(and a free dress template download)
I had to hurry up and get this post up because word on the street is that Playdate is already hitting stores and I promised lots of people that I would post a free dress template for my dolls on my blog. But first, I want to take you guys on a little journey into the evolution of my so-called Potty Girls...
It may appear to some like the Rag Doll Panel was a design I created specifically for this fabric collection, but those of you who have been following my company from its inception (and those who have pattern tested for me) know that these girls have been around for a looooong while... just biding their time and waiting for the right moment to come out and play!
Way back in October of 2008 we decided to create a sewing pattern company at the request of about a bazillion people that saw us at the Fall Quilt Market in Houston that year. Since my background is in marketing and branding, of course I couldn't even begin drafting pattern designs without a full set of brand standards for our company. The logo was a no-brainer — I just used the same one I had been using all along for my custom boutique business (nothing better than brand equity). A set of standard fonts and colors for my marketing materials followed as well as style sheets.
Next, I wanted to create a certain "look" for my mechanical drawings... something that was mod with a little touch of whimsy. My first attempt was a lot more "mod" than "whimsical" and I was feeling a tad frustrated. In February of 2009 I decided to go public and ask my dear blog readers for assistance and opinions and I'm so glad I did. My first attempt was coined "potty girls" by a sweet reader after I mentioned that Jon said they looked too much like public restroom signs. LOL! Another reader suggested adding pigtails to make them more girlie and another suggested a set of hairbows (a little nod to my old boutique days).
I went back to the drawing board with their suggestions in mind and my next attempt, which I posted here 2 days later, was a lot more in line with what I really wanted to convey... simple, mod, clean and a tad whimsical...
But my dear Potty Girls (which had now become sort of like the MODKID Mascot) still needed a face and as they started taking on a personality of their own I started dreaming of giving them life... a tangible, 3-D Potty Girl. I made several muslin prototypes last year until I was happy with the shape and size. But, before I even showed it to Michael Miller Fabrics, I needed to make sure they "worked" so I printed a test panel at Spoonflower. The girls looked great flat but it turned out when those broad, straight shoulders that give them the "mod" look are stuffed and curved, the girls looked more like quarterbacks than sweet little girls. Eeeek! (so glad I tested it!).
A few trips back to the drawing board and a few more prototypes followed until I got the perfect Potty Girl.
I hinted at my new venture with this Holiday card I sent out last year... a little test to see if anyone caught on to me. I giggled every time I'd get an email saying "you should print a dolly panel with these." YESSSSSS! :)
The original doll panel design I sent to MMF actually included 4 dolls, front & back on a 1-yard length, but after talking to Kathy, she explained that I needed to make the panel 24" (not 36") because that was the maximum repeat the mill could handle. I could only fit 3 dolls, front & back, on that 24" panel so we ended up sacrificing the redheaded one... and believe me when I tell you how strongly I struggled with that decision, since she was modeled after my dear Sophie.
But alas, I needed to get over it and move on. After all, the whole thing was so exciting... I mean, look! (plus, Sophie got to keep a few Spoonflower prototypes of the redheaded, freckled-face doll... a one-of-a-kind Potty Girl!)
Now, I promised I would post a downloadable template for the simple A-Line dresses my Potty Girls donned at Quilt Market, so here it is.
This template will fit on a standard letter-sized paper and it includes a 1/4" seam allowance. Click HERE to download the high-res PDF version. NOTE: Use only stretch fabrics or you won't be able to get the dress on your dolly.
Here's how I make mine (assembly diagrams are on the template):
- Trace the template twice onto a piece of knit fabric (max stretch going side-to-side) and cut.
- Stitch a narrow hem along the arm holes and neck opening on both pieces. Use your fingers to carefully stretch the fabric as you bend it along the curved edges. You can do this with a stretch stitch or a tiny, narrow zig-zag on your sewing machine.
- Hem both dress pieces separately, again using a stretch stitch or a tiny, narrow zig-zag on your sewing machine.
- Place both dress pieces right sides together and stitch or serge across the top of the shoulders and down both sides of the dress.
- Turn dress right side out and embellish with tiny buttons. TIP: To dress your dolly, pull the dress on from the bottom... it's much easier!)
(OH and thanks a million for all the sweet comments regarding the fabric collection and our booth design! xoxo)