After my youngest daughter moved away to college, I boxed up a lot of the things she left behind in what used to be her bedroom, and I found a lovely satin pajama top that dated back to her middle school or early high school days, when she was pretty small.
She has more of a woman’s figure now, so I assumed this little pajama top needed to either go to a second-hand store or become scrap fabric.
As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I hate to waste perfectly good fabric, so I cut the little pajama top into scrap fabric to use with my doll clothes sewing projects. I mean, you can’t pass up perfectly good satin! It makes such gorgeous doll dresses!
As I stared at the fabric, I suddenly remembered that I had this wonderful vintage Simplicity 8466 Barbie doll clothes pattern with a red satin dress on the cover:
But when I laid out the skirt pattern on the satin, it didn’t quite fit. The skirt pattern was longer than the pajama top’s remaining fabric (post-seam-ripping).
Nevertheless, I decided to give it a shot. I mean, so what if the final dress comes out a little shorter than the original pattern maker intended?
But once cut out, and laying on my cutting mat, I was a bit worried. The shape of the skirt was strange indeed.
I further altered the original pattern by doubling up on the bodice portion.
If you’ve been following my YouTube channel or this website for very long, you’re probably aware that I like to make my doll bodices with a lining. It offers better durability and longevity for kids who like to play hard with their dolls’ clothes.
So that’s why I cut out two bodices instead of just one, further altering the original pattern design.
I also incorporated the pajama top’s original hem into my doll’s dress, adding my own hem to the sides of this. Unfortunately, this created a strange, squared-off hemline.
As I often show in my video tutorials, I then placed the dress on my vintage Barbie (she’s really a modern version of a vintage Barbie) inside out, so I could position the straps correctly on the bodice.
You may have noticed that I used a gold braided trim for the straps, and this braided trim was sewn to wine-colored 1/8 inch ribbon. I stitched the gold braid to these ribbons entirely by hand, and if you look closely in this next image, you can see my stitches:
Now if you look again at the View 4 image on the Simplicity 8466 Barbie doll clothes pattern, the dress in View 4 seems to have more of a gold rick rack trim than a gold braid around the bottom of the dress.
That’s okay. I don’t mind making alterations!
So I chose to trim my skirt in the gold braid that I already had in my stash, rather than buying gold rick rack. And I really like how it turned out!
As the dress started to come together, I was liking the overall design of the dress, and I couldn’t wait to see what the final product looked like. I especially liked the way the dress’s skirt seemed to naturally curl, much like the image on the envelope for the Simplicity 8466 doll clothes pattern.
The final product was pretty close to perfect! From the back, it did look a little bit odd because of the trapezoidal features of the original cut of the skirt.
But from the side, the hemline gave a sort of high-low effect to the skirt:
Best of all, from the front, it looked almost IDENTICAL to the dress in View 4 of Simplicity 8466, in spite of the fact that I had made three significant alterations!
Today’s blog post, is all about altering patterns when you don’t have quite enough fabric (or the right notions). This is something I’ve been doing for many years — pattern alterations.
So that’s why I’m offering a paid course called, “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” on the Creative Spark platform.
My next course on Creative Spark, will teach you how to design your own doll pants patterns, so if you haven’t already, you might want to sign up for the Creative Spark newsletter. That way you’ll hear about my next course, as soon as it’s available.
If you’re short on funds, maybe ask a family member to buy you a Creative Spark class for Christmas this year, or your next birthday. If you’re concerned that you won’t have time to finish the class, don’t worry! Because the Creative Spark online learning platform allows you an unlimited amount of time to complete your courses.
You pay a single fee for unlimited access to all of the course’s material. No subscriptions, just a one-time fee. (Although it is possible to pay in two installments if that works better for you.)
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.
To read more about my free sewing patterns and tutorials, please visit the “Helpful Tips” page.
Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:
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.