SEE SEWING BOOKLETS PAGE FOR DOLL FITTING & PATTERN MAKING BOOKLETS
HOW TO ENLARGE PATTERN INSTRUCTION PIECES TO
MAKE A PATTERN FOR YOUR FASHION DOLL
*You will need accurate doll measurements to do this - if you are uncertain as to how
take these measurements, check out the measuring/fitting page
NOTE: Book recommended for beginning sewers. It contains a lot of basic sewing/fitting techniques, terms, basic fabric/thread information, hints on buying a sewing machine/serger, etc.
1. Start with the pattern instruction sheet and find the picture of the pattern pieces
(it will look like the picture left above).
For this tutorial I am using a pattern with princess seams. If your pattern has darts, the darts won't be
marked on the pattern instruction pictures. You will have to put them in after enlarging the pieces.
A basic sloper that fits the doll correctly is useful for this.
2. Make a copy of the pattern pieces shown on the instruction sheet using a copier - enlarging the page
a little (I used 125% for this particular example) so that the pieces aren't quite so small. Picture can also
be scanned onto your hard drive and enlarged using a photo editing program.
3. Cut out each of the pieces (from the copy sheet) that you want to use, leaving a small margin of white around
the black lines of the pattern piece - the black lines will be the seamline. (After enlarging the pieces to the size
required and doing any necessary alterations, seam allowances will be added.)
These pattern pieces shown above are on the instruction sheet and will be enlarged to
create a pattern to fit a Tyler Wentworth doll using a woven fabric.
NOTE: The percentages I use in this example are for this particular exercise only. They will differ depending on what
you are starting with and what doll you are creating a pattern for. For example, if you are using a costume book
you will need to measure the pattern pieces in the book (following the example below on measuring the pattern
picture pieces) and then follow the steps outlined to figure out the percentage of enlargement (or shrinkage).
Likewise, if you are using a doll pattern and want to enlarge or shrink it for a doll that the pattern
is not designed for, follow these steps once again to determine your percentage amounts.
4. Line up the pieces so that you can measure them along the bustline to
I use the bust measurement to determine the percentage of enlargement for a bodice - I can more easily change the shoulder, body length, armhole size and waist. But I want the bustline to fit properly. So I mark the bust point on the
5. Once I determine the bust measurement of the pattern pieces thus far, I determine what I want the final
Formula example for enlargement:
If you are shrinking a pattern, just do the opposite - in other words, divide the smaller number
6. I scan the copies of the pattern pieces individually into my computer so that I can work with them in my photo editing program to enlarge, brighten, clarify, etc. At this point I have just scanned in the 4 dress body pieces - I will work with the other pieces I want to use (the yoke/collar piece and sleeves) once I do the major fitting alterations to the body of the dress.
7. I enlarge each piece using the 269% - and print out the pieces so that I can start to measure the
I do a LOT of measuring of the pattern before I ever get to a mock-up stage. I do this for both human garments
8. My next step is to start measuring these enlarged pieces to see what alterations I want to make before
The bust point measurement I have measured on Tyler is 1-7/8" from mid shoulder to bustpoint. Hmmm, I've lucked out
9. The next measurement I look at is the 'bust point-to-bust point' to see of the princess lines will fall across the
As you can see, the shoulder line of the dress does extend slightly compared to the doll's -
HOWEVER, from doing a body assessment of Tyler I note that she has very square shoulders - and the pattern has a strong slope. So I change the shoulder line slightly to give me room to check this during the mock-up (this adjustment is done on both the front and back shoulder pieces).
10. At this point when I visually compare the pattern against the doll and I can see that there are a few areas that will need some adjustment. I take the side front piece and tape it on the doll to get a better visual - placing the bust point mark on the pattern on the doll's bust point. Tyler is VERY long waisted - as you can see from the picture below.
I mark the pattern pieces at what appears to be the smallest waistline curve, and once again draw lines across all of the pattern pieces (the dashed red line is where I have figured the waistline to be on the pattern). After taking the pattern 'shoulder to waist' measurements on both the back and fronts of the pattern piece, I compare them to Tyler's measurements. I determine that this pattern will have to be lengthened 3/4" above the waistline to drop the waistline into proper position. You can also see that this pattern skirt part is going to be way too short and will need lengthening. This is very typical of what you will find in either enlarging the instruction pieces or shrinking actual pattern pieces to create a pattern for a fashion doll. (Fashion dolls are built on a fashion drawing scale - which is approximately one head height taller than the average human. A human pattern is geared for approximately a 5'6" person.) The actual waist circumference measurement of the pattern is 6-1/2" and Tyler measures 4-1/2" - so I will leave that measurement as is for now. If I desire a tighter fit once I do the mock-up, this is an easy alteration to make during the first fitting. Also, the hip measurement is fuller than Tyler's - so once again I will make note of those adjustments in the mock-up. Both of these are easy to do in the mock-up stage - and I can see how the entire garment is going to drape before making the fitting decisions on these areas.
11. To adjust the waist length, slash the pattern pieces approximately 1/4" above the waistline marking and tape in a piece of paper to extend each pattern piece by 3/4" to drop the waistline. To help line up the pieces after they are slashed, I extend the grainline to go into the upper part of the pattern piece before I cut it apart. After taping in the extension piece I redraw the curved lines connecting the top of the piece to the bottom (see picture below right).
12. I now want to determine the total length of the dress and add the necessary extra to the bottom of each pattern piece. (The skirt can be slashed and a piece inserted just like was done for the waist length, however I prefer to add the length to the bottom of each piece so it will give the skirt a wider flare at the hemline. This is purely a personal preference.) I take a measurement of the doll from waist to the bottom of the stand (because I want the stand to be covered with this particular design) and extend the skirt to that length plus 1" for a hem.
14. Before I will fit the mock-up of this particular pattern, I need to enlarge and fit the yoke pieces. The dress must fit
One alteration that I've found to be quite consistent when using a human pattern to create a doll clothes pattern
I make another mock up of the yoke and try it on the doll to see how it works - and I'm pleased so zig-zag the
15. After pin-fitting I mark (with a chalk pencil or fabric marker) the changes
After stitching on the new lines I remove the old stitching line, mark a new 1/4" seam allowance and trim away excess fabric. Clip curves and press seams open. In the first pin-fit I made note of the neckline shape/seam allowance I want and mark it at this point. I stay-stitch on my marked line and clip curve - turned seam allowance under, press and baste in place. The dress part is now ready for a second fit with the right side of the fabric out.
16. During the second fitting of the dress I note that there still seems to be enough room for a lining,
I also use a fabric marker to place dots along where the seamline should be on the yoke (to stitch to the neckline of the dress). I will add a 1/4" seam allowance to the yoke pieces beyond the dot markings.
17. Sleeves - I want to make a full, "drapy" sleeve (however, fitted at the sleeve cap). I look at the pieces from
18. The last step is to take all of the dress (and yoke) pieces apart and make a final pattern from the pieces. The final pattern can be made from paper or a pattern fabric (this is longer lasting if you want to use the pattern many times). You are now ready to make a REAL outfit for your doll using the pattern you created.
Below are some other doll outfits I made using people patterns to get a doll pattern
It is a fun way to incorporate vintage details into a doll costume.
Bridal dress - vintage Simplicity pattern - 1957 I made the doll pattern pieces on this pattern by shrinking each individual pattern piece using a grid. Since Kitty Collier is exactly 25" of a 32" bust measurement I used 1/4" graph paper - I placed each pattern piece on a cutting mat that has 1" square.