Monday, December 28, 2015
McCalls 2123 View B: modified version
I felt that my first version of this dress, made exactly as directed, had way too much fabric gathered into the waist. The pattern piece for the skirt was 19 inches long; I cut five inches off from it, so the version you see here has only 14 inches in the skirt. It looks much more natural to me!
I wish all the people who complain that Barbie is unrealistically thin would take note: When dressed up, she looks perfectly normal!
Whenever I work on gathered skirts in the future, I think I will just whack off 5 or so inches right from the first, and not bother making a version that's too puffy. I learned doll-dressmaking from some very talented women who dressed porcelain dolls; they felt strongly that a very full skirt, gathering up as much cloth as you can manage, was the sign of quality costuming. Anything less looked skimpy to them. They were sewing for a very specific look though--not Barbie's look.
My other modification was to the sleeves: instead of making a casing for elastic, I left the last inch of the seam open, folded the seam allowances back and sewed snap closings in, and then hand gathered the sleeve edge with a doubled, waxed thread. You can't really see much difference, but it is a lot easier to get on the doll! Especially on Maxie and Misty, who have larger hands. When I make this dress again I will trim off some of the turning--don't need a full 3/8 inch when finishing it this way, and the gathers will go in better on a single thickness of fabric. I could even move the gathers up the sleeve a little and get a frilly cuff effect.
A nice feature that this Tammy, Misty, and Maxie all share is "rubbery arms," for lack of a better phrase. When dressing them, you can easily squeeze their arms together to get them into the armholes. They also all have very pretty hands.
Tammy here has an unexpected feature: if you move one arm up or down, the other goes with it! Same with her legs! You can push them out of sync a very little bit, but judging by the resistance you can feel, it's probably better to keep them aligned. And of course, they bend at elbows and knees--flexibly, not with wires that click, like Barbie does.
She is a pretty addition to my Tammy collection, and I just happen to have the Pepper that matches her, so maybe there will be some big sister/little sister sewing coming up soon.