“Special Project, Special Feet”

My nephew’s little girl is two and will turn three during the first week in January.  She is never seen without a doll in her hands, so for Christmas and for her birthday, we are getting her dolls and I am making them some outfits.  She loves pink, purple and blue, so those are the colors of the clothes I am making.

A few of the fabrics I have to choose from. These are quilting cottons and knits.

What is fun about this gift is that I am using materials and embellishments that have some family history to them, which she might appreciate when she’s older.  As I have been working, I have been making good use of some special feet I have for my machine.   If you are tackling a project like this one, you may want to use these same feet that might be in your stash of presser feet too!

In making doll clothes, you use all of the same techniques you would in regular garment construction, just on a smaller scale.  Since all the seam allowances are ¼”, I used my Adjustable ¼” Piecing Foot with Guide (Husqvarna Viking, Pfaff).

Due to its versatility, this is my go-to presser foot whenever I need to sew a 1/4″ seam.

The foot, with the oblong needle opening, allows me to stitch an exact ¼” seam but also gives me the flexibility to create a scant ¼” by moving the needle position to the right using the width adjustment control or make the seam allowance larger by moving the needle position to the left.  I frequently use this foot for piecing quilt tops and love its versatility.  (If you decide to use a regular ¼” piecing foot with center needle position ability only, please remember to set your machine’s stitch width safety in the Settings Menu!)

My next task in this clothing adventure:  gather 40” of skirt material down to fit a 10” waistband. 

The task: gather 40″ of material down to 10″ to fit the green fabric waistband (on the left of the long piece of fabric)!

Using basting stitches to gather was not going to be strong enough for the task, so I zig-zagged over an inexpensive piece of perle cotton using my Narrow Braid Cord foot (Husqvarna Viking, Pfaff) and its guide.

The perle cotton I use for this is very inexpensive but strong enough to hold the gathering.

I just set the perle cotton inside the machine bed and made sure to keep enough unwound from the spool to keep it feeding nicely into the guide.  I didn’t even have to guide it with my hands:  the foot and guide did all the work for me.

The gathering cord is stitched just inside the seam allowance so I won’t have to remove any stitches after I’m done. Once the skirt is gathered and attached I simply pull out the cord to lessen the bulk.

The zig-zag stitch just needs to be wide enough to cover the perle cotton so it moves freely in the casing of thread.

The zig-zag is just big enough to allow the perle cotton to move freely. Gathering is a breeze!

Since the perle cotton is fairly heavy, it is able to handle the large amount of gathering needed for this skirt that uses 2 different layers of fabric gathered together as one.  As you can see, there are 4 dresses and 4 play outfits, so this little girl should have fun for hours.

4 new dresses…..
…and 4 play outfits.

Doll clothes are a great place to use those fun mini embroidery designs, too! Happy sewing!

From “Amazing Designs Mini Emblems” embroidery collection.
From Pfaff’s “Mini Decorator” embroidery collection.