We Finally Got Our New Dresses

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We finally got new dresses!

Here are the instructions for making them.

First, Go up to where it says Patterns. Click on that and you will see an American Girl pattern.  Print the pattern and cut it out. Next, place the pattern on your fabric as shown in the picture and pin the pieces to the fabric as shown below.  Make sure you place the patterns ends that say “place on fold” on the fold.

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Now, cut the dress out. I would encourage you to use some sort of Fray Stop or Fray Check on the edges. What this does is it stops the edges from fraying. What is fraying? It is the threads of the fabric coming loose or apart.

So what’s next? Pin the bodice back to the bodice front pretty side to pretty side (right side to right side). Then, sew the shoulders together using a running stitch with a ¼ inch seam. (Try to make the stitches as close together as you can.)

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Press the shoulder seams open.

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Pin the facing to the neck pretty side to pretty side. (Right side to right side.)

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Use a running stitch and sew around the neck with a ¼ inch seam.  (I marked where to sew with tailor’s chalk, so you can see where to sew.)

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Clip around the neck, but be careful not to cut your stitches.

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Now fold the facing over and pin.

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It is easier to work with later and gives a prettier finish if you press the facing in place. You can even put a few stitches in here and there to hold it down.

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Now, let’s work on the sleeves.  Use a basting stitch and sew along the top of the sleeve. (Basting stitch is a loose, longer stitch that can easily be pulled out.)  I marked where to sew with tailor’s chalk.

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Turn the bottom edge of the each sleeve up about 1/8 of an inch, pin and then press down to make it easier to work with later.

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Now turn the sleeve up one more time about 1 inch, then pin it and press it.

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Next, using a running stitch, sew across the top of folded area of the sleeve.

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I’ve marked where to put the stitches at the top and towards the bottom of the turned up edge of the sleeve.  You want to make sure that the space between the top and the bottom rows of stitches is wide enough for the smallest safety pin you have and the 1/4 inch elastic will go through easily.  (You will be putting elastic in between these two rows of stitches to gather the sleeves later. I like to use ¼ inch elastic, but it can be thinner. )

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Now pull the basting stitches at the top of the sleeve to gather it a little.

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Gather the top of the sleeve. Pin the sleeve into each armhole –pretty side to pretty side. You may have to pull your basting threat to make it fit correctly. Also, to make the sleeve even all the way around, try to even out the gathering. It should look something like the picture below. Using a running stitch and sew the sleeves with a ¼ inch seam.

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Clip the material up to the seam.

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Now, it’s time to put the elastic in the sleeves. (I like ¼ inch) Cut 2 pieces of elastic 4 inches long. Don’t stretch the elastic when you are measuring. Put your small safety pin at the end of the elastic and thread it through the space between the two rows of stitches on the sleeve.

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Here are the instructions for doing the process with a larger piece of material that is easier to see.

Next, put the safety pin in the end of your piece of elastic and slip the head of the safety pin in end of your double row of stitches.

(Below is an example of how to work the elastic through the fabric using a bigger piece of fabric so you can see it better.)

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Next, hold the end of your safety pin and push the material toward your thumb.

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Make sure to hang onto the safety pin and pull the material back over the elastic.

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Repeat the process until you are all the way through the material.

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Pull the safety pin through far enough for the tail end of the elastic to line up with the edge of the fabric and put a few stitches in it to hold the elastic and fabric together. (This is called tacking.) Then, do the same with the safety pin end. Once you have put a few stitches in both ends, you can remove the safety pin.

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It should look like this.

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Turn the dress bodice inside out and pin the two sides as pictured below and use a running stitch to sew the sides together.

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Once you’ve sewn the sides of the bodice together start on the skirt.  Using a basting stitch, sew the top of the skirt about 1/4 inch below the top edge. (A basting stitch is a long loose stitch.) Next, fold the bottom of the skirt up about ¼ in and then fold it again about ¾ of an inch and pin in place. It isn’t a bad idea to press the hem at this point, but wait to hem it until later.

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Gather the top of the skirt to about the length of the bottom of the bodice. Pin the top of the skirt, to the bottom of the bodice pretty side to pretty side. Move around the gathering to make it even.

It should look something like this.

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Using a running stitch, sew the skirt to the bodice. Now make sure the dress is turned inside out and bring the two back sides of the dress together. Measure from the top of the neck down 5 inches and begin pinning the two sides together. Then, sew from the top of your pinning to the bottom of the skirt. Make sure the hem is repined in place to make a smooth appearance.

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Now, hem the dress.  (I have pictured a hem stitch below.) Finally, use the dress fasteners of your choice. You can use Velco strips or dots, but I like to use snaps.

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Left handed hem stitch.

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Right handed hem stitch.

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Here are two dresses made with this pattern. They will fit on American Girl dolls and most 18 inch dolls. Below are the two dresses on New Generation dolls.

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And, here they are on American Girl dolls.

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I’ll put together a picture gallery for these dolls and dresses soon.

 

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