Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sweet Bitty Dresses

I tend to have a lot of smallish fabric scraps left—not so small they should just be tossed, but not enough to make a whole project.  I did realize, though, that making doll clothes takes a pretty minimal amount of fabric, and since the Peanut has been playing with her dolls a lot lately, I decided to try to make some more clothes for them.  I’ve made a couple of things in the past, but they were fairly involved.  I wanted something that could be done more quickly, so I turned to my favorite pattern ever: The Sweet Little Dress.  I’ve made several dresses (the owl dresses, the blue dress, this dress refashion, this pink baby dress, and this polka dot dress) for the girls.  It’s a great pattern that can be interpreted several ways, and is easy to embellish.

I took the dress pattern in the smallest size and shrunk it to 75%.  I also made it ever so slightly narrower by taking a slight bit out of the middle (fold).  It worked perfectly for Bitty Baby!


The first one I made (above) I just made with some random fabric—I wanted it to be decent enough that it was wearable if it did turn out, but I didn’t want to waste my favorite fabric scraps if it didn’t work right.  (Also, sorry for the terrible photographs—it’s been dark for a couple of days and I finally gave in and took some with the flash).

I left the sleeves loose (without putting elastic in the ends)—it was going to be too labor-intensive, and would make it harder for a three-year-old to dress the baby.  I added a ruffle but didn’t shorten the dress enough, so it’s a bit long.  Also, it looked pretty plain, so I added a heart applique.  It actually looks pretty bad in person, but my daughter didn’t complain.  She also correctly recognized it as a heart, so I thought that was positive.

When I was sure it would work, I made another dress.  I used one of my favorite fabrics and added a solid-color sleeve.  (Actually, once I did that I wondered if the first dress would have looked better if I’d used the pattern for the body of the dress and the solid green for the sleeves, but I digress).  Also for the second dress, since the sleeves looked a little odd in the first one, I lengthened them.  I really like the way it turned out, and am pretty tempted to go purchase more of the fabric (it was leftover from a different project) so I can make a matching dress for the Peanut…but that goes against the reason I was making doll dresses in the first place.

_DSC1658And I made a matching headband, too.  You can’t see the back half, but it’s made of FOE (foldover elastic) so it stays on her head._DSC1651.

Then I made another dress.  This is why my husband accuses me of doing things obsessively.  I had this fabric left from making a dress for the Little Miss (though she’s since outgrown the dress) and I got a coordinating fabric with tiny dots.  I also branched out and added a little ribbon trim near the bottom of the skirt.


The dress also fits the Little Miss’s doll, who is of similar size to Bitty (though with larger feet and better cuddling)._DSC1660.

And a real plus to making this dress for dolls—the elastic around the neck is so stretchy that it can go on feet-first.  It was really easy for my daughter to put on her dolls…

…and Bear.


Poor Bear.  I think he’s a he-bear, but he loves his girl enough to take one for the team.  This dress, in case you haven’t seen the Little Miss’s nursery, is made out of the leftovers from her curtains.  The red dotted fabric might be my favorite fabric ever—it’s so versatile, and red makes me happy.  It’s also, coincidentally, the Peanut’s favorite color at the moment.  I made this dress for the Little Miss, since it matches her room, but the Peanut loved its redness and claimed it as her own.

I tried to make a fancy placket with buttons, and there’s also a fancy ruffle near the bottom.  Really, the possibilities are endless, but I needed to stop somewhere._DSC1653.

I though four dresses were plenty for a while.  I already had to get a bunny to stand in for the picture.  I’m actually pretty pleased with how many critters this pattern seems to fit (and right now as I type this, Elmo is wearing the red dress since we wouldn’t let Bear sleep in it…for his own sake).

And if your initials are CHG, you’ll want to stop reading at this point.  The rest of you (the other one reader?) may continue.


The Peanut with her dolls._DSC1664.

I found a cute fabric at JoAnns and made one for a friend of the Peanut who has an upcoming birthday and who, if I remember correctly, is getting a Bitty Baby for Christmas.  The main reason I’m including this in the blog (at the risk of ruining a surprise) is that I really like the ruffle at the bottom—I did the same style as on the red dress, but because of the contrasting colors it photographed a lot better.  So here it is.


Argyle Sleep Sack

The Little Miss needed an additional sleep sack—yes, she’s old enough to be allowed blankets in with her when she sleeps, but she doesn’t really have the ability to cover herself back up at night if she wakes up and is cold.  Sleep sacks are great, but since her sister’s seasons were different than hers (at least at this age), Little Miss’s toes are pushing the bottom of her existing sleep sacks.

When her sister was younger, I purchased a pattern and made one, then later made a lighter-weight one with some alterations to the pattern.  I made even more alterations this time, and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

The zipper is random—I saved money by repurposing a zipper I had in my stash.  Also, the bias tape around the neck and arms is just random white fleece tape I had sitting around—I didn’t feel compelled to purchase anything new when I had enough at home.  So imagine that it is a fun, coordinating color.


I have been trying to, every time I sew something, do something better than I did last time.  On this project, I finally have started to have some success with bias tape (though I don’t really know how to start and stop it—anyone?  A little help please?)  I also tried to line up the pattern nicely when I was cutting it out.  It mostly lines up near the zipper, which I’m proud of.  Of course, you’d have to be color-blind to think it actually matched, but the pattern is at least similar.

The pattern I used was Burda 9640.  It calls for a separate yoke, which I didn’t do (I taped the pieces together after the first time I made one—I think it is just to accommodate a smaller cut of fabric?)  Also, the original is lined, which I wasn’t interested in doing.  Thirdly, the sizing is absolutely enormous!  The top half (arm and neck holes) are, like, the 6 month size.  I cut the bottom to the 12 month lines, and it’s about three inches longer than my Halo 24 months sleep sack.  I think the first one I made was sooo long I actually cut the bottom off (several inches) and reattached it in a year when she had grown._DSC1637

And some pictures of the sleep sack in action (though a true action shot would involve it being slept in)._DSC1639_DSC1641_DSC1642

Sweet dreams, my precious little one!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Red Ruffle Wreath

Upon first seeing a ruffled wreath made with circles of felt, I knew I needed to have one.  I put it off a while, as it seemed pretty labor-intensive (and was—it wasn’t difficult, but did take a chunk of time).  I used this tutorial—well, once I got the gist of what I was going to do I didn’t really need to follow the tutorial exactly.


To save my sanity, I invested in a circle cutter for fabric, and it worked amazingly!   I feel more ruffly flowers in my future—but not for a while.  I’m taking a little break.


But I did break my own personal cardinal rule of crafting: never make something that requires a pair.  I always get tired after one and don’t typically go on to make another.  This is why I don’t knit socks.  That, and I can’t knit in the round.

Anyway, I persisted and ended up with a matched set._DSC1510.

I enjoy them, which is good—they’re pretty the only Christmas decoration that made it up this year besides the sad tree in the corner.