Video – How to Add Freckles to Your Rag Doll

how to give your doll freckles

A while back, someone suggested that one of the rag dolls (I think it was Poppy) needed freckles. I made a note of it, and when I started working on the new Dress Up Bunch doll pattern for Emily – I added freckles!

It’s really easy – you just need to do some testing to make sure your marker looks good on the skin color fabric – and that it doesn’t bleed!

Now you can add freckles to any Dress Up Bunch doll. Cute!

Happy sewing!

How to Embroider a Mouth on an Already-Stuffed Softie – video

How to Stitch a Smile on a Finished Softie - video

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

Usually my patterns include instructions for embroidering the face before you sew your softie together. That makes it easy to transfer the pattern and position it correctly, and easy to hoop it for stitching.

But sometimes it just works better to stitch some features on after it’s all sewn up. This mouse doll is one of those times. And it’s really not hard at all! But you do need a couple of special tools. Nothing expensive or hard to find – just a doll needle and a water-erasable marker.

I show you the tools – and how to use them – in this video. Watch Miss Squeak get her smile!

See? That wasn’t hard at all!

Want a refresher on the stitch I’m using? Watch the backstitch video here.

You can find the Squeak the Mouse pattern here!

Happy stitching!



Free Pattern! A Simple Skirt for The Dress Up Bunch

Free Simple Skirt Pattern for The Dress Up Bunch

The Dress Up Bunch dolls now have a quick and easy skirt pattern you can make.

And it’s FREE!

Psst! I designed the skirt especially to fit all the dolls in The Dress Up Bunch collection – but it’ll also fit a ton of other dolls. It fits the American Girl dolls really well, and I guarantee it’ll also fit a bunch of random teddy bears and softies piled on any kid’s bed.

It pairs really well with the shirt from the free Play Clothes pattern.

So. The skirt. IT’S SO EASY!

Bean in free skirt pattern
No trim – just fabulous fabric.

You can make it super basic – with no trim. That’s what Bean is wearing here on the right. Just choose a fabulous fabric and you’re done.

Poppy’s skirt – the one you see on the cover – is made from mid-weight cotton twill and has a band of trim added above the hem. That’s a great way to add flat trims, like lace or rickrack or pretty ribbon. The pattern includes instructions for adding these. Of course.

The pattern also includes instructions for adding trim to the hem at the bottom of the skirt. That’s where you’d add any dangly trims, like fringe, tassels, pompoms, or these pretty beads.

pretty beaded fringe on the free Simple Skirt Pattern for the Dress Up Bunch
Ohh! Pretty beaded fringe!

I love the shiny blue beads with these tiny flamingos. Very beachy and fun.

Of course, like all my doll clothing patterns, there are instructions for leaving a tail opening for the critters in the collection. They like to have their waggin’ room!

Ready to make a fun skirt? They’re so easy – I bet you can’t make just one! πŸ™‚


  • less than 1/4 yard fabric
  • 12 inches 3/8″ elastic
  • 24 inches fancy trim (optional)

Step 1

Cut a rectangle 7 inches tall x 24 inches wide.

Step 2

Prep the top and bottom edges for hemming.

Turn the top edge down 1/2″ and press. Turn it down another 1/2″ and press. Turn the bottom edge up 1/4″ and press. Turn it up another 1/4″ and press.

Don’t stitch the hems down yet Β­- it’s just easiest to do all the pressing while it’s one flat piece.

Step 3

If you want to add trim to the middle of the skirt (like Poppy’s on the cover) now is the time to add it.

Sew it in place all along the 24 inches of the skirt. For wider trim like this, stitch it down at the top and the bottom. For something like rickrack I might use a zigzag stitch down the middle. It depends on the trim and the size. Use your best judgment.

Step 4

Unfold the creases you made in Step 2.

Sew up the center back seam of the skirt using 1/4″ seam allowance.

If you’re not leaving an opening for a tail, just sew the whole edge.

If you’re leaving a tail opening for critters, sew as shown in the photo.

Make sure to backstitch at the top and bottom of the tail opening so it’s nice and strong and holds up to lots of dressing and undressing. :Β­-)

Step 5

Press the center back seam open.

If you are leaving a tail opening, stitch a box around the opening to stabilize it.

Here’s that boxedΒ­-in tail opening from the outside.

You’ll probably use a matching thread color Β­ I just wanted to make sure you could see the stitching. πŸ™‚

Step 6

Refold the creases.

Stitch the hem down all the way around the skirt. If you’re adding trim to the bottom of the skirt, now is the time to add it.

I sewed this beaded fringe in place as I stitched down the hem. The beads are attached to a ribbon. I just laid the ribbon down over the folded hem and stitched through all the layers at once.

Here it is from the inside.

I stitched along the top and the bottom of the ribbon. I needed to use a zipper foot to stitch along the bottom of the ribbon, so I could get that close to the beads.

I could have sewed it so the ribbon was on the outside of the skirt. Use your best judgment based on the trim you’re using.

Step 7

Sew the casing at the top of the skirt.

Leave a couple of inches open at the top Β­- at the back seam -Β­ so you can put in the elastic.

Step 8

Cut a 12″ piece of 3/8″ elastic and thread it through the casing. (This bodkin is SO MUCH EASIER than the safety-pin method I used to use!)

Overlap the ends of the elastic 1 inch and sew them together. Slip the stitched elastic up into the casing and finish sewing the casing closed.

Watch this video for more info on using elastic in a waistband.

Done! Press everything neatly, turn the skirt right side out and try it on.

With trim or without, these skirts are so quick and easy to make!

Need that shirt pattern? There’s a free pattern for the shirt (and a pair of shorts) here.

Have fun! And happy stitching!


Designing a Rag Doll – a Peek at the Design Process

Designing a Rag Doll - a Peek at My ProcessToday’s post is part of the Let’s Talk Process Blog Hop! Eight different designers are each choosing a recent project and talking about the process of designing that project. Our approaches are all likely to be really different – and all inspiring! I love peeking behind the scenes at the process that goes into a finished design – and I always come away with some ideas I apply to my own work.

I’ll be writing about the new Dress Up Bunch rag dolls. Years ago – back when Shiny Happy World was about selling finished dolls and softies instead of patterns – I had the idea to design a dressable rag doll. I already had a rag doll that sold well, but I wanted one that was designed to be easier to dress, with a large wardrobe of possible clothing patterns. It wouldn’t hurt if she was easier (and faster) to make, too. πŸ™‚

That idea sat on the back burner for a long time while I transitioned to selling patterns and  teaching, but a few months ago I finally got serious and designed what would become The Dress Up Bunch.

dress up bunch collage

The Dress Up Bunch – so far

I had a LOT of time to think about what I wanted from this pattern collection.

  1. Very easy to make.
  2. Arms and legs that would go in any direction for easy dressing.
  3. Cute, playable and fun.

Any time you design something, even something simple (especially something simple) there are countless small decisions to make along the way.

In many cases there are several good options – but one is the best choice for that particular project. I like to start with a list like this that I can use as a reminder to keep myself on track.

The Old Rag Doll Pattern

Abigail Darcy full

Usually I start with a blank page – but this time I had a successful rag doll pattern that I could use as a jumping off point.

This is Abigail Darcy. I think she’s adorable and the pattern had been a strong seller for me. I love her gangly coltishness, her subtle asymmetry, her cartoony face, her striped tights, her changeable skirt.

But she’s not Very Easy to Make.

She’s more of an advanced beginner pattern and I wanted something that would also work for people who are still getting acquainted with their sewing machines.

The way her arms are attached also greatly limits their movement – making her harder to dress and play with.

Very Easy to Make

The number one problem I see with handmade softies is that people don’t put enough stuffing in them. On some designs it doesn’t really matter, but with dolls it can matter quite a lot because less stuffing makes the necks go floppy very quickly. I gave the Dress Up Bunch dolls wider heads, wider bodies – and especially wider necks – so they would be forgiving of being too lightly stuffed.

If you don’t add enough stuffing, this doll still looks good and functions well.

The wider body also solved another problem.

There is a point in the original rag doll pattern where she looks like this.

17 an unholy mess

Her body is so skinny that it won’t hold all the arms and legs and they have to hang out the stuffing hole while sewing up the outside.

It looks worse than it is, but it’s definitely not fun and I want every step of my new pattern to be easy and fun.

The same stage in the Dress Up Bunch rag doll pattern looks like this.

16 pin back

See how neatly (and easily) all the parts fit inside the body?

In addition to making the head, neck and body wider, I also made the arms and legs shorter so they’d fit more easily inside the doll. The arms, in particular, are quite short. In real life a human’s head is much narrower than the shoulders, the neck is much narrower than the head, and hands hang down past the hips.

I decided against anatomical accuracy in favor of a body type that was easier to make.

One more detail you can see in this photo is the center back seam. Most rag doll patterns don’t have that, but I added it for two reasons. One – a stuffing opening in a nice straight seam like this makes the final handsewing a snap. I find it significantly easier than sewing up a seam in the side of the body – especially if that body is well-stuffed. Two – it provides a great seam where makers can easily and securely attach a waggy tail to the animal bodies.

Usually more seams means more complicated, but this is a case where adding a seam actually made the construction easier – in two ways!

Finally – I made the Dress Up Bunch doll pattern symmetrical. I love the casual charm of a little bit of asymmetry, but skin colored fabrics and felt have no easily identifiable front or back. It was very easy for pattern pieces to get flipped over during construction so they didn’t all match up at the end.

For this pattern – where Very Easy to Make was my #1 guideline – I was happy to sacrifice quirky asymmetry for ease of construction.

Super Flexible Arms and Legs

Pip - a kitty cat doll softie pattern for The Dress Up Bunch

On the old rag doll pattern you can see that her arms are attached at an angle. That’s pretty typical of rag dolls – but it definitely limits the flexibility of those arms. It’s hard to raise them over the doll’s head and the seams have a tendency to tear under the arms. It also makes them hard to dress.

Now look at Pip over there on the left. I left the tops of his arms completely unstuffed and attached them at a right angle to the side of the body. Bingo! Arms that can go in any direction – making for fun play and easy dressing. They don’t look as neat and tidy as the typical angled arm attachment of a rag doll, but they function much better.

Neat and tidy was not on my list. Easy dressing and playing was.

I originally tried sewing elbow and knee joints into the arms and legs (like on the legs of the old rag doll) but my daughter said they looked ugly – like sausages. I tried them unjointed, but very lightly stuffed and with some plastic pellets added to give them good flop. She pronounced that version “very huggable and soft, good for playing, and not ugly.” Success. πŸ™‚


Spot in jammies back

This was a big one for me. I’ve watched kids play with my dolls for years and I’ve seen how they interact with them. They want to carry them around by the arm (another reason the arms need to be flexible). They want to cuddle them. They want to sit them up and have them stay sitting. They want their arms and legs to bend. And if they have tails – they want to wag them. πŸ™‚

A lot of dressable animal dolls have no tails – or they have applique tails that are covered by the clothing. I wanted actual waggable tails.

It added an extra few steps to the construction of the critter dolls – and their pants – but it adds a ton to the playability. It’s always a balancing act.

In this case I was happy to add a tiny bit of difficulty to the construction in order to have a doll that would be a lot more fun to play with.

The Process is Never Done

Old Violet - a Dress Up Bunch doll from Shiny Happy World

The first human doll in The Dress Up Bunch was Violet. Here she is.

I love her purple curls, but when I got ready to make the second doll in the collection I realized that the face still needed some work.

The new, wider body shape was chunky and cute, but she still had the smaller/finer features of the original rag dolls. They didn’t go together.

I played around so much with the face for the second doll!

(I have a whole post here about how I test faces on my prototypes).

I drew and erased and drew and erased and drew and erased until the face was a yucky grey mess. Then I flipped it over and did the same thing with the back of the head.

Spot - Dress Up Bunch Dog Softie Pattern

I had a nose and mouth I liked – but the eyes were killing me. No matter what I did they were too small. I tried pinning on some felt eyes, but I wasn’t happy with any of them. I had used plastic safety eyes for Spot – and I loved them – but I had it stuck in my head that they would look bug-eyed and goofy on a human doll.

Finally – in desperation – I grabbed a seam ripper, poked a hole where the prototype’s eye should go, and stuck in a safety eye to test it out.

The whole face suddenly came to life.

Poppy face

It didn’t look bug-eyed or goofy! The larger size looked friendly and young. And the shiny half-domes had a sparkle to them that I hadn’t gotten with felt eyes. I loved them!

So this is the new face of The Dress Up Bunch.

Try everything – even things you’re pretty sure will fail.

I redesigned Violet so she would have the younger, cuter face that the newer dolls have.


One More Bit of Advice

I do all my prototyping with white muslin.

  • It’s cheap and easy to find.
  • It’s the least forgiving fabric I could possibly sew with – pieces that could be stretched to fit with fleece will not match up with muslin. I’ll know there’s a problem that needs fixing.
  • You can draw and write on it – like I do when I’m designing faces.
  • Every mistake will show. My daughter might not have noticed sausage-looking arms on a patterned fabric, but she sure hated them on the white prototype.

If your project looks good in white muslin it will look good in any fabric. πŸ™‚

Let's Talk Process blog hop
I hope you enjoyed this look at the design decisions that went into a single project. Ready to see the approaches of some other designers? Take a look at the other posts in today’s hop and gather up enough tips and inspiration to keep you designing for weeks.

Happy stitching!

Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

Zsa Zsa Loves the Bling on Her Collar

Zsa Zsa - kitty cat rag doll pattern for The Dress Up BunchThis is Zsa Zsa.

Am I dating myself that when someone suggested a collar with bling I immediately thought of Zsa Zsa Gabor? πŸ™‚

Anyway – I made Zsa Zsa using the Pip pattern, a shortish pile white fur, and a couple of scraps of pink satin for the ear linings.

I made Zsa Zsa to show you a few things.

How to Make a Fancy Collar with Bling

I bought that ribbon with the jewels already sewn on it. Fancy and easy. πŸ™‚

But it was kind of flimsy.

To make a sturdy collar that could withstand lots of play, I made the regular collar from the Pip pattern, then sewed the blingy ribbon onto it.

I had to make the collar a little wider so it would accommodate the full width of the ribbon. You can do that too – just cut your fabric strip 4 times the width of the ribbon you want to use.

I also had to use a zipper foot to sew down the edges of the ribbon. The zipper foot let me keep the presser foot out of the way of the bumpy bling. If you don’t have one you can just sew the ribbon on by hand. The easiest and strongest way would be to whipstitch it around all the edges. Use this tutorial to see how.

You Can Use Fake Fur to Sew a Zsa Zsa from the Pip Pattern

Zsa Zsa - kitty cat softie doll patternYou don’t have to make any adjustments to the pattern.

You can find all my video tutorials about working with faux fur (along with other special fabrics) here.

I recommend using the optional muzzle applique piece included in the pattern. Otherwise the cute embroidered smile will get lost in the fur.

The pattern includes instructions for how to prepare the muzzle piece and how to applique it onto fur.

Please get the good stuff!

It’s going to take you a couple of hours to make this toy and someone is going to love it. Make it out of materials that feel good and will last!

I sewed Zsa Zsa up with junky fur that I had on hand for some reason. It’s white – which is exactly what I wanted for this project – but that’s the only good thing I can say about it. I bought this at Joann’s and it’s awful. It feels like plastic. I can tell it’s going to get terribly matted if this toy actually gets played with. The backing fabric is so thin that you can see my light pink pattern-tracing lines right through it. Awful stuff! I gave the leftovers to Jo to use for making rugs in her doll house. That’s the only thing it’s good for. πŸ™

But you’ll use the good stuff, right?

You can find info about my favorite source for faux fur here. I haven’t tried all their furs – not by a long shot – but every single one I’ve tried had been terrific quality.

So – ready to make a furry cat?

Get the Pip pattern here.

Happy sewing!

Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

Tutorial – Using Safety Eyes with Woven Fabric

Using Safety Eyes with Woven FabricUsually I use safety eyes with polar fleece or fake fur.

You can see a video showing how to use them here.

They really stand out from the fabric and look great – and there’s nothing you need to fuss with.

But when I was designing Bean I decided I wanted the face to look younger. That means bigger eyes and I knew safety eyes would give me just the shine and roundness I wanted.

The problem is the 9 mm safety eyes (the size I wanted to use) have a back that’s larger around than the eye itself.

That’s not an issue with fabrics with a bit of pile to them (like fleece or fur) but I didn’t like the way it looked with the woven cotton I was using for the face.

You can see the sharp edge of the backing in a little ring around the eye on the finished doll. It doesn’t look too bad – until you stuff it. Then it looks very pronounced.

Luckily – the solution is super easy!

safety eyes tipCut a circle of felt for each eye, just a little bit bigger around than the washer used on the inside of the eye.

It doesn’t have to be perfect.

If you’re using fabric in a light color, make sure to use felt in a light color too so it doesn’t shadow through.

safety eyes tip

When you insert the eyes, slip the little felt circle between the fabric and the washer. It’ll be on the inside of the doll head.

Make sure you lock the washer down tight.

Now when you stuff your doll the felt will act like a little layer of stuffing between the washer and the “skin” – softening the hard edge of it.

See? I told you it was easy!

Happy sewing!

Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

The Dress Up Bunch is a collection of cute and cuddly rag dolls. Get patterns for the dolls, plus all their fun outfits and accessories!

How to Make Denim Shorts for The Dress Up Bunch

How to Make Doll-Sized Denim Shorts with all those cool details - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Here’s how to make some denim shorts for a doll and give them that cool hem and seam treatment that jeans have.

Steal it!

Start with the legs from a cut-off pair of jeans (you do save those, don’t you?) and the free Play Clothes shorts pattern.

How to Make Doll-Sized Denim Shorts with all those cool details - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

The instructions for the shorts say to turn up the bottom hem 1/2 inch and then another 1/2 inch. We’re going to steal the already-made hem so we need to shorten the pattern by 1 inch. Just turn up the bottom edge one inch and crease it to hold.

How to Make Doll-Sized Denim Shorts with all those cool details - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Make sure the edges of the cut-off denim leg are all lined up – the outside seam running right up the side and the front and back edges of the bottom lined up with each other.

Place the pattern on the bottom of the cut-off denim leg. The folded hem of the bottom of the pattern should be lined up with the bottom edge of the pants, and the edge of the pattern that says to place it on the fold should be butted right up against the flat-felled seam at the side of the cut-off leg. Cut around the pattern. It should look like the photo up there. Repeat with the other leg for the other side of the shorts.

How to Make Doll-Sized Denim Shorts with all those cool details - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Follow the rest of the pattern instructions without any more changes. You’ve got a cool pair of denim shorts with nice hem and seam details!

I call them Cheater Pants. πŸ™‚

Here they are, modeled by Bean.

How to Make Doll-Sized Denim Shorts with all those cool details - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I used the same technique to give Karl here that classic hem treatment to his denim shorts too.

Karl (with a K) - boy doll wearing denim shorts

You can use this technique with any doll-clothes pattern!

Happy stitching!

The Dress Up Bunch is a collection of cute and cuddly rag dolls. Get patterns for the dolls, plus all their fun outfits and accessories!

How To Use Snaps – video

How to Use Hammer-On Snaps - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Back when I first started sewing, I did everything possible to avoid buttons.

Or zippers.

One of the notions I turned to was snaps. My first experience was bad – I tried using those sew-on snaps, thinking they’d be the easiest option. But I hated sewing them on and I found it really hard to held them in place while I sewed.

My life changed when I discovered regular snaps. AΒ neat professional finish with just a hammer? I had NO IDEA you could do this from home! Why was nobody shouting this from the rooftops? Snaps are really easy to use and look terrific. Here’s how. . .

Give them a try!

That tiny little shirt you see up top is one of the shirts for the Dress Up Bunch dolls. All the dolls have the same basic body pattern – which means they can all share clothes. Fun!

Update! The pretty colored snaps I used to carry are no longer available in shops. πŸ™ The good news is that you can now choose individual colors and buy direct from the manufacturer. The best size for Dress Up Bunch doll clothes is size 14.

Happy sewing!



The Simplest Skirt Pattern

The Simplest Skirt - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

Here it is – the simplest skirt you can possibly make and the best project I know for beginning sewists who want to make clothing.

Size this one up to fit adults – or down to fit dolls and stuffed animals. It’s all good.

What you’ll need

  • fabric (amount will depend on your measurements)
  • elastic
  • double-fold bias tape (optional)
  • sewing machine, thread, basic sewing tools
  • less than an hour. I mean it. I’ve never actually timed myself, but I think I can make one of these in 15 minutes.


Very, very, very easy.

Here’s how to make it.

Step 1

Measure around your waist and the desired length of the skirt.

waist _______________ length ______________

For a skirt with “average” fullness, cut your rectangle twice your waist measurement, plus 1 inch for seam allowance. This does not need to be an exact measurement.

My daughter’s waist is 24 inches. My target for the total length of my fabric rectangle was 49 inches, but the fabric was 44 inches wide. Did I piece in an additional 5 inches? No way. I just used the existing width of the fabric.

Anything from 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 times the waist measurement will look good and have some fullness, but you can go even smaller for a more fitted look, and even larger with a very thin fabric. Play around with it!

What width elastic will you be using?
You’ll need to add enough to your total cut length to make an elastic casing. Add the width of the elastic + 5/8 inch. That’s enough to turn it under 3/8 inch, press, then turn it under the width of the elastic + 1/4 inch.

You can see a video showing how to use elastic in a casing here.

Will you be adding a hem?
I usually add 1 inch hem allowance – enough to turn it under 1/2 inch, press, then another 1/2 inch, press, and stitch. Some people like wider hems. In this sample I didn’t hem at all – just bound the lower edge with bias tape. It’s up to you!

Cut your fabric rectangle.

Step 2

Fold your rectangle in half, right sides together, and stitch the short edge with 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Finish the seam allowance. This was kind of a ravelly fabric, so I zigzagged the seam. You can see how to do that and another easy seam finish option in this video.

Step 3

If you’re going to use bias tape to finish the seam, prepare it now. I found a packet of very old single fold bias tape that I wanted to use. Since it was single fold, I needed to fold it in half one more time and press it.

If you want to make your own and don’t know how – watch this video. For this project you can cut your strips on the straight grain.

Step 4

Attach the bias tape by folding it around the raw edge of the skirt fabric and stitching it in place.

Step 5

Here’s what your finished hem will look like.

If you want to do a regular folded hem instead, you can see how in this video.

Step 6

Fold the top edge under 3/8 inch. Press. Fold again the width of the elastic plus 1/4 inch. Press. (I used 1 inch elastic on this skirt.)

Stitch the casing as close to that folded edge as possible, leaving about 3 inches open for inserting the elastic. Thread in the elastic, pin the ends together and TRY IT ON.

If you want to see me do this step on this very skirt, watch this video.

Step 7

Once you know the fit is good, securely sew the ends of your elastic together. I sew a box around the edges of the overlapped bits, then sew an X across the box.

I’m showing you an example from another project because if I sewed this one in a thread dark enough to see, it would also show through the very thin white fabric of the skirt, and that would’t be pretty.

You can see all of this in the same video I mentioned in Step 6.

Step 8

Let the elastic pop back into the casing, fold the casing back in place, and stitch that opening closed. Throw on the skirt and go play on a tire swing.

It really is that easy!

You can size this to fit anyone – though the shape isn’t terribly flattering on most adult women. Those of us with hips, anyway. πŸ™‚

This is a great project for kids to make for themselves and also for their dolls and stuffed animals – easy to sew, easy on and off, and really inexpensive.

Want to see what some kids have made with this basic pattern?


This skirt got some fancy beading.

And I love the tutu on this Ugly Doll – made with tulle and no hem needed.

And, of course, the gap-toothed kid holding it! πŸ™‚

These were all from a Summer Camp I taught a couple of years ago.


How to Use Elastic in a Casing – video

How to Use Elastic in a Casing - video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

This one’s on the longish side, but I show you pretty much everything you need to know about using elastic in a casing.

We start with what kind of elastic to use (did you know there were different kinds?), some tips on pre-stretching and measuring, how to measure for and sew the casing, how to thread the elastic through the casing and sew it up. I even show you a little trick I use to help kids put on handmade clothes (with no tags) the right way!

Update – after making this video I discovered a new tool for threading elastic through a casing. It’s called an elastic bodkin and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. This is the one I use. They’re super cheap and they make that step of the process a million times easier. I wish I had known about this tool twenty years ago!

Want to practice your new elastic skills? Try this free simple skirt pattern. It has instructions for sizes to fit everyone from dolls to grown-ups.

I also use elastic in a lot of the dress patterns for Dress Up Bunch dolls. Look for the ones with gathers around the neck like this one.

Lizzie in her new Cat's Meow outfit

That’s the Cat’s Meow pattern, but there are several others with a similar neck finish. Those gathers means there’s elastic in a casing around the neck – which means no fasteners for little hands to wrestle with!

Happy stitching!