Saturday, March 31, 2012

How to recycle an infant top into a doll's Spring Dress

   I made this dress from an infant's summer top. A few alterations later... it is now a dress for a doll! I used mostly hand sewing for this project, using the sewing machine only for the side seams. Not one piece of fabric was waisted making this project! And since this was a thrift shop find, it only cost $1.00 to make!

This is the halter top I started with, in size 18 months.
A back view of the top.

  1) I started by pinning the top onto the doll to see how I wanted to alter it. I thought one way would be to keep the neckline as is and change the placement of the armholes. However, I decided that it would be easier and look better to do as a "mock wrap". This way I kept the armholes as is and was able to keep the full sweep of the original hem.

   My original plan was to make the straps crisscross in the back as shown here. I still wasn't sure if the shoulders would lay right this way, so I decided to wait and see before I made the final decision.

   2) I started by cutting a small snip, about 3/8" long, at the point in the center front tip of the v-neck. I then turned back each side of the neck edge based on the first pinning I did on the doll. I hand sewed this in place along the neck edge and most of the way the way down the straps (I knew that I wanted to use the ends of the straps for a bow later so I left a portion unsewn for now.

When I did both sides it looked like this.

  3) Next I pinned the overlap that created the "mock wrap" look. I hand sewed this in place on both the inside(as shown) and on the front along the lace trim edge only.
4) Next, I put the dress on the doll inside out and pinned the sides as shown.
5) I tapered the side seams so that at the bottom I used the original ruffle and side seam (see above).

      6) I turned the dress right side out and tried it on the doll. At this point I decided to keep the dress as a halter style and tied the straps at the neck to see how long the straps needed to be, and marked the length with a pin. Allowing for a seam allowance, I cut the ends of the straps off and set aside the extra pieces for the bow. 7) Next I finished sewing the straps; turning back the raw edges of the ends and folding the straps in half the rest of the way and sewing in place.

  8) Sometimes the design process changes direction several times along the way, I try to keep this in mind as I am working. At this point I thought I might like to keep the bow with rounded on the ends and use the rounded end of the original tie for one side and sew a rounded finish for the other side.

  9) The above photo shows the two pieces I used for the bow. On top is the main part of the bow and on the bottom is the piece I used for the center of the bow. I folded the bottom piece in half lengthwise and wrapped around the center of the bow and sewed in place on the back side of the bow.

   To help me decide whether to keep the bow rounded or to make the bow have straight ends, I took a photo both ways so that I could compare. I decided that I liked the straight sides better. 

10) I sewed the bow into place all around.

So here she is... ready for Spring and Easter egg hunts!

Thanks for visiting, I hope I have inspired you to try a dress for your own doll!

Creatively yours,

all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours! {4/3}
< a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Tip Junkie handmade projects" border="0"/></a>

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to recycle a denim skirt into a skirt for your doll

I made this really cute denim skirt from a skirt that my daughter outgrew but still loved. Actually, it started out as a hand-me-down, so it was well loved! I love working with used denim because it gives you a wonderful worn and faded look that you can't get working with new denim fabric! This skirt has it all... ruffles, tucking, iron-on studs and an embroidered hem! And it only required sewing one seam!

This is the original skirt I started with. I think that I will be able to get several projects out of this one skirt!
This skirt already has a great side zipper that I used for the finished doll skirt. I also used the original waistband that just happens to have a great little tuck on it!

This photo shows the bottom tucking details. I ended up not using the bottom of the skirt for this project, but I know that I will use this for some other fun project!

1) First, I put the skirt on the doll, and with the zipper on one side, I pinned where the new side seam will be. I also pinned 3/8" away from the first pin for the seam allowance. Most doll patterns use a 1/4" seam allowance, I like to use 3/8", because it allows me to make adjustments if needed, and it can always be trimmed back to 1/4" later if I want to.

2) Next, I cut straight down from the waistband at the outside pin. I cut the front and back pieces separately. Because I new that I wanted to save the bottom of the skirt for future projects, I cut down only 6 1/2". The skirt had an adjustable waistband, so when I cut the waistband I removed the adjustable elastic.

3) I measured 6 1/2" down from the top of the waistband all around and marked with pins.

4) I cut the bottom of the skirt off along the pinned line, and this is how it looked so far.
5) I added a decorative machine embroidery stitch to the bottom edge. I did this because I like to avoid hemming whenever possible, and the stitching will keep the fraying to a minimum.

A detailed view of the hem.
6) Pin the side seam.
7) I sewed the side seam with a 3/8" seam allowance. I tested the fit on the doll. And since it fit well, I trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4" and finished the seam with a stretch zig zag stitch.
8) The skirt could be finished at this point, but I decided to add a row of iron-on silver studs (which you can see in the first photo and below) along the ruffle edge. Other iron-on or sew-on details could be added for a fun look!

Thanks for visiting!
I hope I have given you lots of ideas for making your own doll's denim skirt!

Creatively Yours,

all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours! {3/20}
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Tip Junkie handmade projects" border="0"/></a>

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How to recycle a baby sweater for your doll

   This is a great project for non-knitters (but knitters can have fun with this, too!). It requires only 3 basic hand sewing stitches. I chose this baby sweater to work with because of its bold colors that don't say "Baby Sweater", and the stripes are perfectly scaled for dolls. The yarn mixes and accent stitches are a plus!

   I started with this thrift shop sweater that cost me $1.99. It was a size 3-6 months. You could work with other sizes but keep in mind scale- the younger sizes will have easier scales to work with, smaller buttons, smaller patterns, smaller trims, etc.
This photo shows you some of the details.
   The first thing I did was take apart the sweater. I cut the sleeves off at the armhole seams. I cut the sides at the side seams. Then I very carefully cut the neck trim away from the body with a seam ripper, cutting only the threads that attach the trim to the sweater and not the trim itself!. It is very important to take your time with this detail. The neck trim will look best if done carefully! 
   After I cut up the sweater into pieces, I played with the front, putting it up to the doll to see how long I wanted it to be and were I thought the neck should fall. (In the above photo, I show only 3 buttons. At this point I wasn't sure of the neck placement yet).

    I decided to make the sweater a little longer than I showed in the previous photo. I pinned the front to the back to get the desired body width (with pieces right sides together). And I marked the shoulder with a pin.

   Here you can see my pins for marking body width and shoulder placement. I measured the width from pin to pin at the bottom edge. This gave me the finished body width measurement. I adjusted my pattern so that the pattern front was 1/2 this measurement plus 3/8" seam allowance. I also measured the body length from the bottom edge to the shoulder pin and added 3/8" seam allowance for the shoulder seam. I adjusted my pattern to this measurement.
   I placed the center front edge of my pattern onto the center front of the placket, and the bottom edge of the pattern onto the bottom edge of the sweater front, as shown above. I cut each side of the front one at a time, flipping the pattern for the other side. Because I was still on the fence about the neck placement, I decided to cut the neck higher than I made the pattern, so that I could adjust it later.

   Next, I placed the cut out front on top of the back piece. I did this so that I could make sure that the stripes match up at the side seams and shoulder seams. I pinned the front piece  in place and cut out the back using the front as a pattern. I cut straight across for the back neck, because I wanted to be able to adjust the neck after I finished the rest of the sweater, (you will see in later steps how I did this).

Cutting out the back piece.
This is how it looks after both front and back pieces were cut out (right sides together).

   Then I turned the the sleeve piece inside out and placed it up to the front and back pieces. The stripe placement worked out well and I was able to match the stripes at the armhole seams.

I then placed the sleeve pattern on each sleeve sleeve and cut out each sleeve one at a time.

The above photo shows all of the pieces cut out.
   I sewed the side seams, the shoulder seams, and the underarm seams by hand with a fingering weight yarn and a 3/8" seam allowance. I used a "back stitch"for the seams, which has more stretch than a running stitch. I then finished the seams with a "blanket stitch". See above photo and below for stitch chart. 

For your reference, I made an embroidery stitch chart that you see above.
All seams are done in Back stitch.
Finish all seams in Blanket stitch.
Attach neck trim in Chain stitch.

   Then, I sewed the sleeves to the body with a "back stitch" and finished the seams with a "blanket stitch", same as the other seams. I turned the sweater inside out and put on the doll. I adjusted the neck until I liked the placement and pinned it in place. I made sure to use the existing buttonhole from the neck trim. The other end of the neck trim will be cut and folded back once the trim is sewn in place. I sewed the trim to the body with a "chain stitch", carefully catching each knit stitch of the trim. I used a regular sewing thread for the neck trim. The neck trim was the most tedious part of the whole project, but if you take your time you will have great results!

The finished sweater! No knitting required!

So now, I hope I have inspired you to recycle a sweater for your own doll! The possibilities are endless!

Thanks for visiting!

Creatively Yours,