Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Designing Doll Clothes - AGD Fashion Sweater

I have a huge collection of pins to browse through when I feel like designing something new for the doll. The images include paper dolls, celebrities, wardrobe capsules, historical outfits, runway fashions and more.

When I want to just play I will look for something that I could probably make from pattern pieces I already have.

This cute sweatshirt, skirt and leggings is perfect. I can easily make the skirt and leggings. I just need to tweek the Sweatshirt pattern 1820 to make the ruffles.
Source: Morpheus Boutique

I use my drawn to scale cardboard doll to make an outline. I then draw the outfit. By looking at the picture I guess that the ruffles start just below the waist and the shirt finished just above the hips. The skirt is mid thigh. The straight hem in the middle of the shirt at the front is about as wide as the hip bones.

I get out my pieces for the front, back and sleeves of the sweatshirt. I check the hem length of the front. It needs to fall 1/4" below the desired length. I want it to be just above the widest part of the hips.

I cut out pieces and drew up the ruffle. I tried a few things before sewing it all together. I had to make the ruffle a bit bigger but now think that maybe it is gathered up a bit too much. I have included the ruffle that I used but I will probably cut off a 1/2" next time.

Putting it together.
Fashion File 17 - Ruffle Sweat Shirt

Using pattern 1820 Knitfit Penny for the top and 1813 Snugfit Mildred with FF 6 for the leggings and the free skirt tutorial. How to sew the sweat shirt is covered in detail in pattern 1820.

Use the front and back pieces and the ruffle included with the PDF version, plus the sleeve from 1820. Cut from sweatshirt fleece.

Bands cut from ribbing
  • Neck band is 1” x 21 1/2”
  • Cuff at wrist is 1 1/2” x 4”

(I didn’t remember to cut the cuff bands wider as in the design. Next time I will make them 2” wide.)

Stitch all the seams with a narrow zig zag stitch.
Stitch the shoulder seams.
Put on the neck band. Top stitch close to the seam.
Put the cuffs on the sleeves. Top stitch close to the seam.
Put in the sleeves.
Stitch the side seams.

Overlock the bottom hem edges.

Hem the straight edge of the ruffle. Stitch two rows of gathering stitch on the curved edge starting and finishing  the 1/4” row right at the point of the hem.

Pin it to the bodice so the point of the hem is 1/4” above the raw edge of the bodice hem.
Stitch. Press the seam up and the ruffle down. Top stitch close to the seam.

Fold under the bottom hem edges and stitch level with the ruffle.
Press the ruffles flat.

Fold the back facing in 1/2” and stitch in place.
Add 3 velcro patches to the back.

I wanted to put something on the front of the sweat shirt like the original. I found an image with a few lines. I drew it first in air erasable fabric marker to get it right then went over it in permanent, instant dry, waterproof marker. 

Make the leggings.
I used black lycra. I had my 1813 View 4 pants pieces stuck together so I measured 1 1/4” either side of the join and made a big pleat. 
I didn’t want the leggings to be really tight. Normally I would take off 1/1/2” from each side of the join when using lycra but I only took of 1 1/4”. 
I also wanted them to sit on her hips so I cut off 2 1/8” from the waist edge. 
I cut a 10” x 1 1/2” strip of lycra for the waist band. 
Because it all has to stretch quite a bit when I did the top stitching and hems I used a very narrow zig zag to allow some stretch.

Make the skirt.
The skirt a made from a strip 10” x 3 1/2” and a waist band of the same lycra, 10” x 1 1/2”.

I will make it again with the 1801 pattern for fine knits. I will trace the ruffle cut outs and length onto the front and back pieces 1 and 2 of 1801. Also take it in at the side seam. The plan is to make it in fleece so it comes out much tighter fitting. I will probably use the sweat shirt sleeves still. I don’t want them to look too tight.

To make this outfit I used:
1820 Knitfit Penny Bulky Knit Sweatshirt sleeves $2.50 on Etsy
1813 Snugfit Mildred Gathered Pull-ons . The associated Fashion File 6 for making leggings comes with it on Etsy.
The skirt is from my tutorial.

The instructions for the ruffle sweater and the back, front and ruffle patterns can be downloaded in this mainly print PDF.

I had to do a small edit in the PDF for the Ski Pyjamas. If you downloaded it before 24th Aug 2015 you should download it again.

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How To Make Ski Pyjamas for your American Girl Doll

I love creating new doll clothes from the patterns I have. You can save buying lots of new patterns if you want to have a go. 
If making changes to patterns is not your thing you can buy the pattern for these cute ski pyjamas in my Etsy shop. 
I bought a winter nightie from the children's department of K-mart and made my latest version of the ski pyjamas. These ones I made with the new pattern.

You can get the pattern in my Etsy shop

This is one of the patterns from past months of the VIP Membership 

valspierssews doll clothes patterns

valspiersssews doll clothes patterns

The pink ski pyjamas are made from a pattern for gathered pull-on trousers and a long sleeve t-shirt pattern. 
You can use this turtleneck pattern from my shop

and this trousers pattern

I describe what I did to create the ski pyjamas from these 2 patterns.

While drafting new patterns from my basic slopers I find myself thinking about outfits I could make with hardly any changes to the pieces in patterns I have already published.

Sometimes they just need a few tweeks like making a piece shorter or narrower. I have been experimenting a fair bit with ribbing bands and have found that the look of a garment depends so much on getting the bands the right width and tightness.

Here I have have made some cute ski pyjamas for my doll using my T-shirt pattern 1801 Classic Knit Tops and my pull on pants pattern 1813 Gathered Pull-ons.

Using pieces 1, 2 and 4 from 1801 Module 2 and the bands listed below.

  • Neck band is 1” x 7 1/2”
  • Cuff at wrist is 1 1/2” x 4”
  • Waist band is 2” x 13 1/2”

Stitch all the seams with a narrow zig zag stitch.
Stitch the shoulder seams.
Put on the neck band.
Put the cuffs on the sleeves.
Put in the sleeves.
Stitch the side seams.

Add the bottom band. Make sure 13 1/2” gives you the right amount of stretch. It depends on your particular ribbing how long you need to make it. You want it to gather up the bodice a bit after you sew it and it tends to all stretch a bit a s you sew. It is probably better to over stretch a bit than to under stretch. Also, the beauty of stitching with just a zig zag rather than a serger means you can unpick to adjust the band if you don’t like the way it sits.

Match the centre of band and bodice.

 I decided to take off another 1/4” at each end making it 13” altogether.

Stretch the band. Hold it with one hand and pin it with the other

This shows how my ribbing just gathers the bodice a bit.

Top stitch close to the seam. I use the little notch in my machine foot to keep it even 1/16" from the seam.

Fold the back facing in 1/2” and stitch in pace.
Add 3 velcro patches to the back.

Using pieces for the boxer shorts view 4 from 1813 Gathered Pull-ons

  • Cuff at ankle is 2” x 4 1/2”

With your boxer pieces taped together.
Fold up the hemline to the short longs length.

Measure 1 1/2” from the join to one side and rule a line down.

Crease along this line then fold it to the join line to make a pleat. Pin the pleat in place.

This makes the PJ pants tighter than boxers but not as tight as leggings.
Cut out two of these narrower pieces. Remember to put a pin on the back edge of each piece.

Put the cuffs on the ankles.
Stitch the inseam of each leg.
Put one leg inside the other so they are right sides together. Stitch the crotch seam from the front to just past the inseam.

If you are using 1/2” elastic fold the casing over 3/4” and stitch close to the edge first then again 1/8” from the fold. 

I didn't overlock the edge this time. I think I like the overlocked edge more, because it adds some firmness to the casing.

Insert the elastic with a safety pin. Stitch across each end. Finish the back seam.

If you are using 1/4” elastic trim off the waist edge by 5/8” first. Fold the casing over a 1/2”. I used 1/4" elastic this time.
Put the legs inside each other again and finish the back seam. Stitch across the open seam to hold it flat at the waist.

You can download a text mainly PDF of this tutorial here. Print it out and keep it with your pattern pieces.

Happy Doll Dressmaking,

Sunday, August 16, 2015

How to Make a Pleated Skirt for your American Girl Doll

Pleated skirts look so beautiful but I hate trying to make the pleats using the pattern sheet that has all those arrows and it is just so long! I needed a method that made it easy for me. So I invented a method. Maybe it is not new but I thought of it myself so I am calling it mine.

The pull on skirt with a yoke is an old idea used a lot in children's clothes and perfect for doll clothes. I plan to make a 6 gore skirt and a circle skirt using the same yoke. A little more drafting involved with that so they will go into my shop.

So, the pleated skirt.
Cut a strip  2 1/4" wide and 12 1/2" long for the yoke. Cut it on the bias if you are using a plaid.
I made a paper pattern piece for the yoke.

Cut a strip 4" wide and 28" long for the pleats. These pleats are 1/2" with 1" between.

The pleats fit on 26” but 28” gives me peace of mind. You don’t want to spend lots of time making pleats only to find your skirt is 1/2” shorter than the waist band. 

1/4” pleats with 1/2” between also fit on 28”. To make these pleats pin every inch and press the fold every inch. On your ruler, line up the pressed fold with a marking and pleat it to the next 1/2” mark. Pin. Keep pleating.
1/2" pleats with 1/2" between takes 38". 38 " will be a bit longer than you need but you know why I do that. Put your pins 1 1/2" apart to start and press at each pin. Make the pleats same as below. They will just be closer together.

Overlock the hem edge of the pleat strip and turn up a 1/4" hem.

Get out your 1” imperial ruler or your cutting mat or print off some 1/2” graph paper.
For these pleats I would use the 1/2” graph paper and just quickly mark every two inches along a line.

Place your pleat strip right side up with the hem at the bottom. Put a pin in the centre of your pleat strip.
Moving to the right place a pin each 2”.

Place your strip on the ironing board wrong side up. Fold the end towards you and press a crease at the first pin. Make sure the hem edges and waist edges align to get your pleat square. You can take out the pins as you press.

Fold at the next pin and press and so on.

Place your pleat strip back on the ruler so the pressed folds line up with an inch mark. Fold  the pressed fold over to the next inch mark on the right and pin in place. Line up the next pressed fold and pleat. Work to the end.

Stitch across the tops of the pleats along the 1/4” seam allowance.
Press the pleats again.

Pleating the second half.
Place the pleat strip on the ruler again right side up and pin every 2” from the centre, to the left this time.

Lie it on the ironing board wrong side up with the pins to the left. Fold the top end towards you and press the fold at the first pin. Continue folding the strip towards you pressing at each pin marker.

Back to the ruler and line up the fold with the inch mark and fold it to the right to the next inch mark. Pin.

Stitch across the tops and press again.

Waist band
Overlock one long edge of the waist band. Press it over 1/2”. If you want turn the edge under 1/4" instead of overlocking you will have to cut the waist band 3/8" wider. You only need a 1/4" trun but the extra folding takes up more than that so you have to cut the band 3/8" wider.

With matching thread in the top and bottom, stitch on the wrong side close to the overlocked edge.
On the right side stitch again 1/8” from the fold to make a casing.

Place the waist band on the skirt right sides together and line up the waist band so the pleats fit with at least a 1/4” seam allowance on each end. 

Stitch the skirt to the waist band with a 1/4”seam. Press the waist band up and the seam down. 
Top stitch close to the seam on the waist band side.

Trim off the ends.

Measure off 10 1/2” of 1/4” elastic. Thread it through the casing with a safety pin. Pin the end before it slips through. Keep threading and pin the other end. Stitch across the ends just to hold the elastic while you stitch the back seam.

With right sides together stitch the back with a 1/4” seam. Open the seam at the waist and stitch across it to make it lie flat. Press the seam open.

Team it with blouses or a t-shirt all made from 1802 Snugfit Anna. $2.50 on Craftsy or Etsy.

Make a cute turtle neck, cardigan or even a vest all from 1801 Knitfit Lucy $2.50 on Craftsy or Etsy.

This pleat method is so easy to do. Once you have that first fold pressed the rest just falls into place.

If you want to keep up with what I am making Like me on Facebook. I put links to my blog posts on my Facebook page.

Download a text mainly PDF of this tutorial.

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Maxi Dress: Fashion File 14 American Girl Doll Clothes

I have lots of knit fabrics to play with now so I started to look at what I could make with my knitfit patterns.

I quickly made up this maxi dress using the tank top pattern pieces from 1801 Knitfit Lucy Classic Skivvy.

I placed them on a double layer of fabric with the front on the fold, with the hems level and the pieces abut 2” apart. I measured 14” from the shoulder and cut straight across for the hem. 

Cut the sides adding just a tiny bit more slope to the side seam angle.

Cut out the rest.

I knew that  1806 Snugfit Elaine Open Neck Blouse had a piece that shaped in at the waist so I used that to shape the waist in the right place on the maxi.

Using a narrow zig zag stitch and stretch needle stitch the shoulder seams. Turn under 1/4” hem on the neck and arm holes. Stitch with a narrow zig zag. Matching thread in the bobbin.

Stitch the side seams with a narrow zig zag.

Turn up a 3/8” hem. I overlocked the hem edge first.

Turn in the back facing and stitch down with  a straight stitch.

Add velcro patches down the back. Three patches set a bit further apart than for a blouse so her bottom doesn’t show in back.

I thought it looked a bit plain so I stitch a little bit of 1/8” elastic down the front to give it some definition.

If you have a free tank top pattern from somewhere you could probably make it into a maxi dress like this. If you purchase my pattern for $2.50 on CRAFTSY or ETSY you get the skivvy/rollneck sweater, the high neck, the t-shirt crew neck the tank top and the crop top as well as long sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, short sleeves and cap sleeves. Using Fashion File 12 you can also make a cardigan and using Fashion File 13 you can make a plain hemmed t-shirt.

If you like the look of the red cardigan worn with the maxi dress keep an eye out for the Fashion File on how to make a waterfall cardigan from the skivvy pattern pieces. I just have to get the bottom hem right before I publish it. It is just a matter of drawing two angled lines on the bodice front. So easy. 

By all means pin a picture from this post so you can find it later. It also helps others find my great patterns and design ideas.

Better still, download the fashion file as a PDF and file it with your other doll clothes patterns. I have kept it really short and sweet so it can also be printed out if you prefer to keep it in your hard copy pattern folder. I have included a link to my blog in the PDF so you can find this post again for more details.

Happy Sewing,