Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Mood for Mods: Flattening seams

Today I'm opening a new tag dedicated to doll tutorials. Mood for Mods (as in "modifications") deals with ways of fixing or restyling factory doll outfits. Skirt too short or too tight? Shoes with floppy heels? No problem! Are you in the mood for mods? Let's see what can be done!

I have thought a lot about the idea for this series and I finally decided to go with it. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I like to have everything my way. I can't bear to dress dolls in outfits with glaring faults and I don't want to throw them away either. So far I successfully modified a few items and a couple are still in progress. Yesterday was my birthday so I want to celebrate it with a story about my doll gift, PD Spectra, and how I fixed her misshapen sleeves.

Very often doll clothes designers take shortcuts, especially when sewing for small inexpensive dolls. This results in unhemmed edges, crooked lines and the problem we'll be addressing today - seams that don't lie flat. They occur when two pieces of fabric are sewn together with a straight seam on the wrong side:

Now, the obvious answer for this is to spread the seaming allowance open and iron the seam. But what to do when when this happens inside a tiny tube of fabric, like, say, a Monster High sleeve?

Left (doll's right): the original state of the sleeve.
Only after fixing the seam does the shape become clear (doll's left).

Spectra was supposed to have flared sleeves cut at an angle, but instead there was a curled mess of fabric. Not pretty! My solution? A second seam to tame the first one into obedience!

In the picture above you can see the initial seam in blue, and both seaming allowances folded to one side and joined to the top fabric with the green seam. I use a backstitch that shows very short stitches on the right side. This is what it looks like on the first dress I modified this way:

I used white thread and it took me about five minutes, but it makes a huge difference. I didn't have a camera so here I pinned some of the dress to show what it looked like before. It's very stiff fabric.

Now the skirt is a nice circle:

The same went for Spectra's sleeves, only it was too small to photograph. I may have stuck a small roll of paper inside to keep the sleeve open. It's still less work than to fit an iron in there!

I hope this first little tutorial was clear. Soon in Mood for Mods:
- replacing hook-and-loop tape with snaps
- fixing a tight skirt
- stabilizing bendy heels
- a whole dress makeover
- What do you want to see next? Suggestions are welcome!

I'm very optimistic about this project of mine and I'd like to hear what you think of it. Will Mood for Mods be useful to you? ~(^^)

I'm quite happy with what I managed to do in the blog this year. I hope to continue successfully what I started. See you again in 2014!

May the New Year bring us joy, fulfillment and more exciting challenges!

The Black Kitty


  1. How clever. I think the work comes out better if you do it yourself. Thank you for sharing the tutorial.

    1. True! If you want something done well, you can't trust anyone else to do it but yourself :) At least this is often the case in my experience.

  2. I'd love to see more tutorials like this because I'm trying to learn how to sew and I could use extra pointers on doll clothes.

    1. I'm learning too! I'm glad you find my little experience helpful. I think the next post in the series will be about replacing velcro with snaps.


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