Monday, September 28, 2015

Jarryd Hayne 38 Jersey for American Girl Doll - A Tutorial

valspierssews doll clothes
Doll clothes allow so much creativity.
I had a lot of fun making this.
This is Fashion File 18 - a 38 jersey made using 1820 Knitfit Penny - Bulky Knit Sweater doll clothes pattern.

Jarryd Hayne is very popular in Australia and seems to be very popular in the US too. I watched some of the match early this morning and saw Hayne a couple of times. He didn't get much play time but it was great that he set up the chance for San Francisco to score.

I decided to make up a 38 number to put on my doll's jersey. I haven't tried to do the shoulder pad seams and I think they might have 3 stripes on their sleeve but I went with 2 because that seems to be all you can see most of the time.
I wasn't sure whether to make a nightie or a jersey but I went with the jersey this time. I think a red nightie with white numbers and big floppy elbow length short sleeves would look good. I have been watching my MacMillan and Wife DVD's and Sally has a red nightie with 18 on it that I like. I will just use 38 instead.

OK. To the pattern.
I used my bulky knit sweater pattern. I use the divider pages to file.

valspierssews doll clothes

The envelope is behind the divider page. (You cut out and tape the envelope together. It comes with the pattern.)

valspierssews doll clothes

I keep the envelope on my desk while I am using the pattern pieces.

valspierssews doll clothes


Getting Started

You will need a loose fitting sweatshirt pattern like 1820 Knitfit Penny.
I cut out the low neck front and the low neck back.

valspierssews doll clothes

I cut the sleeve with the short sleeve cutting line on the fold because I am going to gather up the hem the way it looks on the players. The fold is parallel to the stretch.

valspierssews doll clothes

To make a V neck cut off a bit of the neckline in front. You can put a mark about 1/2" down the centre front if you need to measure before cutting.

valspierssews doll clothes

valspierssews doll clothes

valspierssews doll clothes

Trace the reversed 38 onto your applique paper and iron it onto some red fabric. Cut it out and iron it onto the front of the jersey.

valspierssews doll clothes

valspierssews doll clothes


I don't have a pattern for the V neck band so I stitched the shoulders together and measured the neckline. My neckband is two strips 5 1/2" x 1 1/4".

I placed the numbers 1" below the point of the V and 1/8" either side of the centre front. They melted on pretty good so I am not going to sew around them at all. I just used some red polycotton for the applique. It is quite light but all I had.


  • Stitch the shoulder seams.
  • Pin the neck band pieces in half. Line up the ends at right angles and stitch a v to hold them.
valspierssews doll clothes

  • Put a dot where the seam allowances cross at the point.
  • Put a dot on the seam allowance at the centre front. Snip to the dot.
valspierssews doll clothes

  • Pin one side of the neck in place stretching to fit from the snip to the back edge. I stitch with the bodice facing up so I can see where the snip is. Stitch with a narrow zig zag.
valspierssews doll clothes


valspierssews doll clothes

valspierssews doll clothes

  • Pin the other half of the neck band on and stitch. I had to unpick a bit at the centre front to get the V just right. It is a bit fiddly.
valspierssews doll clothes

  • Top stitch close to the seam on the right side.
valspierssews doll clothes



Sleeves

  • Pin the top to secure the double layer.
  • Stitch 1/8" from the fold then 3/8" from the fold to get a 1/4" elastic casing.
valspierssews doll clothes

  • You nee 4 x 6" pieces of 3mm or 1/8" ribbon. Stitch two rows of narrow red ribbon on the sleeve. One on the second casing row and one just above it.
valspierssews doll clothes

  • Insert 5" length of 3mm or 1/8" elastic using a safety pin. Secure with back stitching at each end.
valspierssews doll clothes

  • Stitch in the sleeves and stitch the side seams. Because the sleeves are a double layer I off set the sleeve seams at the underarm so it wouldn't be too thick.

Finishing


  • Overlock the hem.
  • Turn up a 3/8" hem.
  • Turn in the back facings 1/2" and stitch.
  • Add velcro to the back. I space 3 small pieces of hook and loop down the back.


It looks so cute!

valspierssews doll clothes


Download the free PDF tutorial with applique number now.

Buy 1820 Knitfit Penny - Bulky Knit Sweater on Etsy now.

Get the pleated skirt pattern and tutorial for free.

Happy Sewing,
Val


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Listening to My Customers

iPad friendly instructions
My photo tutorials are made for the screen
I love iPad friendly sewing instructions.

Great page layout.

iPad friendly instructions

Easy to zoom in.

iPad friendly instructions

Great for storage.

iPad friendly instructions

I have signed up for the Etsy Holiday Boot Camp 2015 and have been exploring my target audience this week. It is always good to think about why you are selling and who you are selling to.

When I started up my shop I had a very specific audience in mind - someone like me!

The point of my shop was to share my patterns with like minded people.

My original audience looked like this:

  • Likes to sew
  • Wants a variety of 18" or 20" doll clothes
  • Wants a low price but doesn't what to sacrifice quality
  • Has a computer or iPad in the sewing room
  • Wants detailed instructions that are computer and iPad friendly
  • Doesn't want to print out instruction pages
No surprise that doll clothes makers are generally not looking for iPad friendly instructions. Many seemed to have a preconceived idea that instructions are made to be printed out and filed somewhere.
Hence the feed back that 'There are too many pages to print' or 'The pages don't print properly' or 'It looks too complicated'. I think this last comment was because there are so many pages in the photo tutorial - I love open space.

I never intended the photo tutorial of many pages and lots of open space to be printed. The colour scheme is not made for printing and the file is too large for many printers to handle. Printers usually upload all the data before trying to print it and if your printer doesn't have enough memory to deal with 10MB you end up with half pages or only some pages being printed.

So I am listening. I really want to share my patterns so I have been working on a format that more people are happy with.

First of all I put the text from the photo tutorial into a text only format. This still took up too many pages so I have had to summarise a bit and leave out some of the extra details. I have added this to some of my patterns and I am still working on improving the look of it.

Secondly, I have created a Pictorial Tutorial. 2 or 3 pages of diagrams to show the steps with minimal words. Not everyone is into words like I am. Diagrams are very concise - a picture tells a thousand words type of thing. I thought it might also make the patterns more child friendly.

Thirdly, I have divided the pattern into 4 separate files so there is no confusion about what can be printed. 
  1. The photo tutorial
  2. The text only pages
  3. The pictorial tutorial
  4. The pattern pieces and extras
Do any of my patterns look like this yet? No. Not yet, but I am working on it.

The first one to get the make over will be 1804 Snugfit Carol - a Round Neck Dress.

Some of my patterns have some of these features already but not completely. 1801 Knitfit Lucy - a Collection of Classic Knit Tops has the text only pages and the pictorial tutorial but the files are not divided up.

1801 doll clothes pattern sample pages
1801 has the photo tutorial, the text only and the pictorial tutorial
as well as vector drawn pattern pieces.
It will take some time to get all the instructions up to speed. The pattern pieces haven't changed. They already fit great and look good.

I don't like to spend all my time on the computer so in between I am working on more patterns. At present it is the 20" Australian Girl Doll version of the knit tops. 2001 Knitfit Lucy.

Australian Girl Doll in her new skivvy

Happy Sewing,
Val

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Quick and Easy Ways to Improve the Look and SEO of Your Craft Blog - Part 3

valspierssews doll clothes Etsy mini
My new Doll Clothes Pattern Shop page looks great

I am slowly looking at ways to improve the rating of my doll clothes pattern blog in google search. I am not too concerned because I have noticed that my Google+ posts are on the first page of the search for 'doll clothes' in Google. Not ideal, because not everyone is happy with google+ but pretty good for getting people to see that I exist.

I am hoping that in a week or two my blog web page will also show up. I believe it takes time for the bots to calculate that you are an authentic site with useful content.

Yesterday I saw that someone had a shop page with all their Etsy products set out just like in Etsy. How did they do this?

Simple. There is an Etsy widget that sets it up for you with just 2 lines of code.

Get the Etsy widget

Go to 'Your Shop' 'Promote' 'Etsy Mini' and set up the appearance. Copy the code.

How I set up my own doll clothes pattern shop page


  1. I started a 'new page' in my blog. 
  2. Named it Pattern Shop.
  3. Clicked on the HTML tab and pasted the code on the line after the few bits of code that were already there.
  4. Click the public box for the new page
  5. Edit the pages section in your layout to put it in the right order.
If you have any trouble using blogger to do this you can contact me with questions. I will do my best to explain.

Check out my Pattern Shop page !

Other small changes I have made to my blog are to put my profile at the top of the side bar and include a popular posts widget.

Working on the SEO

  • I have been deliberately including the key words doll clothes right at the beginning of each post and through the post in as natural a way as possible.
  • I write a search description using my key words.
  • I name all m photo files with valspierssews doll clothes at the beginning of the name.
  • I include a Title and alt txt for all my photos.
  • I include a caption with key words for my photos.
This all take time but it also gets quicker and easier the more you do it.
Also see:

Related Links


Happy Sewing,
Val

Monday, September 21, 2015

Updated File for Doll Clothes Pattern 1801

american girl doll clothes tank top
Doll Clothes Tank Top
View 4 in pattern 1801 Knitfit Lucy - A Collection of Basic Knit Tops

Doll clothes collection of knit tops for American Girl Dolls
View 1 of 1801 Knitfit Lucy - A Collections of Basic Knit Tops
Essential for all doll clothes wardrobes

The update is done!
I have reworked all the samples and made improvements to the pattern pieces and the instruction format.

valspierssews doll clothes
Photo tutorial, Vector drawn patterns, pictorial tutorial for printing.

New Pictorial Tutorial!

I love lots of information, lots of pictures or photos and lots of open space. Not everyone loves this so I have included a Pictorial Tutorial with line drawings of the sewing steps with just enough text to explain.

It is printer friendly and only 5 pages. 

Improved Pattern Pieces

  • Cutting lines for Slim Fit and Relaxed Fit
  • Cutting lines for the Waistline, High Waistline, Short, Mid and Longer line hems
  • Improved collar and ribbing fit.
I have also worked on the photo tutorial steps to make the format easier to follow. I have included lots of ideas for variations as well as links to existing Fashion Files.

doll clothes pattern variation
Baby doll dress variation on the crop top

This pattern is great value. All 4 views seem to be available as separate patterns by other designers at a cost for each pattern. I found that it was easy to add some extra lines to the basic pattern pieces in order to make the skivvy, the t-shirt, the crop top and the tank top. 

But these are just the basic variations. The pattern pieces can also be used to make cardigans and dresses. Look up my Fashion Files for ideas on how to get the most from a pattern. Fashion Files are Free Tutorials on how to get the most out of a purchased pattern.

Buy it now doll clothes pattern

Buy it now on Etsy for $2.50 USD

Related Links: 

Happy Sewing,
Val

Saturday, September 19, 2015

How to Sew Doll Clothes - Binding a Tank Top

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
American Girl Tank Top from valspierssews Collection of Basic Knit Tops
1801 Knitfit Lucy

Every time I think I am finished with my collection of basic knit tops doll clothes pattern I find something else that I need to try out.

The tank top was meant to be straight forward but I realised that there were several ways to add binding to the neck and armholes and I had to test out each one. Each binding is made from the same type of fabric as the tank top.

  1. Double Fold Binding 
  2. Single Fold Binding
  3. Easy Fold Binding

Double Fold Binding

This is like quilt binding. You fold the binding in half and stitch it onto the wrong side with a 1/8" seam allowance. Press it flat then fold the binding to the front so it covers the seam allowance. Stitch it with a straight stitch close to the seam. I used a 1 1/8" wide strip.

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
Fold the binding n half and pin to wrong side of top

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
Fold to right side and stitch down enclosing the seam allowance

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
Doesn't look to bad.
Pros:
  • Looks good
  • The folding process is easy
  • Gives a neat finish to the inside
  • Gives a nice firm edge.
Cons:
  • More bulky than the other methods
  • The 1/8" seam is a bit tricky to stitch.

Single Fold Binding

This is like regular bias binding. You fold and press it in half lengthwise. Open it out and stitch it to the wrong side with a 1/4" seam. Press it flat over the seam allowance. Fold in 1/4" then fold the binding over the seam allowance. Stitch it close to the fold with a straight stitch. I used a 1 1/4" wide strip.

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
Stitch with a narrow zig zag right side down on the wrong side of the top.

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
Fold in the raw edge then fold over the seam allowance.

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
Just the neck band is done using the Single Fold Method
Pros:
  • Looks good
  • Gives a neat finish to the inside
Cons:
  • The folding process is a bit tricky because you have to fold it over twice.


Easy Fold Binding

I didn't know what this one was really called but easy fold seemed to make sense compared to the other two methods. Place the strip and tank top right sides together and stitch with a 1/4" seam. Press the binding up over the seam allowance. Fold it to the back checking that the raw edge goes past the stitching line and pin it on the front. Stitch on the front with a straight stitch close to the seam line. I used a 1" wide strip for this method.

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
Stitch with narrow zig zag right sides together

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
Fold the binding to the back and stitch on the front

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
Raw edge on the back
American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top
Only the armhole binding is done with the Easy Fold Method

Pros:
  • Looks very neat and flat on the outside
  • Very easy to do.
Cons:
  • Gives a raw edge on the inside

My Conclusion

If you want to make lots of tank tops for your doll method 3 Easy Fold Binding is by far the best method to use.

If you have to have a neat finish on the inside methods 1 or 2 are good.
If you want to use woven bias binding as a contrast then method 2 Single Fold Binding is probably best.

What do you  think? Do you have a favourite method? Maybe even a different method!
Leave a comment with your thoughts.

American Girl Doll Clothes Tank Top

Happy Sewing,
Val

Craftsy Sale and Giveaway - Last Days

Craftsy Sale and Giveaway


Craftsy sale on bag making classes and supplies

Craftsy is a great place for me to sell my doll clothes patterns. There are no fees or commission. Because of this they ask their affiliate members to spread the word about the Craftsy online store.

This post has affiliate links.

Craftsy is hosting a supplies giveaway on their blog where a lucky winner will receive a mystery box full of supplies from the category of their choice (art, cake/baking, sewing, quilting, knitting or crocheting) and a class of their choice.
The last day for you to enter is 9/30/15 @11:59pm MT. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.

If you would like to enter this giveaway, please use the following link!

Craftsy supplies giveaway.

Special Offer on Classes and Supplies at Craftsy


Special Offer: Craftsy is offering deals on select themes of classes & supplies. Included themes are mixed media paper crafts, figure & portrait art, knitting colorwork, big quilts, sugarflowers and bag sewing. 

Duration: 2 days, 9/19 - 9/20 @11:59pm MT

Bag Sewing

Big Quilts

Knitting Colourwork

Figure & Portrait Art

Sugarflowers

Media Paper Crafts

Happy Sewing,
Val

Friday, September 18, 2015

Quick and Easy Ways to Improve the Look and SEO of Your Craft Blog - Part 2

valspierssews doll clothes blog improvements

It is easy to make a few design adjustments in the Blogger template designer.
Here I am changing the colours of the page tabs.

I am continuing to make simple changes to improve my blog's SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and it's appearance. The aim is to lift the profile of my doll clothes pattern business. I love to sew and designing doll clothes is a perfect way to enjoy my hobby and get some pocket money to make it self sustainable. I have had some very positive feed back from customers so I thought it can't hurt to try to reach more people.

Customise the Blogger Template


valspierssews doll clothes customising blogger template
You can barely see the page tabs in the original design.

valspierssews doll clothes customising blogger template
I changed the colour of the tab background and the tab text to make it more visible.

I did a bit of research on 'the best colour scheme for a blog'. I didn't want to make major changes but I did find out that blue is a good colour because it inspires trust. I already had a blue colour scheme so I just played with the page tabs this time. 

Brand Identification

Since I am trying to promote my brand I updated my blog header image so it matched my Etsy shop header and my Facebook page. I suppose if you pay for someone to set up your brand in the beginning you wouldn't have to worry about fixing things like that.


Putting a Face to My Doll Clothes Pattern Business

All the research I read says that putting in a head shot of yourself makes your site easier to trust so I have updated my profile picture to one of me instead of my cat. I am not personally recommending it. You need to decide for yourself if that is what you want to do.
I updated my Google profile information from general sewing blogger to doll clothes pattern seller so people immediately know that I have a business and what I sell.

Improving SEO

A quick and easy way for me to get my posts rated highly by Google is to share them on Google+.
I joined up Google+ quite some time ago and I often and regularly post and comment on this social media platform. I have noticed that when I search for 'doll clothes' on Google my blog doesn't rate but the blog post I shared on Google+ does.

The text on your page tabs is not always noticed by the bots that look for key words. To make these key words noticed you need to put text links for your pages at the bottom of your blog page. This is common practice on many business web pages. Now I know why they do it.
In the layouts view I added a links widget to the bottom of my blog.

I am a hobby business so I am happy to gradually make these improvements for myself. I am not interested in spending big money to have an 'expert' do it. I am also careful not to get to obsessed with the business. After all, sewing and designing is what makes me happy. I am sure there are lots of people like me so I am sharing what I have learnt.

Check out Part 1

Happy Sewing,
Val