November 15, 2017

Winter Vest - Hack



What you need to create the vest
  • Life Jacket pattern sold in my store
  • ¼ yard of cotton or satin fabric (you can even use shiny satin and use the wrong side)
    If using different fabrics for outer and liner fabric then 17" x 9" of each is needed
  • 7" separating zipper
  • ½" batting (17" x 9")
  • Needle for sewing by hand
  • Fray check

Pattern modification
  1. Take the back pattern piece for the Life Jacket and add another piece of paper at the bottom of the Life Jacket.
    Draw a parallel line 1¾" from the Life Jacket’s hem.
    Extend the side seams straight down from the arm pit, meeting the new hem at a 90° angle.
    This will be your new back pattern piece.

  2. Take the left front pattern piece and draw a parallel line 1¾" from the Life Jacket’s hem.
    Extend the side seam straight down from the arm pit, meeting the new hem at a 90° angle.
    Draw a parallel line ¼" from the front edge.
    You can either have a V-neck opening just like the Life Jacket (extend the pattern line until it meets the new front line) or you can have a higher closed jacket by copying the neck line from the back piece.
    This will be your new left front piece. Repeat for the right front piece.

  3. Mark your seam line for the bottom hem and the neck hem along your front pattern edge (see arrows in picture). These will be used later to determine your zipper length.
    Your pattern pieces are now ready to use.

Preparing the zipper for use
Take your zipper and align along front pattern edge to determine length of zipper. Mark the zipper just a tad shorter than the length between the two marks.
Mark zipper length on both zipper sides and separate zipper.


Move zipper pull towards bottom of zipper.



Take needle and thread and sew multiple stitches over the same zipper teeth just on the inside of the mark on both zipper sides. This will be your new zipper stop. Instead, you could also remove the existing metal zipper stops and re-position those to the new end.

Cut zipper sides where marked, making sure not to cut your new zipper stops. Add fray check to the cuts and also to your sewn zipper stop. Let dry.



Your zipper is now ready to use.


Assembly instructions
Follow the pattern cutting instructions with the new pattern pieces, but don’t cut any inserts, instead use your front and back pieces and cut each from the ½" batting. Pin each batting piece to the corresponding outer piece and treat it as one piece from now on.

Disregard any use or instructions for the insert or webbing pieces. Those are not used at all.

Start following the instructions with step 1 and 2 creating the inner and outer pieces.

Skip steps 3 to 9.


Then we change things up a bit in order to add the zipper to the front pieces:

Take one part of the separated zipper and align*, right sides together, along the front edge of the outer piece. 
*To align, center the zipper leaving ¼" at the top and bottom, zipper teeth facing away from the edge.
Now continue working with step 10, aligning inner and outer pieces sandwiching the zipper in between.


Follow step 11, sewing the arm opening and skip step 12.

Follow steps 13 through 17 to finish most of the vest.

Skip steps 18 through 22 and continue closing the bottom of the vest with step 23.



You can skip the rest of the steps and finish your jacket by top stitching 3 parallel rows across the vest; the first one 1½" parallel to the bottom hem and then each of the next two rows 1½" from the previous one.
I would recommend pulling your top thread towards the bobbin thread (inside of the jacket) and tying the top and bobbin thread then using a needle pulling the thread tails between the inner and outer layer and cutting. That way no tails will be visible.

Your Vest is now finished !!!


Complement your vest with my free hat pattern !!!
Purchase the Snow Pants pattern to finish the look !!!

October 31, 2017

Viking - Overview for American Girl Doll


Viking Rope Bed for American Girl Doll

What you need
  • (1) 1" x 2" furring strip board (8' long)
  • 9 yards of string
  • Wood glue and small nails (1 1/4" long)
  • Masking tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill and 3/16" drill bit
  • Saw

How to make the bed
  1. Cut the following pieces from the furring strip
    (2)  10 1/4" header and footer (A)
    (2)  22 3/4" side (B)
    (4)  4 3/4" legs (C)
  2. Smooth all sides and edges with sandpaper.
  3. Take piece (B) and draw a parallel line 1/2" from one of the long edges.
    On this line, mark the center.
    From the center mark, mark every 1 1/2" inches until you have a total of 13 marks.
  4. Take other piece (B) and align on top of each other. Wrap both ends with masking tape to keep the pieces together. Make sure you can still see your markings.
  5. Drill holes with a 3/16" drill bit where marked. Disregard the large holes, I tried to make the bed with just pegs, no nails. It didn't work out so well, therefor the instructions with the nails :-)
  6. Take one of the pieces (A) and draw a parallel line 1/2" from one of the long edges.
    On this line, mark the center.
    From the center mark, measure 3/4" in both directions as the first hole marks. Then mark every 1 1/2" from there until you have a total of 6 hole marks.
  7. Take other piece (A) and align on top of each other. Wrap both ends with masking tape to keep the pieces together. Make sure you can still see your markings.
  8. Drill holes with a 3/16" drill bit where marked. Again disregard the large holes in the picture.
  9. Here are all the pieces you need (disregard the large holes).
  10. Assemble the frame with glue and nails. Pieces (A) will be sandwiched between pieces (B).
  11. Now comes the weaving of the string. To make it easier to get the string through the holes, I added a whole bunch of hot glue at one end, kind of creating a needle from hot glue.
  12. Tie the other end into a huge knot then start weaving across the short side. Pull tight after each pass.
  13. Then weave across the long side, going up and down over the short strands. Pull tight after each pass. Tie off at the end.
  14. Use the free bedding instructions but increase the size to at least 23" in length to cover the bed.
You are done !!!

Return to Viking Overview


Viking Tent for American Girl Doll


Overall dimentions: 30" x 30" x 36"

What you need
  • (2) 1" x 2" furring strip boards (8' long)
  • (3) 5/8" round dowels (36" long)
  • 1/8" round dowel (12" long)
  • 2 2/3 yards of beige canvas fabric
  • Masking tape
  • Sand paper
  • Wood glue or super glue
  • 1/4" wide ribbon (48" long)

Tools needed
  • Saw (miter saw or hand saw with miter box)
  • Drill
  • 5/8" drill bit or slightly larger
  • 3/16" drill bit
  • 1/8" drill bit
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Protractor to measure 30° (optional, but helpful)

How to make the Viking Tent Frame
  1. Cut (4) pieces of 33" (A) and (2) pieces of 30" (B).
    (2) pieces (A) and (1) piece (B) can be cut from one 8' furring strip board.

  2. Take all 4 pieces (A) and tape together with one end aligned.
    Cut other end at a 30° angle.
    Take the remaining 2 pieces (B) and tape together then cut both ends at a 30° angle. Make sure you create a trapezoid.

  3. For each end of the tent you will need (2) A pieces and (1) B piece.

  4. While pieces (A) are still taped together, mark a parallel line to the cut edge, the width of the furring strip ( 1 3/4"). Connect the corners creating a cross. 

  5. Drill a hole through all (4) pieces (A) where marks cross with a 5/8" or better 11/16" drill bit.
    If you are using a 5/8" drill bit, move drill bit up and down to widen hole a little so that a 5/8" dowel fits easily through hole. You do not want the dowel to be a snug fit.

  6. On other end (square cut end) of piece (A), measure 3" down and mark in center of furring strip.
    Drill hole with a 5/8" or better 11/16" drill bit.

  7. Take taped pieces (A) and remove tape.
    Take one piece (A) and lay over taped pieces (B) (aligning the tips) then mark hole on piece (B).
    Repeat for the other end of piece (B).
    Drill both holes in pieces (B) with a 5/8" or better 11/16" drill bit just like in the previous step.

  8. Sand all edges and hole openings.

  9. Take the 1/8" round dowel and cut (12) 1" pieces (C). Sand the edges.

  10. Take one of the pieces (C) and add a glue head.
    To create the glue head, encase one end with hot glue then wet your fingers and smooth hot glue around the end. Be careful, glue is very hot !
    Repeat for additional 5 pieces (C) to create a total of (6) pins.

  11. Take one of the 5/8" round dowels and mark 2 1/2" from both ends then drill a hole with a 1/8" drill bit at each mark. Piece (C) should fit snugly in hole.

  12. Center and glue piece (C) into hole.

  13. Turn dowel 90° from previous drill direction and mark 1" from both ends then drill a hole with a 3/16" drill bit at each mark. Piece (C) should fit loosely in hole.

  14. Repeat steps 10 - 12 for the remaining (2) 5/8" dowels.

  15. Setup frame to make sure everything fits together.

Your frame is now complete !!!


How to sew the Viking Tent Fabric
  1. Cut a rectangular piece of canvas fabric 32" x 64" and serge/zigzag all sides.
    This will be piece (D).

  2. Cut a rectangle piece of canvas fabric 27" x 31" and fold in half width-wise.
    Cut the following to receive (2) pieces of E and (1) piece of F.

  3. Take piece (F) and double hem triangle top and bottom with a 1/4" hem (fold up 1/4" then another 1/4") then serge/zigzag remaining sides.

  4. Take piece (E) and double hem triangle top and bottom with a 1/4" hem (fold up 1/4" then another 1/4") then serge/zigzag sloped side.

  5. Double hem vertical side with a 1/4" hem (fold up 1/4" then another 1/4").

  6. Repeat with the other piece (E), making sure you create a mirror image.

  7. Cut (2) 6" long pieces of ribbon and singe both ends on each piece with a lighter.
  8. Sew one of the ribbon pieces on piece (E) about 2" from the bottom hem onto the wrong side of the vertical, double-hemmed side. Add the other ribbon piece about 10" from the bottom hem on the wrong side of the vertical, double-hemmed side.
    Repeat for the other piece (E).

  9. Cut (2) 12" long piece of ribbons and singe both ends.

  10. Take one of the ribbon pieces and align center of ribbon on RIGHT side of serged/zigaged edge of piece (E) about 12" from the bottom hem. Pin in place.
    My picture shows the wrong side of fabric, which is incorrect !!!
    Repeat for the other piece (E).

  11. Take piece (D) and fold in half width-wise and mark fold with pins on both sides.
    Measure 1" down from center pins and mark with pins.

  12. Take one of the pieces (E) and align* top of piece (D), right sides together, with pin that is 1" down from center pin. *Align along one of the long sides.
    Sew with a 1/2" seam allowance stopping 4 1/2" from the bottom.
    Back stitch where ribbon is within seam.

  13. Press seam open extending not sewn part of the seam.
    Top stitch around un-sewn seam.

  14. Take remaining piece (E) and align along the same long side on piece (D) with top of (E) aligned with other pin (1" from center pin), right sides together.
    Sew with a 1/2" seam allowance stopping 4 1/2" from the bottom.
    Back stitch where ribbon is within seam.
    Finish slot as was done in previous step.

  15. Top-stitch seam allowance between both pieces (E).

  16. Take piece (F) and align on other long side, right sides together. Align top of piece (F) with pin 1" down from center pin.
    Sew with a 1/2" seam allowance stopping 4 1/2" from the bottom.
    Finish slot as was done in step 13.

  17. Align top of other side of piece (F) on remaining pin (1" down from center pin), right sides together.
    Sew with a 1/2" seam allowance stopping 4 1/2" from the bottom.
    Finish slot as was done in step 13.

  18. It will now look like this

  19. Top stitch seam allowance between tip of piece (F).

  20. To create a casing, fold up unfinished tent bottom 1/2" then fold up 2".
    Top stitch to create casing.
    Repeat for other side.

Your tent is now finished !!!


Setup of Viking Tent
  1. Thread (2) of the dowels through the casings at the bottom of the tent.
    Thread the last dowel through the openings at the top of the tent.

  2. Add (2) pieces (A) to one end of the top dowel and secure with wooden pin.
    Use the ends that are not cut at an angle.
    Make sure that the angled ends are a mirror image of each other.

  3. Insert one of the casing dowel ends into angled end of the piece (A), that matches the angle.
    Repeat for the other piece (A) and remaining casing dowel.
    Secure with wooden pins.


  4. Take piece (B) and add to both casing dowel ends to create the A-frame.

  5. Repeat for the other side making sure that both inside (A) pieces are on the same side.

Your setup is now complete !!!