As winter approaches here in the northern hemisphere, you may find sweater fabric becomes available at your local fabric stores, so the time to buy it is drawing near. With a little bit of sweater fabric in your stash, you can try making different doll shirt patterns out of this textured material.
If you sew for Barbie or Ken, you may want to try making my turtleneck pattern out of sweater fabric, for example. Here’s a link to the page where you can print that turtleneck pattern, as seen below.
Sweater fabric is generally stretchy like T-shirt material, but it has the softness of a knitted or crocheted garment. Because of its stretch, I recommend switching to a walking foot on your sewing machine, if you’re going to be making any doll clothes out of sweater fabric.
There is another alternative though…
Giving a garment a lining can make it easier to sew the stretchy fabric on your sewing machine, especially if you sew with the cotton or flannel against your machine’s feed dogs. (The sweater fabric will be up against the presser foot; the flannel or cotton will be down against the feed dogs.) So if you don’t own a walking foot, this is one possible alternative.
Also, you should be aware that sweater fabric doesn’t always do well under the heat of an iron, so it’s a good idea to iron a piece of your sweater fabric as a “test run” before ironing the garment itself. If you find that your iron damages or discolors the sweater fabric, it’s a good idea to place a piece of cotton between your garment and your iron before pressing.
(We see this technique in my tutorial for sewing a velvet shirt for 18-inch dolls.)
If you are new to sewing, you certainly can give sweater fabric a try, but if you want to use your sewing machine instead of sewing by hand, I would definitely look into using a walking foot for a project like my 18 inch doll’s long-sleeved shirt (shown above).
Here are some links to a walking foot attachment for some of the most popular sewing machine brands:
- Walking foot for Brother sewing machines
- Walking foot for Singer sewing machine
- Walking foot for Babylock sewing machines
- Walking foot for Husqvarna sewing machines
- Walking foot for Janome sewing machines
Sewing by hand does solve the “stretchy fabric” issues as well, though.
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