Friday, March 21, 2014

Tutorial on inserting elastic into doll clothes

On my previous post GiGi's favorite sewing accessories that I use for making doll clothing I posted a photo of straight Bodkin.  I decided to make a tutorial on how I use it for those that are not familiar with it.
Her is the bodkin laying under the casing I sewed for the elastic.
 Insert the bodkin in one end
 Pull in through to the other end. You will notice the hook on the end. This is where you hook your elastic.
 I pull the elastic through until I have the edge of it and stop. 
 I then sew it so it stays put.  I use to pin it and then pull it through to the side and some times it would come lose and I would have to redo it. 
 You can see from this photo, I still have the bodkin attached to the elastic. I do not pull it all the way through - this prevents tension on the other end.
 Now that I have the other end secured I pull the bodkin out with just enough elastic on the edge to sew.
 Securing the other side of the casing with the elastic.
I have sewn the "back pants" together and serged the raw edges.
 Here is the finished product.  This technique is very fast in inserting elastic into pants, shorts, and skirts.
Here is the pants on the doll. The doll scrubs pattern is from Love U Bunches.  I really like her patterns.  They are colorful and easy to follow.  Check her out on Pixie Faire or on her Facebook page.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. As always thanks for reading.

GiGi's favorite doll sewing and craft accessories

I decided to share some of my personal sewing tool/accessories and items I prefer when making doll clothes, accessories and crafts.  Most of these items comes from Hobby Lobby, Joann's or your local sewing machine dealer.

When I first began sewing doll clothes for my granddaughters - if you haven't read my profile I only started sewing in 2012. I purchased a machine that was a combo sewing machine and embroidery machine.  I didn't know how to do either.  I purchased several doll patterns that comes with video tutorials from Rosie's Doll Clothes. I also watched several YouTube videos tutorials from Diane Morello (Scoresheet1) on YouTube for 18 inch or AG doll clothes.

I downloaded the free T-shirt pattern from Liberty Jane Clothing (now known as Pixie Faire) and I was hooked on sewing doll clothes for my granddaughters. Then several coworkers wanted to buy doll clothes from me and that is how I started sewing and selling doll clothes.

YouTube tutorials on sewing doll clothes, Diane Morello, Liberty Jane clothing, and kkcollect. My Froggy Stuff has a few doll clothing/bedding tutorials too. I have all of their videos pinned on separate pinterest boards.

I buy a lot of patterns online/Etsy.  I also purchase store bought patterns.  I think I own almost every one from McCalls and Simplicity. I have an addiction when it comes to buying doll patterns.

My first and foremost item is my bodkin. I first seen this item used on a video tutorial that I purchased from Rosie's Doll Clothes. I use it to pull elastic through pants and skirts.  I dislike using a safety pin and pulling the elastic through.  This tool makes it a lot faster and easier.
 Flexible bodkin.  This is great for pulling elastic through where you must sew your casing with leaving a small opening.  I use this in doll shirts that have elastic around the neck. McCalls has a pattern for this shirt.
I have several rulers.  I like the clear plastic one (got free from a pharmaceutical rep when I worked for a doctor) when drawing patterns on cardstock.  Then I have the wooden one I purchased from Office Depot.
 Here is my cutting board mat and large clear plastic ruler with various measurements. 
Three size tube turners - purchased this at JoAnn's Fabric.  I got this at 50% off.  I try to buy when on sale or when I can use a coupon.
Love these small clippers.  I keep this right next to my machine when I am sewing and in the drawer when I am not using.  They are razor sharp. So, if you have grandkids that are curious please keep out of site. 
 These are the scissors I use when I embroider.  Allows me to get really close to fabric and snip threads.  They are from Gingher.
 These are some other scissors I use on embroidery. Stork brand (I think).
These are my scissors and my recycled holder.  I had to buy a new dishwasher last week and my husband took out the utensil holder from the old one and asked me if I could use it for something.  I said yes I can.  I can put all of my scissors and rotary cutters in it.  I had been putting them in the drawer next to my sewing machine. Works great.
 I had seen several pins on Pinterest for using metal washers as pattern weights when cutting fabric.  The ones I had seen had wrapped fabric or ribbon around the washer for more of a decorative finish look.  I didn't want to do that to mine. I love these.  You can buy different sizes at your local hardware store like Lowe's, or Home Depot.  I purchased two sizes. I think they work great for doll clothes patterns.
These are some small clips I purchased to use instead of pins.  Some fabrics show pin marks and these also work great for hold material on my embroidery machine.
 You might wonder why I have two magnetic pin holders.  I keep one on my cutting table when I cutting fabric and pinning and the other one is kept by my sewing machine for when I need to remove the pins and put them in a safe they don't end up of the counter or floor. 

How do I store my PDF patterns that I purchase online and print.  I use a three ring notebook, clear protector sheets, cardstock.  I print off the pattern.  I then print the pattern pieces onto card stock (keeping originals with the pattern) and then I cut out the pattern that I printed on the cardstock and place in clear protector sheets to keep them organized and with the pattern. 
 Here in the note book behind the front cover is where I store patterns that I had to make on my own. some of the patterns you buy, gives you instructions and gives the measurements of the pattern for you to cut out.  I will either cut them out on cardstock and if the pattern is larger than the size of the cardstock I use poster board and store them. 
 Here is a pattern printed on cardstock and cut out and placed inside of a protector sheet.  The pattern is from  Luv U Bunches - it is their doll scrub pattern.  I really like how they print their patterns. Print is clear and large enough to see.  They use color in their patterns too.
I have two OttLite - one desk and one floor standing.  I love using these lights when sewing.  I have the floor model next to when I cut fabric and the other one setting on my counter in between the sewing machine and serger.
 I learned a tip/trick when ironing.  Hems on doll clothes turning 1/4 inch after you have serged the fabric and ironing can be challenging.  I read a tip on misting the fabric with water before ironing and it helps keep fabric in place.  I tried it and oh my it was so much faster.  I hemmed three shirts in no time.  So I keep this small spray bottle on my counter. I purchased it at Wal-mart for a $1.
Steam-A-Seam 2 is another product when sewing very small seams.  It helps hold it together.  Works great on fabric doll shoes.
 I haven't used these snaps yet. I purchased this at Hobby Lobby when they were having all there Sew-Ology products at 50% off. I have some doll jackets I am wanting to make and use snaps.
 Glue is a must when making doll shoes. E600 is an awesome glue to use.  A lot of women that monogram and embroider hats - love this product.  Have you seen the baseball hats with the monogrammed circle - they use this glue to glue it to the hat. It is machine washable.
 505 spray adhesive. I highly recommend this product.  I do not like Dritz brand.  Will gum up your needle and machine. Use on sewing or embroidery machines.
If you do any crafting with a hot glue gun then I highly recommend these hot glue finger protector.  I burned my fingers once....these really protect fingers.
I seen a video on YouTube using this foam core cutter from X-acto.  I haven't used it yet.  If you have ever tried to cut through foam core it can be challenging to get a need straight edge.  This little device can cut at different angles.  I purchased it at Michael's (used my 40% off coupon).
 I use to store all of my fabric in plastic totes that have drawers.  Well, just as I have an addiction for buying patterns, I have an addiction for buying fabrics. I have learned when you see it buy it...cause if you don't they might run out and you cannot purchase anymore.  I have had this happen more than once.  I had read some blogs on purchasing the comic boards (100 to a package) from Amazon.  I started to buy them online and remembered we had a local comic book store.  I called to verify they had them and they did.  I purchased 400 boards....yes, I have used them all. I wrapped the fabric around the board and placed according to fabric print and type of fabric. The shelves' are L shaped and were already in the closet when I purchased the house.
 I have a huge walk in close that I keep all of my fabric and craft supplies in.  I have small book shelf where I keep all of my 3-ring notebooks of the downloaded patterns I buy and print. I currently have 17.  I have a lot of patterns that I haven't even used. 

 Last but not least you might be wondering why I have a lint roller.  This product works great for quick clean up on counter/floor and on clothes for cleaning up those little threads that you cut and thought you got all of them in the trash can :)
I hope you can find this information useful and can help you in your sewing and crafts.  Happy Sewing/Crafting.  I truly enjoy sewing.  It is my "Cotton Therapy".
As always, thanks for reading my blog. Please leave comments and feedback.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

American Girl Doll Wall Hanger

I have four American Girl dolls, two dolls from Our Generation, Bitty Twins, and two dolls I made into boy dolls  that I use as models for photo shoots for the doll clothes I make and sell.  Also, the granddaughters play with all the dolls too. Finding a place to store them and protect them has been challenging.  I was keeping some in my sewing storage closet and some on my sewing counter.  When my daughter and granddaughters went to the American Girl Doll store in St. Louis last summer she sent me a photo of the AG brand doll hanger that was hanging in the girls bathroom.  I didn't want to pay the price for that many dolls.  I was telling my husband about it and he said he would make me one.  So, finally this week he made me a doll hanger to hold eight dolls. ***NOTE - please do not copy and paste these photos as your own - these are copyrighted.

 He purchased a 1 x 6 board from Lowes.  He round the edges with 1/2 round over bit.  He used 5/16 inch wooden dowels (cut each one about 3 1/2 inches long) and drilled the holes at 30 degree angle. Holes are drilled four inches apart all the way across.  He then glued the wooden dowels into the drilled holes.
PHOTO BELOW ADDED ON 5/7/2016 AFTER ABOVE PHOTO STOLEN from Jodi S. AND CROPPED OUT  MY WATERMARK TO SELL AS HER OWN. Now have watermark running through doll hanger.

 It works for 18 inch doll and 15 inch doll.
 I think it turned out nice.  I didn't want him to paint it.  I was afraid by taking the dolls on and off the pegs when I needed to try on doll clothes and for photo shoots their arms might rub and some of the paint would get on them. Sorry they are not all dressed.  I was in a hurry to get this posted.

Below are some updated photos with some of my new dolls

Hope this written tutorial helps you  in making one for your dolls. Feel free to ask questions or leave feedback.  As always, thanks for reading.