Monday, January 29, 2001

DIY Fashion Doll Sloper Pattern--for knit fabrics

For a years I've been making my own simple and cheap fashion doll sloper patterns.  Slopers are basic patterns that you make yourself.

I love making my own because they are very versatile, fit EXACTLY how I want them to, and I don't have to mess with buying patterns that I usually have to tweak anyway.

Here's how I go about it:
 (warning, its not pretty, but it works!)

Items needed:

facial tissue (paper towels work well too)
scotch or masking tape
sharp, narrow scissors

Step One:
Lay the facial tissue over the doll body, completely covering the area you want the clothing item to fit.  I'm making a shirt, so I covered just her upper arms, neck, chest, and torso.

Step Two:
Wrap the whole area in tape, so it fits tight against the body.

Step Three:
Draw on with pen or pencil where you'd like the cut lines to be.  (Around the neck, around the arms, up the sides.)  For this shirt, I wanted a very specific cut around the neck, so I drew what I wanted it to look like.

Step Four:
Carefully cut along your lines.  Embroidery scissors work really well for this.

Step Five:
Flatten your pieces as much as possible and trace onto paper.  (Since this shirt is going to be for knit fabric, I didn't worry about adding darts.  If you are designing a piece with woven or non-stretchy fabric, you'll have to cut darts into your sloper pieces and notate that when you are tracing.)  Allow about 1/4 in or so for seam allowance--which I always forget.

If the piece is for a part that needs to be the same on both sides (for example, the front of this shirt needs to have the armholes at the same place on both sides of the pattern), I note where the center of the sloper/tissue piece is, trace one side, then fold the paper over on the middle line and trace an exact copy of the other side to cut out an even pattern piece.

Step Six:  
Cut your new pattern pieces out of cheap fabric (Usually an old t-shirt or basic fabric that I have laying around) and see how it works.  I mark on there areas I need to adjust, and tweak the pattern pieces a bit by cutting them down or re-tracing and adding width were it is needed.  This pattern was pretty close to what I wanted, but I needed more height on the collar and less width in the back.

Keep messing with it until it's just what you wanted.  This part is the most frustrating and time consuming part of the job.  It's a lot of cutting, tweaking, adding, subtracting, and futzing...  but is WELL worth it in the end!

Take your time, enjoy the process, and keep trying till it works.

When you have the pattern how you want it, it's so fun to add little variations here and there for HUGE changes in the finished product!

That's a basic sloper for stretch fabric!
  I hope to show you later how to make a sloper for a non-stretchy fabric too.

Have fun creating!