Our fabulous mermaid gown for Baby Face or the Ideal Tiny Kissy doll! This page has instructions and helpful tips on how to make this easy gown.
KNITS! Use knit fabric for the main body of the dress. The fabric can be 1 way stretch or all-way stretch, but if it's only 1 way stretch then be sure to have the stretch go around the body. There's no need for the fabric to stretch lengthwise (Up or Down), but it is necessary for the fabric to stretch AROUND the fat hips of the Baby Face dolls.
PROPER ORDER! The Mermaid pattern is easy to make but you have to put the pieces together in their proper order.
I suggest that you cut out the front pieces and put them together in a pile, then cut out the back pieces and put them together... do not put the fronts with the backs. Keep the piles separate!
When you start sewing them together, sew the front pieces together first. Then the back pieces. And then sew the front to the back.
If you follow this order for assembly, you are much less likely to sew the wrong panels together.
HEM LENGTH~ Remember that the hem will gradually get longer from front to back.
SMALL SEAMS~ Seams need to be VERY small: less than 1/4 of an inch. The dress is supposed to fit snug through the body and hips.
PRACTICE FIRST~ This dress is easy to make, but it's critical to get the FIT of the gown just right, so it's a good idea to make a practice gown first, before you use any "special" fabrics.
That was a little overview of important things to consider. Now, step by step assembly...
1. Stitch the dress FRONT pieces together (Piece Number 2)
2. BODICE. Stitch one of the heart shaped bodice pieces (piece Number 1) to the skirt front. Clip the seam as needed, so the fabric will lay flat.
3. BODICE. Stitch the second bodice piece to the first one, with right sides together... STITCH ONLY ACROSS THE TOP OF THE HEART. Clip the curves and turn the bodice piece inside. This serves as a facing. You will tack it down later, by hand.
NOTE: if you want straps or tie strings on this gown, you can insert them in the top of the bodice before stitching it. The gown stays up whether there are straps or not.
4. FRONT. Now stitch the FRONT SIDE PANELS to the FRONT piece, on each side. Once you've done that, the Front is basically assembled: set it aside.
5. Stitch the CENTER BACK pieces (#4 pieces) together at the center seam. Stitch only to the point indicated on the pattern, so there is an opening at the back of the dress.
6. VELCRO. At the top stitch a one inch piece of velcro, like a tab. On the other side of the back opening, stitch the other half of the velcro and then TURN the velcro inside so it will fasten.
If you do this right, the velcro is invisible. THIS PART IS TRICKY! Make sure you have the hooks and loops in the right directions so when you turn the second piece inside, it will stick to it's mate.
7. The piece of velcro that you turn inside will be Stitched down, either by machine or by hand.
8. Sew the BACK SIDE panels (#3 pieces) to the BACK piece.
9. SEAMS. It's a very good idea to finish the seams, otherwise the snug mermaid gown will show every bump in the seams. This can be almost eliminated if you trim and finish the seams (zigzag or serger), and (depending on the fabric you use), iron the seams if possible.
I did iron the mermaid fabric, but I did it on the inside of the fabric so there wouldn't be any damage to the novelty finish on the glittery side. (I always use lots of steam so I donít leave iron marks on the fabric. )
10. RUFFLES. When you cut out the ruffles, you will use the entire width of 45 wide fabric. We suggest using nylon netting (tulle) or sheer polyester tricot knit chiffon or other very lightweight floaty fabrics.
If you use tulle netting, you won't hem the ruffles. But if you use other fabrics, you will probably need to hem the ruffle.
If you use tulle, then cut out one ruffle piece that is 2 inches wide x 45 long, and the second ruffle should be 2.5 inches wide by 45 long.
If you use fabric that needs hemming, then cut one ruffle that is 2.5 inches by 45" long, and a second ruffle that is 3 inches by 45" long.
11. RUFFLES. Trim the ends of the ruffles (take off the selvedge edge) and stitch the ends together using a narrow seam. Then hem the ruffles if they need it. If you're using tricot knit chiffon, I like to stretch it as much as possible and use a zigzag stitch to bind the edge. Stretching the fabric gives a lettuce edge effect. It's not quite the same as a lettuce edge but it does give a very nice uneven ruffly look that reminds me of feathery goldfish fins.
12. RUFFLES. Put both ruffles together and GATHER them along one edge.
13. RUFFLES. Arrange the entire ruffle evenly around the train of the dress and pin it. Then sew the ruffle to the dress. Trim and finish the seam.
14. FACING. The gown is almost done. Finish the upper back of the gown with a bit of lace as a facing: stitch it down by hand or machine or some of both and turn the lace inside so it doesn't show.
15. FINISHING. Finally, hand stitch the bodice lining so it lays down smoothly. Tuck the ends of the lace inside the bodice as you do this.
It is easier to trace around a doll dress pattern, and then cut it out (rather than trying to cut around those teeny pattern pieces.) Your cut pieces are more likely to be accurate if you trace the pattern. I use pencil, lightly. Or dressmaker's chalk. We saw an old 1950's video showing a factory designer making a gown for the vintage Tiny Tears doll, and she traced around the pattern pieces too!
It is advisable to make a practice outfit first to see how the pattern works for you.
© 2007 Cynthia A. Stevens and the EDDON Corporation. All rights reserved. This pattern and instructions may not be reproduced for any reason, except by the purchaser for the purpose of one personal backup copy.
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