Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I grew up in the American Midwest where winters were sometimes brutal. Yes, there were those romantic snowy, white Christmases, but after the holidays the bitter sub-zero (F) temperatures settled in. Once the temperatures near the zero mark (-17C) or dipped below, no cloth coat could keep us warm. Even mother's fur coats were not warm enough. For those temps we pulled out the heavy artillery.....our shearling coats!!!!

In Paris, there is a store, Au Gentleman des Cuirs (4bis, rue d'Orsel, Paris 75018) situated at the Marche St. Pierre, that sells full leather pelts as well as scraps. That's where I found a few bits of fleeced leather. While this material is thick, it provides the look and feel of the shearling coats mother and I once owned. It is important to use a ultra-simple pattern. On the plus side, there is no need to hem nor line anything. For this exercise, I made a "shearling" jacket for Richard and a coat for Sissilie.

This jacket was made using the man's shirt pattern as a base. I held the pattern against the doll to check for the length of jacket I want.
As in the case with any garment you make in leather or skins, you should trace the pattern directly onto the leather. Just remember to flip the front pattern piece. (Otherwise you'll end up with two left sides.) The only thing that is slightly different with this pattern, is that the sleeves are not quite as tapered. I added 1/4 inch to each side so that the sleeves will be a little straighter.
In order to make it a little easier to sew, I shaved the wool away from the seam allowances of each pattern piece (with the exception of the jacket/coat front edges and the hemlines).

You could overlap the edges the way we did with the leather garments. However, I chose to make a typical "bomber" jacket, so the decision was made to assemble my garments the same way as a regular cloth jacket. Be sure to use moderately long stitches. Stitch twice to ensure the stitches won't pull away.

Now add the collar. The collar will be the measurement that extends from the mid-point of the front lower collars, as well as the back neckline. You decide how big or narrow you want your collar. The one featured on the jacket is 1 1/4-inch high. You cannot baste, neither can you pin. You will need to tape down the collar. It is attached to the inside of the jacket and folded over the neckline.

Since I did not have access to doll sized zippers and cannot use snaps, hooks or Velcro, I decided to design my jacket to close with buttons that actually work. I used "brads" (attaches Parisiennes). Tape the jacket closed, then plan where you will place your buttons. I used a heavy safety pin to pierce a hole, then poked the brads through the left side. The brad should be somewhat loose.

After it is in place. Close the jacket and use the pin to poke a hold on the right side of the jacket where the buttonhole will be placed. I used a seam ripper to make a tiny slit. Then I cut away the fleece around that buttonhole on the underside. Do one complete button placement at a time.

I cut tiny rectangles of the leather for the pocket flaps. Cut away the fleece and glue each one in place. Now measure around the hips of the doll wearing the jacket and cut a narrow strip of the leather to make a belt. Turn the bottom of the sleeves up into small cuffs. I've always turn back the center front edge to expose the wool on the front of the jacket.

Sissilie's coat is made in exactly the same manner. For her coat, I used the basic jacket pattern created from the basic bodice (minus the darts). I lengthened the original jacket then extended the front by 3/4-inch from the Center Front line. I also wanted a very full collar. Using the technique for the "designed collar" we employed for the Redingote, I create my front coat pattern piece. The coat back and sleeve are unchanged. The buttons and buttonholes are created as described above.

For the pocket, I turn down the edge, then shaved away some of the wool of the inside pocket. Glue in place. Again, the sleeves are turned up into self-cuffs.

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  1. Oh my, the jacked and coat are fabulous! You are really crafty, thanks for showing how it's done. That was a nice find at the Paris store. Happy Holidays!

  2. Happy Holidays to you as well. Glad you enjoy this post. Sometimes you can find materials at fabric stores. Or.....there's always lambswool, though it might be a bit of a challenge to work with.

  3. Is this your new website? I lost contact and miss your site.

    1. Hi Debra. Happy New Year. No, this site is really my main site which is almost 4 years old. I have two others, "Fashion Doll Art" which is a photo album housing the out takes of what I was creating for posting on Tonner dolls, "Doll Duels" forum. And then there's "Fashion Doll Diva" on Wordpress which is "the dolls' blog recounting own "experiences." In any case, happy to know you found your way back here. Happy New Year!

  4. Linda a jaqueta fora para o kem eo casaco da Barbie ficou perfeitos.
    Sou muito fã do seu trabalho com roupas para boneca Barbie e Ken.
    Parabéns por sua criatividade e talento com roupas para boneca
    Beijos do Brasil. 😘😘

  5. Message from Unknown: Beautiful jacket for Ken was perfect.
    I'm a big fan of your work with Barbie and Ken doll clothes.
    Congratulations on your creativity and talent with doll clothes
    Kisses from Brazil. 😘😘

    Thank you so much for your very kind comment, my Brazilian friend and welcome to my blog. There is a little bit of everything to keep all of our favorite dolls in the height of fashion. So feel free to come back and browse through more than 8 years of posts, fashion reports and, of course, tutorials!!!


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