Cecile’s New Gown- Keeper’s Dolly Duds 1


Right off, I have finally came to the conclusion my Cecile does not like winter (which I guess is understandable for a character from New Orleans as Kansas is much colder).  So these pictures really do not do full justice to how beautiful Cecile really is.

Last time that Cecile had a new dress was in March of 2015.  So she was long over due for a new outfit.  In the end, all the pieces came together and Cecile got Keeper’s Dolly Duds 1- “1850’s girl’s gown” in an ivory and white quilting cotton with black looped braid trim and black bias piping.


Pattern is rated as easy which seems to be accurate.  I was able to easily put it together with a little help from the instructions.  I think I had the dress together in 7 to 8 hours.  The most time- consuming part of this dress was all the trim.


Instead of using the same trim on the over skirt, upper sleeve and bodice, I decided to go with bias tape piping that I bought in store.  The piping did add extra bulk to the shoulders and neckline.  For the lower sleeve and skirt, I used a looped braid.  I serged the hems then turned them up.  After that I lined the braid trim with the edge of hem and zig-zagged stitched it to the dress.

The skirt pieces are long and get gathered into the waist of the dress.  I put in three rows of basting stitches for the gathers.  Then I pinned the ends and the center.  Afterwards I gathered it all up and pinned.  I was so happy that the skirt was sewn into the dress so easily.  I doubt I would have had that if I had done only two rows of basting for the gathers.

In the pictures, Cecile is wearing her American Girl chemise and hoop skirt plus a petticoat I made along with the meet pantalettes.





Grace’s New Outfit- Simplicity 8282

dsci0097I picked this pattern and several of the other American Girl patterns from Simplicity in early December.  Honestly, the teal dress on the pattern enveloped just jumped out as one to make for Grace.

I decided on view C (supposedly a tunic but looks like a short dress) with view D’s sleeve.  I used rayon challis left over from my McCall’s blouse.  And I paired it with view A’s leggings from a denim knit found at Wal-Mart.


Now for instructions, they were clear but not simple.  First thing I noticed reading them was that it had you inserting the sleeves in on the round on the top.  That is so not what I want to be doing is inserting tiny doll sleeves in the round.  I refused to do that so I modified how to construct the top.

I gathered and attached the front and back pieces to their respective yokes.  Then I attached those pieces at the shoulder seams.  Next I worked on the yoke lining.  After I had that together, I attached the yoke lining to the front at the neckline, clipped and top-stitched.  I basted the bottom of the yoke lining so I had something to turn under when I pressed the yoke area.  After pressing, I top-stitched the bottom of the yoke pieces.

I stitched the sleeve lining to the sleeve at the hem then pressed and top-stitched.  I put the sleeve into the dress bodice in the flat and used my serger to finish the seam allowance.  Next, I closed up the side seams and serged.  I gathered; applied the bottom ruffle and finished the seam allowances.  The back of the dress was closed up to the back opening.  Lastly, Velcro was applied.

There is probably a better order of instructions but hopefully this helps someone else out in trying to think of how to change the instructions.

If I had thought about it more, it may have been nice to finish the neckline with a bias facing.  It would then make the yoke lining optional but the top would have a clean finish using the yoke with the lining and serging the ruffle, side seams, and sleeves.  Another option would be using the burrito method.  I had thought about the burrito method but couldn’t at the time work out how to use the method with small doll clothing.


The leggings had better instructions and I followed those.  The leggings went together in an hour and a half including cut to putting them on the doll.

I found a piece of leather cord in the beading stash that I used for the belt.

Last point I have about the pattern is a couple of the views have 1/8th inch elastic as required notion.  Honestly, I am not sure if that is available.  I think one would have to use elastic cord to get the 1/8th inch otherwise, the other option is to add extra to the seam allowances needing elastic (if possible).  I didn’t use any of those views but felt that it was important to let anyone looking at this know there could be hard to find notions needed for the pattern or adjustments because of it.



Kit’s Playsuit- Keeper Dolly Duds 19


So it has been a couple of months since my dolls had a new outfit.  This time, Kit decided it was her turn for a new outfit.  I had previously purchased the “Bibbed Playsuit” from Keeper Dolly Duds’ Etsy store and was inspired to use it from looking at American Girl Wiki’s Kit Hobo outfit.  It was a top and overalls.  Granted I really follow the inspiration piece exactly because I didn’t want to put holes in the new overalls.

For a while, I have been working on making a couple of dresses for my mom for Christmas (better early than too late).  So in between dresses, I made Kit’s red blouse.  I think the fabric came from a Lee & Pearl fabric mystery bundle and it looks to be cotton.  This blouse was fairly easy to make and I only looked at the instructions for the collar and facing.  If you have made Simplicity 1086 (the 1950’s pattern for Mary Ellen from Keeper Dolly Duds), this blouse is pretty much similar.  I think the big difference is the collar shape and this one has sleeves.


The overalls are rated as intermediate pattern.  To be complete honest, my laptop computer died right before I was going to make this.  I did look at the pattern pieces to see if I could figure out how they went together without instructions.  I couldn’t do it and at least found a computer where I could print out the instructions.  As long as I followed the instructions, the overalls were fairly easy to put together.  So the intermediate classification is fairly accurate.  This definitely isn’t a beginner’s project with buttonholes, plackets and topstitching.

For the overalls, I used a chambray remnant from Hancock Fabrics.  I decided on the pants length with the trim pockets.  It took a while to find the trim box in my craft room reorganization, but unfortunately it didn’t yield anything useful.  The rick-rack I found at an antique mall was too off white to go with the white buttons I had picked out for the overalls before.  So the trim was eliminated as I was trying to use stash for this project.


The front waistband required some thought as to how the pieces went together.  The other part that required some thought was inserting the elastic.  In the end, I decided that the elastic was not to go to the edge of the back pant pattern piece as that folds over for a facing for the buttons.




Tree circle skirt


My parents got a new slim tall Christmas tree this year.  The old tree skirt was just too big (even after taking and trimming it with scissors).  No stores really seem to sell small (like 36 inches or 30 inch diameter) skirts.

So the Christmas tree got a simple full circle skirt with lace and fleece backing.


First up was estimating how much fabric to buy.  Guessing, 15 inch waist for the tree (because I didn’t have the ability to measure it) and back calculating to check to see if it is a reasonable pole diameter.  Remember that the circumference of the circle is Pi multiplied by diameter.  Estimated pole was 4.5 inches.  Outer radius for bottom of skirt was estimated at 20.25 inches (for around 36 inch skirt diameter).  So I could squeak by with 1.25 yards of fabric (that is with 5 inches of extra space.  I told my mom 1.5 yards just to be on the safe side.


After we picked up the fabric, I measured the tree.  Its waist line is more like 7 or 8 inches instead of 15.  Also, my parents decided on 30 inches diameter instead of 36 inches.  All the math had to be recalculated.  Since I didn’t pull back up the circle skirt calculators from the internet, I had to make sure I added at least 1 seam allowance for the waist.  It is a case were smaller diameter will be fine.

Half circles were cut.  Lace was applied to the outer layer.  Then fleece and outer layer were stitched together with an opening for turning it right side out.  Everything then was top-stitched closed.



Brocade Doily

dsci0036Here is the latest doily that I made. This one is from Coats & Clarks #197 “Priscilla Doilies”.  I made Brocade #A-792.  It was originally published in 1969.

As this is doily number 4, this time I used a thinner thread (size 10) and a smaller crochet hook (size C). The finished size is 20 inches.  It is bigger than I had wanted for the center of my dresser but I am still learning.  If I had used the pattern’s recommend size 20 thread and hook, it would be 15 inches.  I decided that I will just put it at the edge of the dresser then drape the excess off behind the dresser.  My lamp, two cedar boxes and a couple of bottles of perfume will look nice on it.


The pattern wasn’t really hard to follow. There were a couple of rows that reading the directions didn’t make sense.  So I would start out the row and then compare what I was doing to the picture included in the book.  The picture was detailed enough that you could see what the pattern was.

This is it not starched.


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Recreating Molly’s Christmas Dress- Butterick 6149

Pattern Doll Clothing 2016



I guess we could say my sewing skills have came a long way.  Now I am trying my best to “hack” Molly’s Christmas dress from Butterick 6149.  I don’t usually try to draft out entire pattern pieces.  Mainly, I just make little modifications like lengthening a t-shirt pattern to a dress sort of thing.

I started with Butterick 6149 because I would not need to make changes to the bodice.  I used view B for my dress especially since it was short sleeved.  I tried changing a gathered skirt to the A-line skirt to match the original outfit.  It was close but I ended up “fixing” the front by trimming length off it.


Looking at the compare pictures at the bottom of the post, my skirt is close to the original but slightly off.  I am not sure what I did wrong but I am at least close.  Anyways, it may just be fabric choice.


The big question I have is where did American Girl get the velvet to make Molly’s dress.  I picked my fabric up from Fabric mart.  It was definitely too thick but I used it anyways as I really wanted to re-create Molly’s dress for Doll Clothing week.  My seams are bulky.  I didn’t line the sleeves because of bulk.  Also, I didn’t add the lace to the sleeves to avoid more bulk.


My other fabric issue was the velvet had a little bit of stretch while the lining was white quilting cotton which didn’t.  So there was some fighting between the lining and the velvet but in the end, the pieces lined up enough that everything worked out.  Cutting the velvet was a bit tricky too.  I feel like it slide out from under my rotary cutter.  Next time, I will try pinning and using scissors to see if that helps tame the velvet.


All I can say is those 1950’s mothers must have really loved their daughters if they were setting the sleeves of a doll dress in the round.  When I seen that in the instructions, it was so not happening.  Especially after realizing the lining cotton and velvet were not getting along and that the seams will be bulky anyways.  I put the sleeves in flat and it turned out alright.

American Girl sold the dress on the left below for $24.  I was able to recreate it for around $6.  I know my final result is a close but not quite there (I ended up ordering one off of Ebay to have a closer look than I can get in pictures.  From what I can tell, it looks like I need to drop the waist line of the dress, lengthen the sleeves, add extra buttons (which I can still do as there are more at home), and change the skirt.  At first, I honestly thought it was A-line.  Hopefully the closer look will help figure it out.


Doll Clothing Week- Thimbles & Acorns

Pattern Doll Clothing 2016
Today’s doll clothing designer is Shari Fuller at Thimbles & Acorns.   I have actually sewn just one of the ten or so patterns of Shari’s that I have.  The details in the En Forreau gown are absolutely delightful and my Felicity doll looked beautiful in her dress.


I gave Shari five questions and here are her answers:

1.  What was your first doll?

The first doll that I remember having was my little Dawn Doll.  My profile picture shows me mending her dress… the first time I ever sewed!


2.  What was the last doll you got?

The most recent doll I got (well, I just bought it a few days ago and it hasn’t arrived yet), was a Laura Ingalls doll from the Queens Treasures.  Laura Ingalls was my childhood hero, so I am rather excited to see her.


3.  What is one sewing notion you absolutely must have?

My absolute must-have sewing notion is my seam ripper.  I actually have about five of them, but still spend far too much time searching for one of them when I need it.  My package of bobby pins comes in as a close second though… they are wonderful for turning narrow tubes.

4.  What pattern from your line would you recommend to someone who hasn’t tried  your patterns before?prairie-rose

I would recommend my set of three Prairie patterns that I just released this summer to anyone new to Thimbles and Acorns.   They are relatively easy to make, include both a Past and Present variation, and many of the pieces are interchangeable so there is a wide range of design options.


5.  What is the next pattern you are releasing?  Where did you get the  inspiration for the new pattern?

Currently, I am working on a series of Elizabethan Era dresses.  The idea for this series stems from my work on the soon to be released Elizabethan doll from A Girl For All Time.  I am really enjoying researching the different dress styles from this period and am rather fascinated by their unique construction.


Check out Thimbles and Acorns’ website at Thimbles and Acorns.