Sunday, March 26, 2017

Opulent for Raccoon Monica

I'm trying a new pattern for my Raccoon girls: Opulent for 18-inch Kitty Collier, designed by Tamara Casey for Designs by Jude. Usually I use patterns for 17-inch Super Deluxe DeeAnna Denton. Neither doll's measurements are the same as Raccoon's, but both are close enough that they can be adapted with a few modifications. Kitty's bust is the same as DeeAnna's, her waist is one-eighth inch smaller, her hips are a full inch smaller. Because of the hips, only full-skirted fashions for Kitty Collier will fit Raccoon girls. Raccoon's height equals 17.5 inches. Designs by Jude makes the same patterns available for several size dolls, so I could have chosen Opulent for DeeAnna. I simply would have needed to lengthen the skirt.

The outfit consists of a full underskirt, a petticoat, and a fully-lined overdress. I made a muslin of the bodice and was pleased to see that it looked like it would fit without alteration. If I had bothered to line the muslin (that's not a step I normally do), I would have noticed that the extra thickness means the edges just barely meet in back. It's too late to cut the back pieces wider, but I think I can make it work with hooks and eyes. Laces would be better, or even just an extension panel to allow snaps. The dress isn't finished so I still have time to think about it.
Finished underskirt with unfinished bodice
By-and-large, the pattern is easy to follow, if you don't count the missing steps. I read the pattern instructions several times to make sure I didn't skip over them. Not there. Unfortunately they deal with finishing the bodice. What really annoys me is that I could have made the bodice up to that point with no instructions whatsoever, but once I joined the lining to the main fabric at the back and neckline as directed, I wasn't sure how to proceed with the rest. Should I leave the sleeve and side seams until ready to join bodice and skirt? Or should I do them now? Should I sew the sleeves and side seams of the main fabric and lining together as if they were a single thickness of fabric? I don't like that option as it leaves raw edges exposed that can snag and unravel, as well as catch on the doll's hands when I'm dressing her. If I do use that option, I have to hand finish all the raw edges because I don't have a serger. So I finished the fabric and lining separately, hoping to join the two at the cuff. Although this didn't quite work, I think I know where I went wrong. I'll give it another try before I join the overskirt to the bodice.
The pattern, unfinished overskirt, and some trims
I chose to make the gown in cotton in case I encountered problems that might ruin my fabric. It's a lovely fabric, just not what comes to mind when one hears the word opulent. I'll save my fancy fabrics for when I've worked out all the kinks. The cotton did give me some trouble, specifically when gathering it to fit the waistband. Thank goodness I ran two parallel threads for gathering, because one of them broke off as I pulled them through. Even so the fabric ended up wider than the waistband; I had to finish gathering it by hand.

Embellishing the gown was fun. I used a variety of materials: lace, trim, beads, ribbon, and silk flowers. I took the silk flowers apart, discarded all the plastic bits and then joined the flowers to beads to hold them onto the skirt. The underskirt and the skirt part of the overdress are done. I still want to add a few flowers to the bodice and the sleeves. I also need to join the bodice to its skirt, fix the lining, and sew the petticoat, and then I'll be done. That means a photo of the completed gown will have to wait until next week.
Notions for trimming overskirt


  1. The dress is looking great so far! Sad to read about the missing steps, though, that can be a bummer =S

    I think the fabric looks very nice on it, and would love to see it again on another one, too!

    1. Thanks! I am almost finished with it. I didn't think the dress would close in back but it does--just barely. I think I can use hooks to fasten it. Thank goodness I didn't use a really expensive fabric, because I'm not in love with it. It actually looked better without the overskirt.