String Theory

In the previous post, we showed you how the addition of bows was a simple and easy way to transform a simple garment into a spectacular evening look. As we approach summer, some of my girls just want a simple little party dress with a sexy edge. For this project, you will need your knit dress slopers, some 2-way stretch fabric and a little bit of string.

I have chosen the jersey/knit sloper and fabric that stretches in two directions so the dolls can get in and out of dress with little problem. This also makes it easy to design the type of neckline you want without the complications of darts. 

1. Here we take the sloper and draw in the neckline. I would recommend you put your pattern up to the doll to get a good idea as to where your neckline will ultimately fall on her body. 
2. You need to do this with both the front and back slopers. After you have drawn in the front neckline, place the back sloper over it and draw in the back neckline. Pay special attention as to how the two slopers will meet at the side.
3. Add the seam allowance.
4. Lay the front against the back to make sure the side seams line up and that there is a smooth transition from front to back.
5. For the one shouldered dress I made for this post, I drew in the neckline.
6. Then I decided the front and back neckline would be the same. From here, you only need to add on the seam allowance. 

Except for the one shouldered dress and the gown, all of my other dresses share the same scooped back as the strapless dress pictured above as #3.

Though very basic in the front, the back of Kym’s dress is pretty fancy.

1. I started out by putting together the dress and turning down the edges.
2. I use embroidery yarn (for the “spaghetti straps) and a needle with a very large eye. Since the embroidery yarn is comprised of several threads, you should wet the edge, press it flat then carefully thread the needle. Knot only one side (do not double the yarn), for this dress.
3. I put the needle through the underside of one shoulder, then wrap it diagonally across the back to the opposite underarm seam. Continue crossing the back, up and down until ou have the number of “straps” you want. To help me with my spacing, I marked the area with pins. You can also use pencil. When you have finished, pull your needle through to the back and knot the thread then cut.
4. On the opposite shoulder, you will start the same way you cross the rows of “straps” weave the needle in and out (lattice style). Again, when you have finished, pull the needle through to the underside of the neckline edge, then knot the thread and clip. 

Super simple in the front. Party in the back!

For daytime, you can do something a little more simple but just as stunning. For the next project, I started with a easy slip dress.

1-2. Turn down the neckline edges. Take your needle, thread it then knot both ends together. Slide the needle upwards through the point from the underside and pull it through.
3. Wrap the “strap” over the doll diagonally to the opposite side at the back.
4. Your needle should go over the edge from front to back.
5. Wrap the thread around the needle and pull the needle through this loop to form a knot. Then cut. Repeat on the other side except, wrap the “strap” around the shoulder and join it to where the other “straps” are attached to the dress. 

To give my one-shouldered dress, a bit of an edge, I worked the yarn from the high point down a ways over the arm cap. 

Of course, I had a little fun with the accessories. Her arm piece is a small, rectangular piece of of leather. I punched holes down each side then weaved through narrow strips of leather. 

Have fun with this project. My girls love black but you might try this with interesting prints as well. 
1. Zoe’s dress is a strapless sheath with cream colored straps radiating over each side of the shoulders. I knotted a single edge and worked from front to back.

2. Wrap the strap around the shoulders and sew onto the edge. Without cutting, return the needle to the front edge. 
3. Keep on until you have the look you are going for. 
4. I started to paint spots onto the “straps” but decided against it since I accessorized the dress with matching gloves and besides, the cream toned straps matches her boots.

You don’t have to think only about wrapping your straps around the doll’s shoulders. You can use the string to fill in areas—or hold elements of the garment together.

Case in point.... Sybille’s dress is a strapless sheath gown. It was cut all in one piece. I simply cut the fabric away in the front to expose her midriff and a smaller area over the top of her thighs. The back of her gown is all in one piece. Though I have added “straps” over each shoulder, the use of the string on this dress is purely decorative! 

Though the focus of this project is to use string to embellish the design, you can swap out the string in favor of ribbon or even chain!

Radiah’s dress is made of stretch lame. It hangs from a silver wire necklace and has streams of silver chain down her back.

1. To start, I used the basic sloper but shaped the front of the dress into a point at the throat. Turn the edges under. 
2. Shape a bit of wire (enough to wrap around her neck plus about 3/4” (150mm). Turn the edges into loops. One side the loop should be closed, the other should be left open. Add a jump ring to the closed loop.
3. Wrap the top edge of the dress around the center front of this neck ring. Pin in place until you get the placement just right, then stitch.
4. Here is what the back looks like right now when the necklace is closed. 
5. Measure out three lengths of chain—enough to reach the base of the doll’s neck to the top of the back neckline. Attach each chain to another jump ring at the top. Add smaller jump rings to the end of each chain.
6. Attach the top jump ring to the jump ring of the necklace. One by one, sew the lower rings of each chain to three points on the dress back.

Have fun with this project. You can add contrasting colors of string, jewelry string threaded with beads or clusters of string over strategically placed holes around the body!

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