The empire waist bodice for Molly’s dress was made from the fitted bodice. The neckline and side darts of the basic pattern were transferred to under the bust. The remaining portion of the fitted bodice was taped to a 1/2 A-Line skirt made from the basic skirt draft. A series of muslin toiles were made and adjusted until the lower skirt portion had a smooth fit without the need for darts below the bust.
The sleeves appear to be bell shaped but are just long kimono sleeves attached to front and back bodice. Extra width was added at the outer edges of the sleeve seams. A small vertical tuck runs along the back sleeve so that the fullness was better controlled.
The lower portion of the dress is underlined with tulle to help hold the shape of the A-line skirt much better.
The lace trim for the sleeve was hand stitched to the inside of the sleeve hem. Special application for the Pierrette Collar was developed and will be detailed in the next post.
The ribbon used under the bust is 1/4″ grosgrain ribbon folded in half so that the finished width is 1/8″ It was applied to the dress after sewing bodice and skirt seam. Fell Stitches were used to sew ribbon to dress.
I wasn’t sure what kind of jewelry would work well with Kaitlynn’s demure empire waist dress. At first I thought a simple crystal drop earring would look very sweet. But given that she has such a large amount of curls I wanted to do something that would balance out the slender effect the empire silhouette creates.
I stopped sketching and doodling and just began to look through all my beads and findings. I very much love the current trend in bold earring designs, especially chandelier earrings and long dangling earrings full of Swarovski crystals.
I decided to go free form and strung some tiny glass beads onto a length of wire. Then I twisted them into a semi-circular shape. The wire at each end of the semi-circle was then cut and twisted together using a needle nose plier. I left one end slightly longer so I could create a loop to go into the eye pin. When I placed these finished earrings into the earholes I thought it worked. The earrings did not get lost in Kaitlynn’s hairstyle and they managed to add some interest by drawing the eye horizontally before going vertically along the lines of the dress.
I highly recommend taking an amount of “play time” out when an accessory or finishing touch cannot be consciously decided once the dolly outfit is completed.
Kaitlynn’s empire waist dress was inspired by the illustrations of Kate Greenaway as well as 1960s Mod London fashions. Two rows of lace were hand-stitched together to create the collar of the dress.
The neckline was first finished by using bias cut tulle strips around the round neckline. This provided a clean finish to the neckline.
The lace was then steam pressed and shaped by hand into a circle. Lastly it was placed around the finished neckline and stitched into place.The dress has close fitting kimono sleeves. Then, another strip of lace was sewn to the inside of the neckline.
The entire dress was made from a fitted bodice with kimono sleeves joined to a fitted skirt. The lower portion was developed by easing in the remaining dart ease to the bodice.
To give the cotton fabric some extra body to hold the shape of the empire waist I underlined the entire dress in lightweight nylon tulle.
The pocketbook was hand beaded and then sewn together.
Kathrynne models her sheath dress and accessories inspired by the Chinese Cheongsam. A sheath pattern with two vertical darts on each side of the front and back dress formed the basis for the New York Style Cheongsam. Cap sleeves that are in one with the dress were added to the pattern. Instead of a Mandarin collar a high band collar cut on the lengthwise grain was used. No underlining was needed because the 100% cotton fabric used had enough body. A Japanese furoshiki with a small floral pattern suitable to 1:6 scale sewing provided the perfect look and feel for the dress.
The sheath dress was tapered at the side seams about 1/16″ at the hemline level. A line connecting this new point was drawn up to another point about 1/4′ down from the hipline. Instead of the side slits used in a traditional Cheongsam, a kickpleat was created at Center Back.
The Center Back placket was cut in one piece with the dress by adding 1/2″ to the Center Back of the pattern. In this way, the kickpleat was a continuation of the placket. Edges of the placket were finished with bias cut green tulle nylon vielling fabric. The collar at Center Back closes with a very small button and thread loop.
In New York Style Cheongsam, Part Two I will present close-ups and details for how the accessories for this ensemble were created.
A scan of this pattern is available for your use at https://theenchanteddressshop.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/pattern-scan-for-cheongsam-new-york-style-dress/
It is possible to underline a 1:6 scale doll outfit provided the material used is very lightweight. Depending on the effect desired I’ve used poly chiffon, poly China silk, lightweight muslin and nylon tulle with good results. Sometimes it is necessary to experiment on scraps of fabric to learn the technique and develop the sensibility for what will work well together. I did this with the dress design I call “Cheongsam, New York Style”. For the trial run I used long vertical stitches to hold together a layer of 100% cotton with poly china silk. The fabric was first trued and steam pressed and pinned in place before basting together.
The pattern pieces are laid out on the fabric and pinned into place. I find using fine straight pins with colored glass heads a good way to keep track of the slender pins. Marking seam allowances onto the pattern is the best way to go when working on such a small scale.
I’ve found using the Fiskars Micro-tip Scissors just right for cutting out 1:6 scale garment pieces. I prefer to use white dressmakers marking paper since the markings vanish after steam pressing. For all marking in 1:6 scale I use a smooth tracing wheel.
The garment pieces after cutting have key lines and darts thread traced in black. The darts and seams are then pinned into place and basted. I do not recommend pin basting, especially on such a small scale, even when hand sewing. Small, even hand sewn stitches are just not possible when sewing over pins.
The cut and basted garment pieces are kept together with the needles and thread used for hand sewing in a plastic baggie. It is a good idea to jot down any notes regarding notions or construction onto 3″ x 5″ file cards and include that in the baggie. This will help you remember what to do next if there will be an interruption or long break between hand sewing sessions.
Special Note: It turned out to be a good thing I made a toile for the Cheongsam, New York Style dress. The dart intake was too big and the fit on the doll was very unsatisfactory. After creating two smaller darts the dress looked very good when made up in the fashion fabric. I will present the Cheongsam, New York Style dress in my next posting.