In the image at the very top of this blog post, we see that a garment pattern piece has been laid on one side of a swatch of felt fabric, but the image below that one, shows a garment pattern piece has been actually pinned onto the fabric swatch.
How do we get from point A to point B? In other words, how is the pinning step actually done?
I’m going to revisit the image below next week to talk about how we can use our fabric wisely, so that we’ll have room for other patterns on the leftover fabric later on (see pink arrow).
The tricky part of pinning the pattern onto the fabric (besides being extra careful that you align the fold line markings with the fabric’s fold) is keeping the pattern from wrinkling and keeping the fabric from rippling when you pin your patterns (see yellow arrow above — the lumpy fabric example).
When we pin our fabric, it can really help to keep the fabric lying flat on a level surface (like a table or cutting mat). As long as you don’t lift up the fabric, you shouldn’t see those wrinkles.
But with doll clothes patterns, they can be very tiny. It’s HARD to keep the fabric level! Especially when you’re pinning really teeny-tiny pieces, like this Barbie hat pattern from Simplicity 7601 (see figure 1):
I’m going to address this problem further next week, but for now, let’s look at the actual pinning. How is it done?
When you add the pins, you want to follow the stitch marks along the pattern’s edge, inserting your straight pins along these stitch lines. This usually follows the edge of the garment without getting too close to the pattern’s cut lines. Take a look at the coat back piece in the image at the very top of today’s blog post, for an example of what this looks like.
We insert the pin’s sharp tip all the way through the pattern and the fabric; if you have a folded fabric, insert the pin through both layers of fabric. Then push the sharp end of the pin back out through the fabric and the pattern.
With oddball shapes like a hat top (which is round) you don’t have to follow the seam lines when pinning. In the image below, you can see that I’ve pinned the red pin and the yellow pin at a slight angle, like a V-shape, to pin the hat top to the fabric.
Straight pins don’t curve, so there’s really no WAY to follow the seam lines with your straight pins on something round like a hat top.
But on the hat crown piece (see pink and yellow arrows above), I have followed the seam lines when pinning the longer edges, while the green-topped straight pin is angled just a bit because it’s pinning an end.
The trick is to avoid crossing the cut line with your straight pin, when you’re pinning oddly shaped pieces and little tiny sections of a garment. If your straight pin crosses the cut line, you run the risk of accidentally cutting the straight pin, which would damage your fancy sewing scissors!
Once I’m done cutting out my garment pieces, I try to keep the patterns with the garment pieces they represent. This will help you understand which piece is a back and which piece is a front, when you get to the sewing stage.
A cutting mat, like the Work Lion cutting mat pictured above, is a handy tool for pinning. I’m as guilty of it as anyone else, but pinning patterns to fabric on the ironing board is eventually going to lead to the accidental pinning of the whole business to the ironing board coverlet.
I’m sure some of you have done that. I know I have.
When pinning garments that I’m sewing for people, I use my kitchen table, but a cutting mat is just the right size for little doll clothes garment pieces.
The patterns I was using today came from Simplicity doll clothes pattern 7601, which offers a lovely coat-hat-and-purse set of patterns.
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.
For my free doll clothes sewing tutorial videos, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, ChellyWood1.
Before I’m done here, I once again, want to thank the mom who contacted me quite some time ago, asking for directions on how to pin and cut doll clothes patterns. This series has been a lot of fun to make, and I’m so grateful for the question that inspired each of this week’s blog posts!
If you’re new to my website, you probably haven’t heard about my Creative Spark class, “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns,” which teaches you how to alter (change) patterns. Did you notice that my Simplicity doll clothes pattern 7601 was made in the early 1990’s?
Yes, these doll clothes patterns are out of style, but if you understand how to alter doll clothes patterns, you can make these garments look more like modern-day fashions.
Are you worried that you won’t have time to take a course in doll clothes pattern alteration? You’ll be happy to learn that, for any class on Creative Spark, you don’t have to follow a schedule. Just sign up when you’re ready.
It’s a one-time fee for the course, and there’s no specific time limit to finish your course. You can just take your time and learn at the pace that suits you. So please go have a look at my paid courses on Creative Spark, using this link.
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.