Today I’m showing off my Simplicity 4702 fashion doll clothing pattern because it’s an ideal pattern for chatting about the subtle differences between elastic and drawstrings.
Both can use a casing, which is when you fold the fabric and sew along the edge of the fold, sort of like making a hem, but creating more of a tunnel.
To learn more about casings, I recommend that you watch this video:
Now have a good, close look at Simplicity Pattern 4702, paying special attention to the garments in views E and D: These garments may use a casing with elastic threaded through it. (I’m not sure because I haven’t actually sewn this pattern yet–but it’s possible to make these garments using a casing at the neckline.)
Have a look at the dress I made my niece’s Barbies two Christmases ago. You’ll see that it has a very similar neckline and sleeve:
The garments never look quite as snazzy on the doll as they do on the pattern packaging, do they? LOL! 😀 With a casing especially, you can expect a bit of bulk on a doll as small as Barbie.
Now it’s also possible to just stretch out the elastic while sewing it to the garment, to create that elastic-around-the-shoulders effect, but I avoid doing that when I make my doll clothes. My mother always said that doing so can be hard on one’s sewing machine, but also it’s less durable for rough play. The elastic is more likely to separate from the fabric.
A casing lasts longer.
But did you know that elastic is a relatively new invention? According to multiple websites including ThoughtCo.com, Thomas Hancock, an English inventor, was the first to “[patent] elastic fastenings for gloves, suspenders, shoes and stockings” back in 1820.
You may wonder what people did before there was elastic.
In fact, most people used a drawstring for the same general purpose.
Now you might not be as familiar with a drawstring. Have a look at Simplicity doll clothes pattern 4702 again, paying attention to the shirt the doll is wearing in View B:
See how there’s a little string or ribbon running through a casing at the neckline of that tank top? That’s a drawstring! It goes through the casing on both sides, gathering the fabric, and it ties in the back of the doll’s neck.
If you want take a closer look at how drawstrings work, you can watch my video tutorial, in which I make a drawstring purse for a doll that’s wearing a Victorian Era dress:
Even though elastic had been invented, during the Victorian Era, people still used drawstrings for purses, undergarments, and even the ribbon that tied their cloaks at the neck. It took a while for elastic to catch on as the preferred method of gathering fabric at a closure point.
Now that we’ve discussed the doll clothes offered in Simplicity 4702, you may have a healthier appreciation for the differences between drawstrings and elastic casings. But if you have any additional questions, please put them in the comments section. I love to hear them!
Most of the commercial patterns I display and talk about here on ChellyWood.com are also available for sale on eBay. However, if you’ve never purchased a pattern on eBay before, it’s a good idea to read the article I wrote called, “Tips for Buying Used Doll Clothes Patterns on eBay.” It will save you time, money, and will likely prevent buyer’s remorse.
And by the way, if you use the links I’ve provided to make your eBay purchase, this website will receive a small commission, which helps fund the ChellyWood.com website, so I can continue to provide you with all the free patterns and tutorial videos offered here.
And don’t panic if it seems like too much to take on right now — sometimes our lives get really busy. I get that. But for any class on Creative Spark, you actually have all the time you need, to complete the course.
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Chelly Wood and the ChellyWood.com website are not affiliated with the pattern company or companies mentioned in this blog post, but Chelly finds inspiration in the doll clothes designed by these pattern companies. To purchase patterns from Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue, or other pattern companies shown and discussed in this blog post, please click on the links provided here. These links below the “Disclaimer” section do not help raise money for this free pattern website; they are only offered to give credit to the company that made these patterns.