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.
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.
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? Please leave your guesses in the comments section!
Let’s think of ways we could alter the doll clothes in this Butterick Pattern #6668 doll clothes sewing pattern for Halloween… You could take the dress in View C and make it into a candy corn dress (like the candy corn costume that I posted last Thursday for American Girl sized dolls), by cutting three layers of solid cotton fabric to make the dress: the bottom layer would be yellow, the middle layer orange, and the top layer white.
And can you see a clown outfit in the skipper patterns shown below?
I’d put the View 3 top with the View 4 pants, using a red ruffle collar and the rest of the outfit can be made of white cotton with multi-colored polka dots. Voilà! You have a clown costume!
So just combining one as-is pattern set with another, and changing the fabric you use, can be considered an alteration. It’s that simple.
If you enjoy learning new ways to think about patterns, you would probably really enjoy my “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” course, on the Creative Spark online learning platform.
And as I’ve said in the past, “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” makes a great holiday gift! Ask a close friend or family member to buy you this course for Christmas, if it’s not a purchase you feel you can afford at this time.
And unlike other online courses, you’ll be able to access all of the course videos indefinitely, once the class has been paid for under your name. The class itself doesn’t have a time limit, so that way you can learn at whatever pace works best for you.
All you need, to make the most of the “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” course, is a few patterns of your own to work with, a pencil, a doll, and some graph paper. This website can provide you with patterns, but you probably also have a few commercial patterns in your sewing supply cupboard as well. Commercial patterns can be altered just as easily as my own patterns can.
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:
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.