Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bathing Beauties (part 2)

I've been having fun sewing in a nice cool air conditioned house.   Took the girls to the community pool today for this photo shoot.   It was so hot I thought the girls and I would melt.   Bathing suits are addicting and I have gone a bit overboard.   I am quickly working my way through the 100+ yards of FOE (fold over elastic) and I am getting ready to order more.   Whew....who knew.   I had always hesitated in working with Lycra/spandex and foe.   I just shake my head wondering how I could have waited so long and the lesson learned....don't hesitate, just do it. 

Let me just get this out now.   I tend to be a perfectionist....no I am a perfectionist!  The foe did cause me some issues at first but I developed a few simple tricks that work for me (99.9% of you would not have/want to do this).

1)  With a fabric pen:   I draw a line along the center fold line of the FOE.   When I'm sewing it's hard for these eyes to see the center fold line and the line I draw makes it so easy.

2)  I stitch the elastic twice.   First time....pinning the fabric to the elastic with the edge of the fabric along my drawn line....then stitch it in place with a "stretch stitch".    Then of course I fold the elastic and stitch it in place using a 4.0 zigzag stitch.         I know it's a two step process.....but it works for me and a lot better than what I did on my first 1/2 dz.  suits......are you ready!   I hand basted the elastic on which was very time consuming and then had to remove my basting stitches once the elastic was attached.    So..."baby steps" are good.   Maybe someday I will be able to do it in one pass.




Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bathing Beauties.....

For some reason I am being very productive and making lots of doll clothes.    I'm highly motivated because it's that time of year,  schools are out for the summer and my Granddaughters will be coming for their annual vacation with Grammy.  

These outfits were a bit of a stretch for me as I have never worked with swimsuit stretch fabric and fold over elastic.     The bathing suits were made using the "free" swinsuit pattern offered at PixieFaire.
Links:

Swimsuit:   http://www.libertyjanepatterns.com/category/all-patterns/free-sample-guidebook

Black sandals:  http://www.pixiefaire.com/collections/18-inch-doll-shoe-patterns/products/chic-sandals-18-doll-shoes

Beach bag:   A fun find at Build-A-Bear:  ww.buildabear.com/shopping/store/Fun-In-The-Sun-Beach-Tote-&-Towel-2-pc./productId=prod11170026

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

If you like pleats then this Easy Peazy Pleats pattern is for you.


Oh I do have a charmed life.   I could sew doll clothes 24 /7.   I found this Easy Peazy Pleats pattern by Olive ann designs OAD82.   The pattern lives up to it's name.   This "pull on pull off" dress was a joy to make.


Link to pattern:
http://www.oliveanndesigns.com/index2.php#/gallery1/1/ 

  Here's a few pictures of my attempts:



Pattern review and tips:   I am very pleased with this pattern and the dresses.  It is a "pull on, pull off" style.
I made my first dress following the instructions and the dress fit well but I sew doll clothes for several little one's and I felt that the "pull on, pull off" feature would be a challenge for them so I made the next dress with a fully open back seam that closes with Velcro.   On my next dress I cut the back along the fold line.   Sewed the 2 pieces back together (1/4" seam) but stopped 2 inches from the top.   I pressed the entire seam flat then top stitched along the opening.   I then used an elastic loop and button to close the 2" opening.   I preferred the non-Velcro option. 

*  Have your iron "hot and ready to go"  in order to insure crisp pleats you need to press as you sew.

*  Keep your measuring tools and fabric pen close by.   Using these tools will help you have perfectly sized
    pleats and a dress that fits properly.

*  I used a fabric pen to number my pleats in the seam line area at the top of the front and back pieces.  I am
    old and sometimes get confused so this was helpful for me, but you may not need to do this.  After making
    3 dresses I figured I would not have to mark so I decided not to.   So I ended ripping out several pleats

*  If you decide to do the Velcro or 2" opening noted above you may want to place the back pattern piece
   1/4" above the fabric fold line making the back piece larger to accommodate a wider fold over area for 
   Velcro and 2" opening options.    Do this for the back facing piece also.  Once you cut along the fold line        finish the cut edges.      . 

*  For a different look you may consider not adding the bottom band.   I would recommend making the 
    front and back pieces 1 1/2 inch longer for the hem without impacting the length of the dress.
    

Sunday, May 4, 2014

OMG!!!!  I made a pair of shoes.

I'm so excited I am going straight to the picture.





Now for the details:   The only thing I did not make was the HAT it was purchased from Build-A-Bear, one of my favorite places to pick up cute accessories at affordable prices.  The hat has pink trim with a bow on the side.  Retails for $6.00.

I made the BAG using a pattern for a "people size" bag pattern that was a free download from Made by Rae it's called the Buttercup bag.  So cute.   See the close up picture below.

Oh and my first attempt at SHOES!   Using the "Plain Jane Shoes" pattern by  
Love U Bunches which can be purchased at:  http://www.pixiefaire.com/collections/18-inch-doll-clothes-patterns  Retails for only $3.99.  If you have ever thought about making shoes.....this is a great pattern to help you get started.



Skirt & Shirt  were made using the Savannah Skirt pattern made by SEW Urban which can also be found at Pixie Faire.  Retails for $3.99.   I used  the Bella pattern from http://www.bunnybear.com/2010s/bella-twilight-pattern  Retails for $8.95.


Monday, March 10, 2014

New pattern by Littleabbee


 

For those of you who are familiar with my blog you may remember my review with pictures of Bailee's wonderful Pajama pattern.   Although I have never met Bailee she saw my post and contacted me about testing her new A-Line Dress pattern.   Needless to say I was delighted to help.

Here are a few pictures of my doll wearing the new Little Abbee design.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/littleabbee.
 


Pattern review:  
This is a basic A-Line form fitting dress.   2 pattern pieces.   Easy and quick  to make.  Easy on your pocketbook because it's form fitting requiring minimal dress fabric and lining fabric.  The simple design lends itself to bringing out your creative talents.   
My Mom always wore A-Line dresses.   I was always amazed how she managed to make the same style dress look so different by adding a few accessories.   An infinity scarf draped softly around the dolls neck and down the front, a ruffle added to the bottom hemline (easy/peasy), detachable collars of different styles and colors would change and add to the look too.   So many options! 

I typically use Velcro to close the back....Bailee designed this sweet A-line dress to close using button straps made out of fabric (see close up ) you could use ribbon for this also.  The back center seam comes together perfectly and adds some fun detail to the back.    Instructions for the fabric flower are also included.

My Granddaughters will be visiting again this Summer and this dress will be the perfect sewing project for the girls to do.    This pattern get's two thumbs up from me I'd give 3 thumbs up but I only have two thumbs...:>)

Other notes:    I tried the dress on the various dolls I have.   It fit my Journey Girl and Via-E dolls though it was not as form fitting.   To my surprise it fit my Our Generation Doll which has a thicker body and broader shoulders.  

Hints:  The pattern states 1/4 inch seams and because it is form fitting you want to adhere to that seam requirement.
 




Saturday, November 30, 2013

I got a new doll "Alexis". The girls are having a Pajama Party.



Alexis finally arrived and she is wonderful well worth the wait.  Alexis is the doll (4th from the left)
I purchased her from http://via-e.com.   As mentioned in an earlier post I used the pajama pattern
by Lil Abbee - https://www.etsy.com/shop/littleabbee.    On the dolls with the robes I made PJ's using
Simplicity pattern #5733,  I found a robe pattern from Crabapples that I slightly modified.
 You can find the robe pattern here.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/mybonbonboutique

The sewing tips for the Lil Abbee PJ's are on an earlier post so I will just discuss the robe pattern.
I made a few modifications.   Robe notes:   Pockets with the pattern were square.   I rounded the bottom edges for a softer look.  The pattern called for using bias binding technique as facing for the front opening edges of the robe.   I made a front facing pattern by tracing the curve of the front robe piece from the bottom edge to the top shoulder seam and then I made a pattern for the back neckline facing.  I also shortened the sleeves 1/4 inch.   I was impressed with this pattern there were several different design variations included such as piping and ruffles.  If your looking for a quality robe pattern then you may want to check this one out.
 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Warm and oh so cozy pajamas

Not all flannels are alike.   If I am going to make something with flannel I really pay attention and a few extra dollars for "quality".  Nothing annoys me more than to make a pair of PJ's and have them look fuzzy and pilled even before they are worn.   I usually find most of my flannel at my local quilt store but I have been lucky enough to find some at chain fabric stores.   My current sewing project is making pajamas, robes and slippers. 


The PJ pattern from Little Abbee can be purchased here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/littleabbee.
Slipper pattern: http://www.pixiefaire.com/collections/18-inch-doll-shoe-patterns/products/cozy-slippers-18-doll-shoes designed by Eden Ava.

Sewing info: I was pleased with the pattern but as usual I did make some adjustments to construction.     The only size adjustment I made was to shorten the bottoms and sleeves by 1/4 inch. Construction wise. (sewing info update (12/01/13)  Shoulder seam bulk.  In order to reduce the bulk in the shoulder seam area:  1) Finished raw edges of the shoulder seams allowance with a serger or
zig-zag stitch.   2)  Stitch front and back bodices pieces together per pattern instructions.   3)  Press shoulder seam open and flat.   4)   Hand tack shoulder seam allowance down.

                    The pattern instructions called for "set in" sleeves.....so I did follow that for the first 2 pairs.... but I hate "set in sleeves"!!  Then I switched to "flat" sleeve construction so much easier and just as nice.   I hemmed the flat sleeve first and machine basted 1/8"  from the sleeve head.  After pinning and stitching the sleeve in,  I then stitched the sleeve and side seams in one continuous mode.  Top stitching:  After hemming I top stitched up the front and around the neck.  Pockets.....I love the look of them but they do require some extra care to insure multiple pockets are the same size and shape.  On the rounded pocket for this pattern, I marked with a fabric pen the 1/4 stitching line then machine basted along that line.   I  pulled on the thread tails to gently gather the rounded bottom edge of the pocket so it curves nicely and evenly, finger press then iron the pockets to get a clean crisp shape.  Understiching....I  use this technique often and on this  pattern I used it along the neckline of the back bodice and along the front facing pieces.

Slipper notes: I  found just pinning and stitching the 2 soles in place was a bit of a challenge for me sewing on the curves with all those pins, so after the first pair I made I decided to hand baste those pieces in after marking the 1/4" stitching line on the base & sole pieces. Doing that made it easier for me to sew and the seams were spot on. I also used my pinking shears and trimmed the seams to eliminate some of the bulk. On my next pair I am going to shorten the slipper top a scant 1/8" across the top, I felt the slipper top fit just a tad too high on the dolls foot. On one pair I top stitched across the slipper top which looked nice too....