Sunday, November 4, 2012


There is another sewing thread on Den of Angels: "Winter Wonderland"
I participated in the last version of this thread: Halloween, and had a blast making costumes.

This time I'm aiming for skiing and skating costumes, vintage of course. I consulted my Dover reprint of selected images from the Sears catalogs of the 1940s and set about altering a coat pattern into a skating jacket.

I am fairly pleased with my prototype and I've decided to share it and my thoughts on where to go from here and what decisions I made that did not really work out.

I tried several new things: polyester microsuede fabric, quilting, a zipper, and vented sleeves.

The microsuede is a royal pain the butt. It does not want to feed through any of my sewing machines. It stretches and curls unexpectedly. 
I hate it. 
I'll use a cotton poplin (what winter outwear was often made from in the 1940s) for the next version.

Some of the examples of jackets are quilted. I quilted a layer of microsuede and cotton quilting fabric together then cut out the pieces. 
Quilting did help tame the microsuede but was actually quite bulky. I like the quilting on the front of the jacket, but I think the back will be plain next time. I wisely did not quilt the sleeves.

The zipper (from ZipperThatDoll) is a nice lightweight separating zipper. The non-separating zipper she sells are even smaller scale. I like the zipper but I think I'll try finding an alternate zipper pull - maybe some kind of winter-themed charm I can jump-ring in place. Snowflake? I'll see what I can find.

I am not going to finish this jacket since it has enough flaws I don't want to look at it any more, so I will not be finishing the sleeves. I believe my vented sleeves will work, and make the garment easier to put on over the doll's hands. 
I need to figure out when in the sewing process I can most effectively finish the cuffs. My goal is to do NO handsewing at all on this type of garment, since I think I will eventually offer this kind of thing for sale and want to be as efficient as possible.
I shall consult a lined jacket pattern (human-scale) from Jalie patterns I've made in the past. It has no handsewing at all and I think I can adapt those construction techniques for a doll jacket.

Part of the bulky seam issues I had with the quilting came from my successful attempt at an "action back" cut.
The action back has either a single pleat in the center of the back, or, as in this case, pleats at the upper edges of the jacket.

Part of the point of collecting and dressing ABJD is their amazing posing ability and I hate to see the dolls in garments that interfere with that ability.
My placement of the back pleats required me to construct the sleeves in two pieces, with a top seam and a bottom seam. I don't mind that, as it does give me more flexibility in laying out the pattern pieces, and I have better control over setting in the sleeves to the body.
However, my quilting made the pleated shoulder seams incredibly bulky. I will not do THAT again. An alternative may be to start the action back pleats below a back yoke. I might consider that for an upcoming man's jacket.
I should probably sew the top 1/4" of the pleats down, as I did at the waist. This may let me revert to a single-piece sleeve.

The fit of the front is not quite what I'd like: I got the bust of the garment too high and the front waist a bit too wide. Both are easy fixes.

I deliberately poked the offending section here, to make it even more obvious.

The side seam is rotating to the front in this picture, meaning there is excess fabric at the waist and below on the front of the garment only.

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