Tag Archive | doll clothes

Easy Separates in Pink

For this blog I’m using separates that I’d previously made for other “looks,” except for the skirt. The nice thing about separates is that you can mix and match and make whole new outfits, which is what I’ve done here. The pink top came with one of my American Girl dolls. The skirt is a plain rectangle, or Simplicity 3551.


The last time I saw my eight-year-old granddaughter she made herself a straight skirt using this heart fabric. This was her first project for herself. I finished the seams for her using my serger, but she was able to do everything else herself. She has the talent to put together looks; she is a fashion-forward girl. She has the perseverance to sew. She is able to sew straight lines. I wish I had a picture of her in her skirt; this is what she looked like a few years ago.

She loves pink, so I figured she already had other pink items to go with the skirt, but she didn’t. After purchasing some pink tennies for her, I found similar pink tennies for American Girl. I figured I might as well whip up this doll skirt and send it to her with the shoes.

There was one challenge with both skirts: the printed hearts didn’t line up on the (cheap) fabric, even if I pulled and stretched the fabric. I’d wanted the hearts to follow the hemlines of both skirts. I had to re-cut both of them slightly to get them to look accurate. Both skirts have a casing for the elastic waist that is created by folding over the top of the skirt. Threading the elastic with a bodkin tool, shown here, is simple.


I have already featured this bag in Separates Have Two Polka Dot “Looks.” This vest is a cute experiment using this funky white fabric with Simplicity 2296.

This blog has demonstrated how easy it is to create a look with several simple items. Little girls like wearing separates; I’m guessing they enjoy dressing their dolls in them as well.


You can find us on Pinterest.

sparkle pink

Red Versatility Dress

I made this dress using a well-constructed pattern that offers several different but subtle choices. The structure of the bodice is beautiful but I should have used plain fabric so that the princess seams in the bodice showed up as part of the design. Here’s a link to the original pattern.

kit hearts2

The top-stitching of these (invisible) bodice seams in front and back double as a chic decoration; the original dress requires little jewelry or other accessories. But since I opted to use this red print, I added this removable white collar (from the Silhouette Dress pattern) and I include my own tiny heart-shaped buttons.


This is the perfect school dress for Kit, but when she goes to church on Sunday, she trades her collar for Auntie’s set of pearls. I think I got these pearls from Carpatina but they don’t have them now; you may want to check from time to time.


The dress below is perfect for a field trip to the museum. Kit wears a more casual necklace with glasses she should wear all the time if she wants to see properly.


Connecting the skirt to the top is straight forward. I ironed a 1/4-inch hem on the bottom of the bodice lining to make it easy to slip-stitch the lining over the skirt seam at the waist. I used velcro to attach the back opening, and I serged all the skirt seams.


The red bracelet above, and the owl necklace both come from my favorite Etsy jeweler, 2 Sisters Sew Crafty. Although we have lots of red shoes in our collection, too much red looks “matchy-matchy.” The white shoes look better, especially with the white collar.


You can find us on Pinterest.






Vintage Cherry Print Peplum

I’m back from break—with lots of beautiful new fabric for my 18-inch dolls.

I’m happy with this peplum top. The pattern is designed by Liberty Jane and available at Pixie Faire. This top was fun to make. It calls for a zipper but I didn’t have one that matched so I used Velcro. My plan is to eventually transition to buttons and zippers as much as I can to remove the bulk from the back of the garment. Although Velcro may seem convenient, it can be cumbersome; it is thick and difficult to penetrate with a needle or pins, especially if you want to baste the Velcro in place. Few patterns have a back seam that is wide enough for buttons and button holes. Adding a back zipper only requires 3/8 inches added to the seam (from 1/4 to 5/8).

This is my third time at making the “Phoebe” hat by Bonjour Teaspoon at Pixie Faire. This hat is a bit tight and is not forgiving if you bypass the 1/4-inch seam. If I make the hat a fourth time, I will increase the length of the side brim slightly.

I opted to reveal the red underneath side of this reversible hat in this photo so that my model isn’t swallowed up by red cherries that would match her top. Too matchy-matchy for the photo, but the outside of the hat does indeed match the peplum top.


Here’s another view of the hat below. I think I prefer this side—but not with the matching top. I removed the peplum top and left my model in a bra top to showcase the top of these red dotted Swiss peddle pushers and waistband. I love using elastic just in the back. The front waistband gives the pants shape.

This stunning bracelet comes from 2SistersSewCrafty. I just bought a couple of holiday pieces but couldn’t wait to show them.

I’m the “Carrie Bradshaw” of doll shoes. I can’t resist a good pair, and I have a sizable collection. However, what shoes would you choose for my model? Red? I have some cute red sandals, but when I place them on her feet, she becomes a red blob. Pink? The pink background of the hat and top isn’t enough to carry pink shoes. White? Not so much. If my model wears shoes, she’ll wear beige.


Here’s an inside view of this well-designed pattern that I will use again. Since I like to line all my tops, using a pattern with lining instructions is a big plus for me.


Since Marshmallowjane is fortunate to have several “models” for doll clothes,  we choose the model that is best for the garment. In this case the Madame Alexander doll doesn’t have visible neck and shoulder joints. This doll’s waist is slightly smaller than the waist of American Girl dolls. Her long dark hair shows off her hat, and the hat shows off her beautiful face.


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sewing machine


African Chic

Although I used a very basic structure for this look, I put it together in a unique and beautiful way. (I can’t stop fawning over the fabric.) You can see the beginning of the look in my previous post called African Fashion. I learned much by working with muslin the first time, but this is my final result:


I’ve been perusing the web for “African Fashion.” Here is a compilation of some looks and fabric choices on Pinterest.  My own interpretation is a sophisticated fashionable African girl or African-American girl. Besides this stunning doll, the key to this look is the fabric.

We have a small store here in Tracy called Sew Many Quilts that houses a section of soft cotton that it labels “African.” The fabric begins at around $9.50 or so a yard. Since 1/2 yard goes pretty far with doll clothes, I can buy a variety of prints for a very reasonable price. If I try to define African print, I will no doubt find exceptions to my definition. But in general, African prints have geometric shapes in vivid colors like yellow or orange that are outlined in black or brown (or both).

This skirt is simple. Just a rectangular piece of fabric with a small strip in a complementary print at the bottom and an elasticized waist. The top is more complicated due to the bias cording.

The cording turned out very easy to make, which is a nice surprise for me because I’m in a “cording” phase, but using it on doll clothes can be challenging. After stitching the lining to the bodice by putting the neckline and armholes together, I couldn’t turn it right-side out due to the added bulk of the cording, no matter how much trimming I did. I ended up taking the bodice apart and stitching the neckline together last by adding a facing. Because I changed my plan during mid-stream, I ended up sewing most of this bodice by hand.

I’m putting together instructions for this look. I’d rate the skill level as EASY except for the use of use of cording which is INTERMEDIATE.

I’ve been looking at head wraps and trying different ways to tie them. I decided that this young look needed a wrap/bow. A more complicated, larger wrap will look better with a long skirt or pants that are coming shortly.

I will soon be offering three different looks under “African Chic” at Etsy.


The Little Wool Coat and Matching Hat

My model for today is Julie who usually wears bell-bottom jeans and a peasant top, but she’s applying for a job in the City and needs to look polished.


I am happy with the results—of the exterior of the coat and hat—but this project was more complicated than it needed to be. I’d wanted to use rich wool with a small stripe or herringbone design. My coat pattern is Simplicity 3929 Vintage 1952. I’d planned to add a row of fur around the collar, but for reasons I shall explain, I’ll save my fake rabbit that is $6 a yard for another coat.

This coat hangs unusually well for a coat without armhole seams. This coat is three large pieces: the back and the left front and the right front. The two minor pieces are a facing down the front and a large collar. I used a different hat pattern from the one provided that looked like a shower cap.

Most of the problems I had with this coat were due to fabric selection. I purchased the wool from an online fabric store by description, without handling a swatch. The wool is so thick that I had to face the collar with lining instead of a second layer of the wool. This wool has a beautiful loose weave that seems to keep raveling once it gets started. I thought I’d better line the coat to keep the inside neat and intact.

There should have been a neck facing created with the pattern. There’s no way I could leave the neck/collar seam uncovered so I lined the coat all the way up to the raw edge of the collar. (I seemed to cover crab grass with weeds, so to speak.) I turned the lining edges under before basting it to the wool coat. Keeping the lining from raveling was difficult, maybe impossible, and I’m not completely satisfied with the work. In some places I have raveled lining, barely covering raveled wool that is only visible to me.

Before I attached the lining to the coat I gave myself a manicure and trimmed everything. This beautiful lining in the photo below was so cheap and trashy that I kept snagging the lining with the tip of my finger that had a tiny layer of dead skin. I am now making a short list of recommended fabric for lining and keeping track of what does and what does not work.

You may see why I chose this fabric for the lining; it looks beautiful but it's deceitful.

You may see why I chose this fabric for the lining; it looks beautiful but it’s deceitful.

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