Tag Archive | threading elastic

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

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.

DSC_0058 DSC_0064

DO_Spotty Flower

Creating Bias Tape

I found this beautiful “batik” fabric below in the quilting section at Joann’s. I’m a big fan of browns in various shades.

The perfect doll for this outfit has reddish-brown hair; she is “Cyndi Sue” from Harmony Club Dolls.


I love this “striped tank and walking shorts” in spite of all the problems I had putting it together. The pattern comes from Love to Dress Up 18″ Doll Clothes by Lorine Mason. The author creates adorable designs but her pattern pieces have lots of problems. Some of them I discuss in a previous blog entry.

This top is adorable but the armholes are a bit tight, and I could barely close the back because it’s too small. The back of this top is supposed to overlap in the back with a mock button closure (over snaps), but the left and right sides barely meet. I was able to close the back by extending velcro past the center line. I now see that the author/designer’s pattern drawings do not match the photos of her finished items. Her finished top—-represented on page 10—–has creases in the back caused by the tight fit of her own representation.

The back of this top has a triangle cut out at the bottom that reveals the small of the back. The biggest issue here is that these 18-inch dolls have no “small of the back” per se. They have chunky backs that look best covered.

This top has a cute horizontal stripes section that crosses above the waist. These three pieces (the top, mid-section, and bottom) did not fit properly together. I had to re-cut these sections before hemming the back.

These shorts are simple to make. A casing in the top houses the elastic for the waist. I took three quarters of an inch or so off the bottom of the shorts. I think that mine look much better than the ones in the book.

The best feature of this outfit is the bias tape around the neck, arm holes and legs of the shorts. Making bias tape is easier than you might think, and now I want to use it for everything.

Make your own bias tape with these easy instructions: After cutting bias strips and stitching them into one long strip (per pattern), fold the tape in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and iron a nice crease down the middle.


Then open the tape and fold each edge to meet the middle crease and iron again. Fold in half again:


Here’s the secret to making bias tape work for you. When you do the second fold (above), make sure that one of the folds is slightly larger than the other. When you attach the bias tape to the garment by top-stitching the smaller side of the tape, it will be sure to catch the wrong side of the tape inside of the garment. In other words, when the bias tape is folded in half (above), you should be able to see a tiny bit of the other side.

I criticize the fit of this top because I don’t want you to blame yourself when it is the pattern that is cut incorrectly. I want you to succeed at creating doll clothes. I’ve had other problems with books by this author. I’ve contacted her for advice but got no response. Her designs are adorable, but many of her pattern pieces are drawn incorrectly.

DO_Squatty Flower