In the works: New and improved slopers for Sonokong dolls

Introduction

It has been almost 10 months since I blogged at The Enchanted Dress Shop.  In this time I’ve been experimenting with ways to offer better fitting patterns for Sonokong dolls.  I am not pleased with the previous patterns offered here.  I want an outstanding fit, not a merely good one.  If you have used my patterns you may find that there always needs some tweaking about the neckline or armhole.  The darts for the skirt also need to be moved depending on the style.  It is for these reasons and more that I decided to start from scratch and find a new way to create a sloper without going back to 1:6 scale flat patternmaking.  It’s too difficult to draft on such a small scale even using millimeters instead of inches.

The scenic route to the solution

This past Spring I thought of moving over to crocheting for the Sonokong dolls.  This turned out not to be a good move.  Because Sonokong dolls have very pointy bust lines and a curvy backside, my attempts to adapt Barbie patterns did not work out.  The newer Barbies are smaller busted and flatter in the backside.  I was almost ready to give up.

I have many blog friends through RetroGlam, my blog for full-scale women’s dressmaking.  One of my blog friends Carol posted about April_n_Paris blog and videos  which inspired me to try April’s technique for 1:6 draping.  It has taken a few attempts but at last I’m seeing results.  It’s a gradual process of evolving the sloper through draping, creating the paper pattern and then making alterations until the resulting toile fits perfectly.

As I’m draping I find April’s technique simplifies the process.  She’s a natural at this.  The use of embroidery thread to mark the key body lines is an important visual aid.  Without these dividing lines it’s hard to get an accurate drape.  Manipulating the fabric on the doll also shows me that since dolls are so unnaturally shaped the placement of seams, darts and openings will often be unusual.  Take the center back seam of the skirt.  The Sonokong doll’s backside is very curvy going out at the waist and in near the hips.  At this point there is more fabric needed to close the seam.  This shows up in the drape.  But when I drafted my patterns I always used a straight vertical line which resulted in many fitting difficulties.

Since I wait to work on my doll related projects when I’m in a very relaxed mood it will take some time to complete the toiles.  When they are finished I will scan and offer here for your use.  I’m looking forward to a whole new chapter in dolly dressmaking and sharing it with you all.  Photos of the progress so far follows.  At the end of this posting are links to April’s YouTube tutorials.

Sonokong Doll Basic Toile-1:6 scale draping

Note:  The skirt has to be sewed together.  So far the parts are looking good when held against the doll.  The placement of bodice front and skirt front darts, along with the center back seam, still look odd to me but the fitting is an improvement over what I had before.  I think once I get a final paper pattern I can experiment with moving these dart positions.

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FashionDollStylist YouTube Tutorials

How to make slopers for the fashion doll Pt.1

How to Make Slopers for the fashion doll. Pt.2 Basic Bodice

How to make slopers for the fashion doll. Pt3: Sleeves

How to Make Slopers for the fashion doll: Pt. 4 The Skirt

 

 

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Pattern Scan for “Cheongsam New York Style” dress

Photos of the finished dress are at this posting:  https://theenchanteddressshop.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/cheongsam-new-york-style-part-one/

The cheongsam was made using a Japanese medium weight cotton furoshiki.  If you use such a textile remember to select one with the smallest possible pattern.

If you are using a lightweight cotton, you may want to consider underlining the cheongsam to give it more body.  This will help the darts stay crisp and the curve over the hipline remain clear.   Please see this posting for details on underlining:  https://theenchanteddressshop.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/underlining-cutting-marking-and-basting-a-16-scale-doll-outfit/

I called this style “Cheongsam New York Style” because it is a simple dress that captures the look of a cheongsam but has an easy quality that does not require a high level of detail.  The simplicity frees you from having to create the look of the traditional Cheongsam with ball buttons and an assymetrical opening at the front.

Included is the pattern for the purse.  The posting with photos of the purse and jewelry is at https://theenchanteddressshop.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/cheongsam-new-york-style-part-two-the-accessories/

I drafted this pattern when I designed doll clothes under the name of Victoria Marie Celeste.

Pattern for “Cheongsam New York Style” dress.

Use of this pattern:  I am the creator of this dress and pattern.  I release it into the commons for use by others for personal or manufacturing purposes.  A link back to this blog is appreciated if you use the pattern.  I’d love to see a photo of your finished creation.  This 1:6 scale pattern was custom drafted for Sonokong Sharp and Aeyin.  If you are using any other make of 11 1/2″ fashion doll I recommend making a muslin first.

Greenaway Girls: Kaitlynn’s Empire Dress with Pierette Collar Pattern

The photo of Kaitlynn’s dress and some sewing notes are in this posting.  There is also another posting about her accessories.

This pattern was custom drafted for Sonokong Sharp and Aeyin dolls.  Please make adjustments when using it for other types and dolls.  It is essential to proof the fit by means of a sample before cutting the fashion fabric.

I give permission for free use and circulation of this pattern.  Please give me credit and a link back to this blog.

Please Note:  This is style 2 not style 1.

Greenaway Girls Pattern for Molly’s Empire Waist Dress

The photo and some sewing details for Molly’s Greenaway Girls look are in this posting.

This pattern must be scaled to inches when printing.  A ruler or measurement line is included.

This pattern was custom drafted for the Sonokong Sharp and Aeyin dolls.  Use for any other type of doll will require modifications.  Please test on a toile before cutting the fashion fabric.

I permit free circulation and use of this pattern.  I would like credit for the pattern and a link back to this blog in return.

If you plan to add a ribbon trim along the empire waistline cut a little extra width at Center Back.  The application of ribbon tightens the fabric and fit.

Pattern for Afternoon Appointment Dress

This pattern was custom drafted for the Sonokong Aeyin and Sharp dolls. Their bodies are different from the Classic Barbie or Takara Jenny dolls. If you want to adapt this pattern to fit a different doll, I recommend making a toile first. To use this pattern you must first save it and then scale it to the proper size using the ruler in the scan as your guide.

Please see the following postings for how the finished dresses look and for some construction details. The armholes and neckline were finished with bias strips of organza. The fabric used was 100% cotton. This dress will work equally well with silky poly-blend fabrics. If using this type of fabric, bias cut strips of nylon tulle will make a better finishing for the armholes and neckline.

—–Photos and construction details for version 1 of Afternoon Appointment (with gathered waistline and lace collar), earrings and beaded bag.
http://wp.me/p3xS5g-j

—-Photos and construction details for version 2 of Afternoon Appointment (with ribbon trim at hipline), earrings and beaded bag.
http://wp.me/p3xS5g-H

Tip for making the handbags: Cut 2 pieces of the felt out using the pattern. Hand sew the beads to each piece. Then stitch the front and back of the handbag together using a small whipstitch along the edges sewing between the beads when needed. Use a jewelry chain for the handle.

Afternoon Appointment Front Pattern Piece. The line at the waist level is for the elastic and casing of version 1. The line at hip level is for placement of the ribbon trim used in version 2.

Afternoon Appointment back pattern piece and handbag pattern piece.

Sweet Leisure Pattern Scan

Please see the previous postings for details about the outfit and sewing:

Sweet Leisure: Kaitlynn’s Holiday Hostess Gown

Sweet Leisure: An inside look on the design and sewing details

The tape measure shown for the scale in each scan uses centimeters.

These patterns are custom drafted for Sonokong dolls but you are free to use them and change as you need to.  I’d love to see how you use and adapt them.

Please note:  You will need knowledge of using a printer to size up or down the results of the printout.  I do not have that knowledge but if anyone does and would like to send me the instructions I will be happy to post them here.

Skirt Front.

Skirt back.

Bodice Front and Back.

Coming soon…scans of the patterns for the outfits showcased so far

Hi everyone. This little blog, one of the small joys I indulge in, has been sadly neglected. This was due to a very bad start to the year. 2014 came in with a blast of very disruptive events and people that made it difficult for me to take up pencil and needle for the drafting and hand sewing of 1:6 scale fashions for the Sonokong dolls.

I’m very happy to report that the year is ending on a high point where things have improved beyond all expectations. I’m slowly getting back into the more creative side of my personal life.

I’ve worked on new slopers the past two weeks for the girls Molly, Brooke, Kaitlynn and Kathrynne. Once those are refined I plan to start sewing for them again. The new apartment I live in is cozy and comfy. It will be a treat to stay indoors, enjoy the view from the bow windows and sit snug and warm in my new little sewing corner.

I have located scans of the patterns used to create the fashions previously posted. I plan to put them up soon. I’m sorry to say that I do not know how to size up or down from a scan so you’ll be on your own. But the patterns will be free to circulate or modify as you want or have to. They are custom drafted for the Sonokong dolls. To work with other 1:6 scale dolls you will need to make alterations.

I so look forward to getting back into the world of the Enchanted Dress Shop and thank the new followers who have chosen to be part of this world with me.

Christmas Dreams and New Year Wishes

The Coventry sisters (Kathrynne, Kaitlynn and Brooke) awoke early on Christmas Day to prepare a simple but elegant breakfast for their business associates Julie London and Molly Hamilton. Kathrynne, Kaitlynn and Brooke enjoy the times when they are engaged in buying trips for Julie and Molly’s dress shop.

Before attending to their guests, each sister made a wish as the sunshine streamed through the windows of the large bedroom they still share in common at their parents’ mini-mansion.

Kaitlynn.

Kaitlynn’s wish is for her family and friends to take time to enjoy the simple pleasures that make life sweet.

Kathrynne (left) and Brooke (right).

Kathrynne and Brooke dream about a time when they stay in touch more often by discussing things face-to-face instead of through texts and emails.

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Julie (left) and Molly (right)

Molly awoke to the fragrance of cinnamon French toast as Julie entered the room with a stack on her plate. She encouraged Molly to hurry downstairs before everything was gone because unexpected callers had arrived.

Molly almost gasped telling Julie that as a fitting model for the Enchanted Dress Shop she cannot afford to gain much weight. Once they started discussing their dreams and hopes for the shop Molly decided there was plenty of work up ahead in the New Year. Julie would work an extra pound or two off once fittings and showings resumed mid-January.

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The Enchanted Christmas Tree.

The Coventry Sisters along with Julie and Molly will be back at work after their holiday break with new styles and a few surprises. It might be a little while before they start sharing photos and updates. But all good things are worth waiting for and working towards.

With best wishes,

Molly
Julie
Kathrynne
Kaitlynn
Brooke

Please note: I did not make any of the sleepwear my dolls are wearing in these photos. They were a gift from my late mother. I don’t know where she bought them.

Sweet Leisure: An inside look on the design and sewing details

Dolly Jewelry Details

A combination of glass beads that complemented or matched the colors of the fashion fabric were used. I want to use this approach more in the future. I think that subtle gradations of color add an extra dimension to the interplay between jewelry and clothing. For this ensemble the gold beads break up the flow from cream into a palest creamy pink but at the time I thought it would provide interest. I think the ability to discern such flowing of one color into another takes time to develop.

Hand Sewing and Garment Construction Details

The marvelous thing about working in 1:6 scale is that there is an opportunity to try out couture techniques such as hand finished seams and closures. The plus side is that the large and more time consuming aspect associated with full scale clothing is not present. The drawback and challenge is finding the appropriate notions in small sizes. For this piece I experimented with rayon thread to sew and finish the seams. It is much more delicate and requires extra conditioning but the outcome was good in my opinion.

The gown was underlined in a very light weight poly china silk. Lace along the cuffs and neckline was applied along the outside of the neckline and sleeves after these were finished. I think inserting the lace into the seam makes for extra bulk.

Even though the gown was underlined I rarely catch stitch the seams to it since it sometimes distorts the shape of such small pieces. The facing edge at center front was the only part catch stitched from neck to hemline. Of course the hems of sleeves and skirt were also catch stitched to the underlining.

Pressing, Shaping and Fitting Details

Shape is built into the darts and waistline by hand pressing all seams before steaming over a tailor’s ham or sleeve roll. Although the craft supplier I bought these buttons from recommended them for 1:6 scale sewing I now think that even smaller buttons would have been more suitable. At the time, though, I could not find anything smaller in a cream color.

Commercially made fashion doll clothes often omit the darts at the back of a fitted bodice. With the patternmaking system I use I’ve found that the fit is unsuitable when these darts are eliminated. So I sew them in by hand very carefully. I do not sew the waistline of bodice and skirt together. Instead I lap the bodice seams over the skirt and fell stitch into place. The result is a better and smoother fit, even when there is a tiny bit of ease at the waistline.

I’ve also found that set in sleeves result in a bulky fit where the armhole meets the side seam. It is for this reason that up until now I’ve used variations of close fitting kimono sleeves without gusset for doll clothing. I’m considering using this type of sleeve to experiment with creating other sleeves that have the appearance of a raglan sleeve or a sleeve that combines kimono at the back and set in sleeve at the front of the bodice.

More to come in the New Year. Best wishes to all my readers and followers for a very happy holiday season.

Sweet Leisure: Kaitlynn’s Holiday Hostess Gown

Kaitlynn greets the mornings during the Christmas Season with a look of understated elegance.

Kaitlynn always takes her vacation during the Christmas Season. She enjoys receiving visitors during the week in which Christmas occurs and will have open house every afternoon from 1 – 4 p.m. Visitors are welcomed with a buffet style tea time complete with tea sandwiches, scones, biscuits and a cup of fresh brewed hot tea. Like her sisters Brooke and Kathrynne, Kaitlynn enjoys collecting vintage pieces. Her interests include unmatched pieces of porcelain and china teaware. Guests get to select the cup, saucer and cake dish they will use during the visit.

Some guests cannot make the afternoon open house so Kaitlynn welcomes them for a morning visit, often greeting them in one of her luxurious hostess gowns. This morning she decided that the lighter shades of peach and cream would be just as delightful as the darker pinks she wears during the holiday season. It helps that her guest parlor is also done up in pale, pastel colors and a cream colored Christmas tree adorned with pink lights is on display there.

Kaitlynn’s vintage cultured pearl bracelet with pale beads of gold was a gift from her sisters. They found it during one of their buying trips in London.

Kaitlynn enjoys combining a natural, understated look in hairstyling and make-up with elegant but simple pieces of jewelry. When she was able to locate the earrings and choker that went with the vintage bracelet she asked the estate seller in London to reserve them for her. Many told Kaitlynn that such elegant pieces deserve a dramatic evening dress and are better worn to an elegant function. She proved them wrong and has received many compliments on the day she wore the complete set of vintage jewelry with her custom made Holiday Hostess Gown.

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Craft Notes

All jewelry was made using gold toned wire upon which glass seed beads were strung and then shaped to fit the doll. No measurements were used. All proportions were judged by eye, frequently gauging the effect against the doll dress in the finished outfit.

A scan of the pattern is available here.  Please note you will need knowledge of using the printer to scale up or down the results of the scan presented in the posting.  You may use the pattern freely and adapt as you want to.  It is custom drafted for a Sonokong doll such as the one shown here.  Making a muslin sample for another doll is recommended.