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We have a lot of Japanese Fashion Doll Books and enjoy looking at their pretty pictures.
There's a lot of great information inside but we never attempted a project from the books.
Because it's intimidating :
- text written in Japanese
- attaching tiny sleeves to shirts
- tiny pants with curves & pockets
- tiny dresses with gathers & lace
But our desire to try a project increased the more books we added to our stash.
So we knew we had to face our fears and tackle a project.
We remembered the message from the show on Netflix: The Creative Brain
So with that message in mind, we decided to start our dolly Sewing Adventure with a pattern from The Dolly Dolly Books: First Doll Coordination Recipe Book. According to the publisher, it has projects for beginners (yay!)
We selected the first sewing project in the book, a one piece dress for 22cm dolls. It had a skill Level of 1 (means, it’s beginner friendly), 54 steps written in Japanese with images.
The Adventure Begins
We used the Google Translate app to translate the instructions. It did a surprisingly good job. But there were several steps that the app couldn’t translate well.
So we looked to the photos for a visual explanation but it was a struggle to make out what the author was doing in the 1 ⅞ “ x 1 ⅞ “ images.
Our frustration was growing and we hadn’t started sewing yet.
To help reduce our growing frustrations, we hired someone to translate the instructions.
The translation was slightly better then the app. It filled in a few of the missing gaps we had (but not all).
With the app translation and the paid translation in hand, it was time to sew the dress.
The first time we made the dress, we placed the interfacing for the collar on the wrong-side of the fabric. That was incorrect. The interfacing needed to be place on the right-side of the fabric.
It was hard to tell the difference between the right-side & wrong-side of the fabric in the book. Neither the images or instructions were clear.
But as we stumbled through the 54 steps, we took notes and made adjustments to the translations.
The 2nd time we made the dress, we placed the interfacing the correct way but still had trouble with the collar. But despite that, the entire process went smoother then the 1st time.
Blythe enjoys both versions of the dress. She's not bothered by the imperfections (she’s such a supportive girl).
Is It Beginner Friendly?
We like the style of the one piece dress and look forward to making it again and mastering the 54 steps!
But overall, the pattern was not as beginner friendly as we had hoped.
If you're a beginner sewist, we wouldn't recommend the one piece dress pattern. Because you have to be familiar with certain sewing terms and techniques like flipping the interfacing & gathering the skirt to the correct length to attach it to the bodice.
The pattern is more for the intermediate and advanced sewist who has experience sewing dolls clothes & can figure out the steps by looking at the images.
You can complete the dress as a beginner (we did). But the process isn’t easy and could be a bit too frustrating for someone new to sewing.
Dolly Insider's Skill Level Rating: intermediate to advanced
Over to You:
Do you have dolly patterns that you purchased but haven't started sewing yet? If so, what do you think is preventing you from starting: is it the language, you’re new to sewing, not enough time, etc?
Have you sewn the First Doll Coordination Recipe Book, one piece dress before? Do you have any tips or techniques to make the sewing process smoother?
Let us know in the comment section below.
We look forward to chatting with you.
The Dolly Insider’s Sewing Adventure will continue with 3 more patterns from The Dolly Dolly: First Doll Coordination Recipe Book.
We hope you’ll join us & share your sewing experience.