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Tips for Sewing in Small Scale

Eliminate Darts in Leather and Vinyl

Darts can be stiff and unattractive in leather, vinyl, or fabrics that don't have much drape. For a smoother look, convert the dart into a seam, as shown in this skirt pattern.

Keep Tissue Paper on Hand

The gift-wrap kind, not Kleenex. Use white paper. The ink in colored paper will bleed if it gets wet (for example, if your steam iron "spits" on it). Here are a couple of ways I use white tissue paper:

Use Ken patterns for Gene (or Trent patterns for Kitty)

This leopard print blouse is made from view E/F of Vogue, Ken's shirt pattern. With only a couple of minor alterations, it was a perfect fit.

How to alter Ken's shirt pattern for Gene:

  • Lengthen the sleeves and cuffs by a total of about 3/4".
  • Lengthen the body of the shirt so it will tuck in easily. Make the center front a little longer than the back so Gene's bust doesn't pull it up too high.
  • Do not sew the cuffs closed, as the instructions say, or else Gene's hands won't fit through them. Instead,
    1. finish the cuff as you would for a people-sized sleeve (treating the open seam as the placket, Figure 1), and
    2. when you sew the side seams, leave about an inch of the sleeve seam open (the area from the red arrow to the cuffs in Figure 2).
    3. Add snap closures.
    This is the same technique used by AD for USO's blouse.
  • I modified the collar for style only, not for fit. Next time I make this, I will probably cut the back neckline about 1/8" lower, to make the neckline fit a bit more smoothly. However, it isn't bad just as it is.
  • The fabric in this blouse is thin and gauzy, so there was no need for any shaping in the bodice area. If you use bulky or stiff fabric, you might need to nip in the waistline at the side seams or add some darts.
  • This blouse fits Daisy and Willow, but their wrists are thicker than Gene's so the cuff doesn't overlap. You could either widen the cuff and sleeve, or just omit the cuff entirely.

No other alterations are necessary. The shoulders, chest and sleeve width, and armscye/sleeve caps fit without any changes. No one will ever suspect the pattern wasn't made for Gene in the first place. Enjoy!

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Updated 06 DEC 07.