edge, I end up slipping off the edge, making a big mess. The stitch I end up using looks like small straight stitches in groups of three (called a Straight Stretch Stitch), undoubtedly designed for something else entirely.

If anyone has suggestions about using the zig-zag feature to finish seams, I’d love some feedback. Please share your successes.

I love making hats, especially berets. The standard beret pattern includes a circle, a large hoop that corresponds to the circle, and a band that goes around the smaller side of the hoop. I wanted to keep this look dressy, so I chose an icy color to correspond with the blue dress and this beautiful necklace, created by 2SistersSewCrafty at Etsy. This beret fabric was an unlabeled remnant. I don’t know what it is, but I doubt I’ll ever use it again.


I spent far too much time on a project that developed  into a horror story. I used the smallest sewing needle that I could find but still had difficulty sewing without the fabric bunching up and tearing. I sewed much of the hat by hand to avoid hitting the sequins. I lined the hat with Dotted Swiss (or Swiss Dot, depending on the manufacturer). Instead of making the hat band from the sequin fabric, I used the lining fabric—-and I prayed while stitching the band to the hat with my sewing machine that my needle wouldn’t lock or break.

I love the inside of my doll clothes to look pristine whenever possible. Here’s a peek at the inside of the top, skirt and beret.



You can find us on Pinterest.

beret cat

Casual Winter Plaid

This outfit began with Butterick 5865, a simple dress with a capped sleeve, perfect for Julie. I love working with plaid when the rectangles are small enough for doll clothes. Once I cut the front and back bodice pieces to line up the horizontal lines on the sides, I thought the pattern would be a piece of cake.


Unfortunately, the skirt gave me some grief. Although the pieces were to be gathered, they were cut at an angle, like a wedge, or part of a circle. I pictured the skirt hanging nicely to create more of a vintage look. I must laugh at myself a bit because after cutting the side seams of the skirt pieces so that the horizontal lines of the plaid design would match, the joke was on me. I realized that matching plaid won’t work for this type of skirt—or I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

My sewing motto is, “Anything can be fixed”—almost. I figured I could recut the skirt using a plain red or white or a coordinating print. Those options weren’t working for me, so I decided to cut a plain gathered skirt without angled seams. Unfortunately, I only I had a scrap of fabric left, just about enough for testing my Serger stitch whenever I re-thread it. Fortunately, I was able to eke out a tiny skirt with an elastic waist.

Since I had already ironed a hem in the bodice lining (that would have covered up the gathers of the original skirt), transforming the bodice of the dress into a blouse was simple. The blouse is a tiny bit large, so I used the whole width of red Velcro.


The skirt was so simple with a Serger—or without one. I finished all sides of the fabric. Although it is easier to sew the back seam of the skirt last, the skirt turns out neater to form the seam before hemming the bottom and forming a casing for elastic at the top. The skirt waistline is less bulky if the ends of the elastic are sewn together with one end on top of the other end, once the elastic has been threaded through the casing with a safety-pin or a bodkin.

Julie wears an “owl” necklace and matching earrings created by my friend Ann at 2SistersSewCrafty.


The deep red plaid is a nice background for the rustic finishes of the owl necklace.



You can find us on Pinterest.

Another Version of the Phoebe Hat

I made version two of this hat, and I love it with this outfit. This time I made the Liberty Jane pattern in red and red gingham. The hat looks much better with a short-sleeved blouse which is my own pattern than a long-sleeved blouse. These pants are Butterick 5864.


If you have experience inserting elastic into a casing you’ve created by folding over the edge of the fabric, this outfit will be easy for you to sew. There is elastic around the neck, around each of the sleeve hems, and in the back of the pants. If you purchase a bodkin, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to insert the elastic and then thread it to the other side of the casing.


I will continue to use this pants pattern or variations of it because it has a waist band in the front and elastic in the back. No zipper or closure is required, but the front still looks sleek because of the front-only waistband. Please notice that the lines of my gingham checkers meet almost perfectly at all the seams, including the back.

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DO_Spotty Flower

Simple Doll Clothes Using Elastic

The items on this page are easy to sew, beginning with the blouse below Simplicity 7083:


No sleeves to set in. No neck facings or collar to mess with. What makes this blouse simple is the use of elastic that is threaded through a small casing (stitched down hem) around the neck and shoulders. For years I used a safety-pin to thread elastic into pajamas or other sewing projects until recently I discovered a small tool called a “bodkin” (see below).

bodkinA bodkin is found at most stores that carry sewing notions. Look at the bodkin on the left inside the package. Focus on the ring toward the top. If you slide that ring down, the top of the bodkin opens up and becomes a mini-clamp. You grab one end of elastic with this mini-clamp and then scoot that tiny ring back up. You’ll be surprised at what a tight grasp the bodkin now has on the piece of elastic. You can now thread the other end of the bodkin through the casing in a couple of minutes.

I like to find fabric that is one color with a small design so that the finished item can be worn with a separate that is a plaid, stripes or print. I love this delicate blouse fabric so much; can you see the tiny flowers? I may need to make a blouse for ME with this fabric.

The photo below features a simple skirt that also uses elastic.


This skirt is less flattering than a fitted skirt with a waistband, but it’s a perfect skirt for a child or any beginning seamstress. This skirt is made from a rectangle that measures 16 x 5-1/2 (or 8 x 5-1/2 on the fold). After serging all four edges of the fabric, it took me less than an hour to complete the skirt. Using the bodkin makes it possible to thread the elastic through the waist casing in less than five minutes.

Kudos to Sophia for making such cute shoes. I had planned to give a mention to each doll shoes seller that I use, but I now have a huge box of beautiful doll shoes. I think I lost track awhile back.

DO_Swirly Leaf