Category Archives: Tutorial

Dresses for Special Little Girls

In the last few weeks I’ve completed 5 dresses for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes I will make this year.  I am getting into a rhythm; my fourth and fifth were completed in only one day!

When I first started thinking of making dresses, I made a Pinterest board with ideas.  You can check that board out here.

 I’m first digging into my fabric stash and using half yard pieces of fabric that I purchased for doll dresses, but are too large in scale for the little dolls.  I can piece two 1/2 yard cuts together and make a dress.  Then, I can use scraps to make the pocket, shoulder strap ties, and bias armhole binding.

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As I write this I am inspired and thinking of Eva, the 101 year-old  gorgeous lady who sews dresses for these shoeboxes; she makes 3!!! a day.  I saw her video last year and her story has stuck with me all these months later.  Would you believe almost 10 million people have watched her video!  She must have inspired so many.  Now that’s the way to do things!  Way to go, Eva!

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I’ve included a tutorial for the dresses I’m making under the tutorial tab at the top of this page.

On a different note, I want to show you this beautiful sunrise from a couple of weeks ago!  The colors in the sky took my breath away.

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Have a great week, my friends.  If you make any dresses, I’d love to see them.

 

 

 

This and That, and Hello

I hope you all had a great weekend regardless of any “yucky” weather that may have come your way.  Our weekend weather, here in northern Illinois, was grey both days, but only half wet.  (The Sunday morning sunshine disappeared quickly.)

When I look out my sewing studio window on this brand new day and work week, I see endless blue sky, which I am very grateful for.

Last week I started a new ensemble for Gracie.  While looking through my laces I found this tatting lace.  Even though it’s gorgeous, and I wanted to use it, I wasn’t sure how to apply it.  This fabric, though, is too PERFECT for it; the little circles on the lace mimic the faint honeycomb design on the background of the fabric.  Even the color is perfect.  I took some time to think about it, made a little sample, and found if I applied it by hand it would work out.  Sometimes the sewing machine needs to be put aside.

I applied the lace to the underside of the skirt.  I found that the lace “fit” in the space right under the  hemline’s seam allowance.  I used a very fine (#11 straw) needle and matching thread.  I found that putting a tiny vertical stitch through the base of each circle kept the lace in place the best.  I made sure to end with a full circle, so I could stitch the first and last ones together.  It didn’t take long at all, but I definitely needed my reading glasses for this task.

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Here’s a closeup of the underside after hand sewing.  My thumb looks gigantic!  This is very tiny lace.

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By sewing the lace to the underside, it looks as if it’s peeking out from the hemline when seen from the right side.  I am very happy with the result.  Isn’t it the perfect fit for this print?

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My brown-eyed Little Darling beauty, Alice, (painted by Nelly Valentino) wants to wish you the loveliest of weeks.  I took this photo of her last week while she was loving on her poodle.  I soon put Alice to work, however.  She is now wearing a brand new ensemble that she is modeling for me.  I will share those photos with you in a day or two.

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I want to wish you a lovely week as well, my friends.  Thank you so much for stopping by today. ❤

A Lesson for Knitters: Changing Yarn and/or Needle Size

Say you have a pattern for a doll dress or sweater, but you want to use a different yarn than the one specified.  Or, you want to use a smaller needle size than the one specified.  If I want a denser fabric I will go down one needle size.  You can refigure the pattern for your new yarn or needle size change.  I recommend small changes to begin with.  My yarn changes are usually very minimal and needle changes are up or down one size.

I almost always start knitting from the top down (neckline), so that is how I will explain this example to you.  The first pattern change you will need to make will be the cast on number.  Here’s a quick overview of what I do.

To start, you’ll need the gauge and the cast on number for the original, so write that down on a piece of paper.  You’ll also have to figure the new gauge using the new needles and/or yarn that you’ll be using.  I use 1″ for measuring gauge for doll clothes even though 4″ is used in the industry for human sized clothes.  So, knit a swatch (larger than an inch) and figure out your new gauge and write that down.  Hopefully you already know how to swatch and figure gauge.  Staci at Very Pink Knits has a You Tube video about figuring gauge here if you need a refresher.

Here is an example using made up numbers for refiguring the number of cast on stitches.  Your original pattern gauge is 10 stitches/1″.  The pattern says to cast on 30 stitches for the neckline.  You need to figure out how many inches the neckline needs to be.  This is the equation:  30 (cast on number) divided by 10 (stitches per inch gauge) is 3″.  This means you’ll need to recreate 3″ with the new yarn/needles.  You have hopefully figured out your new stitch gauge and it is (for example) 12 stitches/1″.  (FYI, when you get more stitches per inch, the stitches are smaller because more stitches fit within 1″, so your fabric will be stiffer and denser.)  Take the new stitches per inch (12) and multiply by the inches you need for the neckline (3″).  12 x 3 =36  You’ll need to cast on 36 stitches with the new yarn and/or different needles to get the 3″ for the neckline.

Figuring rows uses the same equation.  If you’re going in the reverse direction, larger needles and/or yarn, the same equation will work.  Sometimes you will need to round the stitch counts or row counts up or down.  Usually it is close enough as knitwear stretches.

Here’s some homework for you:  Answer is below.

Original pattern gauge is 14 stitches per inch and cast on 60 stitches.  Figure new cast on number.  The yarn you want to use has a gauge of 13 stitches per inch.  Your new yarn is a bit bulkier and you are getting less stitches per inch.  How many stitches should you cast on?

 

 

 

Answer:  About 56 stitches  (60 divided by 14 = 4.28″; 4.28 x 13 = 55.64)  You can make the decision to round up or down, depending on if you need an even or odd number of stitches.  In some cases it doesn’t matter.