Here's how you can take an ordinary sewing pattern and translate it to doll size proportions

Step 1: Materials and Tools

the desired pattern.  I found several at Goodwill for 99 cents each.  Try to choose one that's not too complicated.  Sewing at 1:6 scale can be challenging.

fabric remnants.  Try to choose a fabric that doesn't come unraveled easily at the places it is cut.  A fabric with a slight stretch to it might be better.  The fabric should be thin, not too thick or it will be more difficult to sew.
an iron
fusible interfacing
a sewing machine
a camera

sketchup software
make the cut software
a craft cutter

Step 2: Our Customer

Our customer complains that the only clothes available in her size are either for Military Ops, Fetish Nightclub wear or a combination of the two.  She'd really prefer something a little more 'day to day'.

She has tried Ebay, but contrary to the advertisements, the clothes just really don't fit her particular physique.

And she doesn't want to spend too many doll hairs either.

Step 3: Taking Measurements

Start by taking measurements in all the usual places.  Especially along the lines that will correspond with the pattern you have chosen.

Her measurements are: 

chest: 5.75"
bust: 5.9"
waist: 4.25"
hips: 5.5"
backwaist: 2.25"
neck: 2.16"
nape to shoulder: 0.75"
arm length: 4.25"
upper arm circumference: 1.5"
nape to floor: 9.5"
nape to waist: 2.25"
across shoulders: 3"
inseam: 5.5"
upper thigh circumference: 3 3/8"
calf circumference: 2.25"

Step 4: Photograph the Pattern

Lay the pieces of the pattern out on the floor and photograph them.

Make sure to keep your camera at the same height for each photo.

Step 5: Import the Pattern to Sketchup

Update:  Thank you Pcoleman2 for pointing out that this step isn't really clear, especially since the free version of Sketchup doesn't let you print things out to precise measurements.

It's a bit arbitrary that I used Sketchup.  The real point of this step was to retrace the pattern into a simple outline that would be easier for the Make the Cut software to import.  I find that Sketchup is a fairly easy tool to use to make symmetrical shapes quickly.  Since the free version won't let you print things to scale, I exported the drawings from Sketchup to a 2D graphic JPEG format and then used Make the Cut software Pixel Trace to cut them to precise measurements.

Import the photographs into Sketchup and trace them with the curve and line tools.

You can save a few sewing steps by rotating and merging pieces that are supposed to be cut along the fold.



Step 6: Cut the Resized Pattern

Update: If you don't have a craft cutter and Make the Cut software, you might be able to print your pattern out on paper, though it may take some experimentation to get the printer to print the image to a precise size.

I'm using the technique described here to cut the resized pattern out with a craft cutter.

I imported the cleaned up graphic from Sketchup into Make the Cut with Pixel Trace.

Stretch the pattern so that things like the bust line, waist and hip measurements will measure up to those of the doll with allowances for small seams and darts.

When using a craft cutter with fabric, it's usually better if you line the fabric with fusible interfacing before attaching it to the cutting mat.  This will help keep it from bunching up under the cutting blade.

Step 7: Sew

Follow the directions associated with the pattern for assembling the garment.  I ignored most of the advice concerning clipping seams at corners and stuff like that.  I also had trouble getting the darts in the right place.

I used 1/8" seams instead of the usual 5/8" size ones recommended for normal size clothing.

Be careful going around corners, it's easy to miss the corner with such small seams. 

Step 8: Fittings and Adjustments

Periodically check and see how the sizing is going. 

It's better to make it a little too big and then take it in in places.

Also, it helps if you leave a little extra in the back to allow for velcro and/or snap closures.

Step 9: Final Results

It looks pretty good.

She still has some Oscar night level cleavage going on, but I could work that out in another iteration.

About This Instructable




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