Thursday, January 28, 2016

January Successes and Goals for February.

A busy month for pattern publishing.
I managed to finish both the dress and matching jacket 1828 and 1829. Such a cute outfit in the 50s style.

valspierssews doll clothes patterns

I agonised over which pattern I would do next. They are all so pretty. I decided another jacket with a challenging flared hem and a flared skirt with panels would make a nice addition to the 50s Collection. The flared skirt was easy to draft it will go with the jacket as pattern 1830. I will be working on this outfit during February.

I worked very hard on updating 1802 to include Pictorial Tutorials for printing. I really want all my patterns to have the same look. Unfortunately I got a little bogged down with the sewing. I just had to make a new blouse to go in the photos and also decided to put in another sleeve option. It is almost done.

Look out for my series of posts on the first Doll Clothes Wardrobe Capsule I am presenting with lots of help to decide on garments, patterns and fabrics. They are all ready to go through February and March. I have also started to write up the information into a PDF booklet so you can download it to keep as a resource. This is what the it will look like. I hope to get it finished for the last blog post about this wardrobe capsule.

Check out my Gallery page. I have added 2 new images. They are of the same PJs for the two sizes of doll. There are so many outfits that you can make from just the blouse and gathered pull-ons patterns.

Make sure you look in on my Free Patterns page every month because I will be adding at least one new free pattern or design every month. I planned to do some more pleated skirt styles but ended up posting a free pattern for panties.

Designing and testing patterns means lots of doll clothes in my sewing room that need to go to good homes. Most of them are American Girl Doll size but look out for the Australian Girl Doll size every now and again. I offer great sets perfect for play at a clearance price. Only to Australian customers.

On a personal level I have been meditating for 20 mins every second day. When I started a few months ago I could hardly sit cross legged for 5 mins. Now the 20 mins is pretty easy.

The jigsaw was a real challenge but it is all finished now and a new one is ready to go. I find that the jigsaw gives me a nice distraction but also engages me rather than just passively watching TV.

I will start this one on the weekend. It came in a cute cane box.

I am still trying to change my snacking habit. I have scheduled some breaks into my daily planner to try to stop me just wandering into the kitchen without a plan. It has only been 4 weeks so I still have another 4 weeks to start to see some changes in my actions.

I have enjoyed working towards my goals even though I have not managed to complete everything that I listed. My February goals list keeps some of the January goals and I have added a few new ones.

  • Cut out all the applique pieces for my Go Wild Garden quilt.
  • Snack healthy and follow the plan. This one involves changing a habit.
  • Publish one more 50s pattern.
  • Update one more of my older files to make them match the new files.
  • Finish writing up the PDF booklet covering all the information in the Wardrobe Capsule posts.
  • Add two more images to my Gallery page.
  • Add one more free pattern.
  • List two sets of doll clothes in my Etsy store.
  • Finish the jigsaw.
I highly recommend that you write down some goals for February. It feels really good when you can see you are making progress each month.

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Free Doll Panties Pattern for American Girl Doll and Australian Girl Doll

Free panties pattern for you doll

Since putting up this free pattern, over 42,000 people have visited this page and many keen doll dressmakers have told me how happy they are with the pattern. Please pin this post so many more can find it.

While wondering what I might add to my Free Patterns Page I came across an undies pattern that I drew on paper when I was just starting out with patterns. The date on the pattern piece was10th September 2014.
It is a great fit for both American Girl Dolls and Australian Girl Dolls.

I have drawn it up on the computer and created some instructions as a Pictorial Tutorial. Making these panties is very quick and probably a good place to start playing with knits.

The first pair I made way back, were from ribbing. Here is my very first doll trying to drum up some business for the 1805 Pinafore/Vest pattern.

It went like this:

As well as my first doll I now have 3 American Girl Dolls and 3 Australian Girl Dolls and a growing pattern hobby business. I enjoy what I am doing so much that I am making plans for the next 3 years.

2018 update:
I now have 5 American Girl Dolls, a Baby Born doll and 2 Our Generation dolls. I also have a flourishing doll clothes pattern business that brings me into contact with so many wonderful doll dressmakers.

If you like the idea of free patterns, doll dressmaking sewing tips, great special offers on patterns and general doll stuff then click the link and pop in your email address to go on the mailing list.

valspierssews doll clothes

When making the panties I used store bought undies that came in a pack of 10. They worked out less than $1 each. I unpicked the elastic to use on the doll panties. I also cut the front and back of the panties in separate pieces so I could use the smaller sides of the undies. I will get 2 pairs of panties and a singlet from 1 pair of undies.

I folded the pattern at the crotch and cut an extra 1/4" at the seam line on each piece.

Once you cut out the panties you need to use a pin to mark the back. The front and back are just a bit different and it is hard to tell them apart. Keep the pin in place until you get the bow on at the end.

The panties fit quite snug and may pose some difficulty for little hands. I increased the length of the elastic pieces by 1/4" and found the fit didn't change much. I am sure it would be possible to add at least another 1/4" to the elastic lengths to make the whole unit a bit less tight.

Make sure you look at my other free patterns on my Free Pattern Page. The links on the Free Pattern Page take you directly to the blog post with the download button.

Don't forget to pin it!
Free panties pattern for American Girl Doll

Make sure you get on the mailing list so you don't miss anything.

Download the Panties pattern now.

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review of American Girl Doll of the Year 2016, Lea

Lea, fresh out of the box.
I thought I would do a bit of a review of my new American Girl Doll. I enjoyed reading some of the many reviews by the Toy Box Philosopher. I found them very useful. If there is some detail that you have a question about just leave a comment and I will try to answer it.

I have just picked up my parcel from the post office. It comes express post so it takes about 10 days to get to Australia. It is packed in a sturdy postage box and I have never had any damage.

The doll comes in a nice gift box with a window so you can see her straight away.

The lid lifts straight off. There is no tape to fight with.

The doll is carefully packed with protection for her ankles, arms, neck and also her hips. She has a hair net too.

The rubber bands easily come off her feet. the little arm bags slip right off. The neck is held by an elastic looped around a hook on each side. It is easy to release the elastic from the hooks and the doll is out.

Slip off the hair net and she is ready to play with. Here she is straight out of the box.

Lea comes with a book, a satchel and a compass necklace.

The book is quite a good novel length for a 10 year year old. I haven't read it but the story reviews are good.

The satchel is well made and has plenty of room for little trinkets.
The compass needle spins around when you shake the compass. The compass is plastic with a string cord tied in a sliding knot.

The dress is very well made and finished nicely inside too.

The sandals slip on and off. You just need to tuck your thumb in the fit the heel on.
They are also look very well made. I am not going to try to break them but they look sturdy.

Her face is pretty with a light tan, hazel eyes and slightly darker pink lips than my other dolls.

Here hair is light brown with blonde highlights. It is a good quality wig. It feels nice and brushes well. The hair line is very neat at the forehead and behind the ears. When parted in the middle at the back you don't get a part, but you see hair, not the wig fabric.

In general the American Girl Doll is nicely made. Her plastic body is smooth with a slight flex so it feels comfortable to hold. The soft body is strong fabric and well padded.
She can stand on her own. She can sit if supported behind and the legs splay to the sides.

If you are in the US or nearby I don't hesitate to recommend this doll.
If you are in Australia unless you particularly want an 18" doll I would recommend the 20" Australian Girl Doll. She has all the same quality as the American Girl Doll.

Lea cost me $266 Australian dollars including express postage.
It is easy to ring AGD from Australia to make an order over the phone. Just ring middle of the morning.
0011 1 608 831 5210

The Australian Girl Doll costs about $135 Australian dollars plus postage. She is available from several online toy shops and the Australian Girl Doll web site.

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, January 14, 2016

1950s Slim Line Dress for American Girl Doll

valspierssews doll clothes

Doll clothes are such a great medium for show casing some of the beautiful vintage styles.

My latest pattern 1828 Slim Dress is a faithful copy of the slimmer silhouette of the mid 1950's designed to be teamed with a crop jacket. Pattern 1829 for the jacket will be out soon.

As said by Donna Cosmato on

"The hourglass figure gave way to a more columnar shape. Instead of the plaid and polka dots so popular in the early 50s, late-50s styles featured more monochrome fabrics."

Though this slim dress looks fabulous with a contrasting plaid or check jacket.

And just as good by itself.

The back has a dart to shape the skirt around her little bottom so it stays narrow around the hem.

The front has angled pleats as a design feature to give the illusion of a narrow waist.

Included in this pattern are separate pattern pieces to make a blouse with shirt tails and a short skirt with a waist band. You can use the short skirt with the dress or make a long skirt with the waist band.

The skirt and blouse
A blouse for any occasion

This pattern is available in my Etsy store and my Crafsy store for $2.50 USD as an instant download PDF

Happy Sewing,

Related Links
1950s Fashion for Women