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Adapting a doll dress pattern

Now that I’ve got my doll dress muslin done, I can use the pieces from my own, custom dress and add elements from other patterns, adjusting them to fit, according to my dress muslin. You can see in the photo above, that I’ve taken the pieces from my dress muslin, and traced them to make pattern pieces on paper. Once I have my own basic pattern pieces in the right sizes and shapes, I can take pattern pieces for additional elements, like sleeves, vests, and aprons, such as those from commercial patterns, and adapt them to fit my own pattern pieces. This is something you can do with clothing patterns for people as well.

In this case, I’m using my own bodice and skirt pattern pieces, and I am adding sleeves, a vest, and an apron from an adorable Brown House Doll pattern. Be sure to check out Bev Brown’s designs if you like to sew clothing for dolls. They are super. I adapted my bodice and skirt from doll dresses Max came up with before.

Here, I’ve redrafted the BHD pieces to fit my dress. I do this by tracing the elements I want to adapt, and laying the tracings over my pattern pieces. Then I can redraw the lines to fit my pattern pieces. The top of the sleeve needed to be redrawn to fit the armhole of my pattern. The vest had to be completely redrawn according to the lines I marked on my bodice for my neckline, armholes, and waistline. The apron should work as it is, but I will be adding a row of machine-embroidered fabric on the lower edge, which means I may need to widen the sides of the apron to compensate for the amount I will need to turn under on the raw edges.

Making another muslin at this point is not a bad idea, but, instead I will leave my seam allowances a little wide, in case I need to adjust them. I made some changes to my bodice that I haven’t retested. Next comes fabric selection.

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Original folk art cat doll in progress, the dress muslin

Here are some photos of the muslin of the doll dress I was working on, completed. It is entirely hand sewn using cotton quilting thread to make a basting stitch.

I draw any adjustments in fit and length that I want to make directly onto my dress muslin with a mechanical pencil. Before I assembled the dress muslin, I traced the original version of my pattern right onto my fabric using a permanent black marker. Generally, I use a pencil to mark my dress muslin while my doll is wearing it to make sure I don’t mark the doll.

There are some minor adjustments to make. There was a small pucker in the bodice at the underarm. I will deepen the bottom of the armhole to compensate for this. I also added a quarter inch to the length of the skirt, and widened the back of the bodice slightly.

I used a single strand of thread for my stitching because it is easier to pull out, which is the next step. The muslin is next carefully disassembled using a seam ripper. Then I trace each piece, refine each one on paper, and make a final draft of my pattern. I haven’t pressed the dress muslin at all, to minimize any distortion of the fabric pieces.

Incidentally, although the rough draft of a dress is called a muslin, I don’t use actual muslin fabric to make my dress muslin. I used cotton sheeting on this one. The important thing is to use a fabric similar in weight and drape to the fabric you will use for your real dress.

We’ll be adding these new collaborative dolls to our online doll gallery once they are completed and photographed. I’m brainstorming on my navigation ideas for that main doll gallery page. There are so many original art dolls now, they’re divided into four subcategories, jointed cloth and paperclay art dolls, art doll figurines, soft art dolls and art toys, and already adopted dolls. Be sure to come check them out.

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Happy new year!

These are some of the photos I have taken, although not just recently, at the Raleigh Little Theater Rose Garden, at Sarah P. Duke Memorial Gardens, and in my own garden.

Back in upstate New York, where I grew up, I would spend our most dreary winter days pouring over flower catalogs and magazines. I couldn’t wait for spring to come when I could dig in the warm earth of the garden again. My garden was one of my favorite things in the world.

Last night, I thought I only had one resolution for New Year’s: to answer the rest of my email that I hadn’t answered yet. But, this morning, I decided I needed a new resolution: to start over, and to start over every day if necessary. I’ve realized that I am tired of dragging around my yesterdays. I love so many of my yesterdays, but I spend too much time thinking about the ones I don’t love as much. Those have to go.

I have dwelled on sadness, and on people who have been selfish and cruel, but I accept that they have nothing to do with me. I don’t want to think about them anymore either. I know that I have love to give, and I believe there are good people who have love and kindness to share as well. I hope to find more of them.

I want to dwell on beautiful things, and create beautiful things. I want to have hope. I want to do the best I can do, and know that I have done the best I could do. I know I try to. Mostly, I want to believe that there are good things to come, happiness, good health, love, and peace. I wish this for you too. Happy new year, everyone.

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field…shall he not much more clothe you…?”-Matthew 6:28-30