Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sew a Jersey/Sweater for Ken or Barbie

This striped sock sweater/jersey includes a turtleneck collar and ribbing on both the sleeves and around the waist.
This sock sweater requires two socks in order to include the stripes and ribbing on the sleeves.
 This jersey (above) is sewn from a pair of socks. Sewing with sock can be tricky but the results are very pleasing. Some tips to remember:
  • Sew with very small stitches and sew over your stitches several times to prevent unraveling.
  • The clothes only look as good as the socks, so, use either new or like-new socks to begin with.
  • Choose interesting patterns and colors that suite the age your doll represents.
  • Try to avoid stretching the socks while you work with them. This will prevent oddly shaped garments.
  • Use very strong thread for sock crafts such as these. Sometimes I will even use dental floss to sew with knit materials for dolls.
  • Use a sticky craft glue or no-fray fabric glue when working with the knit socks to prevent unraveling. 
  • Whether you use one sock or two to sew a doll's sweater will depend upon the pattern, design or size of your doll. Continuing the design of the sweater across the chest and onto the sleeve is a matter of design preference.
The candy stripped sock sweater above includes ribbing
around the waist only; plus a tiny knit belt. See directions
for her sweater skirt here.

       For this particular version of a doll sock sweater, (right) the cuff of the sock becomes the finished edge of the doll's sweater waist. The cuff provides a natural elasticity for the sweater so that the garment possess some durability when a child dresses and undresses her doll.
      There is also a tiny knit belt, cut from the former sweater. If your recycled sweater does not have a detail like this one, simply cut a bit of knit twine or decorative yarn to tie about the doll's waist instead.

Supply List:
  • a pair of clean larger socks for Ken's sweater, one child's sock for Barbie's sweater version
  • needle and strong thread (Use dental floss, unwaxed if you have it.)
  • matching pale pink, cotton thread
  • tiny sharp scissors
  • a doll to measure by (I used a ken doll, made by Mattel and a lovely dark skinned Barbie.)

Step-by-Step Directions:
       Cut the child's sock into three separate pieces, two identical sleeves for the arms (from the foot of the sock) and one continuous piece for the torso of the doll, cut from the leg of the sock. (see photo below) Then thread your needle with the dental floss and sew both a straight seam and then a blanket stitch up the sides of each sleeve leaving a opening for the shoulder at the top of each sleeve and an opening at the bottom of each sleeve for the doll's hands to stick through. Sew a straight seam and a blanket stitch across the top of the neck line leaving a hole for the doll's head to fit through. The cuff of the former sock becomes the waistline opening and it is left open all the way across.
       Observe in the pictures below how the heal part of the sock (gusset) is left to shape the shoulders of the sweater. It is easy to notice this here because the heal of the sock is solid pink along with the waistline area. You can also observe from the close up shots that I have turned the collar back and stitched a tiny blanket seam around the neck opening.  This stitch prevents fraying, allows for elasticity, and makes an attractive, finished edge.

       To sew on the sleeves you must take a tiny pair of sharp scissors and cut out a small arm whole on either side of the sweater just below the shoulders. Be careful not to cut these openings too wide. As you sew the arm seams these openings may be stretched a bit.

       Turn the sleeves right-side-out so that the front sides are facing together as you sew around the arm whole seams. See the photo below on the far right. In the Center photo, you can see that the sweater when turned inside out, it should have all muted colors and when the sweater is turned outside in, the colors are all brilliant.
       I finished the bottoms of each sleeve on this pattern by gently rolling them up and tacking them down with a bit of cotton thread and a blanket stitch.

 Above is a no-sew process for making a sweater for Barbie. 
This process uses a hot glue gun. Only older children should
be allowed to use hot glue guns and even then, they should
 be watched by an adult.

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