Simplicity 5861 is an amazing ensemble of sewing patterns for Skipper, including two coats: a bolero and a winter coat. When I found this pattern on eBay last summer, I’d been searching for a high-quality version of it for years, so I snatched this up as soon as I saw that it was an uncut pattern — and let me tell you, this adorable pattern with its two lovely vintage-style coats doesn’t disappoint!
But of course, I altered the patterns to some degree. I can’t help but experiment! And one of the lessons I’ve learned from this pattern has to do with lining a coat. I’ll share that lesson with you today…
As you can see in the image above, I was most excited about the bolero. With my first try at making this jacket, I lined the little Bolero that my vintage Skipper wears on the right, in the image above with the same red cotton (or maybe it was a cotton/polyester blend) fabric that you can see on the outside.
I considered lining it with the black and white gingham fabric, but decided against it because I wanted the bolero to also be worn over the top of the evening gown that you see in View 6 of my Simplicity 5861 doll clothes sewing pattern.
When I made the blue coat, I chose a different fabric, a red-white-and-pale-blue pinwheel fabric that really suited the 1960’s era from which this pattern comes.
I just love it when you peek into a doll’s jacket and see a different, but very appropriate fabric popping out at you!
Now most doll clothes sewing patterns do not suggest the use of a lining. To add one, you have to understand a thing or two about making alterations to your doll clothes patterns.
Making alterations isn’t as simple as just cutting out a second fabric for the coat, like you see in Figures 1 and 2 above. There’s a lot more to it than just cutting out a lining and sewing it in.
You really have to understand seam allowances to make an alteration work. Fortunately for you, I offer a paid course in doll clothes pattern alteration on the Creative Spark online learning platform! If you’d like to learn more about it, and maybe even ask a loved one to purchase one of my classes for your Christmas present this year, click on the links I’m providing here.
A vintage or vintage-style fabric makes a perfect lining for a coat made from a vintage pattern. But what about for other patterns?
In the image below, you can see that I’ve used some of the green floral fabric from the dress to line the pink felt bolero. So if you know the coat will be going with a certain garment, you can always line the coat with a matching fabric, to go with the dress or shirt or pants it will accompany.
But does every jacket or coat need a lining?
Okay, let’s just put it out there right off the bat… YES. A doll’s coat DOES need a lining.
That’s my firm belief, take it or leave it.
Now, with that said, do I always give a doll’s coat a lining? Umm… No. Sometimes I have to sew things in a hurry, and in those cases, I don’t give it a lining, like this trench coat I’ve been working on for Barbie:
It might be hard to see that this coat doesn’t have a lining, but if you look toward the bottom of the coat you can see a seamline on the inside.
Why is this a problem? Let’s take a closer look at that seamline:
If you look at Figure 3, you can see that I’m giving this raincoat/trench coat for Barbie a nice, clean, handmade, hand-stitched bias tape trim. That will at least hide the seams along the outside edges of the coat.
But in Figure 4, you can see a thread sticking out from one of the seams.
Children are notoriously curious people. I should know; I work with them every day as a school librarian. A child will see a thread like that, and — yep, you guessed it — they will pull on it.
The more exposed seams you have, the more likely it is that a child will damage the garment.
So that’s why I feel it’s really important to line your doll clothing whenever possible.
With that said, if you’re in a rush, making a quick, unlined doll coat out of felt gives a child an extra item of clothing that they wouldn’t otherwise have. But felt — especially modern craft felt — is notoriously flimsy material. It won’t be long before that coat starts to look shabby.
But hey, it literally takes about 10 minutes to make a coat like the little yellow felt one that my Chelsea doll’s wearing in the image above. Ten minutes! So if it’s Christmas Eve, and you still haven’t finished all the doll clothes you’d promised your daughter or granddaughter (or son or grandson), then why not add a little felt coat that only takes ten minutes to sew?
And there you have it. To line or not to line: that is the question! And the answer is yet another question…
How much time do you have?
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.
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For anyone who would like to expand their dolls’ wardrobes, you should really check out my “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” course and my “Design Your Own Doll Pants Patterns from Scratch” classes on the Creative Spark online learning platform. Here’s my bio page on their website, where you can learn more.
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 go check out my paid courses on Creative Spark, using this link.
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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.