Slopers (a.k.a "blocks" in UK fashion speak), are the basic patterns--taken from measurements of the body--from which all other patterns are created. As I said in an earlier post, all fashion dolls of the same length (even within the same brand) are not created equally. I have three types of Barbies in my collection. (Warning: nudity ahead.) Notice how different they are even though their length is within a quarter of an inch of each other.
This is precisely why I feel it pointless to provide ready-to-download patterns. In this exercise, you will learn how to make slopers for each doll body in your collection. To make it easy, we will drape our basic pattern directly from the "model." You should take whatever time it takes to get your slopers as perfect as you can to ensure well fitting patterns in the future. First, we need to mark the doll.
MARKING THE DOLL
Add a final bit of yarn to mark another vertical: the center of the shoulder line to the center point between the side and waist to the center of the hip line. This will help you place the darts in the proper place.
"FIT MODEL" FORM
Afford an extra doll if you can. She will serve as the dress form/fit model for others with the same proportions. I've been tempted to create a dress form for my dolls. However, when I looked at the cost of model making materials, I decided it was cheaper to simply buy an extra doll with the same proportions). I created a "bodysuit" using a stocking anklet, (like those at DSW when you're trying on shoes). The bodysuit allows you to pin your draped patterns onto her.
Take a rectangle of cotton and mark the horizontal and vertical direction of the grain.
For reasons of maintaining symmetry, we only drape half a garment. Place the fabric against the doll's body, keeping the fabric straight. (The marked grain lines will help you do this.) Cut around the doll's neck and clip, then tape the fabric on the doll's body to hold in place while you work. Smooth this fabric around her bust, holding it firmly in place just beyond her side. There will be a little excess fabric falling away just below her bust. Mark the doll's shoulder and side lines and trim the excess.
Pin it back together and put in on the doll to make sure of the fit. When you are happy, remove from the doll and transfer the pattern to Bristol paper. For slopers we do not add seam allowance. On the other hand, notice I have indicated: CF (Center Front); CB (Center Back), vertical arrows (indicating the "straight of the grain" which means to place the pattern in the same direction as the vertical threads of the fabric). I have labeled them: front bodice; back bodice; and I have indicated the type of the doll for which these slopers were created.
If I want to make a simple "shell" like the one pictured at the top of today's post, I simply trace the sloper (including the darts) onto a sheet of paper and add my 1/4 inch seam allowance. The CF is placed on the fold. I cut two of the back. I stitched the sides and shoulders, pressing out the seams and darts. I rolled to the inside, the neckline, armhole and hem and used fabric glue to hold in place.
Below are two video tutorials to help you.
Photos: © Fashion Doll Stylist 2013. Please do not reproduce without prior permission.