Monday, July 22, 2013

Such a Good Sport (Jacket)!

Since I began creating clothes for my all of my dolls, it has become abundantly clear, Barbie, Ken and all of their doll friends need clothes for many different occasions. Getting the latest looks for Ken, means more than making Shirts and jeans. From time to time, he also needs a sport jacket.

I will begin with a couple disclaimers. 1) I am not a tailor, nor do I pretend to be. But I do know construction and consequently, I attack patterns for Ken much in the same way I do for Barbie. And 2), even though I have racked my brains to find simple solutions to very thorny issues, in no way should you assume tailoring is easy. While I try to post every three days, the menswear is taking a bit longer. What I have learned through these exercises is that for Barbie, almost anything flies, whereas for her male friends, the devil is in the details! Collars, buttons and especially proportions!!!

That said, let's have some fun. For today's exercise, I show you two ways to make your handsome 12-inch hunk, a sport jacket. One uses the shirt pattern to get you started, the other (yellow) is draped on the doll.

I begin by tracing half the shirt pattern onto tracing paper, then taping it directly onto the doll.
 Draw your "style" lines. That is, draw the curve of the front jacket hem. Decide whether you want a 1-2 or 3 button jacket and draw your V neck from the neck-shoulder point to where the collar will end at the center front. Be sure you extend your pattern at least 1/4 inch away from the Center Front (the buttons are aligned on the CF). Mark all seams. Remove this from the doll.
 I even mark the inside of the pattern to make sure I can see all of my indications. Now transfer to graph paper. Add seam allowance and make another toile, this time in cotton.
Put this on the doll. Chances are, it will not fit the way you want. I cut along the CB, thus allowing the jacket to open up. Tape a bit of fabric in this space and now create a new CB line which will begin above the point you slashed but will be extended over the new volume. Cut out of cotton fabric again and check the fit, making any needed adjustments. Once you are happy with the fit of your jacket, make a new paper pattern.

Cut out your garment in fabric.
What differentiates a jacket from a shirt in menswear is the very pressed, structure of the jacket front, normally achieved in tailoring with the help of interfacings and facings. But for our 12 inch diva, we must avoid bulk. I use an iron-on interfacing. Use the front jacket pattern you just created, but without the seam allowance. Press in place. Now complete the jacket (beginning with stitching the shoulders together, then adding the sleeves while still flat. Hem the sleeves. Then fold the jacket over, inside out and stitch along the under sleeve and side seam in one operation. Now the more challenging part.....the collar.
For the collar, I cut 1 inch piece of my fabric on the bias. Fold in half (lengthwise) over the neckline edge and pin in place. Now cut away excess and carefully roll the collar under. Tack in place. Once this is done, stitch the collar (by hand) on the inside. If you have any problems with corners popping out, use a bit of fabric glue to hold in place.

Now turn over the outer edges of your jacket and glue in place. Inasmuch as menswear garments are usually made of dry wools, cottons, linens (and in my case raw silk), fabric glue will provide a nice clean finish without tiny stitches. However, if you use silk, sheer or any fine fabrics, glue will show and so will have to carefully hand stitch. The buttons, by the way, are tiny beads.

Since this is a hot weather look, (Salvatore Ferragamo Summer '13), I made my guy a tank top to wear underneath. I cut two swatches from a pair of my father's worn out briefs, then draped the pattern directly on the doll. I drew in the neck and shoulder lines and marked the side seams. That was transferred to the graph paper for the pattern, making sure the pattern was symmetrical.  You will notice my seams are pretty small. That is because this particular cotton knit is thin and unstable and risks being caught up in my sewing machine. For that reason I've chosen to hand sew it. On the other hand, I did not try to turn the edges or hem. You can use a special product to keep the edges from fraying. My knit stretches over his head pretty easily. For that reason, I also did not  make the usually back seam.

For my second sport jacket, I decided to try my hand at draping it using the same technique we used to create Barbie's basic slopers. I taped a bit of cotton to Ken's shoulders. (At first, I planned on creating shoulder pads but found them to be too bulky. Using the same technique I used for Barbie, I start in the front, creating the style lines. Then attach the cotton to the back to finish the drape. For the sleeve, I used my shirt sleeve and made any necessary adjustments.

Again, I slash where I want ease, and tape fabric to the existing toile.  When I am happy with the results, I remove from the doll, take apart and create my paper pattern. Make a second toile just to be sure you are happy with the fit and note any adjustments you have made onto the pattern.

We are making a real notched collar. The bottom part of the collar is taken from the top edge of the front pattern which is folded outward. For the upper collar, I need a rectangle which will be attached to the neckline and overlap a bit. My upper collar measures 3-1/2 inches wide (plus seam allowance) by 5/8 inch long. I turn down the edges of my collars and stitch the upper collar along the neckline seam (inside--fold over the seam, right side out.) You can use tiny stitches to sew the upper and lower together. I use a bit of fabric glue on the inside of the collar to keep everything nice and flat.

The point where the collar turns away from the body of the jacket, make a tiny slash, then turn the outer edge of the rest of the jacket inwards and glue (or sew) in place.

I folded tiny slivers of fabric into pocket flaps. And I used tiny white sequins to imitate buttons.

This guy is wearing the class shirt we showed you how to make in the prior posting. So that he can wear it with the jacket, we made a short-sleeved version of our original pattern.

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