The folder with today's photos has been gathering dust for a long time. It's among the first things I wanted to write about, but somehow it got overlooked. I kept thinking that Tanya would be very mad at me for sitting on my butt without being productive. Yesterday I dared to wear mascara again after her death; today I finished this. It's a post about fixing one of the most common problems with factory doll clothes - the hook-and-loop tape (velcro) closure. It's a useful and fairly easy modification. Below you'll see two ways to replace the tape with snaps.
Meet the red shorts:
This is as far as they would close after I left them unsupervised with a 10-year old. As in, not at all. This often happens, even when no children are involved. Sometimes there are so many stitches on top of the tape that the hooks never have a chance to grab onto the fluff.
Another reason to get rid of the tape is the snagging. You know how velcro shoe straps have a tendency to find lace stockings, but not cheap socks? Yeah, the same works for dolls - the more delicate the fabric, the bigger the chance of snagging. The tape hates you.
And then there's plain old sloppy sewing. Meet the pink dress:
Leaving aside the stitching holding the tape that looks like train tracks, the halves were misaligned and there was that horrible fold, the overlocking hem sticking out and the skirt was also tight; I had to open the seam anyway. I did buy that doll for the outfit only, so there was no question that it had to be saved. I fixed it and documented the snap swap.
First of all, I undid the back seam. This is not necessary unless the whole seam has problems, which was my case. It's actually better to leave at least a bit intact in order to keep the garment together. For the red shorts, I ripped just the stitches that held the tape:
|They are inside out.|
You can see needle holes where the top half of the tape was
Usually you'll find that the edges are left raw. Hem them, going a little beyond the point where factory stitching begins (the one that you ripped). The bottom part of the closure requires an overlocking stitch (I used a blanket stitch), or you can melt it if the fabric allows, and the top one has to be a nice straight stitch. This is how I did the top:
Time to sew the snaps! Or snap, because the shorts needed only one. I used this kind from Dritz, size 4/0 (the smallest):
They are about 4mm, made of brass and come in silver and black. I have another type of clear plastic snaps, they are flatter but bigger (6-7mm) and more difficult to sew and photograph. They lack the centre hole. It's useful for placing the snap exactly where you need it.
I always sew the top half first because I want to position it nicely in relation to the visible garment edge. The bottom half can fall anywhere. On the red shorts, I sewed the hole half first because it's the biggest in diameter. It needs some distance from the edge to be fully covered by it, which is something I may forget if I start with the peg half. However, the bottom of the "hole" may show as an unsightly bulge from the outside. Here it is finished. There is no bulge because the fabric is very stiff.
I don't know the correct way to sew snaps. I always place 2-3 stitches into each of the edge holes and move along until the whole perimeter is completed. This shows as four neat points on the visible part of the garment (see above), but inside it's a bit messier.
On the pink dress, I sewed the peg halves first. As I said, they need to be a little further from the edge than hole halves, because they are smaller. An easy way to make sure the whole snap is completely covered with the fabric edge is to close the halves and pin them together. I forgot to take a photo of this. Here is the top part of the snap closure with two peg halves. I used black thread for both hem and snaps.
|I'll take another picture where one of the snaps |
has both halves, to explain the edge distance, promise
It's practically invisible on the patterned fabric.
Now we're ready to align the bottom halves. My favourite way to do this is by putting the garment on the doll and painting the peg with something that will leave a mark on the fabric. If the hole half is the one on top, I paint the hole outline. I used a simple gel pen. You can use tailor's chalk if you worry about stains.
|The top peg is painted, the bottom one isn't|
Then I pull the dress in the correct position with my hands and quickly press the overlapping parts together while the ink is still wet.
This leaves little circles that guide the pin holding the other half.
Once the placing is marked, I sew the remaining halves in the same manner. This dress had many fitting issues, but I think the new closure is the one thing that turned out pretty decent:
There is another way to mark the spot for the second half of the snap that leaves no stain whatsoever. You need a piece of weak sticky paper, like masking tape or sticky notes, to stick under the bottom edge of the garment, as demonstrated on the red shorts:
Arrange the garment and push a pin vertically from the outside through the hole in the centre of the snap, into the second layer of fabric until you can hear it pierce the paper. It helps if you find the snap hole beforehand, like in the picture above. I pulled the layers apart to show what's happening, but there should be no space between them when the pin is pushed.
This procedure makes a very noticeable hole in the sticky paper.
Leave the paper there until the snap is pinned down, then rip it out.
Ta-da! All done, and no stains.
A single snap was all it took to hold these stiff shorts together.
The closure is strong enough to stay closed even when the doll is seated. There is no way to do that in velcro'd trousers!
The beautiful doll is my flea market Nikki. I think she's perfect to show this outfit while the original doll is undergoing some, um, operations. I photoshopped the pink lipstick out because I didn't have a chance to do a repaint.
We've reached the end of the tutorial. What do you think of snaps versus hook-and-loop tape? What kind of closures do you prefer on doll clothes and how do you align them? Where do you buy your supplies? I'd like to hear your opinion in the comments below!
I'm leaving you with a completely unrelated picture of Nikki. I just undid her year-old Dutch braid and I love the effect.
Have fun crafting!
The Black Kitty