Saturday, December 5, 2015

Trimming Down for the Holidays

The general rule of thumb for working with evening fabrics is: the fancier the pattern and design, the more simple you should select the pattern and silhouette. The problem is...the minimum yardage stores impose on the customer. With few exceptions, most stores insist you buy at least 1/2 yard (50 cm). Unless you are making clothes to sell, this is an enormous amount of fabric which results in my sticking to predictable materials in neutral colors OR....heading to the trim department.

A yard (or meter) of beautifully embroidered trim is all you need to make the most sumptuous outfit. In this case, think "Christmas suit." You can lay out your pattern horizontally so the bottom edge serves as your hem or you can layout the pattern vertically, using the side edge as a border. If the pattern isn't wide enough for your needs, simply sew strips together. Or you can cut away the edges to use as trimming. Just be aware that trim is not really meant to be cut into clothing and as such, has an unstable quality to it. Fray-check just might be your best friend. But if you work carefully, you will be quite thrilled with the results.

For this project, I am using the same basic jacket pattern used for both the Chanel and YSL boxy jacket. Again, the simpler the pattern the better.


This couldn't be easier. Lay your pattern out on the pattern. The width of the trim dictates the maximum length of each element. With this trim, I have decided to use both sides in a positive-negative theme.

I make a pencil skirt using the underside of the trim. I've essentially wrapped a piece around her and pinched in the darts at the back waist. Like this I have only one seam.

I used a basic foundation (or sheath dress) pattern for the top. I could have stopped here, but decided to add a jacket.


For the coat ensemble, my trim was more narrow.

By layering it and sewing the two strips together, I now have the skirt length I wanted. The top and bottom edge of the trim provides a built in border.

For the coat I will use the trim vertically.
I first measure on the doll to see how long I want it to be in relation to the skirt.

2. This trim has a geometrical pattern which I must take into consideration so I mark a point where the pattern of the trim will fall on my coat.
3. I'm cutting out one piece at a time, so I make sure my pattern will always fall on the proper point (including the back).
4. The coat back will have a back seam (due to the narrow width of the trim).

Tip: The trim is quite fragile, so when I am turning the sleeves right side out, I hold the sleeve at the seams and carefully pull the sleeve out using tweezers.

5-6. To finish, I cut away the border from what's left and add to the neckline as well as around the bottom hem of the jacket.
7. I've also added a border to the inside of the "collar" .

If you've planned it well, the pattern should fall at the same spot all around the coat.


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20 comments:

  1. Hi April, I adore these fabrics, In fact I bought some scraps like these but the trim so fragile I haven't had the courage to try to make something out of them....But the girls need some opulent outfit!

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    1. Hi Billa. Everything is hand sewn which helped me better watch breaks in the seams (especially the curves). I also gave myself extra seam allowance due to the problem with fraying. You can also glue the seams down!! These trims were so pretty, the garments are almost like jewelry!

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  2. I love the fabrics you are working with for these clothes. The outfits are beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, Phyllis. This is a project I've had in myself for quite sometime. The holidays seemed to be the perfect time to make these clothes.

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  3. Hello from Spain: fabulous fabrics. Great creations. Nice pics. Keep in touch

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    1. Thank you Marta. Glad you enjoyed this post. See you soon.

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  4. These are gorgeous. I love them.

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  5. Jestem zachwycona! Piękny komplet! Płaszcz i zestaw wspaniały!
    Pozdrawiam serdecznie!

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    1. Olla wrote: I am delighted! Beautiful set! Coats and set great! Best wishes!
      Thank you Olla. Glad you enjoy them. Big hugs.

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  6. This is gorgeous! The ensembles you made are very chic. I have some wider trims in my fabric stash (not as lovely as the ones you used though), and you've given me inspiration to finally use them!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. These came out even better than I imagined. Once you get started, you'll be amazed at what you can create! Glad you enjoyed this post. Big hugs.

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  7. I love clothes for your dolls. The outfits are amazing!

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    1. Thank you Pikulina, for your kind words and welcome to my blog.

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  8. You are a doll clothing design genius. These are beautiful and I can't wait to try! TFS

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    1. Thank you KQM, I don't know if I'm a genius, but I am definitely a hard core fashionista. LOL! With so many trims out there, the possibilities are limitless!!!

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  9. So glad to find someone who also use the same type of fabric. I always have a hard time using them. You're advice are really helpful. Thank you for that.

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    1. Glad you found this post useful. These trims can be quite fragile so just take your time, add a little extra seam allowance to allow for raveling as you work. And one more tip: cover your dolls' hands with plastic before you slide her hands through the sleeves!

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  10. C'est vraiment très beau. Merci encore pour ce partage. J'ai beaucoup de travail à faire pour être au même niveau.

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  11. Merci Shasarignis. Quand il y a une manqué d'idees, il faut prendre un patron tres simple et un bout de tissue tres fantasie pour creer quelque chose extraordinaire sans effort!!! C'est aussi simple que cela!!!

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