The American Girl doll was a present from her generous Aunt. Of course, this is a gift that requires many accessories, you just can't have only one outfit for it. This doll is Ivy, who is supposedly of Asian descent in the American Girl series of books. It is really a marketing ploy with a generic doll in a Chinese-styled outfit. So, being the frugal dad, I could spend an outrageous sum on American Girl doll outfits for a puppy-eyed little girl or use that money on tools. I went and bought a serger. Win-win situation, I would make her all the outfits she wanted and I would have a new machine to play with.
Note: Caitlin is not posing this time with her Robohoodie and her American Girl doll with Robohoodie. It would just be too darn cute. Besides, we already cringe at the sight of any little girl wearing the same outfit as with her matching American Girl doll and its matching American Girl doll outfit. Parents out there know what I mean. Yes, her American Girl doll has matching glasses...somewhere...
See the original real-size Robohoodie Instructable here.
And a sidenote for the non-sewers - Learn to sew - it's not a girly thing, this machine goes just as well with the Knex 155mm tracked howitzer I keep on the front lawn.
Step 1: Serge on!
In this project I have found that a serger is not for doing anything that is not on a foldable seam or edge. Because of its "overlocking stitch underarms" by the needle you cannot really pass the material under the needles, for example: to start sewing in the middle of a piece. Maybe you also have to cut the initial "chain" or braid it creates unlike a sewing machine which only has two non-interlocked threads at the begining. I am trying to avoid the rethreading of the machine.
I got my serger at Wally World for around $200 USD. There are much more expensive models with more features but this had the basic necessities:
- 4 thread - dual needle, can use 3 threads for a smaller lockstitch. Note that sergers use a thinner polyester thread than regular sewing. The strength in the complex lockstitch compensates for not using a thicker thread. It uses thread up a lot faster so you buy bigger spools of this stuff.
- It has a built in mechanism that trims the material on the seam to the proper allowance as you sew. The knife part/cutting action is removeable so that you can use the machine for other stitches.
- It has a differential feed. This means it can gather or bunch up the fabric as it sews. You get that look on fabric when you tighten your belt around the waist. It is useful for seams on cuffs or dress waistlines.