Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Adventures Sewing Doll Clothes

Some of you have asked me questions about making doll clothes, so I thought I would do this post on how I started to where I am now, what patterns I like to use and so on..

I actually started learning how to sew by making doll clothes. When I was younger I loved my dolls(still do infact :) I also love anything that had to do with home making. Both my mom and my older sister sewed, by watching them, along with wanting some doll clothes for my dolls, started my sewing adventures. At first, I was too scared to use the machines so I did everything by hand, I mostly made square objects at first like small pouches,little pillows etc...When I was around 8 I finally got up the nerve to try using the sewing machine, I quickly got used to it and started making doll clothes right away.
I think my first project making "people clothes" was a skirt, I had decided that I didn't really like making "people clothes" as they seemed to take longer and they just weren't as fun at the time, so I went back to doll clothes.
My first, doll dress I made from a real pattern was Butterick 5452 Dress D. I was quite excited when I discovered that there were actual patterns for doll clothes, before I was just making skirts or tube dresses. My older sister walked me through making my first real dress and then after that I was on my own, for the most part, the figuring patterns out. I wish I had some pictures of my very first doll dress, but I never thought to take any.

I used this pattern several times and I still have it, though most of the pieces are missing and the the envelope is badly torn.
My next favorite pattern was McCall's 3275. Now this pattern is in better shape and I still have all the pieces:) It only recently went out of print.

Then on ebay I found American Girl Doll Dress patterns, I decided on Kirsten's pattern set and eagerly waited to get it in the mail so that I could get started. I have been using this pattern the most along with Samantha's dress pattern set that I bought a year later.

I found a this site were you can download these patterns for Free! Click Here 
I'm not sure how good they are as I'm haven't finished downloading any yet.   

I also, went through a period of buying pattern books, but I decided that I like making historic doll clothes better and so I haven't used them in awhile.

Our library had this one, so I never bought it.

I bought this one...

....and this one I got for my birthday

I now mostly make my own patterns using different pattern pieces as a guide.

Kara had asked me If it was hard to make "tiny"doll clothes and I'm sorry I never answered you Kara. My answer is: No, not really of course I also have had loads of practice, but doll clothes are put together a little different then our clothes are. Which makes them easier to sew, plus dolls don't really have any "shapes" so they don't need a whole lot of fitting.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cecile & Marie Grace 1853

American Girl came out with 2 new historic dolls right before Christmas in 2011. So I of course had to make a dresses for them!

I'm curious, would you all like seeing every doll dress I make or would you rather I pick out the "best" ones/newest style?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Intverview with Keepers Dolly Duds!

For a few years I have followed this amazing seamstress on ebay who makes utterly stunning doll clothes. Her work has inspired me to work harder at perfecting my doll clothes. She recently opened up an etsy shop and I asked her if she would be interested in an interview, to which she replied that she would.

                                              Who or what got you interested sewing? 
 When I was very young I used to watch in awe as my mother sewed for me and my siblings on her Imperial sewing machine.  I loved my Mom's button was magical to me!

 Where did you learn to sew or who taught you? 

I learned to sew by watching my mother and experimenting with a scissors, fabric, needles and thread.   My Mom truly didn't have the time to actually teach me or my sisters to sew. She sewed out of necessity and it was just one of many chores she did in raising nine children.


                                    How old were you when you made your first project?
                                     When I was four years old I made my first doll dress.

                                                   What was your first project?
I can remember laying my doll on the floor, cutting out fabric around the doll then sewing it one her. My mother was very proud of my accomplishment. I can remember being embarrassed as she showed everyone who came to visit what I had made.

                                     What are the most beneficial resources to you?
 Presently I search the internet for historical pictures and photos, vintage pattern jackets, vintage catologues, movies etc. I am always on the look out for ideas to make realistic looking garments for dolls.

                                     What are some of your favorite sewing books?
 I have two books from Dover, one titled "Everyday Fashions 1909-1920" As pictured in the Sears Catalogs" and the other titled Children's Fashions 1900-1950 As pictured in Sears Catalogs. Another great book I enjoy is titled The Collector's Book of Dolls' Clothes, Costumes in Miniature 1700-1929...Authors Dorothy S., Elizabeth A., and Evelyn Coleman ( no relation to me, even though we have the same name).

                                       What are some of your favorite patterns?
Although I usually design and make my own patterns,I recently purchased a pattern from a fellow seamstress for an 1850's Day Dress by Thimbles and Acorns, designer Shari Fuller. Its  a wonderful pattern. I have a few of Lincoln Mold 18" doll patterns which I use from time to time.

                                               Where do you get your inspiration from?
 I've always loved historical fashion and love trying to create it in doll size outfits..maybe I was born in the wrong era...:o) I' d say the resources themselves are very inspirational.  I do my best to capture the particular style and era of every garment I make. It can be difficult at times given the scale of the doll clothes.

                                      What are some of your other hobbies/interests?
 Over the years I have enjoyed designing and creating jointed mohair teddy bears.  I love to cycle and work in the garden.

                               What would be your ultimate/dream sewing project?
 Hmmm, I kind of feel like I am doing it now... thinking up designs in my head then seeing them made up in completion on a doll is my dream job. I find it very satisfying. Someday soon, if all goes well, I may have patterns available for sale.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Winter Photo Shoot

I only got a few pictures of the red riding hood dress I made last fall, so when the snow came and I had the chance I grabbed my sister (she was my model:), my camera, and snap some fun pictures. It was a good thing we went out when we did too, because the snow flakes really started coming down later, like a rain drops in a down pour!

This one is my favorite!