Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Material Girl

Okay, so now your inner Calvin Klein has emerged and it's time to get serious. You'll need a minimum amount of items and a hefty dose of inspiration. Let's get started.

Tool Time

Scissors: You should have at least two pairs on hand: one to cut fabric, the other for paper. If you use the same for both, within a short period of time, it will be difficult to cut fabric. You might also want to include a pair of cuticle scissors for clipping tiny curves or trimming excess fabric in hard to reach areas.

Measuring tools: A rigid ruler...preferably metal (when you are cutting fringe with a cutter). A measuring tape.

Cotton: Inexpensive medium weight cotton for draping patterns directly on the doll.

Paper: Tissue paper (the kind you find wrapped around gifts); Graph paper for flat patterns, bristol (or heavyweight paper) for slopers and patterns you'll use fairly regularly; a journal for keeping notes and jotting down ideas, taping down clips from magazines; and envelopes (to store each pattern you create).

Marking tools: Mechanical Pencil (thin lines are always best when making patterns); dressmaker's carbon, tailor's chalk or colored pencils.

Velcro comes in 2 thicknesses. Fig. b is best for doll clothes.

Notions: Buy the thinnest Velcro you can find (image B); hook & eyes (size 0), the tiniest buttons. Applique pins (3/4" long), needles and an assortment of thread. Invisible tape. Fabric glue. I also like (medical) paper tape. Available at CVS, it sticks to the doll, plastics, leather and fabric, but leaves no residue and lifts away easily. One roll will hold you for quite awhile. "Fray Block" or some other anti-fray product. "Seams Great" (Dritz) seam & hem tape.


The Right Equipment

Sewing Machines: I love miniatures but I am mesmerized at the sight of well crafted doll clothes. I have always wondered what kind of equipment was used in the construction of them. Friends of mine have tried mini-sewing machines or handheld models to no avail. I was informed they are pieces of junk! A full size, machine capable of making straight, steady stitches is your best bet. It's okay if it's a no-frills models.

Irons: The typical iron is very difficult to used when navigating around minuscule seams. If you can afford it, I highly recommend the mini iron, a handheld, electric device familiar to quilt makers. They can be ordered from Amazon.com or found at Michael's stores. A sleeve board that can easily be put atop a table is faster to set up and easier to use for dolly's fashions. For pressing doll-sized sleeves and pant leg seams, create your own "pressing sticks." Take a pencil and wrap it snuggly with a piece of soft cotton. For mine, I used part of an old sock, flattened. Stich it in place and tape at both ends. I made them in different thicknesses to accommodate different sleeve and pant widths.

Reference Materials: As I've often said to my fashion students...you cannot design in a vacuum. Your dolls will look more like chic fashionistas as opposed to juvenile princesses, if you emulate current fashion trends. A good start: a tour of boutique windows, fashion magazines and online webzines like voguerunway.com, Elle.com! 


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

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