Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Sew Along... Swimwear for Dolls



I am part of a Yahoo group for ladies who like to sew clothing for American Girl Dolls.  My daughter is the American Girl doll enthusiast in this house and loves that I participate in the monthly sew-alongs, as you can imagine, since she is the beneficiary!  This month's free pattern links were for a Liberty Jane one-piece and video tutorial for flip flops!  We were on our own to come up with optional cover-ups and beach bags!

Without knowing the theme for this month's sew-along, my daughter requested doll swimsuits on her birthday wish list!  That coincidence was just perfect and prompted me to get her gift done early.

If you just happen to be hoping for a free doll swimsuit pattern, check out this one from Liberty Jane patterns:  click here.    This is a super-quick, super-easy pattern.  You can use Lycra that you buy at the fabric store or even use up-cycled swimsuits from your closet or from a thrift store!  One lady mentioned using an out-grown suit of her little girl's for the fabric.  The only challenge for me was finding fold-over elastic.  There's tons of it on-line very inexpensive, but in my city, I only found it at one over-priced independent fabric store.  The fold-over elastic (FOE) is the key to this project!  I will say that I made one change to the pattern, I added 1/2" to the length of elastic that the pattern suggested for each arm.



So these are the dolly outfits that I came up with...

One piece suit with polka dot trim, sparkly sandals, and a beach tote. I made a matching mini skirt cover-up. I used white swim fabric I bought at the fabric store.  For the bag, I used white denim and a UofL mini print.

The printed fabric was purchased at the fabric store; the iridescent solid suit was up-cycled from a misses size skirt-style cover-up from a thrift shop.
This is the suit, cover-up, bag, and shoes that I submitted to the group for my February sew-along entry:




So I have to tell you about the terry cloth beach cover-up... 


This was a pattern created by one of the ladies in the sewing group, Jane Ruhl, who happens to live in my town.  If you are a part of any national or international message board, you know how cool it is to find that someone in the group lives so close!  (I think there are two or three near-by!)  Jane offered her pattern freely and what I love about her clever design is that there are no shoulder seams!  (Actually, the only seam is a side seam that starts under at the wrist and goes to the bottom hem).  I used a Robert Allen fabric sample from my stash of home decor fabrics but Jane mentioned that she used a dish towel for hers!  I finished my edges with single-fold bias tape that I folded over to make a very skinny contrast edge and belt.  I did add belt loops.  You can get this pattern (and another one that a different member generously shared) for free if you join the group.  (How's that for a carrot?)  Here's a link (click here) if you are interested in a monthly doll clothes sewing group-- great inspiration and lots of encouragement to get at least one project done a month for your kiddo's favorite doll!  

Oh-- and if you are looking for a source for ready-made doll clothes, Jane has an Etsy Shop (click here).

So... let's talk more about those flip flops....


I have been fearful of making doll shoes ever since a particularly awful pair I made last year that caused me to swear off shoe-making.  This challenge changed that and I am so glad it did!  These were so easy and fast and cheap to make!!  Check out this video tutorial:  click here.  It is a great step-by-step tutorial that made these so easy to make!

These were made with fun foam from the craft store.  My local Hobby Lobby had 5mm foam for the bottoms and thinner foam covered with sparkly glitter for the tops of the sole.  I used an emery board to file the sides after cutting out to the pattern to make the layers of foam match up exactly.  Layered ribbons and other trims make the straps for the top of the foot and trim for the sides.





I found that you really need to add a strip of clear elastic to the backs of the shoes to keep them on.  I sewed them on at first, but later found that attaching with hot glue worked even better!  This was not part of her tutorial, but without them, I think my kiddo would have been frustrated with the shoes falling off.


What I particularly liked about learning to make these shoes is that I was able to use what I learned to make much easier espadrilles.  You can see those from my Valentine post (click here).

The beach bags I made were just a silly little mini version of any tote bag.  They were fast to make and  fun to embellish to match the suits and cover-ups.



I had so much fun with these and my sweet daughter loved them, which made it all worth the time and effort for sure!

Thank you for checking my blog post today!  To see many of my previous paper projects, check My Project Gallery (click here).  To see many of my previous doll projects, check my Doll Clothing and Accessories page (click here).

15 comments:

Audrey Frelx said...

OMG, those are just tooooo cute!!! I can't believe how awesome those little flip-flops are -- I'd wear those myself... lol!!!

Love these -- you're amazing!

Vanessa said...

Is there anything you can't do??? I'm always inspired by your creations! Thanks for sharing these adorable outfits!

Sis Patterson said...

I just love each and every element on your latest dolly-wear collection - the suits, the coverups, the tote bags, and of course, the glittery flip flops are wonderful! I am sure it made for a very happy day in your house and many hours of joy to follow!

Diane said...

These turned out terrific! I cant believe how much you do crafting wise, love your stuff!

Di

Sara Andrews said...

Just adorable!! I know WHO to contact if the LM ever becomes interested in AG dolls. :)

Kigz said...

Nadia, these are amazing and almost made me wish I knew how to sew! ;) I love to see all the great projects you make for the AG dolls. Keep up the great inspiration!

Tari Hann, owner of Barbee & Friends Doll Clothes said...

Hey nadia, I'm thinking I'd like to join this group (bet they get some new members since you blogged about it) but was hoping that the sew-alongs are always optional. Some months I may have time and some I wouldn't. I'm sure it's probably optional but wanted to find out before I join. Thanks for all your great pics and tips!

Nadia (WithGlitteringEyes.blogspot.com) said...

Tari- I sent you message on Facebook, but just in case someone else was wondering that too... the answer is 'no'. :) You can choose to participate as much or as little as you like.
-Nadia

vl said...

You are so creative! Thanks for the post on the bathing suits and paraphernalia - they are sure to be requested once swimming weather arrives. I have been looking for a group and joined - now about those patterns? ;)

Lynn - A Foodie and Her Family and Crafty Lynn said...

I love it! I have this pattern but haven't attempted to make it yet. The elastic scares me and all I can find is plain white FOE. Do you have any ideas where I can find prettier elastic?

Nadia (WithGlitteringEyes.blogspot.com) said...

Lynn- go online for options! There are sellers on Etsy with cute stuff? Just search 'fold over elastic'. The pattern is really fast and easy--no worries!!

Lynn - A Foodie and Her Family and Crafty Lynn said...

Fantastic! Thanks so much!

terry stuart said...

I love these swimsuits but the material and the FOE keeps getting jammed in the feed dogs and I have to take my machine apart to clean it out. Any suggestions?

Nadia (WithGlitteringEyes.blogspot.com) said...

Terry- what if you start the stitching a bit away from the edge and maybe your first few stitches made as straight stitches, then switch to zig zag. I think that's what I do and it helps. It will get stitched into the seam anyway. Hope that helps!

terry stuart said...

Thanks Nadia I will try that:)

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