Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dress Makover

I have been working on this dress to give it this great new look.

I was never really happy with the dress I made as a sample in my Snugfit Carol pattern. At the time I couldn't work out what to do to make it work. It fit perfectly but it just didn't look right.

While I was updating my Anatomy of a Gathered Skirt file I suddenly realized that it was the length of the skirt that was the problem. (I don't think she thinks much of her little homemade felt shoes either.)


I have now concluded that 6" is not a good length for any skirts or dresses. They need to be 5 1/2" or 7" to 7 1/2" but not in between. This one is now 5 1/2" long or just at the middle of the knee cap. The old one is 6" long. I think it makes a big difference.

I have been making lots of cute self fabric belts lately and thought one would be just right for this outfit.

To make a belt for 3/8" slide buckle cut a 15" strip 1 1/2" wide and fold it to make single fold binding so it is 3/8" wide. Fold in one end then stitch all around. Loop the raw edge end over the buckle bar, check the fit on the doll, then stitch across. Trim the raw edge with pinking shears.

Download "Anatomy of a Gathered Skirt" for all the basics on making gathered skirts for 18" dolls.

Happy Sewing,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Free Doll Size Pattern Envelopes for American Girl Dolls

I make these envelopes to go with my patterns. I include a normal size envelope to cut out and make to keep your pattern pieces safe and there is an identical doll sized pattern envelope.
You can make some little tissue paper pattern pieces and have a sewing corner in your doll house.

You can follow my Doll Designs blog by email or Click here to go and like my Facebook Page.
Visit my Craftsy Shop for my patterns.
Great Price. Perfect Fit. Easy to Read. Innovative.

I am busy adding to the pattern collections. Even with the small number of patterns I have available you can start to build your own designs. Soon you will be able to choose the sleeve style, neckline, collar shape, skirt shape or bodice shape and combine them to make your own designs.

Here are six doll sized envelopes to download. You cut them out, fold them and sticky tape along the side.

Doll sized pattern envelopes Page 1
Doll sized pattern envelopes Page 2

Happy Sewing,

Friday, February 20, 2015

Lots of Free Classes on Craftsy

It is always a good time to join Craftsy.
But for a few days if you join through my affiliate links below I get a small commission.

I love to sell my doll clothes patterns on Craftsy because Craftsy have no listing fees and charge no commission for selling.

After you have clicked one of the links below and joined up Craftsy you can explore all the free classes in lots of different categories. Don't forget to have a look at my doll clothes patterns. Search for valspierssews in patterns in the sewing category.

eGuide: Understanding Exposure for Better Photos Now: Beginner Photography Tutorials
Cake Decorating
eGuide: Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas
Food & Cooking
eGuide: Delicious Doughnut Recipes You Can Make at Home
Paper Crafts
eGuide: 6+ Stash-Busting Paper Craft Projects
eGuide: Drawing the Human Face: A Primer
eGuide: Beginner's Guide to the World of Watercolor
eGuide: Success With Container Gardening
eGuide: Woodturning Basics for Beginners

Gotta Love Craftsy,

Friday, February 13, 2015

Roll up Sleeve with a Tab. Tutorial for my shirt pattern.

I have been updating parts of my Snugfit Elaine Open Neck Blouse pattern and wanted to try another way to make the roll up sleeve. I wanted to make it so you wouldn't see any seams when you rolled up the sleeve. Extra sleeve pattern pieces are now included in the purchased pattern.

I also tried out my pointed pocket pattern.
I used the pattern pieces from DD 1406 Snugfit Elaine to make this shirt.
There is a link to this tutorial in the pattern you purchase.

A note about machine needles.
Before trying to topstitch my pocket or the tab, I put in a new machine needle. I normally sew with a universal size 80 but for the tiny pieces I use a sharp needle size 75. I do have some Sharps but only in size 80 and 70 so I used a Quilting needle because they are also sharp.

If you want a pocket you should put it on before stitching the shoulder seams. I always forget and have to do it with the shirt half finished. (I should follow my own instructions!)
Fiddly but worth the effort even if you don't get it perfect.

Here's the pocket since you should do that before the sleeves.

I cut one main and one contrast (for one pocket)
Put them right sides together and stitch with a 1/8" seam leaving most of one straight side open for turning. I folded both seam allowances away from the gap and pressed them before turning.

Carefully push out the corners and point and press. Fold the flap down and stitch across the top edge then across the point edge, back stitching at each of the ends.

I placed the pattern piece under my shirt front and I could see the pocket placement outline through the fabric. Pin the pocket in place. Stitch around the sides and bottom.

For the tab sleeves.
Put in the upper sleeve but don't sew the side seam. See Pattern instructions View 2 Sleeves.

A note about little pleats in your sleeve seam.

It is hard to get the sleeve seam smooth. You need to use your left hand between the fabric layers to move the shirt as you sew, pushing it away from you to straighten it out.
If you do get a pleat...

Snip the stitch holding the pleat and a few either side. Smooth out the pleat and restitch just that section. Back stitch at each end of your stitching.

Make the tabs. See Pattern instructions View 2 Sleeves.

Cut the tabs from contrast fabric. (I used one main and one contrast because I had already cut one out of the main fabric before I decided to use a contrast.)

For this method you need to trim the tab to 2" on the straight side.



Press the lower sleeve in half.
Turn under 1/4" on one long side of the lower sleeve.

Pin the tab on the wrong side of the upper sleeve in the centre.

Turn it over and pin the lower sleeve on top. Right sides together.

Stitch, then press the seam towards the lower sleeve.

Pin the sleeve and side seams right sides together and stitch.

Press the seam open.

Fold the lower sleeve in half so the turned in edge covers the seam. Hand stitch it in place.

Turn the shirt right side out.
Fold up the cuff once just a 1/4" from the seam line. Press.

Fold it over again so the seam line is hidden. Fold the tab over and pin in place.

Sew a button on the tab.

So cute!

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Designing an Apron

I really like aprons and there are so many pretty ones to make.
I collect pictures on Pinterest then I go through them and decide which ones might have similar construction methods. I thought some basic gathered skirt aprons might be a good place to start.

I set up my iPad and draw some designs first.

I now have a pretty good idea of how long and how wide to make things so my next step is to go over the drawings in pen so I can scan them into the computer.

I have to take my computer to the printer on the office desk.

I wasn't sure what number this would be so I used 14xx to start with. I knew it was going to be part of my Snugfit range so the first number is 14. You can see my Etsy shop in the background.

While I was doing this my DH was playing with the Klik n Cut. There is a lot of learning to do to make it work for us. He is watching a video on how to emboss aluminium foil.

After scanning in my drawings I vectorise them in Illustrator then print them out and use them to make my samples. If I need to make changes I draw it on the pattern pieces or trace them again onto paper for scanning again.

I think this first one is turning out rather cute.

It is view 1 of maybe 4 that I plan to put into one pattern to publish.

As well as playing with the aprons I am busy updating my Snugfit Elaine Open neck Blouse pattern. There are just a few tweeks required to make it closer to perfect.
I made this cute shirt by following my own instructions so I could check they still make sense long after I wrote them. Checking, improving and updating is one of the things I want to do with my patterns.

Look out for my apron collection in Craftsy soon.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, February 6, 2015

Valentines Doll Apron

I found the perfect modern fabric for this cute vintage apron. Lots of yummy sweet things and a fussy cut cake on the bib.

It has clear instructions with photos.
There is the useful full sized pattern envelope to make and  folder divider page along with great fitting vector drawn pattern pieces.

The landscape format is made for the iPad but also looks great on a regular computer.

My patterns are priced with the hobby sewer in mind. I hate paying more for the pattern than the fabric.

Check out all my patterns so far on Craftsy
The apron is pattern 1819.

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Organising my Doll Clothes Patterns

This blog post contains affiliate links.

When I started designing I just had one folder. Now that my collections are growing I need more folders and I need to know where to lay my hand on that great idea I was working on or exactly where to put away a pattern envelope that I had out.

I used my Covers and Spines collection from my Mom's Toolbelt downloads the Swirly look. Everything looks so neat now and it only took me 15mins to do. The PDF file has text boxes that allow you to write your own titles as well as lots of ready made titles for the months and the days.

Inside the folders I have my own divider pages and pattern envelopes to keep things organised.

These come ready to print out in all the patterns that I sell.

I have been working on a cute apron today and I have all the paper bits in my ideas folder so I won't lose any of my original drawings. Once I get the envelope and divider page done the finished paper pattern pieces will go into the Doll Designs Mini Folder.

Can't wait to get the apron pattern out there. Should be this week.
Have a look at Mom's Toolbelt. She also has some free samples.

Happy Sewing,