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   As mentioned in an earlier post I used the pajama pattern
by Lil Abbee -    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.

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:
Slipper pattern: 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" 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....

Monday, October 7, 2013

New doll coming soon!  

 Alexis by Via-E ( ).   It's been awhile since I first found her and placed an order to "hold" one of these beautiful dolls to add to my small collection.   She has such a beautiful smile it was love at first sight for me.   Right now she's an ocean away.......pending a shipping date.   Keeping my fingers crossed that she may arrive in time for my birthday.   

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The girls are coming......the girls are coming!!!!

Finally!  Paris and Hannah  (Mom and Dad) are making the drive from MN to KS.  Estimated time of arrival about 8:30PM.  Spent the day finishing and wrapping up the AG doll clothes that I have been making for them.  

Have wrapped up 7 outfits for each girl so far....10 more to wrap (5 more for each).
The wrapping is not fancy but it is functional.   I wrap each outfit in tissue paper and stitch the ends closed on my sewing machine with a wide zig-zag stitch and then use decorative scissors to trim the ends.
While I was up in the Guest bedroom / Doll room I thought I would post an
updated picture (s) of my doll closet.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I must confess......I spy with Pinterest and Etsy!

I admit it.  I surf both Pinterest and Etsy looking for fabulous doll clothes and ideas.  Even though I sew,  occasionally I  purchase clothes made by several  exceptional doll clothes maker/designers.   The first thing I do when my purchase arrives it to inspect the garments for "quality" with regard to fabric, construction and sewing techniques.  My most recent purchase was from an Etsy Shop called Mena Bella"   I have made several purchases and have always been impressed with the product, workmanship and guest service of Lin the shop owner.    My decision for my last purchase was based on the fact that Mena Bella had used 2 patterns that I had not used before from my pattern collection.

Capri pattern from All Dollrd Up -
Lin had several outfits for sale that were just too cute to pass up and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see first hand how she constructed the outfit and what if any modification she made to the garment and pattern.  I aspire to make my garments with the level of quality I find in Mena Bella's products and other Etsy sellers.
I just finished these 2 outfits using the patterns noted above.  I think my Granddaughters will like them.

Sewing notes:  Capri pattern by "All Dolled Up".  This is a great pattern....if you don't have it you should put it on your wish list.  I made the pants with no adjustments and they fit perfectly.
The little fabric bows on the blue denim capris was a copy of the Mena Bella capris.  On the pink pants I added 3 assorted colored buttons a design feature I have seen used by others.

Peplum Top:  Some minor adjustments.   Pattern uses a zipper for closing the back seam.  Some prefer zippers but I like Velcro.   If you have read some of the other comments on this blog you probably know by now that I do not like my tops to fit snug on my dolls or ME.  I did increase the side seam of the back bodice by 1/4" as well as the back center seam by 1/4".  I increased the shoulder top seam by 1/8" and made the waistband longer to cover these adjustments.  The  increases made at the side and shoulder seams affects the it is not as snug.  The increase of the back center seam accommodated the change I made in the construction that differed from the pattern instructions and had no impact on the fit.  The final adjustment was to the ruffle.  I wanted it to look fuller.   On the yellow / blue version I increased the ruffle by 8 inches on the other on I increased it by 16 inches.

I made the waistband in a contrasting fabric on the pink set.   I also made a ribbon belt with a pink bow attached to add a little interest (cuteness) to the top.   The detachable belt and bow was my hubby's idea as I could not decide whether I liked it or not.   He said make it a separate piece and you don't have to be concerned one way or the other.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sewing fast and furious

Carousal Dress with Vest

Finished this dress today using a cute pattern by Doll Tag Clothing - Carousal Dress and Vest.  I had made it to fit my AG doll but it was a bit snug so it's a "hand me down" to Jane my Journey Girl doll.  The vest has a temporary ribbon tie closure until I can purchase some round metal white eyelets, though the bow looks kind of cute too, so I may make one with attached ribbon ties.   This pattern was so easy to make thanks to the detailed instructions and great pictures.   I know that all dolls are not alike so with a small adjustment to the pattern I'm heading backing to my sewing machine to make some more dresses.

Update:  I've made several more dresses / vest.   I increased the size of  the vest pattern by placing the back vest piece 3/8 of an inch from the fold line (increasing the overall dimensions of the vest by 3/4 inch). 
I increased the dress front bodice also (placing the pattern piece 3/8 of an inch from the fold line.  I also increased the dress bodice back by 3/8", I use the extension to the back as additional fold over for finishing up the back center seam and applying the Velcro the 1/4 inch fold over that most patterns call for just does not work for me.   
I prefer the clothing for the dolls not to fit too snug...the clothes are for my young Granddaughter and I want easy off and on.

Flutter Sleeve Dress and Capris with Halter Top

My Granddaughter are coming for their annual week long visit in August.  My goal is to have lots of
new doll clothes for their American Girl dolls.  The dress was made using the "free" flutter-sleeve dress pattern from: .
 I still had some of the fabric left over and decided to make a pair of pants and a top.   The top was also made from a "free" pattern from Eden is a reversible halter top (link below).   Easy to make and a wonderful use of scraps.  The pants were made using the Playdate pattern in a previous post.

Click here for halter top pattern.   You have to sign up for her newsletter to get it.   I enjoy getting her newsletters and the
free pattern is a bonus.   Eden Ava also has a free pattern for a slip.
Update:   I made a slight modification to the construction of  the halter pattern.  I left a finished opening at one the side seams.  Instead of having the ties twist around each other in the back I slid the tie through the opening eliminating the twist and minimizing bulk in the back.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New project in the works......

I must say I love the internet.   Without it, I wouldn't have found Carina Gardiner  She has recently introduced some patterns for 18 inch dolls.   I typically refrain from buying paper patterns in favor of digital download ones....but I had to make an exception once I saw her patterns.   I ordered 2 of her patterns.   The "little play date outfit" and "little love nest ruffled dress"

I selected fabric from Riley Blake's "Willow Collection"
 I will post pictures soon.   Some FYI's about the pattern.   It's printed on 1 sheet of 17.5 by 23 inch  white paper...a plus for me as I detest tissue patterns.   Instead of cutting apart the pattern pieces I traced them onto cardstock using a light tracer box.    I then use a fabric pen to trace the pattern pieces onto my fabric.   Some thought was put into laying out the instructions and pattern pieces on the white paper.   The instructions were allocated to a 10.5 by 12.25 inch section noted by dotted cutting lines  sized to easily pin to my bulletin board for reference.  Dress/Top on one side and Capri/shorts and bow on the other.
Skill level -  There is no guideline regarding skill level.   I would not rate this as a beginner or easy pattern.    I would recommend this pattern to someone who has intermediate sewing experience/skills
Note:  Carina is introducing a "beginners" pattern series on her website.   She has 2 for purchase at this time.  One of them is for a clutch type purse which I think will be a wonderful project for my granddaughter to make.   Check out her website to see these and  other great patterns
Finished the "playdate" outfits.   

So far 2 dresses, 2 pairs of capris and 2 tops done.
I found that taking the time to grade, clip and press the seams in the yoke/sleeve area  reduced the bulk and gave it a crisp clean  look when pressed.



Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cute Handbags

I have been using scrap pieces in my overflowing fabric scrap box to make these handbags.
I've had this pattern for awhile but I  never got around to using it. 
 Now I can't stop making them.   I've made my own adjustments to the sewing instructions/procedures that I felt would be worth sharing.

Interfacing:  Fold the 5 x 7 interfacing piece in half and the fold again so all the corner edges are together.  Clip a rectangular notch in all four layers at once.  This simple step will eliminate having interfacing in the seam and fold over area where it's not needed.
  Trim piece:  The pattern details having a 1/4 inch wide trim piece.  I made the trim
piece 1/2 wide..
  Instead of cutting 2 - 1 x 5 pieces I cut 1 piece of fabric 2 x 10.   Fold it in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) press to create a crease line. Then open it out and fold the raw edges on both sides in to meet the crease line.   Trim 1/4 inch along the raw edge of one of the folded in sides and angle cut the short ends (as shown in the picture below).   Refold the trim piece in half and cut the trim piece in half to get the 2 - 5 inch long trim pieces needed.   You will want to angle cut the newly cut ends.
Button:  I machine sewed the button onto the front while it was still a flat piece.   I marked the center of the front panel with disappearing ink and placed my the top of the button was slightly below the bottom of the trim piece and machined sewed the button in place.  The button placement was based on 1/2 wide trim, if you use 1/4 trim you will need to adjust accordingly.
Want a reversible handbag?   Sew a  button onto the front of the lining piece while it is still a
flat piece. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

More spring dresses "same pattern - different fabric"

 Some more Garden Tea Dresses made from a great pattern by 123 Mulberry Street.  I have added some accessories.  Purses made from a pattern by Sew Urban.  Both dress and purse patterns can be purchased from  I also added a matching headband to the ensemble.  This link will take you to the online tutorial showing you how to make it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Getting ready for Spring!


These dresses were created using the Garden Tea Dress pattern designed by 123 Mulberry Street patterns and listed for sale at    The downloadable PDF pattern cost only $3.99.   The instructions are clear,  easy to follow and there's lots of pictures making it a great visual tool as well.    Since I've made this dress multiple times I made some minor adjustments to the pattern and construction of the garment.   I made a slight adjustment in the size of the bodice.  Really a personal preference issue.   I increased the size of the front and back bodice pieces along the front center line and the back cut lines by 1/8 inch.  The top fit tighter than I wanted so the slight increase gave me a less snug fit.   As for construction....after making several dresses sewing the Velcro at the end after the dress was made I decided to attach the Velcro to the skirt sections BEFORE gathering it.  It allowed for better (straighter) and more exact  placement of the Velcro.  Gathering:   I marked the center of the skirt.   I machine basted to the center mark, decreased my stitch length to 0 and made 2-3 locking stitches....then increased my stitch length back to 6 and machine basted to the end of the piece.  When I gathered the skirt I pull one side at a time.   As I pulled on the string and adjusted the gathers it would stop at the center locking stitches.  Once I finished with one side I then pulled the other side which also stopped at my center mark.