Monday, February 16, 2015

Easy Cape and Jacket for 18" Dolls

Just before Christmas I posted pictures of fun and simple doll clothes that you can make from mini Christmas tree skirts. I don't know whether anyone actually ran out and stocked up on tree skirts, but I thought I would post a "how-to" anyway because you can use the same techniques for creating jackets starting with a simple circle of fabric. I'll say more about that at the end.

For now, let's assume that you have a tree skirt. I'll show you two different looks, and you can decide which one you want to try. The first is a simple cape. This skirt measures about 12" inches in diameter and is white faux fur lined with polyester satin:

Place the skirt on your doll, inside out, with the skirt opening down the front and the velcro fastened. It will look very wing-like:

Now, carefully place a line of pins up each side to create the shape you want your cape to be. Round it slightly as you get to the neck line to help it mold across the shoulders:

Take it off the doll and adjust the pins as needed to make both sides look symmetrical. Starting at the bottom, stitch along the pin line, removing pins as you go. Be sure to back-stitch at both the beginning and end of your seam:

Trim the seam to within about 1/4" of the stitching and then run a zigzag stitch along the outside edge of the seam to prevent fraying:

Turn your new cape right side out and try it on. So easy and so elegant:

My second skirt is 13", sequin trimmed, velour, lined with polyester satin. I used it to make a fun jacket with a bit of bling. (If by any chance you purchased a larger size, I can post later how to make a knee length coat with matching hat. Let me know if you are interested.)

Once again, put the skirt on your doll, inside out, slit down the front, with the velcro fastened. This time, use your pins to make a triangle under each arm that will help you create a sleeve. Don't make your triangle too big; this will make your jacket and sleeve too tight. You can always go back and enlarge the triangle, but once you have cut it, you can't make it smaller. This is what mine looked like:

Now, stitch along the pin lines, pivoting at the top of the triangle, and back-stitching at the beginning and end of your seam:

Trim the seam to within about 1/4" of the stitching, and then run a zigzag stitch along the outside edge of the seam to prevent fraying. Clip into the tip of the triangle, making sure not to cut through the stitching. This will make the underarm lie flatter when you turn the jacket inside out. From tree skirt, to sparkling jacket:

If you would like to try one of these but don't have a tree skirt, you can use the same techniques using a circle you cut from some other fabric. This would be a great project for moms and daughters to do together because so little sewing is involved. I suggest using felt or another fabric that doesn't fray so that you won't have to worry about hemming the circle. (Hemming circles is no fun!) You can purchase furred felt that would make darling capes and jackets.

Cut your circle; 12 to 13 inches is a great size. Make a straight cut from the bottom of the circle to the circle's center. Cut a small circle in the center for your neckline. Then follow the directions above to make your own cape or jacket. You can embellish your creation by either sewing or gluing on jewels, flowers, lace, ribbon or whatever you choose.

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