I’ve had quite the education and then some in sewing for Blythe in the last day and a half.
Here’s what I learned so far. – Actually, even before I begin, let me say this. Although it is true what you may have heard, Blythe does fit the old skipper patterns, be advised that after making just 2 items, I began looking for other options. They fit but they were too primitive, not enough style.
1.- Not all patterns are equal. You have to know what you want. If you want something simple and basic and not really much style- then those old Skipper patterns put out by the big pattern maker’s whose patterns you will find at all the fabric stores, will do just fine. If you wanting something more detailed, with set in sleeves or cuffs, and tucks, and collars and pizzazz, well…. Those patterns aren’t going to get you there. And that is one reason most people are drawn to Blythe in the first place is because of the fantasic wardrobe that she seems to crave. If that is what you want too, then I would suggest checking out the Dolly Dolly Japanese downloads. These are my #1 favorite patterns that I’ve found so far. I found them on etsy. They are called by a couple differnt names but if you search for Dolly dolly pattern books on etsy, they will come up. Each big book has several innovative fashions for blythe(as well as several other poplar dolls). They run from about $3.80 to $6 for each book, or pdf file download which has quite a few patterns, with about 120 pages in each download. Although they are all in Japanese, they have pictured illustrations and arrows telling you the order of sewing, as well as the patterns which are very easy to print off. So, for a dress pattern, they will be a picture of a dress and it will point to the lace attached to the ruffle at the bottom of the dress and name it (1) indicating to sew that on first then point to the seam between the ruffle and the skirt of the dress and name it (2), indicating to do that next and so on. You would simply have to “know” that before sewing on the ruffle you would need to ‘gather’ the edge of the ruffle. The items that I made so far turned out lovely and fit wonderfully. You WOULD need some prior knowledge of sewing garments and know what a sleeve and a bodice looked like in a pattern and generally how they are put together to use these. The seams in their patterns do NOT appear to be quite 1/4 inch, so if you are uncomfortable with that then you will need to add a bit when copying them or cutting objects out. And most of the time it does not appear that they line the garments, or enclose seams, or have facings, so if that is more your style, you will need to modify that as well. But as far as variety of style and design- these patterns are WONDERFUL! I love them.
2. I spent the entire day trying to recreate a peasant style, elastic neckline, puffed sleeve, and elastic empire wasted-dress from the 70’s era. Five tries. All with some little error, making them unusable. Very frustrating. I started with the basic pattern for the dress(not from the ebooks referred to above) , but one of the ‘major’ pattern makers. One of the biggest obsticals to my tries was the elastic. Cord Elastic was not a good choice as far as making the gathers look nice and even and sewing in the cord at the ends was a nightmare as the cord elastic kept rolling. Several times it popped away from the sewing and then I was fishing for the elastic end in the seam and not being able to retrieve it. So I tried thinnner round elastic. It broke. I tried several strands of thinner elastic together. It still broke. The material I was using wouldn’t gather nicely around the neck and sleeves, it was too stiff. I became impatient. The minute this happens, my machine thread always breaks. Every time. I finally discovered that the cord elastic just wasn’t working- so I went to the store and got the 1/8 size braided elastic. It worked like a charm. Could have saved me at least some of the heart ache today if I’d have figured that out sooner. That and a proper tool for pulling elastic through casings. (Mine was broke and kept snagging on the inside of the casing causing more impatience.)
So, the right pattern, the right materials, the right tools- all very important.
After 5 attemps and not one dress that fits the way I wanted it too, I put it on the back shelf and tried one of the cute patterns from the Dolly dolly pdf files. It was a baby doll top with a bra style bodice and spagetti straps and bloomerish shorts. I made mine as pj’s although one’s choice of fabric and lace and whether or not one puts elastic in the hem of the shorts would change the look considerably.
Exhausted, but I learned alot today and had a great time doing it. But it’s already tomorrow(past midnight) and sleep I must.