Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2008 Christmas Sewing #1 - Advent Calendar

My daughter designed a nearly 6-ft tall Advent Calendar. We found that one must make the tree REALLY skinny or else it will be so wide it won't fit anywhere. She designed the tree and is happy with it.

This is a really awful photo, but I don't seem to have anything better.

Numbers, letters, and decorations are gold felt, with gold glitter-glue (which doesn't fall off like real glitter does).

Each pocket had to be able to hold two Matchbox cars! Pockets are "gusseted".

2008 Christmas Sewing #2 - Cowboy Outfits

For Mr. Precious...

Kerchief washed in HOT water; then soaked in cold salt water, in hopes of it not "bleeding" on to denim. (This worked--there has been no bleeding problem.)

Scarf: Cut the kerchief in half. Place around the neck. Sew onto the vest. I did this after I had put on the binding.

Then roll together tightly and hand-stitch (it's a too big a wad for machine stitching) down firmly.

Back neck:

Front "knots"

My theory is no child will ever keep on a kerchief, especially if it is double thick, has to be knotted, etc. So make it less bulky, attach firmly, and make "fake knots".

Before applying the pockets cut a triangular shaped piece from the leftovers for one pocket. Attach to the pocket. (All of these "yucky" photos happened because the flash didn't go off.)

For the other pocket, sew a strip of randomly shaped leftovers, tuck and fold to create look of pocket-hankie; attach to pocket. Then sew each pocket to the vest.

Rear view...

Velcro attachments in lieu of button on the front.

When I got all finished it was very obvious that Mr. P was way taller than I had "guessed" from a distance. So I added another strip of denim around the bottom, serging all the loose edges, heming, etc. Then I sewed it to this strip, making it a finished length of 2-inches longer.

Apparently I have no photo of the finished product, except being worn by it's owner. (I'm not going to put photos of people on here, as it is a completely "public" blog.)

And for his Princess sister (out of scraps of a Christmas Tree Skirt and its trim and a button--all of which I've had for 25-30 years)

Vest "V" shapes are simply trim sewn on to look as though there are inset pieces of fabric--simple!

Button has velcro under it.

The skirt became 4-gored because the scraps were too small to do it any other way, and I like it, so am continuing to use the concept.

Both outfits are a BIG hit with their owners!

2008 Christmas Sewing #3 - Hats and Things

Mr. Precious gets a bomber hat. I designed it from scratch and it was somewhat successful. He still wears it.

I used drapery pleating stiffener (2 layers) for the bill. (I need a source of proper hat brims.)

The flaps come down and velcro attaches them under the chin.

A pink bonnet for our Princess. I used the dolly hat/hood pattern, expanded it, and added the band across the top which velcros under the chin.

Tucks at the back of the net to fit.

And her dolly needed a matching one. This dolly is too small for the hat, but it fits her own dolly better.

Side view

There were also several pairs of diapers and panties, by request of the Princess.

Just for fun, I'm throwing in this Christmas present decoration. It contained woodblock calendars for each of my daughters, so I put them both on the present! (Their Dad drew the holding hands part.)

As you can see I'm NOT an artist... But my girls were quite amused!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dolly Clothes - Guidelines

These jamies were for the 2008 Shoebox dollies.


When I was a child, I remembered how frustrating it was trying to dress dollies in set-in sleeves, etc.

Later when my mother began to teach me to sew, I started with a "Ginny Doll" by Vogue, which is an 8-in. doll. (Just imagine setting sleeves in those tiny clothes--I still have all the outfits I made, and I don't plan to make any more!)

Much later when my children were small, I rarely had time to sit and dress their dollies for them. This made me feel guilty and I was continually frustrated with the difficulty my kids found in applying those clothes.

In 2008, I set out to design dolly clothes that were both easy to make and easy to put on and remove.

First rule: All outfits shall strive to be able to be removed and put back on by most 3-yr olds.

Second rule: NO set-in sleeves

Third rule: Garments will be "closed" with velcro. (All buttons will be purely decorative--kids can't button them.)

Fourth rule: Hats shall always be "attached" because they are always getting "lost". Ribbons may "appear" to be tied, but elastic or velcro should loosely hold the hat on the dolly's head.

Fifth rule: Ribbons shall be firmly "tied down" using zig zag or other stitching which does not allow the ribbon to "roll" when laundered.

Sixth rule: The appearance of many different "patterns" will be created by using decorative stitches, trims, etc.

Seventh rule: Blankets for dollies should not be so long that the child trips when trailing them about.

Eighth rule: Dress only 10-12-inch dollies and above. The design is flexible enough to "go around" most dollies--whether they are slender or chubby.

Ninth rule: Check the outfit on the dolly before cutting! I.e., always keep at least one outfit on hand--it should consist of a top and pants. (I prefer to use the same dolly, but I need to start buying them in bulk!)

And lastly--maybe I should consider copywriting my patterns, which are "modular" in design, and have grown to include quite a number of variations, beginning with the first pair of jamies, shown above.

2008 Shoebox Dolly Clothes (cont'd)

I also made these fun outfits in denim. At this point I had to design the hood pattern, and it worked out really well.

Shown here with the blouse (same pattern as the jacket, sleeveless version), velcro in back)

With the skirt...

With the pants...

(Next time I really should find something other than my iron to prop the dolly on!)

All raw edges are serged.

Pants are hemmed prior to sewing the inside-the-leg-seam (inseam), decorative stitched over the hems.

Skirt is hemmed after the side seams are sewn, then decorative stitches applied.

Hood has some elastic, but later I changed to sewing the elastic either further around the face, or all the way around for a better fit.

Jacket has a decorative button. (You can see the edges of the velcro used to close the front. Over time I determined to cut the velcro in half--you don't need the full width and you can make twice as many that way!)

Elastic is just tight enough to keep things up; too tight is too hard for kiddies to put on.

The only part of this outfit most 3-yr olds need help in putting on is the pants.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

2008 Dolly Clothes - for our Princess

In 2008, I began sewing dolly clothes for our Princess. I was really tickled with this one.

This is the top/jacket/dress pattern cut not far under the arms for the bodice and skirt attached.

Back view.

Ribbon sewn around neck when complete and "bow" sewn down firmly after velcro inserted for back opening.

Sleeves, hem, and back seam are turned under just enough to hide the serging stitches.

These are scraps from things I made years ago. The bodice was a sun/house dress of mine. The skirt was my mother-in-law's skirt fabric.

If I re-install some software on my machine so I can blur faces, I could put up a picture of the dress I designed for my youngest daughter from the scraps of Grandma's skirt and top--it was the inspiration for this dolly dress.