Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bitty Baby or American Girl Fairy Tale Dress Tutorial {Dressing Up Dolly}

This post has been edited to include instructions for inserting the sleeves. 

Hi all.  I'm Jessica from Chickadee Jess. I'm so very excited to be guest posting at Nap Time Crafters today.  Amy's patterns and tutorials are top of the line and her kids are darling and funny too!

Recently, I made the Fairy Tale Dress for Evangeline.  The dress turned out beautifully and I'm so pleased to say Ev and the dress were featured as Oliver+S's photo of the day. Read past posts on the dress here and here.

When Amy from Nap Time Crafters called for bloggers to participate in her Dressing Up Dolly series, I jumped at the chance!  I knew Ev would love a Fairy Tale Dress for her Bitty Baby.  I got to work drafting up a pattern with similar details to the Oliver+S Dress. It has petal sleeves, straight bodice, peter pan collar, full skirt and ties in the back. The best part is that this dress will fit your 15" Bitty Baby or 18" American Girl Doll.

Fairy Tale 18" Doll Dress from

Bodice, sleeve and collar  pattern pieces
22"x22" fabric square for bodice, sleeve and collar pieces
6.5"x30" (bitty baby) or 9"x30" (american girl) fabric for skirt
28 inches of 1/2"-3/4"  Ribbon for ties
10" single fold bias tape
6 inches of 1/2" velcro

Print the pattern pieces from here.  Make sure the scaling on your printer is at 100% so the sizing of the pieces in accurate. The bodice, collar and sleeve pieces are the same size for both the Bitty Baby and the American Girl sizes.

Cut 4 collar pieces, 1 front on fold, 2 back pieces and 2 sleeve pieces.  Cut a rectangle 30"x6.5" for the Bitty Baby or 30x9" for the American Girl Doll. Below I've put a suggested pattern layout.

The pattern is sewn with a 3/8" seam allowance.

First, we will construct the bodice. Finish the edges of the back bodice.*

Prepare your ribbon by cutting it in two equal pieces and trimming one end of each piece diagonally. Seal the ends of the ribbon by running it through a candle flame or lighter.  Pin the ribbon 3/8" from the bottom of the back bodice at the side seams.

*Regarding seam finishes: Usually, I use a serger but when sewing doll clothing using a narrow zig-zag is easier and just as effective.  It's important to finish seams so your little one can enjoy playing with the clothing and there won't be any raveling.

Sew bodice front to back at shoulders and sides catching the ribbon in the side seams. Finish the seams.

On to the sleeves. Sew a basting stitch 1/4" from the bottom of the sleeve.  Pull up the gathers very slightly. This will help you turn the hem up along the curves.  Press.

Fold the hem and additional 1/4" to hide the raw edge.  Pin.  (I know, crazy amount of pins here)

Stitch close to the edge.

Fold one side over another, creating two opposites.  Make sure to double check this, trust me.  (I'm here to make mistakes so you don't have to, right?)

*Edit* Here is where you insert the sleeves into the bodice.They are the same size as the the armhole opening. You will not need to gather the sleeve.

Insert the sleeve inside the bodice, right sides together, matching notches.  This is a great time to use the free arm on your sewing machine, if you have one.  Sew the seam and finish the edge.

Repeat for the other sleeve.

Turn the bodice right side out and set aside.

Prepare your collar next. Sew the long outside edges, right sides together.

Trim the seam and clip the corners and edges.

Turn right side out, press and baste the inside edges closed 1/8" from the edge.

Pin your collar to the neck edge matching the front edges of the collar to the notch in the center neck. Stitch with a 1/4" seam. The collar edges will not meet in the back.

Open one of the folded edges.  Match the edge of the bias tape with the raw edge of your neckline.  Stitch in the fold. Fold the tape up and press.

Stitch very close to the collar on the inside of the neckline at the edge of the bias tape.

Pin the bias tape down to cover raw edges of the neckline and stitch.  This part can be a little finicky  so take your time and use lots of pins.  The stitching will be covered by the collar on the outside.

Press the collar down and sew the collar down at the back edges. This will help the collar lay down.  On a people-sized garment you'd tack this down by hand but the machine stitching will be much more durable.

Fold the back edges of the bodice 1/4" to the wrong side and press.

Get the skirt ready. Finish the two short edges of the skirt.  Fold up one of  the long edges to the inside 1/4" and another 1/4".  Stitch close to the edge on the inside.

Right sides together, stitch the seam in the skirt. Mark your stop line (Bitty Baby size mark 2" from bottom) (American Girl size mark 4" from bottom).  Starting at the hem, sew until you hit your stop line.  Backstitch here several times. Iron your seam open. Fold under the rest of the edge 1/4" and press.

Run two rows of gathering across the long edge of the rectangle 1/4" and 1/2" from the edge. Pull up the gathering stitches and pin to the bodice edge, right sides together. Match the opening edges carefully.  Adjust the gathers to fit.  Sew with a 1/4" seam and finish the seam.

Remove any basting stitches you can see.

Using 1/2" velcro, sew the hook side to the right side of the dress.

Pin the loop (soft) side to the inside left edge. 

Sew carefully because this will show on the outside of the dress.

Just for fun, here is a picture of Ev wearing her matching dress!

Thanks again to Amy from Nap Time Crafters for the Feature!  Make sure to check back for other Dressing up Dolly posts!

Please note: I'm not affiliated with Oliver+S in any way, just a huge admirer of their patterns. Please go here to the Oliver+S website to see (and possibly purchase) the Fairy Tale Dress Pattern.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dressing Up Dolly {Pattern and Tutorial}

Hi friends!

I'm really, very, super stoked to be guest posting at Nap Time Crafters today! I have a great pattern and tutorial to share with you over at Amy's blog. Please check it out here!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dressing Up Dolly Series at Naptime Crafters

February is here and that means the Dressing Up Dolly Series is starting over at Naptime Crafters.

Every weekday this month there will be a new doll related post from different crafters. I'm excited to be guest blogging on February 8th so please check back here and at!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Love is in the Air {Project Run and Play}

Can you believe week 4 of Project Run and Play is here already?

It's been a busy week here at my house.  We had my son's 9th birthday, a school concert and lots of other school involvement on my part.  I coordinate the snacks for afterschool clubs and this was our first week of the second quarter, I'm also a parent volunteer for Musical Theater club (props and costuming) and I'm coordinating the class art project for the auction. Really, I enjoy what I'm doing but you can see why the sewing has come in bits and pieces this week.

However, I got it done and I love the result!

My model was tired because it was right before bedtime. She was not overly cooperative and the bunny was part of the deal or Evangeline would allow no pictures would be taken.

I used:
Oliver+S 2+2 Blouse Pattern
Oliver+S Sunday Brunch Skirt
Red Twill for the Skirt
Pink Knit for the Shirt
Red and White checked cotton for the neck, button placket and pocket lining
Wool Felt for the Hearts

I modified the shirt pattern by eliminating the buttons in the back, adding a button placket to the front, lowering the gathering point and adding some hand embroidered wool felt hearts.

I made the skirt in a nice stiff twill that will wear well.  The kick pleat in the back is my favorite part.

The button placket was a fun addition I used a heart button and three tiny buttons as a closure. The knit fabric is super soft and has long sleeves for chilly weather.

The skirt has 7 hearts all the way around.  The smaller hearts are differing shades of pink and the backing hearts are grey and dark grey.

I called an end to the photoshoot at this point. 

Buenas Noches, Evangeline. Que suenos con los angelitos.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Oliver+S Feature

Hi all!  I'm so excited to have my Fairy Tale Dress be featured as Oliver + S's photo of the day on Facebook.  Check it out.  Yipee!  Oliver+S Facebook Feature

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Girl at Sewing Machine

On this grey Sunday morning, I was browsing the internet while drinking my coffee and I ran across an image  I'd love to share! It's called Girl at Sewing Machine by Edward Hopper.

Isn't it lovely?  I really think I'll have to order a copy for my sewing area.  

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In between the sickness and sleeplessness

If it feels like I've been a bit absent, it's because Ev and I were sick this weekend.  Then as soon as I started feeling better, she decided that she is an early riser.  Let me tell you, this girl needs her morning sleep!  She stopped napping before she was 2 years old (eww, I know), luckily she has always climbed into bed with me after her brother and dad get up and go to work/school.  Not any more, friends.  She has decided she is a morning person even if she is a cranky, crying mess ALL DAY LONG. As a result, I'm trying to go to bed earlier, not a success so far.

While wading through all of that life stuff, I  accomplished a few small projects which I wanted to share with you all. 

Firstly, I embroidered some cloth napkins for Ev because she hates to be messy when she's eating.  She thinks they are so lovely that she keeps smoothing them and saying she doesn't want to use them because they'll get messy. Ha!  The pattern is an Iron-on Transfer from Yesterday's Charm called "Happy Fruit" and the green fabric was from my stash.

Embroidered Napkins

I also decided that my pin cushion was ugly.  It started out as one of those tomatoes you find everywhere.  I removed the top bit of fabric and cut off the strings and sharpening strawberry.  By machine, I sewed a tube of fabric and by hand I sewed round and round on top an bottom to close the ends.  Then I covered the top and bottom with a small circle of fabric and hand stitched it in place, leaving the edges raw.  The fabric was a Japanese Import Kokka home-dec cotton with a linen feel that I've used in a few projects. 

Today I hopped back on the sewing machine, so I will have something new to show you soon!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress

Well, you may know that I've been working on 2 Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dresses.  I finished one, so I really just wanted to share the pictures that I have so far.  I can't sit on them any longer!

She was really having fun!

The specifics: I used Shantung Sateen in Tiff Blue and Champagne with a cotton lining. The bodice is shortened 2" and skirt lengthened 2". This is a size 4, view A with View B Sash.

The most darling petal sleeves (and a lot of cuteness)

I actually spent most of the time photographing her running away

Going, going....


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Party Dress Remix {TUTORIAL}

I had so much fun re-mixing the Cottage Home's Party Dress for Project Run and Play and I wanted to write a tutorial because I'm really happy with the way it turned out! To make my  tutorial happen you will need Lindsay's pattern and tutorial here. If you didn't get a chance to read my previous post about this dress here.

She's cute and she knows it!

The back is my favorite!

Without further ado....Party Skirt with Suspenders

Cut out all of the skirt pieces, including the skirt band and sash pieces. Collect 2 smallish buttons, flat is best. You will also need your child's waist measurement. Measure around the fullest part of the tummy, generally around the belly button. Write it down for later. For the suspenders, you need to measure your child from the front waist, over the shoulder and across the back to the back waist (imagine suspenders when you are doing this) and add 3".  Cut 2 pieces of fabric that length X 6 in.

Assemble the skirt according to Lindsay's instructions up to the step where you top-stitch the skirt band and press the stitches.

Skip the bodice section and do the step where you gather the skirt.

This is where we change it up!  Assemble the sash by sewing the two shorter pieces to each end of the longer sash piece, right sides together.  At this point you can finish the two long edges of the sash with a serger (this isn't required, but gives a nice finished edge later). Fold the sash in half length-wise, wrong sides together and making sure to match seams*, press. If you'd like diagonal edges to your sash fold in in half short-ways and cut the edges at an angle.  Mark the center of your sash. Unfold.

Match Seams

Mark Center

Cut on Diagonal

*If you are working with slippery fabric, like I am, pinning is the only way to make it match up successfully.  Before you press the seam, pin the long edge together starting from each seam working out to the edge and in to the middle.  This will give you a nice clean pressed edge and matching diagonals on the ends of your sash.

Lots of pins!

The tie will be the closure for the back so you can cinch or loosen for comfort. Take your child's waist measurement and add about 2" for wearing ease. Divide this number in 2. Fold your sash in half, right sides together, matching seams (if using slippery fabrics, pin as above). Using the mark you made at the center of the sash, measure out 1/2 of the waist measurement from each side of the center and mark that as well.

Mark from center 

Mark from center on the other side

Sew around the edge of the sash beginning at the the short diagonal end and ending at your mark. Pivot at the corner and backstitch at each end. Repeat on the other end of the sash.  This will leave an opening for you to put your skirt into.

Start at the pointed corner

 Fold the edges of the opening 5/8" to the inside and press. Trim the short end seams to 1/4", clip corners, remove pins and turn your sash right side out. Press.

Trim corners and clip short seam

Pull up the gathers on the skirt to fit the opening in the sash. Insert the skirt into the sash hiding all the basting stitches (about 5/8") and pin in place. Set aside.

Next, we'll tackle the suspenders.

Fold your suspender fabric in half long-ways, right sides together and sew the long edges, leaving each short end open.  Turn the tubes right side out. Press.

 On one end of each suspender fold the fabric inside the short edge 1/2" and topstitch in place.

Fold the ends

Mark where you want your suspenders to be on the skirt. Make sure the two suspenders are an equal distance apart from the centers. The suspenders will be farther apart on the front and closer together in the back. Insert the suspender end with raw edges  into the front waist band 1/2" on the INSIDE of the skirt. Pin in place.

More pins!
Topstitch 1/8" from the edge making sure to catch all the layers (sash, suspender, skirt, sash) backstitching at each end.

Fold your suspender up at the front waist band and press. Hand tack the suspender to only the inside of the sash, so it doesn't show through to the front.

Fold them up

Hopefully, your stitches will be just a little neater!

To attach your suspenders in the back, sew a button to the sash just below the top INSIDE edge, on each side where you marked.  For strength sew through both layers of the sash in matching thread.

Inside waistband

Outside waistband
To make the suspenders adjustable, make 3 button holes on each of your suspenders 1", 1-1/2" and 2" from the short end.


You're done! Here are some more pictures.

Your little girl will have a ball in her new party skirt!