Friday, February 8, 2019

Princess Line Doll Clothes: Part 1

18" doll clothes pattern by valspierssews. Variation on 1843 to fit American Girl Doll

  • Mixing up gores and panels and princess line
  • Fabulous vintage panels
  • Using 1843 to create these designs

Mixing up Gores, Gussets, Godettes and Princess line panels

I rediscovered the panelled dress that I made some time ago. I went looking for the pattern. It's title is 8 gore dress so I thought I would do a bit of research on what gores were because I had a feeling that I was not naming it correctly.

First I looked up the meaning of gore. It seems it is synonymous with gusset. The dress making version comes from a word meaning arrow.
The following comes from Wikipedia:
The word is derived from Old English gār, meaning spear. In the course of time the word came to be used for a piece of cloth used in making clothes. In dressmaking and hat making, it refers to triangular or rhomboid pieces of fabric which are combined to create a fuller three dimensional effect.

I also came upon this fabulous website called The Renaissance Tailor that I have book marked for some later reading. There looks to be lots of great information on historical outfits, drafting, sewing techniques and more. I have put the link to the site map because the menus seem a bit haphazard.
There was a great section on gores and gussets that helped clear up some misconceptions I had.

So a skirt can be made from trapezoidal gores. My 8 gore skirt pattern is correctly named. I also made a godette skirt pattern. It seems that gore and godette are the same but I tend to lean towards a godette being the triangular insert in a gored skirt.

So what is the princess line? 
Well, this is a relatively new fashion term thought to be introduce by Charles Frederick Wentworth in the 1870s. he named it after the elegant Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

A princess line is cut in long panels without any waist seam. the curve of the panels shapes the waist.

In 1951 Christian Dior presented a collection called the Line Longue that was based on the princess line.
I found a useful A to Z of sewing and fashion terms at the Business of fashion website

So I am going to rename my 8 gore dress to the 8 panel princess line dress.

Fabulous Vintage Panels

I looked up some examples of princess line dresses and some variations. The princess line is common in vintage designs.

You can find all these and more in my Pinterest board

Using 1843 to Create These Designs

My Princess line dress pattern is a great starting pint for recreating all these vintage designs. I love the pockets set between the panels.
I'm thinking I will have to include a round neck version in the pattern. At present it is a sweet heart neckline but if you cut straight across from the shoulder point then sew the panels together you can use any bodice pattern piece to shape the neckline.

This is pattern 1843...

... and this is a variation I made using the add-on bibs collection 1804a and the collar from 1804.

If you want to join the discussion on designing doll clothes then you need to join my Facebook Group

Happy Doll Dressmaking,

Friday, February 1, 2019

10 Colouring Pages Based on valspierssews Doll Clothes Patterns (Patterns out soon)

  • A colouring book that matches the doll clothes you can make and comes in different sizes .
  • Use it as a project planner or
  • Just have fun with the vintage fashion theme for girls

For quite some time I have been working on a colouring book that matches the doll clothes patterns I was creating. I like linking things together. Now children can play with the doll clothes and play at fashion designer with the colouring book too.
You can buy the colouring book at my Australian website or on Etsy

As the dressmaker you can use the images to experiment with colours and patterns before making up the garments. Give your children or grandchildren the opportunity to plan the clothes for their doll. They can discuss the best fabric types and the colours they want then they can search through the fabric stash and add swatches to the page just like designers do. Adults and children can both try there hand at recreating the fabric pattern on the colouring-in image.



Designers even create miniatures of their designs.

You can have miniatures made of your wedding dress to put on display. Making doll size clothes is a legitimate fashion career.

This is a Dior miniature.


If your little designer wants some inspiration to follow a design career this website is well worth a look.


I really enjoy creating the images for the colouring book. It adds another dimension to my designing. Normally I just look at photos then work up the draft pattern pieces. Doing the drawings enables me to think more about the fabrics I might use and how the design details can be best modified for the doll.

I attempted some digital colouring. It is a skill I will have to work on.

Of course colouring-in is just fun. I looked around and couldn't find many colouring books that had pretty fashion drawings for girls to colour. Better than a regular colouring book this digital download means you can colour the pictures more than once in different colourways. You can print it full sheet or print it as a half size booklet using the Booklet button in Adobe Reader. There is also a little fold-a-book version that fits on one page and folds into a little doll size book. If you print it at 70% it also makes a cute Wellie Wisher size book.

Good news for my Australian and New Zealand customers. You can buy your instant downloads from my Australian online shop without having to pay GST because I don't have to register to collect it yet. I am gradually getting my stock uploaded. if there is something in the Etsy shop and you want to buy it from my Australian website just let me know.

Visit my Australian Shop at

European and UK customers will still have to buy from my Etsy shop since all digital sales to these countries don't have a threshold for collecting sales tax.

You can buy the colouring book at my Australian website or on Etsy

Happy Doll Dressmaking,

Friday, January 25, 2019

3 Ways to Add Hearts to Doll Clothes for Valentine's Day

Doll clothes dress for Valentine's day with applique hearts by valspierssews

  • It is always fun to make themed outfits for your 18" dolls.
  • Hearts are perfect because they are not just for Valentine's Day.
  • 3 ways you can add some heart to your doll clothes sewing.

Dress ups is fun for girls and their dolls

A really quick and easy way to comply with themed days is to add applique to either existing doll clothes or make something simple like a dress or skirt or t-shirt to put the applique on.
I love hearts! They are so simple to draw and there are lots of ways to arrange them to create your own unique outfits. They go well on girls' clothes too.

This dress has applique hearts that I cut out with the pinking shears. I had some little bows that I thought looked cute.

Hearts for a doll clothes dress for valentines Day

I have been working on a jacket with binding around the edges so I made a practice one that went with the dress.

You can use the raw edge applique method, also called fusible web applique to apply cute images from patterned fabric to your garments. When you are making doll clothes that won't be washed much you can get away with not stitching the applique on at all. the fusible web holds is without fraying really well. That's what makes it so good for using on garments you already have made up.

If you have never done raw edge applique before this you tube video gives you the basics.

You can download a heart shape from lots of web sites. Here is a search I did on Pinterest.

Dolls and hearts go together really well - Not just for Valentine's Day

Pink is so nice on any doll and hearts are cute and girly.
I used flannelette with hearts on for these wonderful winter pyjamas.

And this heart fabric is perfect for the stand out lining on this little jacket made from my Bolero Series. I think it would have gone well with the dress I just made but I no longer have this jacket.

Ways to add hearts to your doll clothes

Using fusible applique to add hearts to your doll clothes is pretty simple but as you can see in the examples above there are lots of beautiful heart fabrics to make an outfit. The fabric speaks for itself.

Another really simple way to add to a new dress or an old outfit is to use heart shaped buttons. Like applique you can apply the buttons to finished garments without much trouble.

I love how the heart buttons provide some wow factor to this simple contrast add-on bib style yoke.
This dress is from 1804a Add-on Bibs. You add the bibs to the bodice of 1804.

The heart dress I made using 1804 18" Round Neck Dress. 1804 has different sleeves, different collars and different skirt lengths all in one pattern. You can get it from my Etsy Shop or from my Aussie Shop - GST free for my Australian and NZ customers.

Happy Doll Dressmaking,