Saturday, February 28, 2015

Upcycle an 18" Doll Dress from a Baby Onesie!

Hello Doll Friends!!

It's been a few days since I posted! I've been busy creating and finding treasures for the Doll House and that has to happen if I am going to have anything to report here when I come say Hi! So, today we are going to talk about Upcycling baby clothes into Doll clothes. Again. This is a bit different than baby outfits I've made before though because these two dresses were Upcycled from 3mnth sized baby onesies!

They really are pretty simple to make if you've had any experience with sewing at all.

So here is what I did!

You start out with standard baby onesies. You'll want ones with cute collars, not the ones with snaps in the shoulder! Below are the two I decided to convert. I got them at Goodwill for $1.50 each and that is actually pretty spends for me. However I liked the collars and they screamed out doll dress to me. I am trying to make a few outfits for a friends daughter for her Birthday and thought they'd make a find addition to the little bundle of clothes I am going to give her.

The first thing you do is to cut off the bottoms, where the leg elastic and snap area is. As you can see, the bottom of one of these has stains and so I felt even less bad about cutting it up. You want to cut close to the leg openings as possible, getting as much length as you can at the bottom of what will become your dress hem. I use a pencil and ruler to draw a strait cutting line. Make sure you lay your source garment flat, turned inside out, with all the seams layed flat and strait! After you make your line, take a deep breath and cut it off!

Here they are (below) with both of their leg snap areas cut off.

Then you hem them by about a half inch. I should've photographed this but sometimes I forget to take photos as I go along through the process of making something. With the hems, half of the time you'll spend doing hem is the pinning but take the time to pin it so you'll get a nice strait hem. It's a bit tricky sewing knits, I think and so just take your time.

Now it looks like a dress! It's still too wide for the dolls though! You'll want to try it on your doll to make sure of measurements but I've made a few of these now and am getting a sense of now much needs to be taken in. Then I, again, make a pencil line with a ruler down from top to bottom.

And I pin along that line.

Being as this is knit and being as little girls often can be rather rough with their dolly clothing, I like to make things very durable. Knits can fray and I want it to last. So I sewed the first seam down the pencil line I made and then made another zigzag stitch on the "seam allowance" side of the seam. It will keep the main seam from fraying and make garment more durable. That part is entirely optional though... 

Then you cut off the excess. Again, you might want to try on doll before you cut but I've made a few of these and am getting a sense of the sizing and so just winged that part. 

Here is the first one I made. It took me less an hour from start to finish even with stopping for photos and coffee. I think it came out rather cute!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

HeartsForHearts Dress Upcycled from Baby Sized Tube Top!

Hello Doll Friends! 

I've been posting about how to make Upcycled doll clothes for Amercian Girl (and other 18") Doll clothes. However, I've been wanting to make some more clothes for the HeartsForHearts dolls in our collection because their wardrobe is rather sparse. So I looked through my big bag of clothes I purchased for Upcycling and found this tube top.

As you can see, it's a Children's Place 18mnth sized tube top in really great shape. I got it for like 50c at a thrift store. I picked it because it's a cute pattern on cloth and I get a kick out of my dolls wearing fashion forward items from Children's Place and such. (They even have some Polo Ralph Lauren!) So having decided my source item, I set to work.

All I really did was to wrap the doll in the top to see how much I need to make a 'tube dress' for her, pin it an sew a zig-zag seam down it, since it was for a small and thin doll, I was able to make two from the original item. I forgot, in my sewing enthusiasm, to take photos, but I literally just make two smaller, thinner tubes out of the tube top after measuring the appropriate width on the dolls. I cut the straps off the original item and ended up with four short straps. I sewed two of each of them together to make two long straps. Then I attached them to the top by a loop that was actually left as the lower portion of the strap when I cut it off. Naturally your tube top might not have straps or the loops but you can use ribbon to make straps too and just stitch it on in the right spot in the middle of top so you can have tie straps like the ones on this one. I've shown some examples below of my using ribbon on two dresses. 

So here they are:

I love them! I love that I could make two from it too, so my two HeartsForHearts girls have twin dresses! 

Perfect for Violets violin solo!

I've made other fashions that fit the HeartsForHearts dolls too using much the same methods as I use for the 18" dolls. On these I used ribbon for the tie straps and added imbelishment to cover my stitches. 

Like this yellow dress. It's a bit long but it was just a tube top type item too, originally and I let it long because it also fits our Disney Princess and Me dolls and was originally made for them.

The orange dress on Violet in this photo is another one I've made using ribbon as straps.

So that's it for now! Thanks for dropping by! See you next time!!

American Girl Doll Chairs Upcycled From Cottage Cheese Containers!

Hello Doll Friends!!

If you're reading this blog, I am betting you're familiar with My Froggy Stuff on YouTube! She is amazing! She makes everything look so easy and fun even when she is constructing a 50pc cardboard furniture with glue and an exacto knife! Most of her stuff I find a bit too intimidating because I am not a 'messy' craft kind of a girl. However, when I saw this tutorial on YouTube, I knew I had to try and make some of these chairs for our 18" Dolls! 

I made ours out of plastic industrial sized containers of cottage cheese. I happened to work at a school when I made my first set and so I had access to them all the time... However, if you don't, you might call your kids school or any commercial kitchen really, and ask if they will save some. Or perhaps you can find a similar container at the dollar store... It's all about use what you can find afterall! So here is how my chairs turned out:

 I love the fabric on them and wish I had chairs just like them in my real house! I am planning to make another set for my daughters best friends birthday soon and I will take step by step photos but nothing I post will beat the source for the idea! I love My Froggy Stuff!! She is a Doll World Hero! She needs, like, a cape. Eh? As you can see from the photo below, my daughter decided that the chairs work great for Fashion dolls too!

That's it for now! See you next time! 

Upcycled Doll Clothes! A Tale of Five Doll Dresses Made in 24Hours!

Hello Doll Friends!!

     As I've mentioned in several prior posts, most recently this one making doll clothes by Upcycling them from gently used baby clothes is really a fabulous way to bulk up your dolls wardrobe while not deflating your pocketbook. Baby clothes, gently used, are a dime a dozen in this country and so they are an amazing, endless, source of doll clothes material! It's already got all the expensive embellishments, the fancy smocking, the delicate lace etc without you doing any of that hard work! In the correct sizes (newborn and 3mnth sizes) the dresses are practically made, it can literally take you about 20mins if you're like me and go super slow and deliberately, to 'make' a doll dress! 

   To prove my point, I challenged myself to make five doll dresses in 24hrs... And a normal 24hrs, just a regular weekday where I worked and I took kids to school etc. Then again, I wake up at 4am everyday so I can actually have time to do things I like to do... So I have a bit more time than most people! Still, it was a normal day and I spent probably a few cumulative hours actually modifying and sewing dresses. 

   I went ahead and took a few step by step photos since, well, why not? Don't you just love the digital age? I figure the more times you see how easy the steps are, the more likely you'll buck the "pay $10to$30 an outfit for a doll" system! There are so many reasons to upcycle and money and time are just two... Just think, you're helping keep textiles out of landfills too! Good for the Earth too! You just can't lose!

So here are the steps to make this dress:

Front of dress. Modeled by the lovely Electra! (TollyTot)

Back of dress.

Here are the before photos, with no alterations, you can see the dress is nearly a perfect fit already (it's a size 3mnth) except it's too wide and arm holes are too large.

Front before.

 See? Arm hole too large!

So let the modifications begin! Here is item before I started sewing as you can see, I measured it on the doll to see where I needed to take it in to at arm opening. Then I just make a strait line, in pencil, down the dress from that point. Then I pin it together and literally sew down those pencil lines, taking pins out as I go.

Since this was a knit dress and I don't own a serger, I was a bit worried the seams would fray after I trimmed the seam allowance... So I zigzag stitched a second seam just to the right of the first so it'll keep from fraying. This is an extra step you don't 'need' to do but kids are hard on doll clothes and I like them to stay looking nice through the washing machine in the future so I try and make them as sturdy as possible. Takes a few extra minutes but it's worth it to me. My Granny taught me to sew and she was never one to cut corners! So here it is with both seams sewn.

Then you just cut off the extra material beyond the seams. That is always the most nerve wracking part for me for some reason but it must be done! 

Then, all is left is to turn it right side out and put it on your doll!! Here are the dresses I made in 24hours! I am going to do a separate blog post about the dresses for the HeartForHearts dolls because it was a bit different but otherwise I went through the same exact procedure with three of them in photo. The other one is made from a ladies blouse sleeve. (The one worn by the blonde TollyTot with the Princess Lea buns in her hair) 

I took some before photos of the other two dresses I modified so you can see what they looked like:

Well, that's it for this post. Thanks, as always, for stopping by! See you next time!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

From Goodwill to Gorgeous!!

Hello Doll Friends!!

As you all know, I am a bit of a Thrift Store Junkie. I just dig them! The song is even in my play list! I generally can't drive by one if I have a few extra minutes and a couple of bucks in my wallet. I digress... So I was at one the other day when low and behold what do I see but a forlorn looking Ariel laying on a shelf, feeling very lost and rejected by her former owner. (No, I am not being dramatic! How would you feel? Teehee.) She had a little $2.99 sticker on her leg, to her shame. So I had to rescue her and give her a proper make over and home in the Doll House! Here she is before her makeover:

As you can see, her dress is torn and ill fitting, she needs a proper bath and her hair is in tangles galore! She sas feeling pretty rough! I think she suspected she was in good hands when she looked around at all the other dolls having so much fun though... Things were looking up!

See her hair... The photo honestly doesn't do justice to what a tangled mess it was! Toy box hair to be sure!!

You can kind of see in this photo how matted it was underneath and on the front by her forehead. You can also see how her dress has torn lace. I think it was a dress made for a 14" Princess doll. I guess at least she had a dress! Lots of thrift store dolls aren't so lucky. 

See there is her price tag. It was the first thing I took off after the 'before' photos. Then I meticulously washed her from head to toe with a Norwex cloth so I'd get her nice and clean with no chemicals to worry about taking off her paint or whatever! (No I don't sell them, I just love them and they work so well I figured I'd mention!) Cleaning her up was actually pretty easy... Except the hair. I wish I had some magic formula for what I did but it's really about just taking a section at a time, literally, and, working from the bottom to the top with a doll wig brush, I worked it all out. A lot of Bloggers suggest using fabric softener and I was gonna do that as a last resort but I just worked through it with the brush. It too about 45mins to untangle her... But well worth the effort! Then I dressed her in a princess dress we had from Aurora and she looks great!!

Here she is with a few other Disney Princess and Me Dolls. 

This is Merida, Ariel and Aurora! We also have Belle but she was sleeping in my daughters room when I took these photos. They've all switched gowns from their original ones and I am sure it's driving you Disney purists mad but that's what girls do, right? They share clothes! 

Ariel had to try on the crown too! I am happy to report she is all settled in and feeling very restored and happy now. 

Thanks again for dropping by! We always love to see you at the Doll House!! See you next time!