Monday, January 22, 2018

How to Sew Doll Clothes: 18" Bed Sheets

Valspierssews doll clothes

It is so quick and easy to make sheets, a pillow, a pillow slip and a blanket.
I am always testing new patterns and trying the best ways to organise and set goals. This leads to lots of free things in my Newsletter that I don't publish any where else for free. Just fill out the form in the side bar.

For the sheets you need 2 pieces of polycotton plain or print 22" x 26". If you buy 42" wide fabric (110cm) you will need 26" plus a 7" strip for the pillow slip. So that is 33" or about 85cm.

For the contrast strip on the sheet you need a strip 2/1/2" x 22"

Pin the right side of the the strip to the wrong side of the sheet.

Pin the right side of the the strip to the wrong side of the sheet.

Set the seam and press the strip up then press it to the right side of the sheet.

Set the seam and press the strip up then press it to the right side of the sheet.

Open it out and press over 1/4" on the raw edge.

Open it out and press over 1/4" on the raw edge.

Fold it back to the right side and stitch the free edge down.
You can add piping before sewing. Add ribbon or lace after sewing.

Fold it back to the right side and stitch the free edge down.

Press over 1/4" all the way around the 3 raw edges. Then go around again making a double fold hem edge.

Press over 1/4" all the way around the 3 raw edges. Then go around again making a double fold hem edge.

Stitch all the way around with matching thread in the bobbin and needle.

Stitch all the way around with matching thread in the bobbin and needle.

I made two sheets and put a different contrast on each one. I will make a second pillow slip and a more generic blanket that will go with both contrast strips. Though I do like the matching back for the blanket.

I got my pillow, pillow slip and blanket tutorials form HERE. I made 1 small adjustment to the blanket to make sure it fitted over the doll's body nicely. I made the blanket 18" x 24" instead of 22".

Don't get mixed up with which way each goes. The sheets are longest from head to toe. The blanket is longest across the bed.

Happy Sewing and Crafting,

P.S. Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter. Just click HERE.
P.P.S. The bed is my $20 Ikea bed. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Discover your life purpose and focus on what is really important to you

Life is Good
Passion + Action = Purpose
Remember that equation because it is the key to living a fabulous life.

In an article at by Shannon Kaiser she points out that you can't just think about finding your passion or passions you have to take steps towards leading a purposeful life first.

This sounds a bit nuts but even though I knew that my passion in life was to design and create I wasn't living passionately. I was sleeping in later and later. I was designing and sewing but I felt like I wasn't making any progress. I was getting bored.

I stumbled on some articles by Mark Manson. He is way too raw for me to actually read it all but this one quote by him really resonated with me.

So when people say, “What should I do with my life?” or “What is my life purpose?” what they’re actually asking is: “What can I do with my time that is important?” Mark Manson
And remember, this is all about you. Not what you think someone thinks you should do.

I was always setting goals and then finding that I couldn't fulfil them or I just lost motivation and forgot about them. I thought there was something wrong with me. I could see lots of successful people around me. Why couldn't I be like them?
I have written some steps for you to think about but don't spend too long thinking about them. The most important thing you need to take away after reading this post is that you need to act. 
I used to spend way too much time thinking and researching and not enough time acting. I still catch myself researching and thinking and planning when I should be acting on my plans.

1. Ask yourself "What are my life passions? "
"Am I willing to rearrange my life priorities to do more of these things?"
  • When I was 30 my passion was being a great mother and getting involved in child centred activities like play group. I lead workshops at the local play group for mothers and children. I went to Play Group Association meetings and conventions. I wrote articles for the national association magazine. Everything was about helping my children and other's children reach their potential.
  • When I was 50 my passion was making arrangements for a good retirement. I increased my super deposits. I insisted we invest in something concrete like real estate so we bought a block of land with the intention of retiring there eventually and we spent holidays there getting used to the place.
  • When I was 60 I started to struggle with finding a passion and purpose for my life.

I realised that I had to work out what was important to me now. I am retired now but you can use the same process at any time of your life.

2. What matters to you?

Choose the areas of your life that are relevant to you now. I left out 'Financial' because I am not trying to get loans or buy a house or pay for education. I have a simple budget that doesn't require lots of goal setting to make it work.
This article by Travis Robertson is perfect for explaining the areas that you need to consider.
The areas he covers are:
  • Spiritual
  • Personal Development
  • Health
  • Romance
  • Family
  • Business/Career
  • Finances
  • Fun and Recreation
  • Social
Get your free brainstorming sheets and record everything about each area that you want to focus on in the long term.

3. Clarify your life purpose

Study all those things you recorded in your life areas. Create some sentences that bring them together. You can have 1 or 2 sentences for each life area or you may be able to link some together under general terms such as communication. For example " I want to communicate and really connect with friends, family and colleagues by listening and helping when needed."
I am still making slight changes to the wording of my Life Purpose as I set goals. Something that is really important to me but I don't think I expressed it specifically enough in my Life Purpose was 'What do I do with all the things that I learn?'.
I have added in that I want to share how I use what I have learned. 

4. Take action

If you know there is something you are passionate about but you keep telling yourself that you don't have the time or resources to follow it then you need to start by implementing some of the things passionate people do.
  • Setting up a productive morning routine is a good start.
  • Getting up early is pretty much a given. See why HERE
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat breakfast
  • Work to a 'to do' list
  • Focus on actions rather than outcomes
  • Be positive, think big and be grateful.
You can see more about the things passionate people do HERE

My favourite quote is:
"Vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes the time, and vision with action can change the world."
Nelson Mandela



Friday, December 22, 2017

How to sew doll clothes - Creating a V-Neckband for a Sweater or Vest

A little while ago I posted a picture of my latest creation. As requested I am posting some more details on how to do the V-neck band.
This design will be out for sale soon.

valspierssews doll clothes

  • You can easily change a T-shirt or knit top that already has a a round neck band into a V-neck top. Just fold the front in half and cut the V starting from about halfway down the armholes at the centre front and finishing at the original cutting line at the shoulder.
  • If your original design is not made for a neck band you may have to trim off the seam allowance before cutting your V so there is room for the extra width of the band.

So, after cutting out my top and sewing the shoulder seams it is time to do the neck band.

Use the front pattern 
piece to mark the point 
of the V at the seam line.

Don't try to guess where to stop. It is always
further than you would expect. Use the pattern
piece to mark it.

The band is about 2" shorter than the neck 
(1" when folded in half).

Fold the band wrong sides together and pin it all
the way along.

To adjust the length I pinned it at one end then stretched it
gently but firmly to the CF. I held it in place then stretched
the band along the rest of the neck.

After stretching it along the second half of the neck
I have a bit extra.

Just trim off the bit extra. I had about an inch extra
because my jumper knit is soft and stretchy.

Find the centre of the neck band then pin it to the V
at the centre front.

Use both hands to stretch that half of the band and
use your thumbs and pointers to hold it in place over the
shoulder seam then pin it in place.
Stretch each quarter and put a pin in the middle. Pin the other half of the band in the same manner staring by pinning it at the back.

Using a narrow zig zag, stitch the neck band with the
sweater bodice facing up so you can see where the snip is.
The neck should be pretty straight for sewing as you open
out the snip.

Fold the band up pushing the seam allowance
towards the bodice. Top stitch with a straight
stitch on the right side of the bodice close to
the seam.
Just check as you sew that you are stitching
the seam allowance in place. It tends to roll
around a bit.
Look under then push it into place with your
right thumb as you sew.

Fold the neck in half so you can stitch a little dart
in the V of the neck band.

Don't stitch the pleat parallel to the centre front!

Start the pleat closer to the fold. Try to stop at the
seam line in the centre of the v so you don't get a
little pleat. you just want a dart.

This is my finished v-neck. (You can see that little pleat.
It is driving me nuts but I don't think I can make it any
better and I don't want to nick the fabric by trying to
unpick it).
Next up I have to put in the armhole bands, stitch the side seams and do the waist band.
Trust me it is such fun to dress your doll in knit tops. I am no expert and even if it doesn't turn out perfect on your first try I can guarantee your knit top is going to look so cute.

Happy Sewing and Crafting,