Welcome to Hitty Bee’s Classroom! In this first of our free sewing projects at BBA, you will learn basic techniques to make a wonderfully versatile blouse and skirt set. Once you understand the construction you can alter the pattern to create many different looks, all with the same fully-lined garments and fully-finished seams. A blouse and skirt has a very nice fit on Hitty, and is often easier to make than a dress. So this tutorial shows blouses and skirts in matching fabrics which look like a dress when worn together. You can also choose to make a dress by stitching the skirt to the bodice, or you can match different fabrics in the skirt and blouse, to show them off as separates.
Hitty’s Basic Holiday Blouse Pattern was used to create the tops for the blue and green dresses below, both lined with contrasting fabric. Hitty’s Fancy Holiday Blouse Pattern, with a lower neckline and tapered sleeves, was used in Hitty’s red dress. The patterns can be used for Hitty Grace, Hitty Bee, and Hitty Anne, my own resin Hitty models, and can also fit Original Hitty sized dolls, such as Michael Langton’s Original Hitty Resins, (Among the most marvelous of Hittys!) as long as they’re fitted to the doll when they’re made.
It’s easiest to combine handsewing and machine sewing, though all the work can be done by hand if desired. It is nice to have buttons and thread to match your fabric so you can fasten the back of your blouse and skirt with buttons and thread loops in a complementary color. The ensembles in this tutorial are made from 100% cotton quilting fabric.
To begin, we need to create our pattern. You don’t need a printer, since we can draw this very simple pattern by hand. It will take a few extra minutes, but you’ll be sure it’s exactly the right size. You will need paper, pencil, and a ruler. Graph paper is very handy. If you are versed in graphic art, you could create the pattern in your own preferred graphics program.
The skirt piece is rectangular, so you’ll only need to create a pattern for the bodice. Two possible bodice patterns give two very different looks, so you can choose one, or do both together. They’ll be shown side-by-side throughout the tutorial.
Step 1 : Create Bodice Pattern
Green Pen is used in my photos, but pencil might work better at home. Graph paper should be 1/4-inch per square, which is what is shown in my pictures. Both Patterns begin the same way. Draw a rectangle 4 x 6 inches.
Draw a rectangle 1 1/2 by 1 1/8 inches in each of the four corners.
In the exact center, draw a rectangle 1/4 x 1 3/4 inches. Draw another rectangle in the center of one long side, as shown, at 1/2 x 1 7/8 inches.
Cut out your pattern, and that’s it! You might wish to laminate your pattern pieces. I like to do this with pattern pieces that will be traced, rather than pinned, as most of mine are. I left my patterns unlaminated to avoid glare in the photos, so you’ll see they start to get pen marks the first time I use them.
I like Clear Cover, which is a very inexpensive adhesive sheet that comes in a roll. It’s not for archival quality projects, but it’s great for book covers, shelf covers, art projects, etc.
It can cause paper to curl, so I just place it on both sides to avoid this.
It takes two more steps with this pattern to create Hitty’s Fancy Holiday Blouse.
The Fancy Blouse pattern will have tapered sleeves, so begin by drawing four lines, as shown, from each of the underarm corners to a spot 1/4 inch from the sleeve edge.
Next, fold the pattern in the center front, as shown, and draw a new, lower neckline extending from the front corner of the current neckline to the center fold, 1/4 inch lower.
Cut along this new neckline before unfolding, and trim the sleeves along the new lines as shown.
Hitty’s Fancy Holidy Blouse Pattern is ready!