Designing a Doll's Vest
The custom sloper patterns you made to fit your doll are the smallest possible amount of fabric that will cover the doll's torso. To design a vest, you need to think how you want the vest to sit against the doll's torso, where you want the neck and armhole, if you want the vest to close, if the vest will cover a shirt, and how the fabric you use will hang or 'drape' on the doll's body.
Vest Pattern Criteria
For this easy project to help you begin fitting custom doll's clothes, I have photographed the steps in making a one piece vest pattern that only needs to be joined at the shoulder or yoke seams. I want to make a western style vest for my doll, with a visible arrowhead yoke seam, and a rounded cut away front. The rider doll I am designing my vest for is poseable and the vest needs to adjust to changes in her pose. The easiest fabric to use for this project is felt, which may be sewn or glued. Once you have made one successfully fitted vest in inexpensive felt, you can adapt your pattern to use finer ultrasuede, micro suede or fine leather. In the final stages of this tutorial I will show you how to adapt your vest pattern making to suit woven and knitted fabrics and make vests with side and shoulder seams.
Making the Basic Vest Pattern
This basic vest pattern needs to fit loosely under the arm so it can be taken on and off the doll. I am not worried about how tightly the vest fits to the sides of the body, so I line up my custom slopers alongside each other matching the edges at the underarm. I'm not going to fit this vest to the bust, so I can ignore the darts on the front of the sloper, although I may have to fold the side darts eventually in order to be able to draw the waist line on my new pattern. Fold the front sloper in half along the center line (see photo above) or use a sloper pattern copy that you have cut along the center line. For a one piece vest that opens in the front, you will need to mark half of a front sloper joined to a full back, with the back joined to a second half of a front pattern at the other under arm.
Lay your back sloper over a scrap of non woven interfacing and carefully trace along the edges of the back sloper to mark the shoulder lines, neckline and underarm. Fold your front sloper in half and continue to trace the armhole line and the shoulder neck and front lines of the sloper on your under lining. See next page for how this pattern finishes.