Thursday, May 20, 2021

The 4 best ways to add some glamour to your doll clothes collection without breaking the bank

valspierssews doll clothes patterns

It is always nice to add some new pieces to your doll's wardrobe.

In the lead up to Summer these pieces will make perfect transitional garments and I am discounting them from now to the end of May 2021.

It is always easier to put cardigans and jackets over sleeveless tops so I have discounted the beautiful 1877 Pieced A-Line dress and the fashion top 1857 Curved Shirt.

Can't go past a sweet A-line dress

1877 Pieced A-Line

The only tricky part with this pattern is joining the big pattern pieces together before you cut them out. 

Everything sews together easily to give you 3 gorgeous variations.

Add a touch of class with this fashion top

1857 Curved shirt

If you want something a bit different to work on, this cute top with the curved hem front pieces won't disappoint.

There are lots of ways to show off the design and you can make it with or without the collar.

Edge to edge with buttons at the back or simple overlap with velcro.

Add a new jacket and new trousers to your collection and you will be able to create lots of new outfits using the dresses and tops that you already have.

Everything goes with this casual jacket

College Jacket

You are going to love how easy this jacket comes together. The tracksuit knit is nice and firm so it is not difficult to sew.

The easy going jacket is perfect for boys and girls on those cool Spring or Fall days.

Add some crazy colour to your doll's wardrobe

These complex looking pieced pants were my first foray into making something not usually made for dolls.

They are quick to make with easy to sew elastic casing at the waist and ankles. No knits used here. It is all pretty woven fabrics.

You will find them in my Etsy Shop

1877 Pieced A-Line

1857 Curved shirt

College Jacket

Fashion file 5 Pieced Pants

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valspierssews doll clothes patterns

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Are you looking for the most affective way to build your doll clothes collection?

valspierssews doll clothes patterns

The wardrobe capsule doll size

  • When you make doll clothes you don’t usually stop at one item. A great way to get the most out of your time and effort is to sew a number of garments that can be swapped around to create several different outfits.

  • The wardrobe capsule is most commonly mentioned when discussing how to tidy up your closet. It is a popular way to get the most out of your clothes choices.

  • Some common capsule types you can create are the French minimalist capsule, the basics capsule, the seasonal capsule, the weekend away capsule. It is fun to create these for your doll. A good way to teach doll owners some fashion sense.

What is a wardrobe capsule?

A wardrobe capsule is a selected number of garments chosen because they can be mixed and matched to create a number of different outfits. A capsule can be curated to suit particular situations such as a  Summer Capsule or a Holiday Capsule or a Work Capsule.

What is so great about a doll clothes capsule?

valspierssews doll clothes patterns

When you make your doll clothes as part of a planned capsule your doll owner will get lots of pleasure from dressing the doll in different outfits that all look great. Basically everything goes with everything. 

If you go one step further and plan doll clothes capsules for each doll’s colouring you can start to see how the dolls just glow and look amazing. 

If you choose colours that are clearly part of separate capsules but are also suitable for multiple dolls you enhance the value of any sewing you do for the dolls. 

The simplest of capsules

You can get started straight away with the simplest of capsules. You need just 3 tops, 2 bottoms and a jacket or style that can be worn over the tops. Add a scarf and a bag and you are good to go.

The beauty of this simple capsule is that you can make it suit several different seasons all with the same 6 pieces. The pinafore top below can work as a summer dress, a jumper dress over a blouse or t-shirt as well as this cute tunic look over trousers.

valspierssews doll clothes patterns
The dress is 1805. The blouse is from 1827. The trousers are from 1813.

How they get combined

When you choose your fabric colours and patterns thoughtfully you can create the basic 3 outfits for each bottom piece using your 3 tops. That’s 6 outfits.

If you choose suitable tops you can put a shirt over a tank top to create 2 more outfits with your 2 bottoms. So now you have 8 outfits.

If you use the jacket with your first six outfits that’s another 6 outfits. So now you have 14 outfits.

valspierssews doll clothes patterns

Use the scarf and bag together and separately to make new looks for your outfits.

If you make an infinity scarf from knit fabric you can use it both as a scarf and a headband giving you even more variety or use delicate woven fabric and use it as a scarf or a hair hair bow.

See how to make this cute skirt with sheer fabric here.

valspierssews doll clothes patterns

Even with the most basic of colour and fashion sense you can begin to create a beautiful wardrobe of clothes for your dolls. To get started you need to find patterns for 2 or 3 tops, a skirt and some trousers. A cardigan makes a perfect jacket option.

You can get the patterns used to make a simple capsule in my Etsy shop

1806 Open Neck Blouse gives you a variety of blouse and shirt options to cover all seasons.

1874 T-shirt works for girls and boys

1801 Module 3 Cardigan

1813 Gathered Pull-on pants gives you long trousers and various short versions for any season

The Infinity Scarf and a Tank Top are free when you join my newsletter list.

Read more about capsules for doll clothes in this blog post.

Just a note

I am putting together a fresh Summer capsule for 2021. I will be publishing the garments into the Summer capsule section in my Etsy shop around the middle of May 2021. I will let you know when the collection is available. That section will only be part of the shop for the summer of 2021 (Northern Hemisphere). The patterns go into their respective style sections after that but look out for more seasonal collections.

Happy Doll Dressmaking,


Thursday, April 22, 2021

3 ways to easily apply bias binding to doll clothes

valspierssews doll clothes patterns

Need-to-know Doll Dressmaking Tips

Using bias strips as a decorative binding

  • Bias binding is easy and versatile

  • It can be used on both casual and dressy garments 

  • There are several ways to apply the binding

Since starting to sew doll clothes I have become almost obsessed with using bias binding to neaten the necks and armholes of dresses and tops, creating a neat gathered edge on necks and pockets and purses and even creating a decorative hem edge on skirts and dresses. It is just so easy to add to almost any garment.

Whether the dress is a vintage beauty or a weekend play dress using bias binding in matching or contrast colours provides a perfect feature or neat finish. Cutting stripes or checks on the bias looks fabulous.

There are at least 3 different ways to apply the binding and each has its virtues. They are interchangeable but speed and ease will play a part in your choice of method.

What is Bias Binding?

Bias binding is made from a folded strip of fabric cut on the bias or cross grain of woven fabric. When cut like this it is quite stretchy and works like ribbing on a knit garment. It is usually creased along the centre lengthwise then the raw edges are folded to the centre. When it is folded again the raw edges are enclosed. Its stretchiness makes it perfect for binding along curves like necklines and armholes.

How can it be applied?

Method 1

The quickest way to apply the binding to an edge is to fold a flat strip in half once. Use a strip about 1" wide.

With right sides together, line up the raw edges with the raw edge you are binding and stitch it in place. Press the binding away from the garment and seam towards the garment.

Top stitch along the right side so the seam is held in place on the wrong side.

The decorative bias strip on these pockets is perfect for this method.

Method 2

The second method is a bit neater but requires a bit more fiddling to create the bound edge. Use a strip 1 1/4" wide.

Open out the binding strip and place it right side down along the wrong side of the edge to be bound. Stitch it in place. Trim the seam.

Press the binding up over the seam allowance. Fold in the raw edge of the binding and then fold the binding over the seam allowance. 

Stitch it in place close to the fold.

Method 3

This method is both easy and quick.

Using a 1 1/4" strip fold it in half then stitch it in place to the wrong side of the edge to be bound. Trim the seam allowance.

Bring the folded edge of the binding all the way to the right side so it shows only on the right side and stitch it down close to the fold.

Making continuous bias binding

I have always wanted to make bias binding this way but I have never needed more than short strips. Have you tried making bias strips like this. See what I mean on the blog called Reconstructing History

Different ways to finish necks and armholes

Get the whole series now

Are you looking for a variety of ways to neaten necks and armholes on your doll clothes?

Get full instructions and different patterns to use for practising different ways to finish necks and armholes in the Finishing Necks and Arm Holes series of Applied Doll Dressmaking by Val Spiers Sews.

Happy Doll Dressmaking,

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Bring out your creative passion with doll dressmaking

valspierssews doll clothes patterns

Doll dressmaking is my passion.

3 important core values for me are: 

  • being Artistic; 
  • being Creative, and 
  • being Passionate about what I do

I am happiest when I am creating. I love going to work each day!

Each day there are 3 things that will get my heart pumping:

  1. Yoga
  2. Walking
  3. Doll dressmaking
To get my creative juices flowing I like to walk and think. Watching the sunrise is so inspiring.

I am planning a Summer doll clothes capsule and I have some garment images that I collected from a fashion you tube channel that I follow. She puts links to the items in the online shops so I just take some screen shots.

The first item I want to make is a simple strappy dress.

When I start designing I begin by drawing up the pattern pieces that I need. I usually use existing patterns to create new ones so it doesn't take a long time to get a design ready for sewing.
I am using the 18"dress bodice to draw up the front pieces for my strappy dress.

Not every design works out and sometimes I will stop after I have sewn the first sample. I like this one and will try to make a skirt with the flat front and elastic back similar to the dress. I have another pattern ready to sew up so I will continue with that one.

I tend to use less expensive fabrics for the first samples because I need to check for the look and the fit with the first sample.

This dress was meant to be a floaty summer shift but it turned out too wide under the arms and the skirt didn't float at all. I was hoping to get away from putting proper flaring in. That requires cutting the pattern from hem to neck in several places. My final decision for this dress will be fitted to the waist and an a-line skirt section. I may work on the flared design at a later date. But it's back to the drawing board for now.

Now that the design is well underway I start to look at setting up the instructions. This is the slowest part of creating the pattern and probably the most tiring because you need to spend several hours in front of the computer along with sewing the garment.

It is very satisfying to end up with something that looks fabulous on the doll and fits perfectly and goes together easily.

I am very happy with the final version. Now it is just a matter of finishing the instructions and publishing. You can find this one in the Newsletter pattern folder at no.13.

Look out for this simple dress that I have used as an example for this blog post. It will be in the Newsletter free pattern folder. You can join my mailing list to get monthly updates and access to a folder of free patterns for 18" dolls.

Happy Doll Dressmaking,