Friday, 6 November 2020

Free Pattern Friday: Mini Sewpony Doll's Clothes


Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes an adult's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

So as you may recall, last month I dropped the ball and road tested a sewing pattern that patterns to be precise) has only just dropped. It's another child-related post, so sorry if you only tune in for the adult sewing-content. But hopefully this will be a particularly useful post if there's a doll-loving kid in your life that you plan to give gifts to this Christmas, or for any other holiday or event that may be coming up. It also offers a great opportunity to use up some scraps of fabric that you may have leftover from previous projects. 


Sewpony is one of my very favourite children's sewing pattern companies. Their pattern selection skilfully combines modern and classic design elements, and skews towards the traditionally female. I have bought a couple of their patterns in the past, and took part in the testing for another. Some time ago, I saw on their IG feed that Suz, the designer of Sewpony, was working on a collection of mini Sewpony patterns to fit Paola Reina Las Amiga dolls. I hadn't heard of the dolls before, but having recently had a conversation with my daughter about her wanting a doll, I did some research and ear-marked them as something my mother-in-law could buy Dolores for her recent birthday. So that Lola's doll wouldn't be naked (her's arrived just in her pants), I put my hand up to join the testing group for the doll's clothes patterns. Some of the little garments you see in this post are pre-testing versions of the patterns, and some are made using the final iterations. Massive thanks to Suz from Sewpony for offering up these adorable patterns for free. I can't even imagine how much work it took to draft the patterns and produce all the instructions. And now she's doing it all over again for another doll range called Minikane

(image source: Sewpony)

Pattern type:

The mini Sewpony collection includes miniaturised and simplified versions of no less than eight Sewpony patterns. They can also be used as a basis for making all sorts of variations. The patterns include all seam and hem allowances. All but one of the styles have written but un-illustrated step-by-step instructions, however, the Miss Polly dress instructions include photographs. Which is handy because that appears to be the trickiest!

Sizing info:

Las Amigas dolls are 32cm /13" high, so these patterns have been developed for that. However, you could try monkeying with your printer's scale settings to make the patterns suitable for larger or smaller dolls and toys.


Fabric info: 

Each style has its own fabric recommendations, however, generally speaking, light-weight woven cotton and single jersey with good stretch and recovery will be the most useful for this project. One point to consider: if you wish to use a fabric with print or pattern, make sure that the scale of it doesn't look odd when made into tiny clothes. 

I absolutely love that these little garments can be made using small scraps that might otherwise be pretty useless. In general, I adore sewing projects that use scraps and leftovers because they feel like they're a 'free' project (especially when they're used with a free pattern or tutorial)! I used scraps of cotton/elastane single jersey for the Sorella T-shirt (the white-with-gold flecks one) and Sorella dress (the red/white/blue striped one), ponte Roma and rib for the Sorella sweatshirt, swimwear lycra for the Cosi (you could easily use cotton/elastane jersey for this one but my daughter was very adamant that it had to be real swimwear fabric!), double gauze for the skirt, chambray for the 'jeans' and pleather for the Twiggy dress (the gold one). 


Findings:

Sewing dolls clothes is really fun but sooooooper fiddly! I wouldn't recommend trying to make these in a rush. The pattern pieces are really clear (and very cute). The step by step instructions provide the help you need, but are not excessively hand-holdy, so I probably wouldn't recommend this project for a beginner. Your child could definitely help you make these doll's clothes, but it would need someone with a few garment sewing projects under their belt to work alongside.

Customisation ideas:

These patterns definitely provide a great basis for experimentation. In my local haberdashery/craft shop I found some miniature buttons that I'm looking forward to using. I also added some extra topstitching detail to both the trousers and the pleather dress. I'd recommend following the #minisewponycollection hashtag on IG to see what others come up with. 

Would I make them again?

Without a shadow of a doubt! I'm considering getting my daughter another of these dolls so her current one (officially 'Liu', but Dolores's is called Rose) has someone to hang out with. I really hope they get on...

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