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Friday, June 11, 2021

Let's Decorate a Doll Shirt part 4

Watch the video here.



Again this week I am showing you another way to use a more advanced tool to decorate your doll t-shirt. This time I dug out my Cricut to cut some iron on vinyl and then my Easy Press to apply it to the shirt.

I know not every one has these tools but I want to share some ideas that you can strive to do. Also a lot of crafters have these tools and you might not have thought about using them for doll shirts.

You could also cut the vinyl with scissors and use an iron to apply if you want to also.

Since I use my Cricut a lot to decorate around my home and to decorate my own t-shirts (and some for my grandson too) I have collected many rolls of iron on vinyl. Yes it gets expensive but it comes on sale on a fairly regular basis. I got all of mine at least on sale and many I got when they were in the clearance bin. So if you watch for the sales you can pick this up for a much better price than normal. Same with the machines I got both of mine on very good sales. They do make smaller versions that would be excellent if all you are going to do is small projects like the doll clothing.

Since butterflies are special to me and I love purple I picked a butterfly design and some purple foil. I love how it turned out. There are a lot of free designs on the Cricut site as well as ones you can purchase. You can also purchase designs to use with the Cricut on places like Etsy and Design Bundles.

As always I do want to sincerely thank all of you for watching my videos and reading my blog posts. It means so much to me that you are supporting me in this way. If I could ask you all to do just a bit more by subscribing to the channel and liking the videos and leaving comments. Those help more than you can imagine. Also if you could pass the links on to your friends I would appreciate it so much.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Let's Decorate a Doll Shirt part 3


Watch the video here.



This week I had every intention of getting 2 or 3 shirts decorated. Then real life got in the way and I ran out of time. That meant I had to make a choice between just doing one shirt this week or waiting until next week to give you a longer video. I decided to just go ahead and show you the one I got done.

This is the first of 3 shirts that I am going to show you that involve some kind of specialized equipment. I know that not everyone will have these items but I hope that by watching the video you will get ideas for the future.

This week we are using a Hot Fix Gem Applicator. Mine is the brand Kandi Kane and I have had it for somewhere around 20+ years. I purchased it to decorate my daughter's skating dresses. I got a ton of use out of it for the decade or so that she skated. Then it has sat in a drawer for many years. The gems I used today were actually left over from various skating dresses I made back in the day.

I love how fun this tool is and it is very easy too. You just have to remember to be careful of that hot tip. It is extremely hot, trust me.

If you do a Google search of “hot fix gem applicator” or “hot fix gems” you will get a lot of pages of choices.

The one I have has several tips that can be used for different size gems. The ones I used today were 4mm, this is the size I used to use on the skating dresses all the time so they are what I have on hand. I know they do come both smaller and larger.

These gems are real Swarovski crystals so they have a beautiful shine and look so pretty. They are worth the little bit more that they will cost.

So let's take a look at these gems, the have a beautiful gem top and a flat back that is a dull grey color. The dull grey is the heat activated glue. All you have to do is lay the gems out on your work surface flat side down. After pre-heating the applicator carefully touch the tip of the wand to the top of the gem. Don't push hard just a gentle touch. Lift carefully and turn so the tip is pointing straight up. Watch the surface of the glue. When it is ready it will get shiny and start to bubble just a bit. Quickly and very carefully press the gem to the garment and lift the wand off. Don't leave the tip touching for very long because that could damage the fabric.

I recommend practicing on a scrap of fabric until you get the hang of how the tool works. Once you get used to it it is very easy and a lot of fun to do.

You can do so many fun designs with gems on clothing so let your imagination go wild. 


As always I do want to sincerely thank all of you for watching my videos and reading my blog posts. It means so much to me that you are supporting me in this way. If I could ask you all to do just a bit more by subscribing to the channel and liking the videos and leaving comments. Those help more than you can imagine. Also if you could pass the links on to your friends I would appreciate it so much.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Let's Decorate a Doll Shirt part 2


Watch the video here.

Sorry for no posts for a few weeks, I just got really busy on a project and didn't have enough time or energy to get this finished up. The sad part is that I had filmed the first shirt the same day I filmed the end of the last video it put up. Then it just sat on my computer until I had time to work on the second shirt. That is also why there are only 2 shirts this week, I had another planned but I was having trouble getting it the way I wanted it and made the decision that the video would be better without it. I am hoping to get the other idea up to you in the future.

So the first shirt is simply painted with some of the 3-D or puffy paints that you can get anywhere they sell stuff to decorate fabric. I love these and use them not only for fabric decoration but I also use them a lot with my polymer clay projects. They are very versatile to have on hand.

I got some of the paints I used in the video at Dollar Tree so be sure to check there first. The rest were from Walmart.

I decided to go with a very simple all over heart design. Use your imagination and do whatever you want. Just keep the design in scale for the doll.

For our second shirt I am once again doing an applique and a Heat 'n Bond product. This time I used a simple flower shape that I found online and two colors of fabric. I went with Heat 'n Bond Lite this time around so I could show you that you can use your sewing machine to add a bit more decoration to the shirt. You could also do hand stitching around the pieces that would be very pretty.

The fabric I used for the main part of the flower is one that on it's own would be way out of scale for a doll garment. I picked it to show that there are exceptions to that rule and one way to use that oversized design to our advantage in the finished piece.

To sew the fabric down with the machine I used a narrow slightly packed zig-zag stitch. Here are the settings for my machine, I am not sure if they would be the same on whatever machine you are using but wanted to include them so you had a place to start.

I hope you are enjoying this little mini series of videos on decorating your doll t-shirts. Next time I think I will show you a couple of ways to decorate them with some specialized equipment. I know not everyone will have the needed tools but I hope you will still enjoy the ideas and they may give you ideas for other ways to decorate the shirts.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Sorry no video this week

 Sorry everyone, no video tomorrow. We have had high pollen counts here and my allergies have been nuts the last week and a half. Between not being able to breathe and the allergy stuff making me sleepy I haven't gotten much of anything done. I am planning to be back with another Doll T-shirt decorating video next week.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Let's Decorate a Doll Shirt part 1


Watch the video here.

This is the first video in a short series, I'm going to call it a “mini-series” on decorating doll t-shirts. I have so many ideas that I want to share. I hope to do either 3 or 4 videos now and then maybe throw in a couple more at a later date.

I do want to talk about one thing before we start this adventure. There is one very important warning I want to make sure you are aware of before you do any of this. That warning is that any of these methods could have a risk of bleeding color onto your doll. That is a risk we run not only with decorating our fabrics but also with using anything other than plain white fabric on the dolls. I have seen dolls that have been stained from commercially purchased doll clothing. It can happen anytime you use any colored item on the doll. So keep that in mind. That being said although I have seen the result of it happening I have never had it happen to any of my own dolls and I use a lot of colored fabrics and I love to decorate my doll clothes. I don't want to scare you off from decorating your doll clothes just make you aware that there is a possibility however tiny that it could stain a doll.

To prepare for this I did sit down and sew a bunch of plain white doll t-shirts. I was able to pick up 2 XXX Large t-shirt blanks at Hobby Lobby and easily got 6 doll size shirts out of each one. Hopefully I am set for a while anyway.

For our first shirt today I did a simple applique from some patterned fabric. I fell in love with this butterfly design the second I saw it (it is from Hobby Lobby if you want to try to find it too) and knew it would be perfect for this shirt. I used the same ultra-hold Heat 'n Bond that I used for the shirt in our sewing series. For this shirt I wanted to show you a slightly different way to do basically the same thing. This time the design was provided right on the fabric ready to use. When looking for fabric look for designs that are about 1 ½” about 2” in size. Since I used the ultra hold I didn't need to do any sewing on this one. I did decided to use just a touch of fabric paint for the antenna on the butterfly. I just didn't want to try to cut around them and felt this would look better. Feel free to use the ones on the fabric if you wish.

This method of decorating would also be perfect if you can find some character fabrics with appropriate size designs. There are a bunch of Disney fabrics in the fabric stores as well as lots of fabrics with common cartoon characters on them. You could create some really cool looking doll clothes using those too. 



Our second method is one of my favorite ways to create designs on doll t-shirts, alcohol markers. I picked up this set of Bic brand markers a while back but you could use the ones from Sharpie, the ones from Dollar Tree or the fancier art ones from the craft/art store (like Copic brand) just look for the word “permanent” on the marker. Also test it with rubbing alcohol to make sure it will work. It is best to do this on a scrap of the same fabric your shirt is made from to be sure how it will re-act on the shirt. I find that some markers work very differently on different fabrics.

For our last shirt this week I used mostly the brush on fabric paint. This is really easy to use because it already has the additive in it to make it work on fabric. If you want to use regular craft paint you will need to add a textile medium to it.

Since I am not an artist I just did a quick abstract design. Then I added a squiggle with a gold metallic fabric paint. I did a similar design on a skating dress for my daughter years ago and it was a hit at her ice rink. I ended up making several more for her friends.

So those were the decorating methods for this week. Which one is your favorite? Which one will you be trying first?

Be sure to come back next time for some more ideas.

As always thank you so much for taking the time to watch the video and read the blog. It means a lot to me. I would love it if you could pass on the links to your friends that also do doll stuff.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Let's Sew Doll Clothes part 10


Watch the video here.


This week we tackled the top to our doll pajamas. This is a fairly easy piece to sew. For the most part we did most of the same steps in our doll t-shirt a few weeks ago. The biggest difference is this shirt has a set in sleeve as opposed the raglan sleeve in the t-shirt. I know a lot of people are a bit afraid of putting in a set in sleeve but they really aren't that difficult if you take your time and just concentrate on it step by step. Be sure to line up the top of the sleeve with the shoulder seam on the top as well as lining up the notches. The thing to remember about the notches is that almost all the time the notch with the most “bumps” will be the back. Pin as much as you need to in order to feel comfortable and keep checking for tucks in the fabric as you sew.

I am really not sure why my cuffs were a bit off but I am not going to worry about it this time. I left them partly because I wanted to get both the top and the video done but also because I wanted you to know that no one is perfect.

For the hem this time I decided to use a twin needle. This is a really easy way to make your garment look more professional. You get 2 lines of stitches that are always going to be parallel with each other. Also by the nature of the stitch it is somewhat stretchable with a simple straight stitch. Be very careful that you have your needle position set to the middle of the foot before you even think about lowering the needle. If you hit the foot of your machine you can break the needle and if you hit hard enough you could send a piece of the needle flying and/or mess up the tension of the machine. I think the little bit of care it takes to ensure a safe seam is more than worth the end result. This is one of my favorite ways to do a hem on garments both for the dolls and for people. I also use the needle in home dec. sewing a lot.

In order to get a balanced stitch with the twin needle you will need to adjust the upper tension on your machine. You will need to loosen the top tension until the bobbin thread goes back and forth between the two top threads in a zig-zag design. Just be sure to set it back where it was when you switch the needle back out.

The twin needles can be pricey so I recommend waiting to purchase them either on a sale or with a coupon. On the bright side you use is so little each time they last for many projects before you need to replace them. I fact the only time I usually need to replace mine is if I break one of the tips not because it got dull.

I did use the three step zig-zag to put in both sides of the Velcro this time. It is a quicker way of putting it in and for a pair of pajamas I figured it would be fine.

Remember if you have any questions be sure to ask them. If you have friends that you think would benefit from my tutorials be sure to share the links with them.

I am planning to start some tutorials on decorating doll t-shirts next week so be sure to come back to see that.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Let's Sew Doll Clothes part 9


Watch the video here.



This week we are going to sew the pants half of our doll pajamas. They are a pretty straight forward project only 3 pattern pieces. I am really not sure how I missed the waistband last week when I cut out the pattern. I didn't realize it until I got to the step where I was instituted to sew it on. Hmmm... I guess I was a bit tired when I filmed that. Sorry about that. It was easy to fix I just cut another piece of ribbing exactly like I cut out the neckband just with the waistband pattern piece.

For these pajamas I chose a thread that would coordinate with the background of the fabric. Here is the color I used. Coats and Clark Dual Duty Thread  #8180 Cafe Beige. I do prefer to go a bit darker than my fabric rather than lighter, I find it blends better that way.

I am a bit torn on this series as to how often to re-show certain steps. Like cutting out that waistband or pressing certain parts. I'm just talking about the steps we have done before. Let me know how you would like me to handle those parts in future videos as get more advanced in our sewing. I am thinking show each step at least the first time it comes up in the current project then skip the repeats of the same step.

To press the inseam seam I used one of my favorite tools, it is a sleeve roll designed for use when making 18” doll clothing. I got it in a pattern along with a doll size pressing ham. I think this is the pattern although the one on the cover looks slightly different. I got mine several years ago and I no longer have the pattern. I went through my account on Pixie Faire to see if I could find it but I didn't have any luck. I think I might have gotten mine before I set up my account. Anyway, here is a link to the pattern for sale on Pixie Faire currently. I do recommend if you are going to do much doll clothes sewing that you pick this pattern and make yourself a set of the pressing-tools included. They do come in handy and I will be using mine in future projects.

Now, in all honestly I am not 100% happy with how my pajama pants came out. I'm not sure if it was a machine threading issue or an issue with the needle I had put in. When I was sewing the waistband ribbing to the pants my machine was pulling oddly and the stitches were not perfect. This is usually a sign of either a threading issue or a needle issue. I did re-thread the machine and it was better and I was able to finish the pants without any more issues. I did decide to change the needle for another fresh one when I finished the pants. I had changed the needle before starting the pants but it is possible that the one I had put in was either not as sharp as it should have been or it might have had a bad spot on it. These things happen. I knew the issue would only show on the inside of the garment and it isn't even that big of a deal. A lot of people probably wouldn't even have noticed the difference in how the stitches look.