Last week, we were learning how to cut out a Barbie doll clothes sewing pattern. I’m continuing that train of thought in today’s blog post, which reviews the cutting steps and adds a few details.
When you’re getting ready to cut out your doll clothes patterns, it can be very helpful to see which garment pieces will need two identical pieces cut. For these, you can save time by folding your fabric in half before you lay out your pattern pieces and pin them on the fabric.
Read the pattern itself to see which pattern pieces say “cut 1” and which pattern pieces say “cut 2” before you do this. You only want to pin the “cut 2” pieces onto the folded fabric. Any “cut 1” pieces should be laid out on a single swatch of un-folded fabric.
Some pattern pieces may say, “Cut on Fold,” which means you must fold the fabric, as shown in the image above (see yellow arrow), but carefully lay the pattern’s fold line right up against the edge of the folded fabric (see green arrow).
When you go to cut this pattern, you won’t cut the folded area. Instead, when you unpin the coat from the fabric, it will open out, to form a single piece, showing both sleeves.
Whenever possible, it’s also a good idea to think about how you can cut out your patterns in ways that use less surface area of fabric.
That way, when you’re done cutting, you’ll be able to use the leftover fabric for other projects.
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 make clothes for people, we use a technique in which we keep the fabric lying flat on a level surface (like a table). As long as you don’t lift up the fabric, you should be fine.
But with doll clothes patterns, they can be very tiny. It’s HARD to keep the fabric level! Especially when you’re cutting out really teeny-tiny pieces, like this Barbie hat pattern from Simplicity 7601 (see figure 1):
A trick I use is this… Instead of pinning all the pieces to the fabric before you begin cutting, just lay them on top first to see if they’ll fit. Then, as long as you can remember how you had them arranged, take off the ones you’re not cutting for the moment.
See figure 2 above? Cut around teeny-tiny pieces, leaving a bit of a “margin,” so to speak. Then — contrary to the way we cut people’s clothes — pick up the little garment piece (which still has its pattern piece pinned to it) and trim away the excess fabric (see Figure 3).
This is especially helpful with really, teeny-tiny garment pieces for small dolls like Barbie.
Fabric isn’t easily cut with regular craft scissors. Instead, you’ll need to buy a pair of good sewing scissors. Otherwise you can damage both your fabric and your pattern.
Carefully cut around all notches. To learn more about notches, please go back to an earlier blog post from this week, in which we discussed notches and grainlines (the arrows which appear on many patterns).
If you look at the big purple arrow in the image above, you’ll see that the hat top has a notch that will later align with the hat’s crown. Then, when we sew the crown’s edge all the way around the hat’s top, the notches that my yellow and pink arrows are pointing at will join at the side of the hat’s crown.
Okay, so you’ve cut out your garment pieces. What do you do next?
Sometimes cutting takes a while. I may have to stop sewing for a bit and go take care of some family matters.
If I need to leave the cut garment pieces lying around for a bit, I pin their pattern pieces to them with a single pin running through the paper pattern and the fabric of the garment piece. That way each garment piece is sort of “labeled” for when I come back.
This will keep you from confusing the coat’s front pieces with the coat’s back pieces, etc…
Now, this “Shorts” video, from my YouTube channel, will show you ALL the steps to cutting out a pattern, that have been covered in this week-long series of blog posts:
The patterns I was using today came from Simplicity doll clothes pattern 7601, which offers a lovely coat-hat-and-purse set of patterns.
If you’re just learning to sew, I recommend that you visit my “Helpful Tips” page. It offers lots of tutorial videos and links to sewing “basics” blog posts that I’ve done in the past.
To see more of 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.