Saturday, February 14, 2015

Affaires of the Heart


Normally I avoid such a kitsch theme like Valentine's Day. My criteria for choosing the looks on my blog usually comes from the answer to my question, "Would I wear that?" However,  this year with all of the new boys in the house, my girls have fallen in love. To appease us both, I decided to do cut-outs and fabric paillettes using heart shapes. However, this (surface treatment) project can be easily modified by using any simple shape, fabrics or color for more sophisticated styles. Both looks are super simple, requiring little skill but lots of patience.

We have been looking at catwalks and red carpets for inspiration, but sometimes you only need to open your closet to find the source of your next doll creation. For example, a couple years ago, I bought this little bolero jacket at H&M.
I was attracted by the flutter of pink petals. Upon close inspection, those petals are really upside down Valentines! That also gave me the idea to do heart shape cut-outs that fall away from the body, revealing the lining underneath. 
 
At first I thought of red revealing white. Then it occurred to me the inverse might be more interesting. After all, our hearts are underneath our skin! I began with a simple shift dress which you can find by clicking here. Cut this dress out twice. One will be used for the outer dress, the other (in a contrasting color) for the lining.
 
I drew rows of hearts on the good side of the fabric using a light toned dressmaker's (chalk) pencil. I did this on the outside because whatever side you cut is where the petals will fall. To keep the hearts roughly the same height, I made marks in the seams. Leave a margin from the side and back seams and be careful not to draw the hearts too close to one another. I used a single edge razor to pierce the side of the heart. Then I cut the rest of the heart with small, sharp scissors. Don't cut completely away. Be sure to leave the heart attached at the bottom of the shape.

Sew the outer dress together. Then sew the lining together. Press the seams well.

Line up the outer dress to the lining and sew along the neckline and the hemline. Turn right side out. Press. Pin the rough edges together and stitch. Then pink the edges. Stitch the dress up the back seam, leaving enough space for the doll to get in and out. (I use hook and eyes as closures.) Clip along each armhole. Turn each inwards and hand stitch together.

 And now for my bolero.... (It's easier than it looks!)

I used the basic jacket pattern which I shortened to just below her bust. I curved the center front edges. I also decided on short sleeves.

You will need to create your own heart trim. For this you will need to cut small heart shapes (or whatever you choose). Be sure to use sharp scissors. Turn each upside down and glue the bottom tip to a strip of narrow (1/8 inch) ribbon. Please note: whenever I use glue, I always follow it up with the press of an iron.

Begin at the bottom, hand stitching each row directly onto the jacket. The row above should overlap. Don't worry about any gaps. Leave space near the top edge.

When you have finished sewing the trim onto the jacket, cut out a few more hearts. Stitch those hearts over any gaps and wherever the ribbon is showing. Also, take the loose hearts and stitch them along the top edge of your jacket.

Front to back my finished jacket looks like this. Very pretty. This would also make a very lovely dress.

Originally I slipped the jacket over the shoulders of a matching sheath dress. However, I felt it needed a little something more for balance. So I made Carol a pink wrap around blouse and I cut out a matching slim skirt to which I added rows of round petals. I stitched together the skirt, but left it open at one side so that I could open it out flat. My petals, this time, are round shapes. (I traced off a small coin.) Starting at the bottom, I glued each disk to the skirt. Each row overlaps the one below. I decided to stop after my fourth row, however, you can continue up to the waist. When you have finished, stitch the skirt along the seam, leaving space for the doll to get in and out. Take loose disks and hand tack them over the seam. Attach the waistband.

Again you decide. The cut-outs in the first dress could easily be triangles instead of hearts. The skirt would be fabulous in a non-woven shiny vinyl, giving the illusion of scales! Have fun. Be creative. Happy Valentine's Day!


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16 comments:

  1. Beautiful outfits!! The guys will love how the ladies look :-). Happy Valentine's Day April! Big hugs xxx

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    1. Thank you, Linda. And yes, the guys love how the ladies look. Now the rest of the ladies want Valentine dresses!!! How you're having a great Valentine's Day. Big hugs !!!!

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  2. Beautiful dresses! You are such an inspiration!

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  3. I love the concept for both of these outfits - fabulous ideas!

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  4. Wow, these outfits are really great and a lot of work obviously went into designing and making them. I just love the jacket made with all of the scalloped hearts layered all over it. Truly amazing. I will bet that your dollies couldn't wait to try them on!

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    1. Phyllis, that little jacket took me two full days to complete. I am very happy with the results. I had wanted to do a full dress but for obvious reasons I did not. Well, the dolls wearing these outfits refuse to let their friends try them on. Very spoiled, very possessive dollies. ;-)

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  5. Hi April, these are quite elaborate! the jacket is amazing

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    1. Thank you, Billa. I am very happy with the way it turned out.

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  6. Both outfits are beautiful, but I particularly like the one with the pop of red. Just imagine the movement they would have on the runway.

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    1. I like that dress as well. Not only do I like it for the movement it would have (if dolly could walk), but I also like the surprise of color that peaks out from under the opaque white dress.

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  7. Hello: Happy Valentines day. Fabulous creations. Your doing a wonderful job. Nice photos. Keep in touch

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    1. Hope you had a great Valentine's day, Marta. Thank you for your kind words. See you soon.

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  8. Very pretty! Happy Valentine's Day!
    This was interesting and I'm so happy to read the tutorial, thank you a lot! : D

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  9. Thank you. Glad you enjoyed this post. Come back again!!!

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