11 January 2010

tank top into doll dress

First, I'd like to say thank you to those of you who completed my survey from Friday. There's no deadline, so if you haven't done the survey yet, please do...it only takes a few minutes. As for results? The vast majority of you would like printable recipes and instruction sheets, so that will be my next obstacle to tackle. I can't promise the feature will be here very soon, but I will be working on it. Thanks!

Now, onto today's craft:

Santa brought H an American Girl doll last month, but neglected to include extra clothes. (Probably because it would have put Santa way over budget!) So I was looking at this tank top that H has outgrown, loving it's cute ruffly edge, and my wheels started turning. The lines and proportions looked just right to turn it into a dress for "Katie."

This is what I do. From the time I watched Pretty in Pink at 9 or 10 years old, I have given cast away items a second look. Could I turn this into something else instead of throwing/giving it away? After watching Andie make her prom dress from scraps, I made my own Barbie clothes from old socks, fabric scraps, whatever I could get my hands on. This is probably why I don't do patterns well. I'm at my best when I use my own vision to turn one thing into something completely different.

So, first, I draped the tank (size 48 months...who does that except Babies R Us? Anywhere else it would be size 4.) over Katie to see what needed to be done.

Not a whole lot, really. Bring in the waist and take in the straps to make them fit smaller arms. But then I got really excited. I can try ruching! I said. I'd never tried it before, but had seen tutorials that made it look easy.

After working the fabric with my hands, imagining what the ruching would do to the top section, I decided to take in the straps first. I had hoped I could ruche the whole bodice, but the existing arm holes prevented that. There just wasn't enough space.


So, I arranged the dress and pinned the areas of the bodice that needed to be fixed.

After that, I pulled up my favorite ruching tutorial and got to work on the waistline. It really was easier than I thought--you just pull the elastic as you zig zag on through. I even did it with two scraps of elastic--one in the front and one in the back--and it worked fine. (I won't go into more detail here, but if you have questions after looking at the tutorial, feel free to email me or ask in the comment section.)

Ta da! Here it is, all ruched and trimmed and fitting nicely.


H, of course, thought the dress needed to be shorter. Sometimes I think she purposely likes the opposite of what I like. I thought it  looked great long, like a springtime tea party dress. But no, Miss Opinionated wanted it shorter, so I made it shorter. But I still kept the ruffle, since that was my main reason for doing all this.

So here's H's version. She loves it. As you can see, she's already embellished it with leggings and a scarf. She's quite the fashionista, you know. :)


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