Last Monday, I told you that I had decided to allow myself to be inspired by making my Barbie a vintage dress from Simplicity 5731, a wardrobe pattern for vintage Tressy dolls. My plan was to first make the dress in View 1 (above) for my vintage Barbie.
Then, once I was comfortable with the pattern, I’d create a similar one for my Judy Littlechap doll — or one very much like it, anyway.
But to my surprise, the bodice didn’t fit my vintage Barbie. Can you guess who it almost fit?
Yep! It almost fit Judy Littlechap!
But I had to scrap the bodice I was working on. I actually tried it on several different dolls before I finally decided it wasn’t going to work at all.
In most cases, I go ahead and make the entire dress, even though I know the bodice won’t fit the doll it was intended for. I can often find someone to wear it. But that wasn’t the case this time, so do you know what I do with completely unusable garment pieces?
That’s actually a cloth basket, and it’s filled with teeny-tiny slivers of fabric that I wasn’t able to use. These strips of fabric, felt, and bits of thread can later be used to stuff a plush toy, a pillow, a pincushion, or even a handmade cloth doll!
I can’t remember where I got this idea, but I kind of think it came from the Love to Sew Podcast. (That’s a really fun podcast, by the way!)
Anyhow, once I had shredded up the old bodice for the View 1 dress in my Simplicity 5731 Tressy doll clothes pattern, I had to decide whether or not the skirt was going to work with a new version of the bodice.
I tried the skirt on my vintage Judy Littlechap doll. Had I not been hopeful that the skirt was going to work, I would have just evened out the pleat bumps with a pair of scissors and created a simple skirt with a casing for a different doll. But it did look quite promising that the skirt was going to fit Judy.
So I designed a prototype pattern for Judy, using the original bodice from the Simplicity Tressy doll wardrobe pattern for inspiration. I made the arm hole wider, deepened the closure in the back, and tried to make the mismatched side seams (where the darts meet the back piece) match up a little better than they did in the original version.
Overall, I was fairly happy with my version of the dress in View 1.
Judy’s pink “dinner party” style dress, which appears on the cover of the tiny catalog that came with the Littlechap dolls, shows more of a scoop neck front to her dress. I was trying to achieve that same look, but I think the felt bodice that you see on Judy above doesn’t quite have that neckline right.
However the length of the skirt looks similar, and I’m happy with how the front darts turned out.
And do you see those cute little felt flats I designed for her? I’m still trying to perfect that pattern, but I should be able to get it right when I release my Judy Littlechap dress patterns here, on ChellyWood.com, some time in the future.
The original View 1 dress from Simplicity 5731 had been designed for making pleats in both the front and the back of the skirt, but I knew that was probably not going to work out for Judy. And I was right.
Once I got the front pleats done, I tried it on my doll, and I could see there wouldn’t be enough room for pleats in the back too. So I had to settle for only having pleats in the front.
I’m not happy with how the back overlaps either. When I create a finalized pattern, I’ll re-build the back to allow for a better back closure.
I made a bow for the front of the dress, just like the pink dress has, but I think my own bow is quite a bit smaller than the one on the cover of the catalog.
Now if any of you collect the Littlechap dolls and accessories, I would sure like a photo of the back of the pink dress Judy wears on the cover of the Littlechap catalog. Does it have a scoop neck back, or does it have more of a V-neck back, like the Tressy doll dress pattern has? Please leave a comment!
Or connect with me via email by filling out my contact form, so I can get a picture from you!
At any rate, I’m making progress on this project, but the patterns are by no means finished. However I’ll leave you with one last image of Judy Littlechap standing next to my vintage Tressy doll clothes pattern. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how this prototype dress turned out. What do you think?
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.
And I now have a new class on the Creative Spark online learning platform: “Design Your Own Doll Pants from Scratch!” Here’s a video to give you some idea of what’s offered in my new class:
Maybe you already own some great commercial patterns, but you really wish you could just make a few changes to them. If so, my Creative Spark class, “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” may be just what you need to make your commercially designed patterns into the pattern you see in your imagination.
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.