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

 

 

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: 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.

Greenaway Girls Collection: Molly’s Empire Waist Dress with Pierrette Collar

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.

Greenaway Girls Collection: Kaitlynn’s Empire Waist Dress

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.

Afternoon Appointment, Version 2

Molly is the dressmaker and designer at The Enchanted Dress Shop. She designs girly and frilly outfits her customers call confections. Molly’s personal style is much simpler. Like Julie she prefers classic, simple styles. This chemise was made from the same pattern that Julie’s dress was made from. Instead of the elastic which shaped Julie’s dress at the waistline, a slight curve was made on the pattern from underarm to hipline. At the hipline a 1/4″ ribbon was hand stitched into place. A small bow was stitched into place and then tacked to the side. Slightly transparent red glass seed beads were used for the pocket book and earrings to complete the look.

The dress is made of 100% cotton backed with white poly organza. The organza added a nice touch and keeps the chemise silhouette looking it’s best. The neckline and armholes were finished with bias strips of nylon tulle. At the back there is a placket finished in bias cut organza onto which snaps are sewn.

 

Afternoon Appointment Version 1

Julie is the fitting model for at The Enchanted Dress Shop. She is a very active and busy young woman. She prefers classic fashions and accessories. The dress shown here was created from a basic unfitted bodice with side dart. Elastic was added at the waistline. To keep the hemline neat, a bias strip of tulle was used to finish the edge of the hem. The hem was catch stitched to the organza underlining.

 

A hand beaded pocketbook was created using felt circles and a necklace chain. The colors of the beads pick-up the flowers of the 100% cotton fabric.

 

Julie’s earrings consist of eye pins containing small jump rings to which a tiny jade colored seed bead was added. The neckline and armholes were finished using bias strips of white tulle catch stitched into place. The dress was underlined in white sparkle organza. There isn’t any casing for the waistline elastic. Instead wide catch stitches were made over the elastic after one end was sewn into place. After that the elastic was pulled to create the gathers. The lace was steamed and shaped into a curve and allowed to dry. Then it was stitched along the neckline.

Garden Party

I thought of a world of gazebos, afternoon tea, gardens with the fragrance of roses and lavender when working on the patterns for these dresses.

Brooke’s dress is accessorized with red seed bead earrings and bracelet.

Kathrynne’s favorite color is green. Her sash, earrings and bracelet are in deeper shades of green that complement the pattern on the dress.

The sashes were made with three layers of fabric and are part of the dress.  The first layer is bias cut satin overlaid with sparkle organza.  Under the satin is a very thin layer of nylon tulle.  After the dress was sewn the sash was covered with poly china silk fell stitched in place.

An overlay of blue-green sparkle organza adds depth of color to the emerald green satin sash of the dress.

The fabric used for the dresses is 100% cotton sewn by hand with Gutterman’s poly cotton thread.

The backdrops for these photos are reprints from “Barbie Goes To College” that I bought on eBay.  They create the atmosphere of a small town in Late Spring-Early Summer, a place where Brooke and Kathrynne would be the stars of the social scene with many friends to share their afternoon parties with.