Sunday, April 27, 2014

Playing with Dolls

There is something very alluring about dolls clothes. For me, I can see all sorts of designs that I can make up with 1/2 a metre instead of 2 or 3 metres for adult sizes. It also gives me a chance to play with designs that I would never wear myself.
I like the idea of recreating styles from the past too.

I have been collecting paper doll fashion collections on pinterest and I feel confident I can draft patterns for the styles after completing a gorgeous pinafore and blouse based on paper doll outfits from 1947. The outfit is part of a school days collection probably for a middle class American high school or college student.

I used some vintage glass buttons on her blouse but the only pink buttons I had were the little plastic flowers for the pinafore. I think some little round two hole buttons are needed here. I am sure I have a bag of little buttons somewhere!

The American Girl doll scaling is for a 12 year old but she seems to be able to get away with styles for younger and older girls.

I have a fabulous old book  (1987) with basic pattern shapes for bodices, jackets and trousers that has so many ideas for putting them together. It is a great resource.

The Dolls Dressmaker by Venus A. Dodge
Each chapter starts with lovely drawings of underwear, dress and matching coat.
Most of the ideas are for vintage clothes but the basic patterns can easily be adapted to any style.

I also have some files I downloaded for free on how to change sleeve shapes and dart and seam positions. These are for human clothes but the principles are the same for doll clothes.

1942—Modern Pattern Design

by Harriet Pepin

The site I originally got these files from is no longer online so I had to track down a link. If you are into clothes sewing this book is a classic. There were a couple of chapters I hadn't downloaded so in Chrome I clicked print then opened it in pdf preview and saved it as a PDF. It is also possible to just save the chapters as a web pages.
I didn't even know there was such a thing as "Internet Archive - Way Back Machine" but someone found it and put up the link in a Burda forum.

Here is the link:

I am trying to draft the pattern for the pinafore and blouse using a drawing program. It is pretty tricky to get the size and the curves right but I will persevere. I am thinking that I will scan and upload my hand drawn patterns then trace around them to get a nice print finish. 

I have been looking at the prices for 18" doll patterns and they range from $4 to $12 for any items. I have spent hours drawing and testing the pattern. I had to redo the straps and throw away some fabric and ribbon. I will try selling at $5. At that rate I will have to sell at least 25 of them to get back my time and skill. May take a while before I make any profit but it is fun to spend time seeing if I can draft the patterns. Now I also need a whole new fabric stash for clothes not just quilts. Most of the clothes fabrics I have, the design printed on will be too large for a doll and most of them are in storage anyway. Nothing like a good excuse to buy more fabric :)

Happy Quilting and Crafting,
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