welcome To The One Thimble Blog
Today’s guest post is by Michelle from The Toffee Tree. When she agreed to do a holiday tutorial for the One Thimble blog I was pretty excited. Then when she came back with this mini Mem Rose Tutorial I was just over the moon!!! It’s just so darn cute! So it’s over to Michelle for her Mini Mem Rose Tutorial!
A Mini Mem-Rose Skirt
If you have kids on school holidays, whip up some of these simple skirts for them to play with. Aand… you would definitely win Mum of the Year (or Nan or Aunt) if you made the matching Mem Rose skirt from Issue 4 plus a Barbie Capelet from issue 7!
The order of construction of tiny doll clothes is sometimes a little bit different than what you tend to do with children’s and adult garments, so bear with me if something doesn’t quite make sense with what you’d normally do. For doll’s clothes, particularly tops and pants, I will often finish all of the edges (either overlock or zig zag) and do all the hems first, before putting the garment together, but for this particular skirt, I did actually save the hems until last.
Familiarise yourself with the terms right, left, horizontal and vertical!
Fabric – 1 piece 12” x 4.5” (30cm x 11cm) for the main skirt (shorter if you’d like your doll to have a shorter skirt, up to 1” shorter would work fine)
Fabric – 1 piece 2.25” x 5” (5.5cm x 13cm) for the waistband
Small skinny ribbon approx. 3mm wide (optional) – the ribbon that holds your tops (the bit in the shoulder seams) on the coat hangers in shops is the perfect width
Velcro 5mm x 30mm long
Pins, erasable fabric pen or tailor’s chalk
To make the skirt
- Fold main skirt piece in half and mark centre with a crease, pin or erasable fabric pen.
- Fold waistband in half lengthways and iron to crease (this will be the horizontal crease). Fold in half across the width and crease (this becomes the vertical crease).
3. Place your waistband fabric, right side down. Take your fabric pen (or tailor’s chalk) and make a mark on the waistband, 5mm to the LEFT of the vertical centre crease. Make another mark on the waistband on the RIGHT side, 5mm above the horizontal crease.
4. Fold the fabric on an angle from the vertical mark to the horizontal mark on one side. Press.
5. Make a mark on the LEFT side, 5mm above the horizontal crease. Fold the LEFT side of the fabric in the same manner, making sure that your top point is in the centre of the waistband (in line with the vertical crease).
6. Turn your fabric around and repeat for the other edge, so that you have a shape that now looks like a long skinny diamond. The bottom tip is folded under by 3-4mm but should still make a sharp tip. If you have a unidirectional pattern, decide which side is the front with your pattern up the right way!
7. Take your main skirt piece and gather along the top edge by running a long basting stitch (longest stitch length your machine will do) about 3mm from the edge. Secure one end with a pin. Gather the fabric so that it is the same length as the waistband. Secure the other end with a pin or knot the ends of thread together.
8. Lay the main skirt piece face up. Place the waistband on top, so right sides are together. Pin the centre of the waistband to the centre of the skirt. Unfold the waistband’s angled creases and line up the bottom edge of the waistband with the top edges of the skirt. Adjust the gathers so that it equals the length of the waistband. Pin in place matching centre crease of waistband with centre crease on skirt.
9. Trace over the angled creases with the fabric pen.
10. Sew along the lines. Backstitch at the start and end of these lines and be sure to come to a point in the centre. To make a crisp ‘V’, stop at the top of the V with the needle down, lift the presser foot and turn your fabrics together to line up the other angled line. Place the presser foot down and continue sewing. (You can see here I have unpicked mine and re-stitched it because I wasn’t happy with the point and the gathers had bunched up on the right side)
11. Trim the seam allowance on this edge to 5mm.
12. Trim the seam allowance on the unsewn edge of the waistband to 1cm.
13. Fold the waistband along the horizontal crease and pin in place on the inside of the skirt, enclosing the raw edges.
14. Press front of skirt and front waistband and topstitch 3mm in from the seam on the front of the waistband.
15. Machine finish the three edges of the skirt with overlock or zigzag. Hem all 3 the edges by folding under 5mm ( ¼”) (alternatively, fold under 5mm, press and fold under another 5mm, press, pin and stitch as I have done for the teal skirt). If I can find a fabrics with a very neat selvedge, I quite often leave the edge unfinished for dolls clothes. Call me lazy, but I don’t think my daughter minds!
16. Optional – sew a short length of ribbon to each end of the skirt’s waistband. Heat seal both ends (I use a lighter) of each ribbon to prevent fraying.
17. Add Velcro to the back of the skirt and you are finished.
Feel free to grab a cuppa and head over to my blog to look for inspiration for crafty sewing projects, family holiday destinations and the occasional recipe, including this delicious chocolate beetroot cake.
She contributed the “Li’l Red Capelet & Furry Friends Hoods” pattern to Issue 7 …. and a little birdie told me she’s got a super dolly skirt to share with us sometime soon!
Michelle began The Toffee Tree as a personal blog in 2012.
She loves making practical and playful things with a storytale spin that encourage young imaginations.
She also loves anything chocolate, the colour green and works as a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
Can you tell me a little about how you got into sewing / blogging?
I’ve been into sewing since forever. My Mum made a lot of our clothes and she always encouraged me to sew. I was always making things for my dolls on my Mum’s sewing machine and even made up my own pattern for a backpack for my cousin when she started daycare. She was only 3, so I would have been about 11 or 12. Mum bought me a Husquvarna for my 23rd birthday, because that’s what her Mum bought her (and it still works) and because that’s what Grandma’s machine was (and that still works too!!). I used it sporadically, then my love for sewing was rekindled only a few years ago after a couple of my good friends gave me a kids clothes sewing book for my birthday. That was the deciding moment to begin blogging- I just wanted to share what I make and hopefully inspire some others along the way to have a go at sewing.
What is your favourite haby item that you couldn’t live without?
Apart from the essential scissors and rotary cutter, I’d have to say my super sharp quick unpick! I would be LOST without it! A blunt one is a potential deadly weapon for your beautiful garment.
What inspires you?
I am always completely enarmoured with the beautiful creations that the handmade world fills up Pinterest and Instagram with! That and the amazing photography that goes along with them. These are dangerous places to browse but are filled with so many fabulous things! When I came across Sanae Ishida’s blog I loved the simplicity of her style and fabric combinations. And the fact that she makes so much of her own wardrobe! I have collected a few Japanese pattern books over the past couple of years, that I often look wistfully at. I love fabrics that are natural and sustainable. I am also inspired by storybooks and toys that encourage creative play and encourage children to use their imagination.
What’s something people might not know about you (that you’d like to share)?
I love going camping. I have driven across Australia’s Longest Shortcut, from Laverton in WA to Winton in QLD. It’s not until you drive for 3 days non-stop that you realise just how big Western Australia is, let alone the rest of the country! It was 10 days from Perth to Cairns (with 2 small kids) and our boys still talk about going back to Cape York, even though one of them was a baby at the time! You’d think I would have learnt to knit or crochet for this trip but I didn’t! The crafty impulse didn’t come til a couple of years later!
What is your biggest challenge and do you have any advice for someone else in a similar situation?
My biggest challenge is keeping to the one task and not getting sidetracked with Pinterest or Facebook and the myriad of other things to look at! I’m always finding something else to try, have three projects on the go at once and float between them. I work better when I write a list and have a set timeframe, usually 15 minutes, to check social media, to give myself a bit of a buffer before moving on to what I’m supposed to be doing.