Sunday, February 10, 2013

In the Buff: 1-piece Leather Skirt

There are "style shows" all over our house thanks to the 50 dolls in my collection. One day my father asked, "Why are there no male dolls?" I explained that it is too difficult to make chic clothes for the male doll. Most of what I've seen on the market are dressed in attire that looks....well..."mammy made." This is due to the bulk added by fabrics which are simply too thick. All I know is that I wouldn't date a man dressed like the dolls in the stores.

The crucial thing about creating clothes for your collectibles, is to remember that everything--right down to the smallest detail--must be in scale. Take a look at your own clothing. There are seams and other construction details, but everything is so well pressed, they are scarcely visible. We want to create the illusion of well pressed seams, even though it means eliminating them all together. In other words, modifications must be made to standard pattern and garment construction for the doll. The idea is to reduce the amount of construction without compromising the quality of the garment.

It is for this reason, I work with one piece patterns for leather or thick fabrics. In this exercise, we will drape a 1-piece skirt and, to make things interesting, we'll combine it with previous exercises for a total look.
I'm using chamois cloth (the material used for shampooing cars) which you can find at HomeDepot or Lowes. First, I trace off the corset pattern we created in the February 9, 2013 post. However, we will not use the usual carbon paper. If you press down hard enough with the tracing wheel, you'll be able to see the dots stamped into the chamois. With all non-woven fabrics, we don't need seam allowance except for the back, so trace along the actual pattern lines as well as the darts (including the middle fold line). Cut out your corset, removing all seam allowance from the top and bottom and make a slit down the middle of each dart. Put this on the model and tape down the back.
Layer the diagonals of the front over the side and tape. The carefully glue the darts down, tape and put the corset back on the model. Leave the tape in place until the glue has dried. Adjust the back, trimming away any excess. Add a small strip of velcro at the back.
Now, let's do the skirt.
We start by draping the pattern. Again, I mark the horizontal and vertical direction of the fabric. The vertical line (which is on the center of the rectangular) will be placed on the center front line of the doll. I wrap the fabric around the doll's hips, being careful the horizontal line meets together in the back.
Now pin the skirt closed vertically in the back. You can make the skirt as loose or tight as you want.
Turn the doll to the front and make a dart (small triangle) on both sides of the center front line. Repeat at the back. Play with it until your darts are fairly equal in depth.
Now mark the center back and with a pencil or piece of chalk, mark the darts on both sides of the pins. Remove the pattern from the doll and lay flat. Using a ruler, draw the darts, including the center "fold line" of the dart, from your markings, ensure they are all the same length.
Try the pattern on the doll once more, to check the fit. Make any corrections or adjustments. When you are happy with the pattern, add additional seam allowance after the right side of the center back as seen in the diagram. Now, carefully cut away half the dart as seen in the second diagram. Place the pattern on the fabric and cut following around the cut-outs. We have done this because, since you cannot stitch the darts. you will lay one part of the dart over the other and glue in place just as you did with the darts in your corset. Put the skirt on the doll and tape down the darts and the back of the skirt.

Carefully, glue the darts down. In the back, glue only from below the buttocks to the hem so that the doll will be able the get in and out of the skirt. Tape everything shut until the glue has dried. Then add Velcro the rest of the way to the waist. 

I've put the look together adding the fringed poncho featured in my "Fringed Benefits" post and a little turquoise jewelry.

Content & Photos: © Fashion Doll Stylist 2013. Please do not reproduce without prior permission.



  1. Great outfits! What type of glue do you used on leather?

  2. Thank you. Any garment or accessory (like jackets, shoes, dresses or attaching Velcro) that will see lots of stress of the doll getting in and out of, you really need to use a contact glue like rubber cement or neoprene. That said, for belts, or even tiny darts, a good quality all purpose glue will do.


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