Monday, May 29, 2017

Sock It To Me

With all of the numerous tutorials on the internet showing how to make doll clothes out of socks, I have been hesitant about doing one myself. That is...until now after the recent collections of Missoni began to resonate with me. This Italian high fashion house has been known for their eclectic mixtures of patterned knitwear for decades. It is the kind of look that comes and goes, but right now it all looks just right.

Though Missoni's jerseys are silky, fine and quite expensive, we can have fun by substituting socks as our principle source of material. You can either lay out patterns suited for stretch fabrics on the sock or opt to make the garment directly on the doll. Because this is such a simple and easy process, this post is not so much a tutorial (unless you're just picking up a needle and thread for the first time), but rather...a series of suggestions and tips.

Today, many socks are sold in color coordinated packs. This is helpful in that you can make separate items from all the patterns then comfortably mix and match them to create a wide variety of looks. But you can also plan to make a "set" out of a single pair of socks for a classic coordinated look. Most socks today are pretty thick, so you should select very simple patterns to avoid bulk.

Most socks have cuffs which allows you to decide whether you want the knitted band on the hem or at the waist. However, if it's not too thick, you can always cut the knitted edge off and sew it on wherever you desire.

The Basic Knit Dress
I've done a basic knit dress sloper on a previous post. You can find it by clicking HERE. As you see, it fits perfectly on the sock. Just be careful to line up the pattern against the vertical movement of knit.

This in itself can yield lots of dresses. I've simply turned down the raw edges and stitched them in place.

You can also alter the basic knit dress like I've done with this Patrick Kelly inspired dress. It's made from my knit sloper but elongated (orange line). After you've sewn the dress together, make a running stitch on both sides of the dress. Draw up the thread then make a few secure stitches to hold the gathers in place.

Dolly can wear as is, or with gloves. These are simple little tubes that slip over her arms.

The lovely thing about sockware is that you don't have to work with patterns. Simple shapes become serious fashions. Take this top for example.
1. First, I placed the sock against the doll to figure out how long I wanted my top. I've decided the cuff will fall at the hemline. Cut the sock (red dotted line). You now have a rectangle, raw side up, knitted side down.
2. On each side down from the top from this rectangle, measure 1" (2.5cm) from the top and cut.
3. Determine what will be the front and the back. Fold in half and make a slit at least 1" (2.5cm) down from the center of one layer of this rectangle (the back). And on the other layer (the front) scoop the neck out with a semi circle about 1" (2.5cm) wide. This is so that the doll can get in and out of the garment. Fold down the edges around the neck and back slit. Sew the top edges together along the shoulders. You can close the back with a single hook & eye.

I've 1-pc pants cut from a contrasting pattern.

Here's the result.We can also make a knit jacket. Here, Naomi wears a very pretty "set" made from a single pair of floral socks.

You can use a basic jacket pattern or the kimono (though you'll have to piece on the sleeves because socks aren't wide enough to accommodate the built in sleeve).

Again, my knit band is at the hem. So I need to think about how to finish the neckline.

1. You can cut off the toe of the sock. Since it stretches, we can make our own band from it to finish off the neckline.
2. Pin this to the neckline o the jacket and sew.
3. Fold over and stitch this down.
4. You will need to tuck in the edges and sew them closed.
5. This is a jacket to be worn open so I've not added any closures. You can, if you want, add a hook & eye on the front edge.

When the jacket is added to the pants suit, Aria has an eclectic look of three different patterns that all work together. Tip: If you are mixing prints on your own, make sure they all share at least one common color in common!

In this case, I've concocted my own mix. What all of these elements have in color is the metallic patterns.
The basic cape is super simple and easy to make out of a pair of socks. Even sleeves! You can find the tutorial HERE.

After I finished the cape, I still had enough to make a basic knit dress. This made for stunning ensemble!

For simple pieces like straight skirts, tube tops and strapless dresses, you can make the garment right onto the doll. Here's how I do it.

1. Decide on the length of the skirt. Turn the sock inside out and put it on the doll. Stretch the sock over the doll's form and pin in place.
2. Cut away the access.
3. Press.
4. You can create a waistband out of the toe of the sock to finish off the top of the skirt.

I decided to play with texture by turning the sock inside out. I though it would make an interesting tube top, so I measured it over the top and cut off a piece of the sock. I stretched it over the doll and sewed it down the back.

I cheated a little here by making a gold and black patterned kimono out of a micro pleated fabric. Note how the three textures compliment each other.

The cape also provide an unexpected layer of interest over the black/white/gold chevron patterned dress which I made below.

Here again, I made this evening length, strapless sweater dress directly on the doll. Tip: You don't always have to work with the sock the way it is folded. To work around the heel, I slid the front of the sock against the center from of the doll.

1. Again, I stretch the sock over her form and pin along her contours. Stitch just in front of your line of pins.
2. Cut away the excess.
3. If you find the dress is not fitting flush against the doll in the front, pinch out the excess on both sides and pin. Adjust so that both sides at equal, making sure the center back seam is straight.
4. Cut away the excess and turn the dress, right side out.

The result is a pretty straight forward knit dress that can be dressed up with a wide variety of different accessories. Here I've added "gloves" (two small tubes over the arms).
I borrowed the kimono to dress up this look.

In a variation inspired by Missoni, instead of pinching out the excess on either side, I pinched the fabric at the bust line which gives an added sexy detail to the front of the dress.

If you're lacking time or money, you can buy a few pairs of socks, make some simple items then mix and match them into endless possibilities!

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  1. I've used socks before for simple dresses, sweaters and tube tops and skirts. But you took socks for clothes to the next level. I'm supposed to be working on a story right now and I feel like sewing now. Thanks for keeping me inspired to keep sewing.

    1. Thank you Jaye. Well, you know me by now....I wasn't going to do "ordinary" sockware for my girls. After the last couple of seasons of looking at Missoni fashions on the catwalk, I decided it was time to hit the sock drawer!!!

  2. Who needs to know how to knit when you have given us socks!!!! The are so different from any other "sock" style I have ever seen. This has the feel of knitted fashion - very different and inventive. You make it look so easy too. All very fun to sophisticated - O

    1. Thank you, O. Since I cannot knit, I am in total agreement with you! And yes, not only is this so easy to make, it's a fun way to recycle those odd socks!

  3. Oh this is great sockwear! It's so beautiful! Some great socks to start, then great designs. Love it that it is designer inspired!

    1. Thank you, Jano. So true, the selection of the designs within the sock is the key to making some great looking fashion. And yes, the fact that it all is in inspired by European designerwear makes this all the more special!

  4. Great tutorial! I have been collecting socks from the Dollar Store and you have inspired me to finally use them. Thanks so much for your great blog!

    1. Thank you, Chris, for your very kind words. Great to hear I've inspired you to pay a visit to that sock drawer!!! Have fun!

  5. These are all totally cool. Now I know what to do with all those patterned socks that I've never worn for whatever reason. Thanks for the patterns.

    1. Thank you JMD. Oh yes...that's what I'm here show everyone how to transform all those odds and ends lying around the house, into high fashion for our dolls!!! Have fun!

  6. Found your post interesting to read. I cant wait to see your post soon. Good Luck with the upcoming update. This article is really very interesting and effective.

    1. Thank you and welcome to my blog. We took a little time off. But we're back and just made a new post. Enjoy


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