• Karole from Kimberling

Sewing for 18" Dolls - How Hard Can It Be?


Minnie Pearl - pioneer comedienne of the Grand Ole Opry - was my inspiration when I chose the fabric and dress pattern for this outfit. A few days ago, I rummaged through my accessories bin for the straw hat, and went out on eBay and ordered the white tights.

Minnie's dresses usually had a low square neckline with ruffles, two long ruffles below the hip, and puffy short sleeves.

The pattern has one ruffle; the dress needed a second. I had this real fancy wide white elastic made of ribbon, lace and pleated satin that was long enough to be one of the ruffles. So, I thought I could make one long ruffle and then sew the pleated satin ruffle right above that ruffle, and VOILA -- two ruffles! I could also shorten that elastic satin ruffle to edge the neckline, and sew it on top of the armholes for the sleeve ruffles. So, I cut the fancy elastic pieces for the dress.

Unfortunately, my idea called for sewing the whole dress together before sewing the pieces of satin elastic ruffle at the hip, neckline and armholes. So, when the dress was finished, I placed the ruffles on it. The hip ruffle was going to look great, but the ruffling at the armholes looked odd -- really odd. Minnie most always had short puffy sleeves; sleeveless was not going to work. The bright side? I hadn't gotten to the hat yet!

(Note: When I made the fabric ruffle for the dress, I doubled the length of the ruffle and folded it in half, so the ruffle is self lined. There are a few advantages to making a ruffle this way: I don't have to measure and sew a hem, and the double thickness gives more body to the ruffle, so that it flares out nicely.)

I admit to being very disappointed that the dress was not going to look like Minnie Pearl's.

It was really cute, though. The fabrics were all washable. Ultra-thin Velcro made it easy to fasten the dress in the back. In short, it was perfect for a child to dress her doll.

Goodbye, Minnie -- Hello, Summer Sunshine.

Out came my button canister (Yes, canister) -- and I looked for the free floppy hat pattern (Phoebe Hat) that Bonjour Teaspoon offered as a freebie on a few weeks ago. Things were looking up -- I found really cute wooden cupcake buttons, and had enough of the dress fabrics left to make the hat.

The Phoebe Hat

I really like the result -- but this was my first Phoebe hat -- my Beta test -- so, it did take some effort to get the pieces to fit, and I did not follow the directions exactly. Since the hat lining pieces (the top and sides) that go inside the hat are cut from the same pieces as the hat, the lining is a little too big. The hat was a little tight for my modern American Girl doll, but making a wider seam when sewing the side to the brim, made it larger. I also chose to sew the side of the hat, with the lining, to the hat brim which left a raw edge inside the hat. So, I cut a piece of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon and sewed it over the raw edge. That resulted in an uneven line of stitching on the outside of the hat near the brim. So, I dialed a simple embroidery stitch on my Singer and embroidered a bright yellow decorative stitch over it.

The Choker Necklace

The neckline looked too bare, so I measured and cut a choker of the yellow grosgrain ribbon and sewed a "dab" of Ultra-thin Velcro in the back for fastening. Before sewing on the Velcro, I added a cute dangling white enameled flower charm (that I purchased from a vendor in China for under a dollar on eBay.)

Mission accomplished? No -- no Minnie Pearl outfit.

But in the process, a cute summer outfit materialized (pun intended), perfect for any little girl's AG doll, and I Beta-tested a cute hat pattern.

Oh -- and I have several pieces of this fancy elastic satin ribbon trim left over.

Maybe I'll take another shot at the Minnie Pearl outfit -- Maybe.

Hope to see you next week . . .

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