Tag Archive | pants

Variations in Green 2: Meili

 

Meili in a mixture of Dutch and French designs

Meili in a mixture of Dutch and French designs

 

My second Variation in Green is my first attempt at an ensemble to fit Gotz Hannah.  Meili here is wearing trousers from Christel Dekker’s Goodnight Girl pattern, and her smock-top is made with a pattern for Kidz ‘n’ Cats from my favourite French designer, Vanina the author of Les Cheries de Vaniline blog.  Meili looks as if she is the same size as the sturdy-bodied 18″ dolls like American Girl or Gotz Precious Day, but her torso is almost as slim as the Kidz ‘n’ Cats and their patterns will fit her as long as the arms and legs are not too fitted.

The trousers

As throughout this Variations in Green series, I used a moss-green cotton fabric with a subtle overall leaf pattern for the trousers.  After my first attempt at these had turned out too tight, I enlarged the Goodnight Girl pyjama bottoms pattern by ¼” all round.  This time all went well and they fit Meili perfectly, with enough ease to allow her to sit down.  To add a a little decoration I sewed a small orange flower button on the outside of each ankle.  They are simple trousers but well-cut and look very good on the doll.  It was rather exciting trying to follow the German pattern (I had a choice of German or Dutch, neither of which I speak) but this is not a difficult garment and it was easy enough to put them together.

 

Lace and cuff details

Lace and cuff details

The Smock-top

The smock-top is made from Vanina’s pattern B for Kidz ‘n’ Cats and Maru, the blouse à col rond ou sans col.  This is ideal for Hannah dolls because it has generous-sized armholes and is sleeveless, so can accommodate their sturdy arms and large hands.

The gorgeous cotton fabric shows a variety of English spring flowers: snowdrops, winter aconites, primroses and forget-me-nots.  I am very grateful to my friend Christine who gave me this lovely remnant from her fabric stash.  There was just enough of it to cut out the top.  Imagine my horror, then, when I discovered that somewhere along the line I had managed to cut into the material and had a gash on the left front just below where it would be gathered into the yoke.  Luckily I have some special fusing powder in the cupboard for just such anxious moments, and with a hot iron, some greaseproof paper and a patch to back the cut I was able to mend it so that it was completely unnoticeable.

Apart from this small glitch, the top made up moderately easily.  This was a substantial cotton and a pleasure to work with.  I took care when cutting out to match the pattern so that the two snowdrops appeared right in the middle of the yoke, and again on the gathered skirt below.  I added a piece of white embroidered lace to emphasise the edge of the front yoke.  As I prefer, the lined yoke enclosed most of the raw edges and I used my new overlocking presser foot to zig-zag edge the side seams and lower armhole edges.  The top is so full-skirted that it needs very little fastening at the back.  I just put a popper up at the neck edge and it hung closed below that.  Another orange flower button hides the popper stitching and echoes the buttons at the trouser ankle.

To complete the outfit

Meili only needed some smart shoes to complete the outfit.  She chose some wonderful gold glittery Mary Janes which coordinate beautifully with her ensemble – such taste!

I love her in this outfit.  Her Asian toned-skin and big brown eyes are enhanced by the rich greens and warm yellows and golds of this second Variation in Green.

 

 

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Summer’s end: crop cargoes and halter-neck

The first of Kit’s Couture’s two new girls, Elisabeth, models a pretty end-of-summer ensemble: cropped cargoes from a pattern by Heritage Doll Fashions, teamed with a halter-neck top from Rosie’s Doll Clothes.

Cargoes and halterneck

Crop cargoes and halterneck.
Click to enlarge

I chose two different lots of fabric for this outfit.  I teamed a light summer blue with a pretty print in summer blues and greens, both of which suit Elisabeth very well.  She has teamed her outfit with some pink peep-toe shoes from Gotz, and wears an Alice band in the same summer print in her hair.

I began with the halter-neck top which was quite straightforward to put together.  As usual Rosie’s video tutorials were crystal-clear and in an hour or so I had made a loose-fitting top firmly gathered into the halter-neck which ties around the neck with a bow.  The body of the top fastens at the back with velcro.  Of course the halter-neck style does expose Elisabeth’s ragdoll shoulders.  She’s a Precious Day girl by Gotz, and they’ve given her a rather yellow-toned body fabric which isn’t terribly flattering, so for her photos I’ve styled her hair to disguise this.  American Girl have chosen a better colour for their dolls’ bodies so this top would look better on them – and fantastic on Madame Alexander Favorite Friends which have a vinyl shoulder-plate instead.  Nevertheless I’m very pleased with the style and hang of this little top.  The gathers make it fall in pleasing folds at the front.

Pocket details

Pocket details – complete with buttonholes!
Click to enlarge

The cropped cargoes pattern was crying out for a two-colour approach: a plain colour for the main body of the trousers and the patterned print for the pockets and the waist tie.  The instructions from Heritage Doll Fashions were full and fairly easy to follow with good illustrations.  Challenges in this pattern were the top-stitching – there’s a huge amount of it in double-rows, all of which needs to be evenly spaced; and the buttonholes which I tackled for the first time ever.  Each of the cargo pockets are fastened with a button and buttonhole, and the tie belt emerges from the waistband through buttonholes also.  So I did a fair bit of experimentation with my buttonhole foot and settings before I plucked up the courage to actually work on the garment itself.  To my relief everything went smoothly and the finished garment has two fully-functional button-closed pockets, two good deep front pockets, and two smaller back patch pockets, great for storing all the treasures Elisabeth finds when she’s playing outside in the late summer sunshine.

The quality of this outfit encourages me to do what I’ve been planning on for some time, once my sewing skills were up to it: start to sell my outfits online.  So in a week or so, I hope to offer this ensemble for sale, probably on Ebay.  It’s a new venture, and I’ve no idea what sort of a market there is out there for American Girl clothes in the UK, but online shops like Petalina are selling a good number of 18″ dolls to UK customers, so I feel it’s worth dipping my toe in the water and putting some creations from Kit’s Couture out there.

Kit and the girls are excited and rather nervous about this new venture – and so am I.  Wish us luck!

Polka-Dot Parade

Click for full size version

Click for full size image

Next on the catwalk are Sophie and Annika looking cool and sweet in matching polka-dot themed ensembles.

Both of these outfits are made from Miss Connie’s bodice and pants patterns.  It was fun to adapt them to give a different look to each of the Kidz.   Two fat squares of material – one plain, one polka-dot – were ample to make trousers and top, leaving enough left over for a hat as well.  I made Sophie a bolero jacket with full-length sleeves to match her crop trousers, and Annika a sleeveless crop top to match her full-length trousers.  Annika’s ensemble is completed by a summer hat in the same materials.  These are the Kit’s Couture creations which form the core of their outfits.

In addition, Annika is wearing Monique classic ankle strap shoes in cream; and their other garments – Sophie’s pale yellow batiste blouse, her sandals, and Annika’s turquoise jacket – are all part of the summer outfit Annika was wearing when she arrived.   These are beautifully made garments from Kidz ‘n’ Cats, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the pale yellow blouse suits Sophie’s delicate colouring better than it does Annika, whose auburn hair and dark eyes are flattered far better by the rich warm yellow of her new outfit.

Annika’s ensemble

Polka Dot Parade 2

Click for full size image

I began with Miss Connie’s ‘basic elastic waist pants’ pattern which is for full-length trousers.  This is another well-cut garment and the trouser legs fit the slim-legged Kidz beautifully.  I was focusing on the construction of the garment so didn’t attempt to add any trimmings at all, just put the trousers together as per the pattern instructions – adding an extra half-inch at the waist edge as advised by Connie when she sent through the patterns.  This gives at higher rise and adds ease to the garment.  I was a little puzzled that the bottom of the legs was cut curved rather than straight across.  I’m not sure why this was done and I might well straighten it next time I make up a pair of these trousers.   The crop top was easy to adapt from the bodice pattern.  It was just a question of deciding how short a crop top I wanted, and then making it up in the usual way, finishing off the edge by folding in both bottom edges and top-stitching them together.

The hat was the real challenge.  This was made from Vanina’s ‘tuto chapeau’ pattern, and proved quite tricky to put together.  I’ll certainly be making a hat for Sophie from this pattern so will write about that in a later blog when I’ve honed my technique…

Sophie’s suit

When I came to make Sophie’s suit I had got the bit between my teeth and wanted to play around with the patterns a bit more.  Miss Connie provided a tutorial on ‘designing pants lengths’, so I followed her excellent instructions to create some cropped trousers.  I decorated the leg edges with purple rick-rack braid to make them a bit smarter.  I decided to rework the bodice pattern to create a bolero jacket by cutting the back all as one piece, and halving the front pattern piece and curving the inner edge from the neckline to the side seam.  Like the crop top, the jacket is lined, with the lining slip-stitched down to neaten around the armhole seams.  It turned out to be quite a fiddly little job.  I top-stitched around the jacket edges to provide some interest – I definitely need a bit more practice with top-stitching, it’s too easy to wobble! – and I trimmed the sleeve hems with rick-rack braid.  The final touch was to add a yellow butterfly button to the left front.

I really like these patterns from Miss Connie.  They fit the Kidz ‘n’ Cats dolls beautifully and I can see how they can be readily adjusted to create different styles of trousers and tops.  Making these outfits really helped me gain confidence in adapting patterns, and I also began to see how to use trimmings to add interest and individuality.