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Dolls pining for new clothes

My dolls are sitting on the shelf dreaming of their spring wardrobes. They can't all expect me to completely replace their wardrobes! And yet, wouldn't I love to spend a few weeks doing just that? Here are a few of the faces that greet me as I enter my studio each morning.

Maybe all of us would be satisfied with a few new accessories: new caps & pockets, an apron or two. Oh, and I've always wanted to try making them some period style shoes. Perhaps that will make us content. If not, we can continue down the slippery slope. . .

Both caps and pockets are easy to make and don't require materials that are difficult to find. I'll include my simplest pocket pattern so you can make some for your own fashionistas. The old advice about reading the instructions all the way through before you begin to cut and sew applies even to this simple project.

Pockets  are most easily made from fabric that has real selvages. If printed, the printing needs to extend all the way to the edge. The pocket pattern measures approximately 2 x 2 7/8", but precision is not necessary for a good fit. Resize the paper pattern at right, if necessary, then fold it in half and use it to cut out two half-fronts with the selvage on the straight side and one back on the fold. If you don't have usable selvages, then make the narrowest hem you can along the straight grain of the material and cut out the half-fronts with the tiny hems on the straight sides. The half-fronts, with right sides together, will be joined along the straight sides with very small overcast stitches from the bottom about half way up. The photo of a pair of pockets shows all the details rather nicely. Just as in a full sized model, the upper half forms the hand opening and should be sized accordingly. No one likes the surprise of finding the hand opening is too small to insert one's hand. It is also possible to cut the front out on the fold (like the back) and cut the slit halfway down. If the fabric is pliable, it is possible to make a tiny hem to finish the edges of the hand opening, but requires a steady hand and skill with a needle.  After joining, the pocket front and backing should be identical except for the hand opening. Pin or baste them together, with right sides together. Sew a narrow (about 1/8") seam down one side, across the bottom and up the other side. Turn the pocket right side out and press with a hot iron. Baste top edges of front and back together with 1/8" (or slightly less) seam allowance.

Finally, you'll need some fine cotton tape or silk ribbon, about 1/4" wide to bind the top of the pocket. The binding extends on either side of the pocket to form a waist tie. If you make a pair of pockets, you can attach them to the same waist tie -- correctly spaced to fit your doll's waist.

When I make a cap for a doll, I use a lady's cap pattern, reduced sufficiently to fit a doll's head. Most of my dolls are 11-12" tall, or about 1/5 the size of an adult woman. An 80% reduction doesn't guarantee a perfect fit because some dolls proportions are different than those of humans, but it makes a good place to start. A cap will consist of a large-ish crown gathered to a band that frames the face, often trimmed with a ribbon and or lace. Fit can be further adjusted by altering the amount of gathering at the back of the neck. Start with simple shapes and refine for a good fit and appearance.


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