Several weeks ago, the grandfather of one of my sewing students donated a huge lot of fabric to my program. He’s apparently in the garment business
a sewist’s dream come true and unloaded some unneeded material. Well…one person’s trash is another one’s goldmine!!! Suffice it to say that I have now been trying to find projects that will use up some of this gorgeous stuff. He donated bolts of tulle, silk tapestry, silver lame, pleather, organza, antique buttons, voile gingham and so much more!! (Spell check is going crazy with these fabric names, but they are all spelled correctly – so boo yah!) I can’t even describe all the gorgeous floral and woven prints that are in these two giant bundles!!
Some of this fabric is too fragile for a novice sewer (not that I’m complaining.) Howver, sewing with tulle is not easy and my students aren’t quite that gentle with their stitching yet. The silver lame is stunning, but slippery to work with. The voile is gorgeous but tricky and stretchy to sew. While I would never choose these fabrics for kids…I’m grateful for the donation and want someway to use them with my elementary school students. For a few weeks now I’ve been waiting for some time to experiment and play around with some of these beauties. Of course, in order to know what fabric will work with kids, I need to do some sewing of my own…right!? I love a challenge and having access to these unconventional fabrics is a privilege! Looking at a few of the stash has already given me some ideas for more advanced projects, but perhaps for next year. Meanwhile, here is what I have been playing with so far.
Naturally when I saw this tulle bundle shown below, it just screamed “princess outfit”. The little girl in me saw this pale blue silver-sprinkled tulle yardage as perfect for an Elsa Frozen dress but,
I’m not such a snow princess fan. I did imagine a more generic ballerina costume and went searching for online patterns. There are many free doll chothing patterns to be found, but I wanted something specific for the 18″ dolls made by Amy for A Doll Like Me. A little ballerina doll outfit could be adored by some little girl.
I landed on a great online site called pixiefairie.com. They all basically doll-central! You can find patterns for doll shoes, hats and even crowns!! I hope that their 18″ patterns for American Girl dolls will fit Amy’s precious creations. (Amy…you’ll let me know and I’ll tailor things if need be.) While I love a freebie, this time I took the plunge and actually paid for a tutorial (only $4.99, cause I’m not such a big spender.) The PDF pattern is officially called “Tutu Cute Story Book Dress-Up Costume Dress.” That’s a long name, but look how adorable it is so we’ll forgive the wordiness!
This Ballerina outfit is made for an 18″ American Girl but without dolls in our house, I’m without a model. Still, the dress propped up gorgeous too! For this “costume” I used tulle, silver lame, ribbons, a blue floral fabric fittingly from “Let’s Play Dolls” by Andover Fabrics and a scrap of Moda Bella “seafoam” solid cotton for the lining and the underskirt. The pattern is rated for an intermediate sewer and frankly, that may be an understatement. While I am an experienced sewer, and had a blast making this, many others might have given up before reaching the end. If you’re new to sewing tiny doll fashions, start with an “easy” or beginner pattern. I guarantee, once you start sewing little fashions, you won’t want to stop.
I have lots of ideas for little costumes, but need to have the sizing confirmed before sewing much more from this type of pattern. However, I figured that a simple doll dress would be useful so I looked for a simple freebie. The free PDF pattern for a Drawstring dress (seen below) is by Heritage Patterns. This outfit is not fitted and detailed like the ballerina one, therefore the simple construction makes it a great pattern for a beginner. Instead of sewing fabric strips for the shoulders, which can be a bit tricky, you can just use simple ribbon and this dress will be finished in no time!
The dress print is by Melody Miller for Cotton + Steel. It’s from the Spring, 2016- Trinket collection and the particular print with the smiling daisies is called “Happy Garden.” The contrasting pink fabric is “Insignia” in pomegranate pink is by Alison Glass for Andover. On the fabric ball below, if you look closely at the bright pink fabric you can see one of the tiny images (birds, crosses, bees, and stars) on this gorgeous cotton.
I went a little further and made a little ensemble for this dress as you can see in the photo above. The white tshirt is described at the bottom of this post. Also, I recently wrote about making these fabric balls for a blog hop in March, 2018. I will admit again, that these are highly addictive to sew. Try making one yourself and you’ll see! Seriously though, a little sundress needs a beachball, right!? If I was near a beach, I would take a photo of this whole ensemble in the sand. (If we’re using our imagination, I would snag a doll for the photo shoot, a book and a blanket for me also.)
I’m in the midst of making these fabric balls with my older students and you will see how much fun they are having. Why shouldn’t I keep the fun going and make a few more on my own, right? I keep giving them away as gifts and I may not stop for quite awhile. See the end of this blog post for a little giveaway!!
18″ DOLL CLOTHING AND ACCESSORY PATTERNS
$4.99 – Tulle “Princess” Dress-up Costume PDF pattern, Only for experienced sewers.
FREE Drawstring Dress PDF pattern, great for a beginner sewer.
Free Tshirt PDF pattern, for a beginner sewer.
I made a little tshirt for the dress as well. This Liberty Jane 18″ Doll Trendy Tshirt free PDF pattern was an easy one to sew plus has infinite possibilites for adaptations. One of the things that I am learning is that doll clothing can be perfect for repurposing unwanted human clothing. For this tee “fabric,” I just cut up one of my kid’s old tshirts. (Sorry boys, but it wasn’t being worn anymore and no, I won’t tell you which one because just trust me, you won’t miss it!)
The front of this plain doll tshirt. Notice the hem is from the original repurposed men’s small tshirt.
I kept the hem from the original shirt and that eliminated some work and gave it a nice finish. I have enough “fabric” leftover from the one size small men’s tshirt to make a second doll tee. Of course I’ll be making another one, just as soon as I know if the fit on this one works out ok for A Doll Like Me.
The tshirt pattern calls for velcro on the back, which is kind of cool, but I’m not sure if it’s necessary. I would love to be able to make a tee that just pulls over the doll’s head. Without a doll to test this on, I went ahead with the velcro. I had velcro at home and just needed to trim it to size and voila…a finished tshirt is born!
I like the dress with the tee but a pink one would be even better. I have torn pink tshirts that are lingering in my closet and they may just get cut up one of these days. Yup…watch out wardrobe…I’m coming for you!!! I may never toss another tee again. Of course, I first need to know if these doll tees are the right size and/or helpful to the mission of A Doll Like Me. I would gladly cut up old tees to repurpose them…just as long as I know they’re needed.
GIVEAWAY!! If you are interested in a medium fabric ball, leave me a blog comment with your color preferences. If you have favorite animals or imagery that you like, please mention that too. On April 23rd, I’ll pick a random winner or two for a fun, little spring giveaway. These fabric balls are fully washable and I promise to send you a sparkling clean one!!
linking up to a lot this week!