Monday, April 7, 2014

April Showers

At long last, winter is finally over!!!! But with Spring, comes the rain.....And we all know our dolls do not like to get wet. So.... Let's celebrate the month of April with rain gear, all the while....singin' in the rain!

Many of the projects on this blog can be transformed into suitable rainy weather clothing. After all, we've already explored basic coats, jackets and capes. The only thing really different here is the material....shiny vinyl. You could also use nylon, oilcloth....or, if you're really on a budget....heavy duty garbage bags! To make things a tad more interesting this time around, I'd like to start by introducing you to the raglan sleeved coat.

While a regular sleeve is just fine, the raglan sleeve simply gives you another design option. In World War I, these sleeves were used in infantry men's trench coats because they afforded ease of movement. In full size clothing, they are also much easier to sew than regular set-in sleeves.

I begin with the basic coat, to which I've added a bit of flair at the sides. Before we begin to manipulate this pattern, it is best to create your coat facing now. I don't like bulkiness, particularly on the shoulders, so I have combined the back facing with that of the front by adjoining them along the shoulder line as shown in my draft. That way the facing seam will be at the back which, for me, is less problematic.

Let's go back to the neckline of the coat. Note the width of the neckline of the Front Coat and mark 1/4 of the width over from the shoulder. That will be point "A." Next, note the length of the armhole and mark 1/16th of an inch (about 2mm) down from its mid point. That will be point "B." The shoulder armhole tip is point "C" and the shoulder neckline tip is "D." Connect point A to point B with a straight line across the body (indicated in green). Now draw an arc that rises 1/16" from the center of the line between A and B. That line will be the new "style" line. (You can now disregard the straight line.)

Repeat for the back. The point 1/4 down on the neckline (away from the shoulder) will be point "E." The point 1/16" (2mm) just down from the center armhole point will be point F. "G" will be the shoulder armhole point and "H" will mark the shoulder neckline tip. Again, draw a straight line between E and F. Draw an arc which bends 1/16" up from the middle of this line. Now cut or trace those two shoulder wings, taking care that all of the points are labeled.

Attach back to back and front to front, joining point G on the back to point C of the front at the midpoint of the sleeve. Each will be placed at a about a 15-degree angle from the top of the sleeve. The curved bottoms of the wings are then aligned to touch the curve of the sleeve cap. Each piece will then form a "V" shape at the top of the sleeve cap as shown in the above illustration.

After you have cut away the shoulder wings, you will be left with the rest of the coat pattern. Add seam allowance to the front and back coat pattern. The shoulder wings are now part of the sleeve shape. Add seam allowance all around including the "V" shape which is now a large dart. When you begin to assemble your coat, sew the dart on the sleeve first. Then attach to the body of the coat as usual.

Note: When sewing with vinyl, tape the pattern to the fabric or pin within the seam allowance. Same thing when you put the pieces together. Pin within the seam allowance or tape together. Remember, once you puncture the vinyl or plastic, the hole is there forever. Most vinyl has a cloth backing which facilitates machine sewing. However, if you use a plastic or vinyl without the backing and experience problems, tape a bit of tissue paper to the underside, then sew.

If you are tempted to press the seams, always use the coolest setting on the iron, and then protect the vinyl with paper towel. And, be sure to use a somewhat larger stitch. If the stitch length is too small, it will rip.

A rain slicker is one of the quick and easy ways to protect dolly from a sudden cloud burst. This is another version of the cape which is really quick and easy to make. And, I've added a hood....after all, it is raining!!!

Draw a line that forms a 90-degree angle. Take the front and back sloper and place them shoulder tip to shoulder tip, angling the back sloper so that it is 90 degrees perpendicular from that of the front sloper. Between the two shoulder tips, make a diagonal line which half way between the two shoulder tips.

Now trace the neckline and shoulder line of the back sloper, then along the diagonal line. Draw in the hemline. Repeat for the front sloper, tracing the neckline and shoulder line before tracing along the same diagonal line. Voila! The only other thing I've added was seam allowance and a hood.
I had no problems stitching the garbage bag plastic with my sewing machine. I did try to use glue for the hem, but it did not stick for long. So I used it to "baste" and then topstitched everything down. (Like many of the mass market rain slickers on the market, this is not really a garment built to last!)
One more thing.....for those moments when dolly is out and about and she didn't think to take along that wonderful new rain slicker you just made for her..... Make sure, inside of her purse  is a.....rain bonnet!

For this I used plastic from a ziplock food storage bag. I measured the front of the doll's head from side to side for the proper width of my bonnet. The length will be as deep as you want it to be. My cut square was 7x7" (18x18 cm). I fold the plastic back and forth into accordion pleats(about 5/8" (8mm), using my fingernail to crease as I go. When you have completely folded the square into one strip, you can wrap it with paper towel and then with the lowest setting on your iron, press the strip. This will help set the pleats. However, be VERY careful not to melt the plastic while your doing this.

Now, fold each edge under and pierce with a large safety pin or needle. Attach a brad AND a small length of ribbon. (I've used a bit of ribbon from Chanel No.5 Packaging!) Not exactly your grandmother's rain bonnet!!!!

Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist

All images and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2014. Please do not reproduce without prior permission. Thank you.


  1. Hi FDS, I have to study the raglan sleeves, I tried a couple of times but the pattern I made just isn't properly fitting! I'll use yours!!!

    1. Billa, be sure you begin with a sloper that has been modified for the coat! In other words, I began with a coat (or jacket) basic pattern where I had already widened the shoulder by 1/8" and dropped the armhole by 1/8". Now from there begin the draft. It should work. In clothes for humans, we make a few tiny adjustments for ease, but I find those are really too miniscule to make any real difference when making this pattern for a 12" doll. <3

    2. Right now I'm trying to make a raglan sleeved t-shirt for the guys, I'm trying to bear in mind your suggestions....if it works I will post the results.

    3. Billa, you do such a great job with your doll clothes, I can't wait to see the results! I'm sure your guys are so happy!

    4. I can tell you this: it worked!!!
      You're such a treasure of a girl, thanks a lot for this post and the precious advice! sometime soon (I hope) I will be able to take some pictures of the results!
      Now I have to learn to do decent male jackets!!!

  2. Great post, I want to try this! (I hope my sewing machine can handle it ;-)). The rain bonnet is so cute, my grandma did use to wear them, but as you said, not with the Chanel ribbon!

    1. Nymphaea, Years ago while working as a journalist, the fashion houses would give us little gifts for attending their show. Hermes gave us an orange plastic rain bonnet printed with their logo. The ribbon from the packaging was used as ties! This was never anything put into production. Just a rare gift made specifically for the journalists. I still have mine! That's what gave me the idea to do a dolly version!

    2. Thanks for sharing the background story of the bonnet! Great that you still have the original, such gifts are so unique!

  3. I have to try that cape, and the Chanel scarf is genius!

  4. Bravo et merci pour toutes vos explications super claires. J'apprends beaucoup en vous lisant, pour confectionner des vêtements de poupées. Je garde votre blog en favoris.


We love hearing from you. Your comment will be published shortly.