The dress at the top of this post was supposed to have long sleeves. In fact, I was using my own “candy corn party dress” pattern, which you can see below, but the pattern didn’t fit!
So this is a little bit embarrassing! After I attached the cuff to the dress’s sleeve (see image below) and sewed up the sides, I tried the bodice on the doll only to discover that her hands were too wide to fit through the cuff!
(Don’t worry. I plan to revise the “Candy Corn Party Dress” pattern and repost it later.)
So how did I revise my pattern? Well, I had already sewn the sleeves together, so I had to cut them and hem them without them being open. This can be a tricky feat.
In the image below, you can get a feel for where I cut the fabric of the sleeves (look at where the purple arrows point), but use your imagination to see — in your mind’s eye — that I was cutting the sleeves after they had already been sewn together:
So how does one sew sleeves that have been sewn, cut, and now need to be hemmed? The solution was Fray Check.
Fray Check is a type of adhesive (a sort of fabric glue) that keeps the edge of the fabric from fraying. So once I had glued the edges of the sleeves with Fray Check, I folded them back and did a quick and simple straight stitch to hold the fold in place.
What I’m not saying is this: once those tiny sleeves have been sewn along the inseam, it’s pretty close to impossible to make a double-fold hem with a whipstitch, without making the whole thing look lumpy!
But that wasn’t the end to my epic sewing fails last week. Unlike the candy corn party dress, I did not have any bias tape or ribbon to match this Valentine’s Day fabric. And on top of that, we were snowed in last week (and we have a very long driveway with drifting snow), so there was no way I was going to drive to town to buy ribbon or bias tape.
So how could I possibly create a hem?
I fudged and made a yoke.
A yoke is like a lining, but it follows the edges of the garment without lining it fully. I laid my garment down on a piece of old pattern paper and traced around the edges. The yoke didn’t fit perfectly, and as you can see in the next image, I had to cut it at the shoulders to make it fit right. But it did create enough of an extension to run a row of snaps down the back in a way that didn’t fit too tightly.
So in short, here are three tips for when a garment doesn’t fit your doll correctly:
- Cut it down (like cut pants into shorts or cut sleeves into shorter sleeves).
- Use Fray Check (this helps especially for hems that are too short).
- Create a yoke to extend the back closure area.
And those are my tips in a nutshell!
Sorry I didn’t get this Valentine’s Day Skipper dress project done in time for Valentine’s Day, but as you can see, I had a few SNAFUs along the way!
But hopefully when you read today’s blog post, you’ll take heart in knowing that even very experienced sewing “experts” have to start over with a sewing project now and then. 😳