Last week’s Doll Days Design Challenge was the theme Summer Day Camp fun! Many members were making their first pair of doll shorts and found it challenging. In response, I held a sew along to walk them through the sewing process, one step at a time, adding lots extra photos to help along the way. I hope you find it useful and try sewing the camp shorts today! There’s 2 days left to enter them into the Doll Days! Design Challenge.
I also illustrate how to add trim into the seams of the pocket opening and hem for a fantastic detail! Here’s the sew along:
Modern Camp Shorts (for 18″ Dolls) Sew Along
Pattern: Modern Camp Shorts from Doll Days! Sew an everyday Wardrobe for 18″ Dolls
Note: It’s best to use the photos in the book side by side with this sew along!
Press a fat quarter of fabric and cut out all the pattern pieces. There are 4 pieces: 1o, 11, 12, and 13.
You will also need to cut a waistband piece: see book for measurements. I use a rotary cutter set-up for this.
I used a yard of trim (1/4′ wide).
♦ Make sure your fabric is pressed well. If your fabric is a bit on the thin side, then use starch alternative, like Best Press, to give it some structure and make it easier to work with.
♦ If you are using scraps, then make sure you place the fabrics either Right sides together or wrong sides together. Otherwise you won’t have the right number of pieces for the shorts. Each pattern piece needs a right and left side.
♦ Trace your patterns for accuracy, even if you use the eBook version. I never use paper patterns to cut out my fabric. It doesn’t like to stay flat and bend with the fabric as it’s pinned, especially with these small pieces.
♦ I trace my patterns onto Pellon 830 Easy Pattern (available at JoAnns with all the other Pellon interfacing for $2.50 per yard) or Swedish Tracing Paper. It will last over and over and help you to cut out accurately.
♦ Use sharp fine pins to help with your accuracy. I use the glass head ones intended for piecing quilt blocks together.
Here are the pieces for my shorts (minus the waistband). I cut out piece 12 in red for a contrasting pocket lining. You can use all the same fabric if you like.
Tip: piece 13 will not show on the outside when your shorts are finished. Piece 12 can be cut out from a coordinating print for a fun detail.
Add the trim to the front pieces along the diagonal edges.
Step 2: You will need the “shorts front” pieces and #13 pieces.
Make sure you put the proper left side pieces together and the proper right sides together.
Pin piece 13 to piece 10 with right sides together. Match up the diagonal edges and don’t worry about the other edges-center the pocket piece 13
Press the pocket seam. Pressing well is crucial to having the shorts look great. First press the seam to set it.
Press the pocket away from the shorts front piece.
Now press the pocket piece #13 to the inside and make sure you get that seam as flat as you can. Press the right side and the wrong side to get them nicely pressed with sharp creases.
Add the Pocket pouch Piece # 12
Pin and sew piece 12 to piece 13, with right sides together and a 1/4″ seam allowance. Focus on lining up the “j” shaped edges together. Notice how the front piece will not stay flat–don’t worry about any of that. Just focus on the pocket edge that you are pinning and sewing.
Here’s the other side to see how the front/pocket unit is pressed and doesn’t stay flat.
Press and Baste at the top and sides
Refold the pocket piece to the inside and press it again. A sharp crease along the diagonal edge is best.
Pin at the sides and top where the pocket pouch (piece #12) meets the shorts front piece. Notice how my pocket pouch piece doesn’t exactly match up–I’m not worried about that for now. It’s just a little off and won’t show on the outside. It happens sometimes with the added bulk of the folded seam and trim.
Sew basting stitches to hold it in place as you work through the rest of the steps.
Use pinking shears, serger or a zigzag stitch to finish the front edges of the front pieces. This is important, since we will be creating a opening called a zip fly (although using velcro instead of a zipper). Sew or pink the edge between the pink arrows
Center Front Seam
Pin and sew the center front seam, with right sides together and 1/4″ seam allowance. You will not be sewing the whole center front or the leg sections.
Stop and start on the dots (also look at the photo in the book for the seam you will be sewing).
Press the opening in the Center Front
You want to press this section so it will fold in place easily later. Now is a good time to grab a sleeve press roll or mini ironing board, but it’s not needed. I’m not using one today.
Fold the opening, so that the seam allowances are to one side and the fold in the opening is lined up with the sewn section.
The easiest way to know you have it folded correctly is to pay attention to the top and bottom edges. Make sure the hem edges are creating a straight line and the top edge also looks straight across both sides.
Don’t worry about the sewn edge of the center front. Make sure the folded edge is even with the start of that seam (no extra folded fabric there). And don’t try to adjust that part, leave it folded and loose as in my photo.
Press just the upper section of the shorts, about 2″ from the upper edge.
Carefully separate the center front opening to access both sides of it. Fold and pin the FOLDED Edge of the center opening out of the way, keeping it folded where you pressed it.
Sew a small piece of velcro (the scratchy side) to the unfolded edge
Be sure to use wonder tape to hold that tiny piece of velcro in place, lest it be sewn crooked like mine.
Sew the other velcro onto the other side of the center opening. Unpin the folded side of the center front opening and open up its fold. You will be sewing the velcro in place while the fabric is unfolded.
Pin the other side of the shorts out of the way, as shown in my photo.
Use wonder tape to put the velcro in place, so it is lined up with the velcro mate on the other side of the opening. Again, it’s important to place it at least 3/8″ – 1/2″ from the upper edge. Sew it in place.
Last step in the “zip fly” opening. Refold the folded edge, so the velcro is now on the inside. Since it was pressed in an earlier step, it should fold neatly.
Repin the other side out of the way so you can easily sew the Top-stitching details. Draw a stitching line with disappearing fabric marker if needed.
Sew the folded edge of the center opening so it stays folded and resembles a zip fly opening like in jeans.
Side Seams. Pin and sew the shorts back pieces to the front piece, with right sides together and 1/4″ seam allowance.
Here is where I will fix my little imperfection with the pocket piece. I pinned the back so it lines up with the length of the front, ignoring the part of the pocket edge that’s not lined up.
I checked to make sure it’s within the seam allowance and it is, so I just sewed the 1/4″ seam as usual. The section that was off will have a slightly smaller seam allowance, but the overall seam line will be straight. Finish the seam allowances and no one will be the wiser.
If by chance it was so off that it would create a hole in the side seam. I would adjust it slightly so the edges lined up better, and sew with the 1/4″ seam allowance.
Hem. Fold toward the wrong side 1/4″ twice and press after each fold. Sew across to hem.
Ever wondered why the edge has that funny angle? It’s there to avoid a dog ear when folded the correct amount. It can also act as a guide.
Add any trim to the hem now.
Center back seam. We’re getting really close to finishing! Fold the shorts so the center back edges are even. Pin and sew the center back seam, with right sides together and a 1/4″ seam allowance. As with the center front seam, don’t sew the leg part–just the “J” edge.
Inseam. Fold the shorts right sides together. Pin and sew the inseam. Be sure to adjust the raw edges to keep them together the whole length.
Finish one long edge. Pin the unfinished edge to the shorts, so that there is extra waistband extending on the center front edges of the shorts. Place the waistband and shorts right sides together.
Sew the waistband onto the shorts with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Here’s how I place it under the needed. We’re working in the round now. I pin the waistband to the shorts while the shorts are right side out. When I sew it in place, I turn the shorts wrong side out and place the shorts so I can sew the right side of the shorts.
Fold the waistband up and away from the shorts. Press the seam allowances toward the waistband.
Fold the short ends at the center front toward the wrong side, aligned with the center front edges of the shorts, and press.
Fold and press the waistband to the inside, so it creates a 1/2″ waistband on the outside.
Pin and sew it in place, sewing close to the lower edge of the waistband and leaving 2 small openings at the sides to insert the elastic.
Step 18 Elastic
Work carefully as you do the steps.
Place a safety pin on each end of the elastic piece.
Feed it into the opening at the side.
Before the tail end gets inside: stop, remove the pin, and massage it into the opening all the way. Keep it close to the opening as you work it.
Pin and sew the width of the elastic to secure it in place at the side.
Continue to work the other safety pin until it comes out the opening on the opposite side and secure it in place as you did the other end of the elastic.
Sew the openings closed.
Add a snap, velcro, or button/buttonhole to finish.
Ta-da!! Hope you enjoyed this sew along and found it helpful!