Sunday, December 13, 2015
Sewing Vintage Doll Patterns: McCalls 2123 View E
The sleeve pattern has a big corner in it, giving it that deep bell shape. First you press up a 1/4 inch hem, mitering the corner, and topstitch that down. (I may try a lined version of this dress to avoid the topstitching.)
For the closure in back, I don't use snaps, buttons, or zippers, I use Velcro. No, it's not elegant and it's not historically accurate. But it does have a very important advantage: it allows you to adjust the fit. It can make the dress tighter or looser, you can even tilt it to allow more room in the bust and less in the waist, for example. Plus it's fast to sew in and to use. So for most things I'll be sticking with it.
This pattern uses a fake facing technique that is very common for Barbie doll clothes. You stay-stitch a quarter-inch away from the raw edge; then clip into the seam allowance; then press the seam allowance under and top-stitch along the edge. You have to roll the seam allowance under enough so that the stay-stitching doesn't show. Don't be tempted to skip the stay-stitching--it will make the cloth fold right for you.
It's a handy technique to know and not hard to do, and I did use it here, but in general I would rather line the garment with tulle--you get a much nicer finish without adding much bulk. I'll probably be writing about that a lot as I go along.
So here's how they came out:
Misty's dress is the project that started me on McCalls 2123. I wanted to make a very "mod" dress so went looking in my fabric stash to see what I might find. This cloth is more op art than mod, but cut up into small pieces, it's manageable. The symmetry was fun to play with, trying to get the dress cut out of it in a way that would flatter.
Maxie's yellow dress fabric was picked to match the illustrated view on the pattern front.
For this picture, I pinned the big sleeves in back, in order to see how I liked the dress with straight narrow sleeves. And I do! I might make it that way sometime.
Barbie, though, is having some trouble. You can see the stress lines where her bust is straining at the seams and the fabric is trying to create different darts. Adjusting the Velcro closure didn't help. It's not actually her bust that's the problem, it's the rib cage underneath it.
By the way, did you notice that this is a different Tammy? This is one with a feet-together stance, just to show that they do vary.
But it could also be a little difference in the fabric; they're both quilting cottons, but there is some variation in how they handle. Cutting can make a difference too: for the turquoise one, I traced the pattern on the fabric with ink, then carefully cut the inked line away. It was much easier to be accurate that way. For the yellow one, I pinned the pattern to the fabric and cut out around it. So many pins in such a little piece I think can distort it a little. On such small items, little differences can amount to a big difference!