Friday, February 5, 2016

Mix & Match Doll Clothes: Creating a Wardrobe Capsule Part 1


Do you find that the outfit you made out of beautiful fabric doesn't look as good as you thought it would when you put it on the doll?

Do you have trouble choosing the right fabrics?

Do you have leftover fabrics that you never use again?

If these problems sound familiar then this series is for you. Since starting to design and sell patterns I have been trying to solve these problems. I have come up with a very workable set of solutions.

I used to think that fashion was just an obsession and that the effort required to put together an outfit that is stylish and uses the right colours to show off my complection was just vanity but in a world where first impressions can be the making or breaking of success I wish that I had paid more attention to style and colour analysis. I got by alright but now I know it would have been easier if style and colour were taught to me so they became a habit.
Today I am retired and starting to become one of the invisible ageing population. I am working at learning how to dress so that I will be taken seriously in that all to narrow window of first impressions.

You can read this series as just a way to make better doll clothes outfits but you can also use it as a fun way to teach young doll owners about style and colour so it becomes a habit.

Each part looks at one aspect of creating the wardrobe capsule but they all work together to produce a polished result.

Wardrobe Capsule 1 - Feminine Spring Outfits

Part 1 - Choosing the Garments

Make an economical coordinating doll clothes wardrobe capsule for your American Girl Doll. 

Before you choose your garments you will have to decide on a style.
The style I have chosen for this spring capsule for Rebecca is what I call Feminine Soft.

The types of styles you can consider are:

  • Tailored classic
  • Sporty natural
  • High fashion striking
  • Feminine soft
  • Trendy edgy
  • Vintage
  • Historical

The capsule I have made is based on a formula that gives a good outfit variety with a minimum of garments. When you choose coordinating fabrics you can add one more top and get 2 new outfits with or without the jacket.
  • 2 tops
  • 2 bottoms
  • 1 jacket plus 1 accessory.

The garments I chose for my spring capsule are:
  • A sleeveless blouse
  • Long trousers
  • Skirt
  • Tank top
  • A long sleeved cardigan
  • An infinity scarf that can double as a hair ribbon.
I chose a sleeveless blouse because it is easier to get the cardigan on with no sleeves to negotiate.

I chose long pants because I intend to make shorts for summer and crop pants for autumn and the weather can still be a bit cool in spring.

I chose a tank top, again because no sleeves is easier and the short sleeved t-shirt can be an extra item or saved for summer or autumn capsules. 

Every collection has a to have a skirt. You could make it a longer skirt but it should still be flowing rather than tight in my opinion. Pencil skirts look good with tights for winter.

The scarf could be made from the tank top knit fabric and used as a head band as well. You can then team it with the blouse. I chose a patterned chiffon that looks good as a hair ribbon. Another option would be to use the chiffon from the skirt to make the scarf. The plain pink would go with all the outfits.

Deciding on how big to make the capsule

Obviously the more garments you make the more outfits you can create but time is always a factor when you are trying to make some doll clothes in your spare time.

Instead of making one outfit of blouse, skirt, cardigan and a scarf I have made one extra top and one extra bottom that can be used to make at least 4 outfits with or without the cardigan.
I think this is a good use of my time.

Choosing co-ordinating fabrics is a big part of this way of looking at your doll's wardrobe. I show you how I did this next week.

It is easy to expand the capsule by using the fabrics to make more garments such as:
  • Dress
  • Flared skirt
  • T-shirt or a different style of tank top
  • Short sleeved blouse
  • Jumper or vest
  • Belt
Unfortunately I ran out of the pink floral but I found a pattern with similar colours and made a dress that goes well with the cardigan. There is maybe just a bit too much blue in the pattern but the off white background makes it acceptable. This dress pattern has not been published yet. It has a side opening and opens at the shoulder as well. With no back opening I can use design features such as pleats in the back vent for more interest.

The fabric I used for the trousers could be used to make a jacket and/or skirt to expand the options without having to look for another coordinating fabric.

Next Week:

I explain how I chose the fabrics and give you a formula that will work for any trip to the fabric shop.

Happy Sewing,