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Monday, December 21, 2015

Vintage Pattern Sewing: McCalls 2123 View C Striped Dress

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About the process. This week has been all about "doing what you can, where you are, with what you have." To me, that's what creativity is all about. Plus, I have a lot of stuff to use up!

And I just happened to have a fat quarter of a pretty striped material handy so it was easy to pick out View C as the next project.

It needs six buttons, though, and I  wanted round white ones--but I didn't have a single one! What to do? First I tried making  them out of white Sculpy. No luck--they broke. But I did enjoy the process and might do better next time.

Then I tried making French knots out of baby yarn for the buttons. Thought I could harden them with clear nail polish. Well, that didn't work either--the knots pulled out. Probably I should improve my embroidery skills!

Finally I cut apart a doll necklace I'd made with white pearls the right size--can always make that again later. They weren't the white-white look I wanted, but close enough. Might buy some round white buttons later and replace them.

A reproduction Francie in McCalls 2123 View C
 About the pattern. Matching stripes is time-consuming, but kind of fun. If we cut the pattern pieces out the way they are supposed to be, along the straight grain of the fabric, then the stripes would go up and down instead of horizontally across the body.

So I had to cut them out on the cross-grain. To help me make sure I got those stripes nice and straight, I drew some cross-wise arrows on the pattern. More about cross-grain when we look at the fit.

I was surprised to find that this pattern wanted me to cut out square pockets and then just sew them on with their raw edges showing!

I was even more surprised that it wanted me to cut slits into the fabric to make raw-edge buttonholes!

Were they crazy? No,  the pattern calls for "iron-on tape" to interface the pockets and the front plackets. Apparently the product they had in mind was meant to fuse the edges so they wouldn't ravel.

I'm not sure if they meant mending tape or what, but didn't matter, I didn't have anything like that, so I used iron-on interfacing, and that turned out not to be heavy enough to protect those edges.

But I did have clear nail polish, so I very carefully painted the raw edges of the buttonholes and the pockets, and I think that will hold them. Wouldn't have been my first choice of technique,  but I did what I could with what I had.

There was one element of the pattern which I do think was unworkable: for the belt, they wanted you to cut a piece of elastic to fit the doll's waist and then stitch the ends together.  Why slide the elastic up and down the legs and over the dress? Why not sew a snap on the ends?

Since different dolls would be wearing this dress, I just cut a quickie sash out of bias tape.  A mom who sewed much would have lots of bias tape around--her child could have doll belts in all colors!

About the fit. I salute McCalls for their superior knowledge: I was SO sure that dainty little Francie would be dwarfed in this dress, and yet she looks just as cute as anything in it. You can pop her into almost anything and she looks chic. She is so fun to dress!

TNT Barbie in View C and Tammy trying the boot prototype
Here, TNT Barbie is having her usual problem--what a trial it must be to have a tiny waist! Cinching it in is causing the skirt to pull over her hips and to separate at the bottom.

As I mentioned, this dress had to be cut out on the cross-grain in order to have horizontal stripes. That means the straight grain, which doesn't stretch or "give" much, is going around the figure just where a little give would have been helpful!

I'm making this same dress out of other fabric, cut out on the straight grain as it was designed to be. It will be interesting to compare the two versions, and see if the second one fits better.

In this picture Tammy is trying on a prototype of the boot pattern that comes with McCalls 2123. That's the pattern for it, along with the View C front and back patterns. The first boot didn't impress me, but the concept is interesting and I'm going to experiment with it some more.

Lastly, here is a look at lovely Misty, one of the Girls of Christmas 2015. A little pull at the hem, but not so much as Barbie's.  It fits Tammy and Maxie pretty much the same way.

Misty wearing McCalls 2123 View C
As soon as all my various packages arrive, I hope to do a special blog post about the Girls of Christmas 2015.

Here's a hint: two three FOUR of them are a kind of early '70s doll that I never owned or even knew anyone who owned. But I already have a whole book of clothes patterns that were designed just for this kind of doll, and the co-author was a designer that people who have been crafting or making dolls for a long while will have heard of.

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