Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: draped swim suit and cover up

Draped swim suit and cover up #36, Hello Dolly Boutique patterns (c)2012 as sized for the 22" American Model doll 

This pattern is for a bra-style top with a shaped bottom edges, swim trunks, and two coverup skirts, one short and one long. A simple pattern for a hat is also included.
I have altered this pattern to fit my 22" ball jointed doll by Impldoll.

Measurements in centimeters  
Diff          Impldoll Model  American Model 22"
 0   Height             56    56
-1.5 Bust               23.5  25
-1   Head circumference 21    22
+1   Waist              16.5  15.5
-3.5 Neck circumference  8.5  12 
-0.7 Hip                24.5  25.2
 0   Shoulder width     11.5  11.5
-2.5 Arm length         16    18.5

The pattern pieces, drafted down by hand from a vintage pattern, have grainlines marked, and a few notches. Seam allowances are included.
The instructions are bullet point style, with some small reproductions of vintage pattern instruction drawings. There are some typos, misspellings, and wrong words in the instructions which might present a few problems for some less fluent English-language readers.

My changes to the garment: Aside from altering it extensively to fit my Impldoll, I eliminated the front darts on the trunk, lined the trunks, added a band to the center front of the top, shortened the short overskirt, and did not line the overskirt. I also changed how I constructed and inserted the ties on the short overskirt. 
I did not make the long overskirt or the hat.

In general, I believe that this pattern is oversized for the doll it was drafted for. However, if you check the fit as you go, this is easily corrected.

The trunks have three pattern pieces, front, back, and waistband. They are unlined. I lined them.
The pattern description, as provided by HDB, states "...trunks have a cute front skirt, or just plain trunks." There is no pattern piece for a "front skirt" nor is it ever described in the pattern instructions. 
I believe it would be possible to incorporate the draped front section of the short coverup into the construction of the trunks if desired. It would be necessary to shorten the front skirt a bit for this use and narrow it to match the front trunk pattern piece.

The front darts are wide for their length, leading to a bubble-belly effect. I would suggest replacing each wide dart with two parallel narrower darts. Or, for a flat-stomached doll like the Impldoll Model, eliminate the front darts altogether.

I lined the trunks, since the cotton voile I used is sheer enough I found seeing the doll's jointed thighs distracting.

Short coverup:
This is a simple wrap skirt, with five pattern pieces: a back cut on the fold, a front piece, a second front piece with draping, a waistband (shared with the trunk pattern pieces), and the ties (shared with the other coverup pattern pieces).

In general, this skirt comes out too big around to tie snugly around the doll's waist, even too large for my doll (larger waist then the American Model). Also, the lack of pattern notches and the disconnect between the written pattern instructions and the included drawings is a little confusing.

The front pattern piece is asymmetrical and, along with no notches, it is unclear which edge of the asym front piece should be sewn to the back of the skirt. Careful examination of the illustrations provided indicates the skirt should close right over left. I goofed and mine closes backwards.

Also, the lefthand edge of the front pattern pieces (as viewed from the printed side) matches best in length with the back pattern piece. Taking all this into account, it is necessary to cut the draped pattern piece face down on the right side of the fabric, and the other front piece face up on the right side of the fabric. The back piece and waistband do not matter since they are symmetrical. If your fabric has no right and wrong side, ignore all that.

The pattern piece for the ties has one end angled. The directions confusingly refer to the "curved end" and direct you to fold the waistband in half, sew it, and turn it. This won't work with one angled end.
The illustration shows the ties with turned under edges, which matches the intention of the original pattern, yielding a wider, less stiff tie.
In addition to the construction of the ties, the illustrations show that the ties were to be integrated into the waistband, rather than sewn into the seam allowance below the waistband as the written directions would have. The waistband/tie illustration also answers the puzzle of the far-too-short waistband piece. Inserting the ties into the waistband, rather than sewing them in the seam below the waistband, requires a two-piece waistband.

Left hand of pic: tie inserted at end of waistband. Right hand of pic: two-piece waistband and inserted tie

Tie inserted between the two waistband sections

Two-part waistband stitched together on the inside of the waist

The top was straightforward to construct with three pattern pieces: front, back, and straps, all cut twice. I chose to attach the shoulder straps separately, rather than incorporating them into the lining/fabric seam. I added a band to enclose the gathering at the center front to cover up my messy stitching there. 

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