Saturday, July 13, 2013

Shirt Tales

A silk shirt for her and a Yohji inspired cotton shirt for him.
Whether it's for the Ken doll or just for Barbie, nothing is more quintessentially chic than the all time fashion staple....the shirt. For the Ken doll, this item opens the possibilities to create countless casual and urbanwear gear. For Barbie, it's a wonderful summertime garment that always looks fresh and never goes out of style.

That said, keep in mind that unless you make a coat with very deep sleeves, the doll won't be able to slip anything else on over her shirt. This is primarily why I feature largely sleeveless dresses. When I have examined the clothes Mattel provides for Ken, even his wedding suit is a 3-in-1 trompe l'oeil costume like that worn by Chippendale strippers. (Richard was so kind as to point this out to me.)

Today's posting focuses on the basic shirt for both sexes of dolls. Rather than mark Ken for slopers, I took the easier route by duplicating the shirt delivered with Ken by tracing off the shirt pattern (see Trace of Style) to make a basic toile.

Add pieces of fabric with tape to introduce new proportions to your pattern.
The original shirt was smaller and shorter than the proportions I desired . After duplicating it, I put it on the doll, being sure to mark the CF and CB lines. For adding volume or length, slash your toile where you want more fullness or length, then add more fabric, taping it in place. Once you are happy with your new proportions, mark where the new seams, hemline, armhole or neckline should be. Remove from the doll to create a new pattern. Cut this pattern out in fabric. Pin together and try on the doll. If it still needs adjusting, add or subtract fabric. It is very important this pattern is correct because all other styles will depend on how well this draft fits. I made a couple toiles before I was happy. Create half a pattern so that both sides will be symmetric.
Mark the CF, CB, all seams and style details on your toile.

Create half a pattern for symmetry. Check that side seams are equal in length.

I had some problems with the collar. So I waited until I had sewn the toile together, then measured the neck hole to ensure a proper fit. My front placket is the edge folded twice over to the front, then stitched in place. If you don't want a placket, fold it to the underside and stitch. Unless you are doing something fancy with the cuff, sew it onto to edge of the sleeve before you sew the underarm of the sleeve.
A well fitting shirt with just the right amount of volume! 

I'm featuring two types of sleeves for the girl doll. The first is a simple dress shirt, like the kind you would wear with a suit.

An easy to make simple "dress shirt."

Trace off the front bodice sloper. Ignore the dart. Measure 1/4 inch on the right of the CF line. From the neckline measure 3 1/2 inch and drop the new line. Straighten the seam under the arm so that drops perpendicular to the hem. From the bottom line, make a mark roughly 1/4 inch up. Now draw your curve at the bottom. For the back sloper, measure the length of the underarm length of the front pattern to get the proper length for the back. Also note where you shortened it on the side for the curve.

In this blouse, I am not adding a collar. Instead, I've made a facing by drawing a line 3/8 inch away from the neckline at the back. For the front draw this line so that it looks like that in the illustration. Trace the front facing. Flip. Then add this piece to the front pattern along that new center line. I've used the regular sleeve. The final pattern is featured below.

This makes for a nice blouse. However, if we want to create the women's version of the men's classic shirt, we'll need the next draft.

The oversize shirt pattern features a deep, dropped shoulder sleeve, a cuff and a back yoke if you so desire.
The chic of a crisp linen shirt over a halter top and jeans.

Begin with the front sloper. Again, ignore the dart. I decided to add quite a bit of length, so I dropped the center line by 5 inches from the neckline.

At the neck shoulder tip, draw a straight horizontal line equal in length from the shoulder tip to the underarm line (see close up) minus 1/4 inch. Measure 1/4 inch down from the underarm tip and mark. Now draw a vertical line straight down to the hem. At the front, add 1/2 inch to the right of the CF line. Make a curve at the underarm. Decide how deep you want the side curve for the tails. Mine is marked to start at 3/4 inch up from the hem. Draw your curve.

Take your sleeve sloper and measure out from the cap to the wrist minus 1/4 inch. Draw a horizontal line from the new shoulder tip of the oversized shirt pattern and another from the underarm tip. Join with a vertical line. Draw a diagonal line from the underarm point to the mid-point of the vertical line (at sleeve hem). This will result in a squared off triangle. Trace this off and add to the top to get the sleeve.

For the back, flip your front shirt pattern. Line up the back sloper to this pattern. You will maintain the neckline of the back sloper but trace off the rest of the front pattern. If you want a yoke, simply place a horizontal line at the point you want it. Here, I've place my slash line 1/4 inch down from the neck. You will add seam allowance and stitch these two pieces back together. You can also decide to leave the back in a single piece.

For cuffs, create a rectangle: measure the length of the sleeve at the hem, add 1 inch. Fold in half horizontally and press. Sew onto the hem of the sleeves before preceding.

If you have opted for the yoke, sew this to the back bodice, press. Baste together and stitch the front and back patterns along the shoulder line. Next, stitch the sleeves to the bodice while everything is still flat. Fold over to the wrong side of the garment and stitch the sleeves along the under arm and down the side seam of the shirt. Measure the neckline and create your collar. Create a rectangle the same width of your neckline plus 1/2 inch (or more). Add seam allowance. The complete pattern should resemble the one pictured here.

You can use all different types of fabrics. Bulkier ones or leathers will yield you a shirt-jacket. By lengthening this pattern  and adding a self belt, you have a "shirtwaist dress."

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  1. Ever so thankful for sharing- love yor patterns!

  2. Ever so thankful for you sharing- love your work!

    1. Welcome to my blog, Betty and thank you for your kind words.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you and welcome to my blog. Come back any time.

  4. Thank you so much !

    I have a question, how do you print out – is is A4 format?

    1. Hi Zoe--I can really not answer your question because.....the aim of my blog is to show folks how to make patterns for their dolls, starting with the basic sloper. I know there are folks who simply print out or trace off the final step, but since this blog was not designed to simply give out patterns--I cannot be of any help. You will have to keep trying until you find the right scale. But thank you for your visit.

  5. Could you please please please film a video to show how to attach collars for ken's shirts and jackets it fails everytime with me

  6. Hi Dracula. I haven't made any videos in quite awhile because they take so much time to make and are difficult to do without any help (which I don't have). I'm pretty busy with my doll shoe tutorials right now, but at some point, I'll come back and revisit this post. I see that I focused more on the pattern making than I did the actual sewing part. So I'll come back and add more information. Thank you for your visit.

  7. Great work on these doll shirts with collars and cuffs. Both collars and cuffs can be tricky stuff! But this written guide is really helpful.

    If I may, I'd like to address Zoe's question. If you design your patterns on A4 graph paper, use a digital scanner to scan the sketch, and then use software like Microsoft Paint or Photoshop to crop the image to the actual paper size, you can adjust margins in Google Docs to zero and then print.

    Also, for Dracula's question, I have created a video that shows how to do collars for both GI Joe and Ken on my website. april_n_paris, you are welcome to post my videos or links to my videos on your blog any time. I love to share my resources! In YouTube, you can find my GI Joe collar video by searching "ChellyWood1 GI Joe Collar" and look for a video with a blue and yellow header.

    And thank you again for sharing this wonderful resource. You have a real knack for doll clothing design! I'd like to ask a question: do you ever use plastic templates to help you with your drawings? And if so, what templates do you use?

    1. Hi Chelly and welcome. Sorry it's taken me awhile to respond, but I've been busy working on something I just posted. Thank you very much for the offer to use your YouTube videos. I have made a few but inasmuch as I am all alone doing all of this blog, producing videos is extremely time consuming and I just don't have the time. Also, quite a few of my readers are non-English speaking and the written word which can be easily translated, is for me, the best solution.
      As far as printing out patterns..well...I know that some readers are doing that, but my mission here is to show folks how to create the slopers and patterns themselves so they fit on any doll. From that point on, my mission is to provide ideas. I leave basic sewing to other sites because, that in itself is a separate subject.
      I'm not sure what templates you are speaking of. I have a small ruler with a curved end that my dad brought home from a hardware shop. I couldn't find it in any store so I copied it and posted it on a special page where I show what materials I use.
      In any case, I'll stop by your YouTube channel to take a look and say hi. I have thought of doing a few "tips" posts where I share info I've learned from other sites. In any case, whenever I do this, I'll be sure to credit you and provide a link. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  8. Love the Ken pattern! I did make a few minor adjustments. I added a facing to the front piece. I also added a second piece of collar. When I sew them together, it's like any other shirt I do. It just works for my chemo addled brain. This pattern is a God-send for me. Thank you so very much!


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