See that T-shirt in View B with the three-quarter-length sleeves? I’m going to focus today on how to make alterations to that shirt, which is found in the McCall’s Crafts pattern number 5462.
In fact, I’ve spent much of the month of April fiddling around with that View B 3/4 sleeve length shirt pattern as well as the regular-sleeve T-shirt in View G, so I can teach you how to alter dolls’ tee shirts in ways that will apply to dolls of many shapes and sizes.
Over a series of blog posts that are yet to come, we’ll look at this T-shirt from different angles and in different ways. But today, I’m going to show you how you can turn this T-shirt into a jacket or stretchy-fabric sweater, just by altering the way you cut it on the fold.
In the image above, you can see what’s meant by “cut on the fold.” We first fold the fabric. Sometimes I’ll even press the fold, to make sure my pattern sidles up to the very sharply folded edge of the fabric. Then we pin the shirt to the fabric, leaving its “cut on fold” edge right up against that pressed fold.
This T-shirt is kind of a weird one though because it’s all one piece, but you cut the back of it open after you cut it out. So first, you cut out the garment on the fold, like you see me doing here:
You may have noticed, in the photo above, that I’m not actually cutting right up against the fold, like I should be. I’m going to talk about that alteration in a moment, so hold that thought!
Okay. So next, after the shirt is all cut out, you would then open it up to its full size and cut an opening at the back, where you’ll run snaps down the back for a closure:
But let’s return to the elephant in the room. Why did I cut it out with extra room along the fold? I had an alteration in mind when I made this cut.
I’m planning to change this three-quarters length sleeve T-shirt into a three-quarters length sleeve jacket. The jacket you’ll see on the doll below is one such jacket, but I also altered the sleeves’ lengths in this version:
You’ll also notice that instead of having the shirt open in back (like the pattern suggested), my jacket opens in front. Also, I chose a stretchy fabric that sort of looks and feels like jersey fabric on the outside, but in the inside, it has an almost terry cloth texture to it.
Have a look:
For this T-shirt project, the McCall’s Crafts 5462 pattern envelope does suggest using jersey fabric, but let’s face it; a lot of us who sew mostly doll clothes own as many hand-me-down scraps as we do fabrics we bought in a store.
And the tale behind my coral-colored fabric also points to the use of a second-hand fabric for this jacket. I bought it from a lady on Etsy who goes shopping at thrift stores, cuts up the garments she buys at the thrift stores, and then sells the garment pieces as remnants on Etsy. As you can see in the image below, the fabric is still a vibrant color, even though this fabric was once used for a different, human-sized garment:
In case you’re not aware, there’s an eco-friendly movement to re-use old garment fabrics this way, and I actually do a lot of that type of recycling myself. By re-purposing old, previously worn fabrics, less fabric will go into our landfills, and that’s a good thing!
Okay, so let’s go back to why I cut the fabric on the fold with extra room to spare:
Cutting the shirt’s torso area half a cm too wide is part of my necessary alterations. A T-shirt fits tightly, and a jacket needs to fit more loosely. So I deliberately chose to cut the garment on the fold with a little extra room. But do you see that ruler I’ve got sitting next to the neck opening above?
When you make an alteration, it’s usually not enough to make one adjustment to the pattern. Usually you have to make other adjustments too.
I’m holding the ruler there to show how far in I’ll have to cut the neckline. Normally, we would cut the neckline all the way in, but since I have a half centimeter of extra fabric on the fold, I need to make an accommodation for that in the neckline.
Had I cut the neckline all the way to the edge, this jacket would have been falling off the doll’s shoulders too much. Instead, the neck fits her nicely.
Also, this pattern is actually for a three-quarter-length sleeve, but as you can see in my photos, I’ve created a full-length sleeve. How did I do that?
Measurements have a lot to do with these types of alterations. Tomorrow (at the request of many of my followers) I’ll be bringing back my #TapeMeasureTuesday feature, and from that blog post, you will get some idea of the types of measurements that are needed for these garment alterations.
And in the next couple of weeks, I’ll teach you even more about how to alter doll clothes patterns, as we look at the variations I’ve made to McCall’s Crafts Pattern #5462. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that all three of the garments shown below were made using different variations on that exact same T-shirt pattern:
Who would have thought that making a couple of changes to the cutting directions and flipping that long-sleeved T-shirt around so the back creates the front opening and the original front to the jacket becomes the back, was all it would take to completely transform this shirt pattern into a jacket pattern?
Look, I know you’ve probably already heard about it, but my “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” course on the Creative Spark online learning platform will give you all the ins and outs of not only T-shirt alterations, but you’ll learn how to alter pants, skirts, dresses, and cotton shirts too. If you haven’t looked into it yet, you can click here to learn more.
Are you worried that you won’t have time to take a course in doll clothes pattern alteration? Well, 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.
And the lessons you’ll learn will apply to any doll: 18 inch American Girl dolls, 15 inch vintage dolls, soft-bodied dolls, plastic dolls, and of course, fashion dolls. I’ll even give you tips for pattern alteration as it applies to the teeny-tiny dollhouse dolls.
We start the course with an extensive doll measurement guide and build from there. 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.