According to the calendar, we are currently having Spring Break here. Since the weather and calendar seem to be having a disagreement about what constitutes Spring, the last couple days have been blustery and cold. This means all my grand plans for work have been compressed into this small section of the evening after the kids have gone to bed. I was much more optimistic earlier in the week, making my usual to-do lists and such. Halfway through, though, reality set in. It is best to just go with the flow of things. Wednesday was sewing. And card games.
So, I helped Zoe with her sewing. She decided she was going to make some clothes for her brother’s doll. There is a story in that, so I shall detour a moment to tell you.
When Jack was about a year old, I decided I was going to make him a Waldorf doll. This took much longer than I expected. I mean, really, it looks easy enough – cut out the pieces, sew them together, jam in the stuffing, close up the holes. Oh, no. Those are the things they tell you when they are trying to sell you the pattern. And the special fabric. And the special stuffing. And the magic spool of thread that matches the special fabric.
First, you have to get the ball for the head just right. You might have to try that several times. At some point, you may lose all patience with this process and throw the head blob across the room, after which you decide that slightly lumpy shape it has acquired is exactly what you were looking for. And the hair! Oh, for the love of all things, THE HAIR. I will probably have nightmares for the next week now that I have brought memories of that back from the depths of my mind.
But, I got it done. And I gave it to Jack, with a vague mention of someday also making clothing for it. That was about 6 years ago. Maybe 7. Either way, Jack was happy to have it and until the last year or so, he had not raised any concerns over the fact that this doll had no clothing. He was happy because the doll had blue eyes and short brown hair, just like him.
Zoe’s dolls all have clothes. In fact, Zoe’s dolls have a lot of clothes. Being the very good big sister that she is, Zoe decided to make Jack’s doll some clothes. Remembering that the original doll pattern also included some clothes, I dug that out and Zoe found the pants pattern. She spent about two hours on this pair of pants. I helped her carefully iron the hem and press out the seam allowances. She sewed and seam ripped until they were done.
They looked good until she put them on. They don’t have enough of a rise to actually stay on the doll. Bummer.
While Zoe ate lunch, I cut a new pair with a longer rise and sewed them up. Quite the difference!
Zoe tried an American Girl doll shirt on this doll and it fit, so maybe someday we will use one of those patterns to make this guy a shirt. Probably not soon. Zoe has switched back to trying patterns from a new book that she has been helping me review. Of course, it is a book of patterns for clothes that fit the American Girl dolls, so maybe he will get a shirt from there.
We have a giveaway for you this week! It’s Carla Crim’s book, Pattern Making for Kids’ Clothes.
Carla Crim is known for her straightforward, easy to follow pdf pattern designs sold under the Scientific Seamstress line. She also collaborates on patterns with Jennifer Paganelli for the Sis Boom pattern line. If you have used any of her patterns, you will recognize Carla’s style in this book. The language is informal, and the information is presented in an easy to understand way.
If you have been looking at your pattern collection thinking, “I could do that!”, this book will help you get started. Slopers are essential to getting a good fit and pattern designers often make a significant investment of time or money (or both!) to obtain good slopers. This book includes slopers in sizes 3-12 in a downloadable format. 10 sizes of slopers. INCLUDED. That is AMAZING.
You can use the slopers to create your own pattern blocks, or as a guide to help you adjust patterns.
Don’t want to create your own pattern blocks? No problem! Carla provides pattern blocks for a peasant top, camp shirt, t-shirt, coat/jacket, vest, tunic, halter top, pants, skirts, two dresses, and rompers. The garments section of the book contains 90 pages of drawings and explanations of modifications you can make to these pattern blocks to bring your designs to life.
Twelve sets of pattern blocks + tons of suggested mods = hundreds (thousands?!?) of possibilities!
Want a chance to win your own copy?
Thanks to the great folks at Barron’s, we will give one away to one lucky Sewing Mamas reader! Enter below before midnight central time on Thursday, March 27.
My daughter got her own sewing machine. It is a Brother CS6000i.
She started out following lines and doing some connect the dot pictures on paper to help her control where she was sewing. I was surprised by how long she was content to work on that. For her first real sewing, she decided to make a pillow for her doll.
It’s a little small, but the doll does not seem to mind.
Do you remember your first sewing project?
It is common to hear people say they are afraid to sew with knits, but I really like them. Knits always seem more forgiving to me when lining up seams.
This is the hip length short sleeve version of this top. Normally, I have to add length to tops, but this one feels like it may even be a touch long. When it came time to topstitch, I used a spool of regular sewing thread and filled a bobbin so I would have thread for both needles. Since the underside of the fabric is white, I just went with white wooly nylon in the looper of my coverstitch machine.
Even more important, I used the iron before coverstitching. I have a tendency to be lazy and just run hems through without first pressing them. But, look! Things turn out so much better if they are nice and neatly ironed first.
Why can’t I remember this and always spend the extra 60 seconds with the iron?
I am so excited! And nervous. Very nervous!
My confirmation for Spring Quilt Market arrived!
I signed up for Sample Spree, a class about Retreats and Social Marketing. I have no idea what to expect. I am really anxious about meeting new people, but after last summer’s Sewing Mamas retreat, I am trying really hard to remember that these are all people who love the same things I do.
Anyone else going to Spring Market?