• Karole from Kimberling

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

Updated: Aug 2, 2018



In my blog last week I recounted the challenges I encountered when sewing an outfit inspired by Minnie Pearl, the Grand Ole Opry's iconic, Country Hall of Fame comedienne.

The upshot was that Minnie Pearl's outfit turned out to be Summer Sunshine's outfit. Pleased with Summer's outfit, I had planned to put Minnie's on the back burner.

BUT . . .

As most of you know, my Facebook post last week inviting people to read that blog generated some confusion. Some folks thought I was asking why my Summer Sunshine outfit didn't resemble Minnie Pearl's costume, and kindly provided suggestions as to how I could improve it.

Then, a few days later, the tights I had ordered for Minnie's outfit came in the mail. Looking at the trim I had cut for Minnie's outfit last week, I realized that "Minnie" was not going to be relegated to the back burner.

.So, "Same pattern, different vers-ion." (I couldn't resist.)

The Dress

Pattern used: Jelly Bean Soup's Jennifer & Kate dress (picture is in last week's post.)

Modifications to the Pattern:

  1. Cut the neckline lower and made it square.

  2. The sleeves - Minnie's dresses usually had short puffy sleeves. I measured the armholes on Farmcookies' Bodice Basics pattern to see if they were close to the armholes in the Jelly Bean Soup pattern. They were. So, I lengthened the short sleeve in the Farmcookies' Bodice Basics pattern and used it for the sleeves on the Jelly Bean Soup dress.

  3. The skirt needed to be a little longer, so I lengthened it.

  4. Instead of hemming the skirt, I cut the skirt twice as long, folded it in half so that it would be self-lined (and I wouldn't have to sew a hem.)

Adding the Trim:

When everything but the Ultra-thin Velcro down the back was finished, I sewed on the neckline trim, and the pleated satin ribbon trim at the waist. (The neckline trim is the top portion of the trim used at the hip.)

After adding the trim, the final step was to sew the Ultra-thin Velcro down the back.

Minnie's Signature Straw Hat

Minnie Pearl's trademark was her flat brimmed straw hat with fake flowers strewn haphazardly about the brim, and a price tag, with "$1.98" hand printed on it, pinned to the brim..

I had the straw hat. Months ago, I found several straw doll hats in a thrift store -- inexpensive, but not the right size for the American Girl doll. I wet them with warm water, stretched them over a child's ball, put a rubber band around the lower crown, and let them dry. What I didn't have were the right size flowers -- artificial silk and plastic flowers. I went looking in thrift stores and Walmart, but most of the flowers were too large for the hat, and too expensive. So, I went to eBay, and ordered some from a vendor in China. (I ordered more than I needed, but the price was good, and I'm sure I will use them for other outfits.) The flowers just arrived (August 1st), so this morning I scattered them around the brim (just like Minnie Pearl did) and hot glued them on.

The Organdy Choker

Minnie Pearl didn't wear a choker, but I think the AG doll's fabric body and neck string detract from the look of some outfits, so I made a choker out of the same elastic trim I used to trim the neckline of the dress by turning it upside down, and sewing a hook and eye to the ends at the back.

The Tights and Shoes

I've already mentioned that I purchased the tights (Sophia's on Amazon had them for $2.50 each if I bought 3 pair, and shipping was free.) I can sometimes get footed tights for just over a dollar on eBay from vendors in China, but those tights are usually made of a shiny poly knit which wouldn't work for this outfit.

I purchased the shoes on eBay from a vendor in the US. I have had really bad luck purchasing doll shoes from China, so I look for a vendor in the US that has a good sale on shoes and provides free shipping (usually based an a minimum order amount.) The black flats for Minnie's outfit were purchased as part of one of those orders.

Next week, I have got to start sewing one of those outfits sitting in a Rubbermaid bin.

Which one? Don't know.

It will be a surprise -- for all of us!

Hope to see you next week . . .

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