Monday, July 18, 2011

Joes' Clothes: Long-Sleeved T-Shirt or Sweater

"To be dressed, or not to be dressed, that is the question."
On eBay, you will find hundreds of fancy ballgowns for Barbie in every color of the rainbow, some with lace, some with tulle, all with starting bids of one penny. When it comes to menswear for your 1/6 scale dolls, however, the clothing tends to be a bit pricier. Because of this, my son's Joes haven't gotten any new clothes since he acquired them about a year ago. So, yesterday when my niece asked if we could work on her dollhouse, I thought it would be a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone (plus, I didn't have the materials yet to continue on her dollhouse, so this was pretty close). So I sat both kids down (my son and my niece) with some spare micro-knit fabric from an earlier t-shirt mod, a needle, and some thread, and we began this project together. This "pattern" will work for doll clothes of any size and can also be machine sewn, but for my two sewing beginners, I figured a little hand-sewing would be a little more their speed. (And I ended up doing most of the sewing for my son anyhow.)

We made long sleeved t-shirts/sweaters. You can adjust the fit for the look you want, but we made loose-fitting shirts because it was more basic and easier for small hands to manage. The "pattern" (and I use the term loosely) calls for three rectangles: one for the torso, two for the sleeves. See below:

Each of the pieces pictured is folded in half. For the torso piece, you will want to measure it from your doll's shoulder to hip or waist and about 2-3 times as wide as your doll. Basically eyeball it, but don't forget to leave seam allowances. The sleeves need to measure from shoulder to wrist/hand and be twice as wide as the shoulder/armpit opening you will need.

Front of completed shirt.

Fold the pieces in half inside out and sew the arm seams and a seam down the side of the torso piece to form three tubes of fabric. When that is done, you need to situate the torso piece so that the seam is in the middle of the back and set the pieces together as pictured above. Cut a notch on each side, angled down from the open top so that the hole will be the same size as the sleeve. With everything still inside out, sew on the sleeves with the seam on the bottom. This leaves a really wide opening at the neck, but otherwise, the shirt is assembled. Next put the shirt on your doll (still inside-out) and stitch the shoulders. If the fabric is really stretchy, you can leave a smaller opening for the neck. For my son's shirt, we also sewed on a collar to make it a faux turtleneck. I left it open in the back for ease of dressing/undressing.

Back of shirt.
The piece of fabric we used for Joe's shirt had a finished edge, so we cut it so as to make use of that hem. The waist, sleeves, and neck are all finished because of that edge. On Brat's shirt, however, the fabric had no finished edges. Since we were using a micro-knit, which really doesn't fray, we didn't bother to hem the sleeves or waistline of her shirt. Also, we didn't sew a collar on hers but left a wide neck for an off-the-shoulder look.

Miss Brat has a skirt made of eyelet lace trim and elastic and a ribbon belt.
Her sleeves are cuffed. Joe is hiding under a crocheted rug for modesty's
sake. My son must have asked 20 times during this project when we would
make him some pants... 
I thought this turned out pretty well. It fits, which is the biggest concern.
And it's easy to put on and take off, which is good for kids who actually
play with their dolls/action figures. 

Next project: pants. Hopefully, I've learned enough from my blue pants to
be able to fashion some for Mr. Joe here.
We didn't have time to do anything else for the Joes/Barbies/Bratz, (nap time only lasts for so long) but at least we did have time to do this little project together. Some of my fondest childhood memories were making doll clothes with my aunt, and hopefully I can pay it forward for my niece and kids. And hopefully, next time my niece wants to work on her dollhouse, I will have some supplies ready and a project in mind. If not? Well, maybe her dolls need some pants too...

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