Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sewing in Progress - An A-line Doll Clothes Pattern

My sewing room is looking a little wild lately. When I design and sew I tend to have fabric and dolls and pattern pieces all over the place. I have finally disciplined my self enough to put each set of pattern pieces in a labeled plastic pocket. With 4 or 5 designs on the go it is so easy to get them all muddled up. I won't be doing that again :)

I have  a very cute A-line dress well under way. It has an asymmetrical top section with a reverse box pleat down one side of the skirt. This pattern will also include the dress without the pleat and the dress with 3 pieces in the front.
I have been getting much better at drafting a pattern that fits first time. I have been doing this for nearly 3 years so I have become quite good at adjusting designs to suit the doll size such as where to draw the line for the top section of this dress.

I am just making a few improvements to the witch/princess outfit 1817. It was never published on Etsy. It has been waiting for an upgrade for 2 years at least. I have learnt a lot about sleeves over the years of designing. I have adjusted the puffy part so it looks more rounded and less strained under the arm than my original pattern from the early days.
I wanted to make another princess dress to test the changes and chose a dramatic looking, almost sheer, metallic woven fabric. One tip I can give you if you are thinking of sewing with such fabric - put it back quick before your daughter or granddaughter sees it and choose something else. The threads just seem to disappear as you sew and the stitching is left waving in the breeze. Curves fray to become straight lines and don't ask me how I am going to press it! It looks stunning though.
The skirt will be made from the cream satin back crepe at her feet.

I have just decided what variations I will include with the Little Black Dress design. I will be making one more with no cut out back to make 3 options. V back, scoop back and regular back. I had a lady ask how it closed so I have opened the side and shoulder closure to show this. When it is closed up you can hardly see where it is.

Happy Sewing,

Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Patterns 1857 and 1858 from Valspierssews Doll Clothes

doll clothes pattern
1858 A-Line Skirt and Fashion T-shirt

1857 Fashion Top with 1858 Skirt

I am really excited to announce that I have 2 new 18" doll clothes patterns in the shop. 1857 is the curved hem top that I put up quietly a few weeks ago. I didn't announce it because I wanted to finish the perfect A-line skirt to go with it.

I still do photo tutorials for sections of my patterns and provide a link on the title page of the pattern.
You can find out how this top goes together at "1857 Photo Tutorial for the Tricky Bits"
It is another view of basic techniques like sewing in the lining, turning and doing the side seams to complement the diagrams in the pattern instructions.

The skirt is one of those designs that goes with everything. I originally made it with the yoke-like facing and immediately saw that it would look great as a skirt with a yoke on the outside. So I have included both styles.

I have found that if I publish a pattern that is teamed with another garment I get questions about the garment not in the pattern so I have included, as a bonus, the pattern for the cute little fashion T-shirt that I teamed with the skirt. I made this pink shirt from an old polo shirt of mine. It is a medium weight knit and went together perfectly without enlarging the pattern.

The fashion top with the curved hem was one of those designs that I saw for sale as a ladies top and just had to make it for the doll and it goes perfectly with the A-line skirt in both styles.

The top, the skirt and the T-shirt are all easy and quick to sew.

I have had great feedback on the quality of my instructions and diagrams. I try to thank all my customers who leave feedback. A few slip through but I am thrilled that my patterns are so well received.
When I thanked one lady for her good review of "The 18" Dress" I received a convo back with this reply,

Oh, my goodness!!!! i have purchased and downloaded many, many doll clothes patterns over the last couple of years. Let me say that this pattern is without a doubt the most complete, well illustrated, and clearest I have yet to see. Wow! The drawn illustrations are so much better and easier to see than blurry photos with several different fabrics included. I cannot wait to get started!! One last comment, the pattern is extremely reasonable for its quality. Thanks, and feel free to quote me!Sincerely, Carol

So thank you to all my customers. I will continue to create great patterns at a great price for as long as I can. I really enjoy the process.

If you like my patterns please share this blog post with your friends on Facebook or Google Plus or sewing group.

I am working on a few requested designs at present. I love hearing from you what designs you would like to have patterns for. It is such fun to see the ideas come to life on the doll.

Have fun with the new patterns.

1857 Top

1858 Skirt and Top

Happy Sewing,

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Progress Report: Lots on my desk this month

Before I visited mum earlier this month I took stock so I could put it out of my mind for a week.
I have lots of projects in various stages.

I am redoing the sailor dress I had published without instructions. The no instructions was just an experiment. I won't be publishing any more patterns without instructions. I love this sailor dress so it will be up again soon.

I am working on adjusting the yoke for the skirt so it can be put on a blouse like a school blouse design. At the same time I am trying out some new collars on the round neck dress design.

I always have some inspirational quotes on my desk.

This one is a sample for the 20" dress pattern in the same design as the 18" dress pattern I just published.

Here are the pattern pieces to do another t-shirt sample before I publish the skirt and t-shirt outfit.

Here I have the beginning of my fabric choices for the wardrobe PDF book I am working on. The colours will be mainly pink, brown and blue.

In between sewing and designing I like to colour in. I found this picture to print out on a garden web page.
Botanical Interests

These pieces are cut from an old handbag. I hope to make some doll handbags from them.

These baby doll dresses use The 18" Dress design but I am making them to fit the Baby Born® doll. Just one more sample before I can publish it.

The last few days I have been working on an A-line pinny for the 20" doll. It just has to have the instructions finished off before I publish it. I hope to do the same design for the 18" doll soon.
I made a few minor updates to the instructions for the skivvy from 1801 and 2001 when I made the top to go under the pinny. If you have the pattern you can convo through the invoice on Etsy. Craftsy customers get it automatically.

I haven't forgotten the requests I have received for the witch outfit and the little black dress and the Breakfast at Tiffany's dress and more skirts. It is such fun working on all these designs.

Happy Sewing,

Monday, February 27, 2017

How to Sew Doll Clothes: Velcro Closures

Very early in my doll clothes adventure I needed to take clothes on and off the dolls to photograph the outfits. I think I may have put long strips of velcro on one or two items and I know I got frustrated trying to make the hems even and close the strip without bubbly bumps. I decided to use small patches of velcro like buttons. They made it so much easier to adjust the garment and to get it off easily too. I haven't had any trouble with it not holding strongly.

So this is how I do my velcro closures.

I have small rolls of hooks and loops. I cut off rectangular pieces about 1/4" wide. I just cut them by eye. I always do the hooks first.

I have a little bitty box that sits to the right hand side of my machine. I put the patches in there while I sew each one. For a time I even put them inside a little zip lock bag because they mysteriously disappear. Sometimes they never turn up again. 

I use white or cream thread in the needle and thread to match the fabric in the bobbin. It is easy to place the rectangle so the hooks run side to side. I have found that for me as a right hander I like the overlap to be on my left looking at the closure of the garment so I sew the hooks patches on the under side of the overlap.

I start sewing down the long side first. I find by doing this it is easier to sew them onto knit fabrics that stretch side ways so I just do it this way all the time.

After the top one I put on the bottom one.

I then place the middle one by eye.

Now cut 3 loops patches. Put them in a safe place. Sew each one on the outside of the underlap. (I didn't notice that I needed to put dark pink in the bobbin so my stitching shows on the inside.) 

Sew on the bottom loops patch.

For the middle loops patch I like to just check it is level with the hooks patch before I sew it.

The stitching is not very noticeable on the outside.

I just felt this top needed buttons on the back. I sew on buttons using my button foot on the machine.

This design is pattern 1857 Fashion Top. The skirt is 1858. (Both will be published soon)

Happy Sewing,

Sunday, February 26, 2017

1857 Photo Tutorial for the Tricky Bits

Note: 1857 will be published soon.

I thought it might make things bit easier if I explained a few things with photos and add in a few tips to make the construction go smoothly. The side seams are halfway down the page.

When I sew the bodice and lining pieces I always lay the backs on the table with rights sides up.

I then place the front right side down lining up one shoulder. I pin it without picking it up. I place the pin parallel to the edge so it won't twist out of place when I pick it up.

Place the front on top of the other back, pin and stitch. This method is good for fabrics that don't have  different sides. Everything ends up in the right place.

Press the shoulder seams open. It is a good idea to crease the hem edge on the back pieces at the same time. Pin the bodice and lining right sides together with not too many pins. Pin and stitch the back edges and the neck.

Pin and stitch one armhole. Pin and stitch the second armhole.

Trim the seams. I clip off the corners of the back neck as I do this. Clip the curves every 1/4".

Turn it through the front. This takes a few minutes.

I use a knitting needle to push out the corners at the back neck.

Use you thumb nails and fingers to get it ready for pressing.

Press it well.

To do the side seams

Open out the back side edges. Open out the front side edges and match the front bodice and lining to the back bodice and lining, right sides together.

The hem edge of the bodice back extends 1/4" past the front. It gets turned in later.

Stitch the seam. Press it towards the back. Fold the bodice and linings together at the side seams.

Fold under the rest of the back side seam allowance.

Turn the hem edges to the inside and pin.

Stitch the side and hem edges closed close to the edges.

Top stitch around the back edges and neck and the armholes.

You may need a pusher to get around the back neck corners. See my blog post about my DIY pusher.

It is all done now except for the back closure. See my blog post on how I do my velcro.

Happy Sewing,