What is a pattern alteration? #SewingTips #DollClothes

In this photograph, the Chelly Wood doll (a Spin Master Liv doll that has been repainted and had its wig dyed to look like the real doll clothing designer, Chelly Wood) holds up what appears to be a vintage 6668 Butterick fashion doll clothes pattern from the 1950's or early 1960's. The ChellyWood.com logo is in the upper left corner of the image.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

The class I’m teaching on Creative Spark is called, “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns,” but what does “alter” even mean? Altering a pattern is exactly what it sounds like. You take a pattern and change it up — alter it — to be something different than its original designer intended.

This is actually legal, especially when it comes to patterns. The Ohio State University Library offers an overview of US laws regarding patterns, which is worth reading, especially if you plan to alter some patterns for public distribution or sales.

In a nutshell, I use the design concepts in my commercial patterns when I’m making my own patterns, but I significantly alter the patterns from their original maker’s intent. A lot of times, I’ll read the instructions in the pattern I own, look at how the original designer constructed the garment, and then try to create a similar size-and-design on graph paper. But I’ll change the way I piece the garment together so that it becomes my own overall concept.

For example, I used Butterick Pattern #6668, as shown below, to create my pencil-skirt dress, which is very popular around Valentine’s Day (which as you know, is coming up soon).

This image shows first a pencil skirt that is a separate garment from the shirt that a doll wears with the pencil skirt. This is followed by a plus sign. Then we see a long dress that has a long pencil skirt, a cumberbund, and a strapless gown bodice with shoulders-plus-collar-bone exposed. This is followed by an equals sign. Next we see Chelly Wood's pencil skirt dress design, which has a much shorter skirt than the original pattern. It's in Valentine's Day red and has see-through ribbon straps of red with tiny velvet polka dots. Instead of a full cumberbund, it also has a see-through-ribbon-with-white-polka-dots belt around the Valentine's Day dress.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

As you can see, I’ve taken the pencil skirt from the far left image, attached it to the bodice from the middle image, and come up with my bright red Valentine’s Day dress for Barbie-sized /Queens of Africa dolls.

I’ve also changed the bodice from strapless, to having very transparent straps, and I’ve switched the cummerbund to a ribbon that ties at the waist and matches the straps.

The trick to doing these types of alterations is this: don’t think of your patterns as garment pieces; rather, just think of each pattern piece as a separate piece of a puzzle you can build with your own creativity.

This image shows a smattering of printed doll clothes patterns laying on a turquoise-colored fabric with a mottled print.
Visit ChellyWood.com for free doll clothes patterns.

There are a few other garments I’ve posted on ChellyWood.com that got their inspiration from Butterick pattern number 6668 shown below. Can you guess which ones they are? Take a look and check tomorrow’s blog post for the answers:

On close inspection, we see that this is not a vintage doll clothes pattern, but a reproduction pattern. In this close-up photo of Butterick Barbie and Ken clothes pattern number 6668, the following outfits are displayed on drawings of the dolls: View A = jacket with 3/4 length sleeves and two rounded pockets on one side, shirt, and pencil skirt; View B = evening gown (long, strapless) with cummerbund-style sash and tail (not a train but an attachment to the sash); View C = swingy sleeveless short dress with big pockets; View D = business suit for Ken with vest and tie; View E = Tuxedo for ken with cummerbund and bow tie; View F = short sleeved shirt with collar and one pocket plus Bermuda shorts for Ken.
Please visit ChellyWood.com for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

If you’re interested in taking my “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” course, feel free to click on the link I’m providing in this blog post whenever I mention the class title, “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns.” When you sign up for my online coursework, it helps to support this free pattern website.

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.

Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:

*ChellyWood.com earns money by linking to JoAnn Fabrics, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other online affiliate programs. Links provided above may be affiliate links. For a full list of my affiliate programs, and to understand how cookies are used to help this website earn money, please see my “Privacy Policy” page.

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.

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