Swing Top- Tutorial for pattern and sewing

I saw a top I wanted to make but it didn’t come in the sizes I wanted. Doll and under 6 months. So I decided I could draw my own and now I’ll show you how.

Before we go any further yes it does resemble the Lucy top by Shwin & Shwin and that is the top I saw but this is my own work using a free pattern.

You will need:

  • shirt or other a line top pattern that fits well and includes sleeves
  • pencil and paper
  • main fabric and lining fabric- doll sizes use about 1 FQ/ 1/4 metre and newborn uses 1/2- full metre with careful layout
  • 1-2 big buttons
  • matching thread

First you will need a shirt or pinafore pattern, something with an a-line shape to it or you won’t get the swing effect from it. I used this pattern by scaling up and down for the sizes I needed. It’s a pattern I’ve used before and know fits well but instructions are in french so just click the red writing to access the pattern. You can use a pinafore dress pattern and shorten it but you also need sleeves.

First off grab the back pattern piece of your shirt and copy it off onto a piece of paper. If it is a place on the fold type you will need to flip it and draw the other side so you have the full back piece. I had to stick pieces of paper together.

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You can use the back piece we just drew but you will need to add about 1cm to hem and 0.5cm to shoulder grading down to sleeve subtlely. This is for the back piece only.

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Next job you need to follow from one shoulder the neck found about 1/4 of the way then gently dip lower whilst following another 2/4 of the neckline round you will then create a curved shoulder using the should as a guide. Aim for the curved part to be about 0.5cm min smaller than actual shoulder.

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Bring it round to created a curve that flattens out just past the centre of back. (indicated by paper join)

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Because you are using a pattern the seam allowances already are added so don’t draw your front piece too small because when sewn will end up smaller. This is also why we add to the back piece.

Using the back piece as a guide cut out a back yoke that will go from shoulder to shoulder and interface the neck line. alternatively you can fully line the back as well as the fronts but this would be different construction to what I will show you and use more fabric.

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Cut out 4 fronts ( 2 outer, 2 linings and ensure they are opposites), 1 back and 2 sleeves.

Lining on top of pattern side to show 2 opposites.

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SEWING

Unless otherwise stated please use 0.5cm seam allowance.

To start you need to place 2 fronts together, a lining and main fabric, right sides together (pattern side against lining fabric) and sew around neck line, curved shoulder and curved front. Repeat for other side

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Trim edge, turn out and iron.

Next place the back yoke against right side and sew along neck. Turn to inside and iron. Then sew along curved edge to secure. You may wish to top stitch neck as well.

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Place the square shoulders of front pieces to back pieces against pattern sides together and sew in place.

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Sew the side seam of back piece to outer layer of front piece on both sides.  Make sure front lining doesn’t get caught in the stitching.

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Turn lining of front piece under 0.5-1 cm and pin to match the seam you made stitching in place to secure the lining and hide the side seam. Repeat for other side.

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Next finish your back piece seam. I zigzagged along the bottom edge and turned up to match length of front piece, sewing in place with straight stitch.

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Hem your sleeves by turning up 0.5cm twice to create closed hem and sewing.

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Place the straight edges together and sew to form your sleeve. Cut by the cuff at an angle and zig zag or serge along seam to secure the raw edge. Trimming this stops any over hanging seam when worn. Repeat for other sleeve.

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Turn your top inside out and place sleeve in arm hole matching the curved top edge to shoulder seam (top) and seam of sleeve to side seam of top. (where my finger is).

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Sew in place and finish the raw edge.

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You may wish to add your sleeve before sewing side seams and having unhidden seams.

You can use snaps or buttons and now it’s time to add them. If you are using buttons make button hole angle from middle of curved shoulder towards middle of top rather than straight down. (black lines)image101

Alternatively you can add kam snaps. If you only use one button make sure to add a hidden sewn on snap to the other side so doesn’t slip down inside, or you can place a snap onto the lining before constructing the top.

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I made a point of using unisex colours to show it can be suitable for boys too! If you’re not into this style for boys no worries because it’s still cute for girls in ‘boy’ fabrics.

You can pretty it up or down by adding lace or ruffles.

Doll versions ranging from 7- 14 inch, using snap fasteners:

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Newborn size with short sleeve and one button; and 0-3 month size with coordinating fabrics and 2 buttons:

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tracy

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Ringer Onesie by Shwin & Shwin Pattern review

Please note I chose to review this pattern after ‘purchasing’ it and using it for my own use. This was not asked of me.

The Ringer Onesie is a free pattern by Shwin & Shwin. You still have to go through a checkout routine but it will cost you nothing. S&S do a raglan version also. I also used their harem style Baby Knit Pants Pattern which is also free.

After seeing the fish version on Shwin and Shwin blog I wanted a funky bright set too! I chose a red spot jersey to match with a teal hedgehog print. So cute! The onesie is worked as a one piece so no extra sleeves to add on only seams and edges to sort out. The only flaw I found here is it tends to ruched up when worn. However it is a lovely fit and for FREE you can 3-9 month sizes. The instructions were very clear and easy to follow.

It is done with maximum ease to all levels. I struggled a bit with the poppers at crotch as first one turned out a little messy I also accidentally put poppers on wrong sections BUT… it works.

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Next up I made this version and doing it a second time round is so much easier and it’s easily a half hour to max of an hour project with the harems taking even less time.

I found with this version thought that because the fabric was thinner the neck looks gathered more than the red one does but when worn that pulls out and isn’t noticeable. However on a girl it’s a quite nice oops addition.

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You use little fabric too and the edgings are perfect for straps you have no other use for. I have to say this combo is my favourite for sure. Like the onesie the pants are few pieces and no complicated sewing.

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As usual I needed to hack the pattern a little with the help of the Eclipse t-shirt by MBJM and the onesie I created a hooded long sleeve version which looks very adorable on!

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GOOD POINTS

  • Designed to be as easy as possible with few seams
  • Quick projects to make (tops of an hour)
  • Uses little fabric
  • For free you get good range of sizes of the onesie that be used for all sorts
  • Clear instructions with pictures which is always a bonus
  • Onesie comes with a raglan version to try.
  • Great for using up scraps and small parts of fabric
  • Lovely cute design that use is like many others out there but will last for many years

BAD POINTS

  • Pants only come in one size but for free you can’t really complain
  • I would have preferred a way to use the onesie leg and crotch strip to go all the way round. Construction dictates it stops on the straight section and mine wasn’t overly neat as a result.
  • I found it gathered in places I didn’t want but I will add once worn provide snug fit that smooths that right out.
  • Long sleeve version for onesie and yoga pant waist for harems would have been a nice option.

Overall I can’t really complain the patterns are free, perfect for my project and have had many compliments. I will continue to use these patterns for younger babies.

tracy

Jumper Dress for 6 inch Ellery by Amy Carrico – Pattern Review

Please note I chose to write this review after buying and using pattern for my own use. I was not asked to write this review and is my own words and pictures.

After searching for crochet patterns for my 7 inch clay doll I found many were for smaller, wider dolls and in my opinion expensive for what they were. Then I came across this pattern – Jumper Dress– after searching for 6-9 inch dolls in hope to adjust. This is for a 6 inch doll so I upped a half hoo size and added extra rows to onesie torso to make it fit. The dress fit perfectly.

With the pattern you get booties and hat to make as well as the vest and dress. For £3.30 bargain compared to many others I have seen.

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The onesie worked up fairly fast but I found the initial section confusing at first. You work the pattern bottom down by crocheting the crotch to hips then rejoining to do the back. You then work in rounds and rows to form the onesie in one piece.

The dress was super easy and quick to work up with a cute faux lace underlayer added to hem.

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The booties again were quick and made to look like mary jane shoes with frilly socks. The hat I found a challenge as falls off my dolls head but the whole set is so cute and would work is so many different colour combinations too.

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The onesie is great to go with other outfits as well. I wish I had made a white version but at time I didn’t know if would have enough thread and I kind of like the silver now.

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GOOD POINTS

  • Great value for money with choice of whole outfit or separate parts to mix and match
  • With some effort you could make the dress into a skirt and the onesie into a top, playsuit or jumpsuit.
  • Lovely simple but pretty design
  • Easy instructions once get past initial starting point
  • Quick project but took just as long as a full size baby dress might

BAD POINTS

  • A few simple progress pictures would have made this even better and would have save some confusion
  • I wish the designer did more outfits especially geared towards both genders as these sizes for good price are so hard to find.
  • Small buttons are hard to find and think stating the right width of button to get would have helped me collect supplies before starting
  • Personally didn’t like the hat style for my doll and think a pretty bonnet or headband would have been better.

Overall I bought this for the clothes and I love it! This pattern has encouraged me to use more thread in my projects and given me the fire to make more tiny clothes.

As you can see it looks simple adorable on.

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tracy

Eclipse top and dress by MBJM Pattern Review

Please note I have chosen to write this review in my own words without request due to buying and using this pattern for my own use.

What can I say about this pattern apart from I’m a little obsessed with it! You can buy this from Made by Jacks Mum website or from Etsy- MBJM Eclipse T-shirt and Dress. This pattern is from newborn to age 8. You can make a t-shirt, hooded top, dress without or without hood and with my usual adjustments I’ve found it great for making hooded onesies for babies.

This was my first one. After being bought a hooded top for him and me loving it on him to making my own version that wasn’t quite right I came across this top. It is a fairly baggy fit and he’s wearing a size 4 here but I’ve since made for friends and they look great!

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Here are a couple t-shirt options as you can tell it looks great in combos and block colour with applique (which btw is very hard on jersey for a novice jersey applique-r).

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Same shirt but with no hood and looks great again but I do personally prefer this top as a hooded version but that’s just me. These are size 1 and 5. imageimage

At first I was unsure of the cross over hood style and worried it would add bulk to it or get in way. But it really doesn’t. As it’s a top you use thinner jersey instead of thicker hoodie suitable fabrics so creates a lovely soft neckline. The hood is a great thing too. You cut out on two fold so the only seam runs up the back and you don’t get that boxy look some hoods can have.

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To make the onesie version I used the ringer onesie to extend it to the crotch. This became tricky and wouldn’t say was a very easy hack so therefore would say to use MBJM’s pattern that is same instead. The ringer onesie is a slimmer fit and when I matched the waists to extend the crotch area it ended up about 3 inches too long. If you do the same I recommend giving the ringer more ease and adjusting the MBJM hood to fit.  If I decide to make more I will be buying the pattern though.

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The other problem I found is it make the leg arch a bit square which for a reborn (below) is perfect a baby not so much.

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Next up was the dress version. I had some jersey scraps so doll versions had to made. The pattern doesn’t come with doll sizes so I used my favourite method to scale down to 8 and 14 inch doll sizes.

The smallest size I made in short sleeves as was pretty difficult to get on an 8 inch clay doll with anything longer. I accidentally made the doll versions with t-shirt length torso so they have low waists when shouldnt but for the dolls it works.

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I then made child versions and made same mistake of cutting the waist too low. It looks a little unusual!!

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I then finally got it right and boy does it help to get it right haha. It looks boxy and shapeless on a hanger but when it’s on it looks great. (see below)

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GOOD POINTS

  • Great value for money with so many options to use.
  • Clear size charts- I ended up making a size 7 for a 3 year old based on her measurements and fit perfectly.
  • Quick easy construction with full details to maximise ease and minimise any ugly parts like start and end of sewing.
  • Simple design that doesn’t get old and can be used endlessly. Also great for pj tops, gifts or with a bit of fixing onesies and doll clothes.

BAD POINTS

  • I think it would benefit from extra sizes as t-shirts and dresses don’t really have an age limit.
  • A package to get the parts you need and don’t need would be great. This pattern is great and worth it just for the t-shirt option but for someone like me with 2 sons they may find the dress option unuseable. I’d also love the option to add MBJM’s onesie pattern to this pattern without buying a whole new pattern. It’s not a bad point but think would certainly make me love it even more (if that’s even possible)
  • I can’t stop making it… literally!
  • There are way TOO many options I could try!!!! I’ll never make anything else again hehe and possibly never eat again with all the fabric options I’d love to try

Overall I love this pattern and look forward to a time when bundles are an option.

tracy

 

Circle Skirt by Dana Made It- Pattern Review

Please note I chose to write this review after using this pattern for my own use and was not asked to write this and all pictures are my own.

The Little Baby Circle Skirt by Dana Made It  comes in one size- Newborn. It is a great size for 0-3 months babies too with a little extra added to length and a little taken off the waist. It comes to above knee so won’t interfere with baby wanting to kick and easy access for nappy changing.

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You simple sew on an elastic waistband and then hem it.

Super quick and easy project that uses a FQ so it’s really handy for those cute fabrics you can only afford a tiny amount of.

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I made a matching headband from the scraps left over from waist circle and looks so cute teamed with a plain jumper, blouse or t-shirt.

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You can use many tutorials out there to create your own size of circle skirt then use Dana Made it’s instructions for sewing on an exposed waistband which unless you plan to wear the skirt with a tucked in  or cropped top doesn’t show. You can now purchase different colours and patterns of elastic so you could make a fun statement if waistband was to be on show. Dana also has a tutorial for dyeing your own elastic so now you aren’t limited.

I made this version using online instructions to make a bigger version with the Dana made it waistband. Since making this though I have spotted Dana now has a tutorial for making your own with simple easy instructions. Check it out- The Circle Skirt

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GOOD POINTS

  • Uses little fabric so you can finally buy that £12 a metre fabric and still make something cute
  • Cute design
  • Easy and fast to make
  • No measuring needed just print, cut & sew
  • Great for newborns with shorter length
  • Depending on fabric you chose can turn out to be a cheap sew
  • Great gift with so many options for use- tulle underlayer or you could layer organza to make a pretty fairy like skirt
  • It’s FREE!

BAD POINTS

  • Wish it came in bigger sizes as sometimes working out circle skirts for kids is headachey even with instructions- I want a pattern!
  • May be no good for cloth bum babies as may end up shorter length which means your FQ project just turned into a metre project unless you like the short skirt look.
  • If you have no tags you can’t hide the elastic join. You could use ribbon or add a bow like I did on the last picture

Overall a great easy project if looking for a fast sew with no fuss and in newborn size but for right price I would buy a ready drawn version to save me needing to do math for bigger versions.

tracy

 

Sami Dolls Flutter Sleeve Romper Pattern Review

Please note this pattern is my own choice and words and was not asked for. I am writing this review after buying this pattern and using it.

I am reviewing the Flutter Sleeve Romper by Sami Dolls.

I bought this pattern after needing a 12-14 inch doll outfit. Now it is designed for waldorf dolls that I’ve come to realise have a shorter body than another sort of doll so first off I had to lengthen the torso which is easy to do with it being a 2 piece outfit. I simply added about an inch to the waist.

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The outfit itself is adorable and super easy to make with a lined bodice. Again waldorf have a different body so I found making the arm hole slightly bigger worked better for my dolls arm movement with a touch added to side seams (about 0.5cm). Despite this I have used this pattern a lot and for me was worth the buy.

 

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Once I figured out the bodice and found it a great fit I used it for other things dresses mostly. Just add a circle skirt or gathered skirt and voila cute dresses!!  The sleeves from both I took from a doll blouse pattern I scaled down. The tartan dress was made from adult pj pants and the black dress is lace layered over gold tulle and black cotton with lace and ribbon added to bodice.

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I also used the same pattern to make an 8 inch doll version. Now the pattern does come for 8-18 inch dolls but I found again there was slight extra needed for a baby doll. I found on my smaller doll it gaped at the neck and pull on the crotch area so adding extra to waist would have helped or to bottom of bodice.

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GOOD POINTS

  • multi sized pattern that is very cute
  • great instructions, clear pattern and uses very little fabric
  • can be used for other garments with a bit of creativity.

BAD POINTS

  • I wish I could make more but I’m afraid I don’t have the space!
  • It would be good to have instructions for altering for other types of dolls and would make this pattern worth it to a wider audience saying that it’s not really a negative.

I love this pattern and will continue to use it! I would love to make it for a bigger doll that is more real baby size.

tracy

Sweetheart Dress by P4P- Pattern Review

Please note this is a pattern review that has not been asked for and is my own choice to write this up as I recently used this product.

After buying this outlandish but oh so pretty fabric I asked around for a dress pattern it’s too nice to have as a simple tee in my opinion the Sweetheart Dress was recommended to me. On the listing page you can see examples of dresses made by testers who are many sizes! PERFECT! As a non slim girl I find it difficult to commit to patterns not knowing if they’ll cling and look awful or tent out and make me look like a human brick.

Adding fabric, notions and pattern this dress cost me  around £30 to make so certainly not cheap but it’s unique and would cost me 3 times that to have it hand made for me.

GOOD POINTS

  • easy to follow pattern and instructions
  • quick to make- took me about 3 sessions to complete
  • very flattering from the front and back
  • Lots of combos- you can make a peplum top, dress, racer back versions, colour block versions and solid versions. If you’re crafty you could even make a simple tee or tunic from it.

BAD POINTS (sort of)

  • takes a lot of paper to print onto for one size- about 35 pages if i remember right
  • I needed thicker jersey as side on the skirt part doesn’t flatter me as much as hoped as clings slightly
  • I found the instructions didn’t give enough of a comprehensive list of materials I could use especially for the mesh/lace option and not being that up to date on all the various kinds I was bit confused without doing bit of research.
  • I didn’t have enough fabric for the full skirt so had to cut as 2 half circles and sew together then I bought extra for a black hem. Next time I will only buy a fabric that I know is enough fabric to fit it all on.

FAVOURITE BITS

The part I loved the most about this pattern was the finishing of seams. I have never come across this method before but it will no doubt be my new go to method for sure.

You layer your edge  with the wrong edge against the fuzzy side of fold over elastic (FOE).

Now I will say in past I’ve had a hate- hate relationship with FOE and was a tad unsure but me being me it sounded cheapest and easiest option.

You match the edge with the subtle line that runs through the elastic. Zig zag stitch the hem and elastic together. Once complete fold it over at the middle line and sew in place. You end up with the shiny side finishing your hem/edge and looks beautiful! It’s so easy to do as well and because you sew it to the wrong side the zig zag stitch is hidden inside.

Great for necklines and hems you just don’t stretch it for hems unless looking for an unusual look.

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Here it is. Excuse the fact I wasn’t photo ready and the cat is wrong way round. I love the fabric but in hindsight I would have needed about 3 metres of it to make this dress work as it should have with no sideways cat faces. Saying that I don’t regret the make and will still wear it endlessly.

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tracy