Roll, Whip & Gather & Gather

Lily Auguste now has her first set of underwear. If you expect fast-paced sewing, I will disappoint you. I’ve had her since early December and finally finished her simple undies in early April. Four months. 

I sew quickly, but don’t sit and sew very often. 

LA stays home when we travel to the mountains, so planning, pattern making and her fittings have to wait until we get home.

DH, our chihuahua Daisy and I took a hike up the mountain behind our cabin today. If you zoom in on the photo, you might spot Daisy. 

When I started sewing for LA, I hadn’t really done any doll sewing in quite a while. Embroidery stitching is quite different from hand sewing. I was so rusty that I struggled to stitch a straight seam. But it came back pretty quickly. 

Her first costume will be a simple, enfantine-style dress made from sheer white cotton. I wanted her underwear to support the dress without detracting, with no heavy lace or trim showing through. 

I started with petticoat math. For an 18” poupee, a full, gathered skirt is usually 36” to 42” of fabric around. Since I intended to cartridge pleat her slip, I didn’t want side seams. I love sewing with Nelona Swiss batiste and was able to find it online in 60”width. That’s about 37 1/4” X 1.61(my Golden Ratio). 

The 60” of fabric, less back seam, was cartridge pleated into the waistband to fit her 10 3/4” waist. Click this link for a tutorial on cartridge pleating. 

I next made her split drawers and chemise by enlarging patterns in A French Fashion Doll’s Wardrobe. Following Louise Hedrick’s instructions helped me get back into the sewing groove without any serious thinking. 

It all went smoothly until I got to the neckline of the chemise. I was supposed to roll and whip and gather the front and back necklines. I’ve done lots if rolling and whipping.  

Louise’s book shows the simple/cheat way to do it. But I learned the original, spit and spin method long ago from Sarah Howard Stone’s French Handsewing, so that’s what I prefer. (Click this link for a tutorial).

But I had never tried adding the Gather. In Sarah’s book, she instructs to simply pull the thread every few stitches to gather. I tried that on the left back, but that didn’t gather very much. 

I pulled the thread between every stitch on the front and right back. That gathered it a bit more, but not enough. 

Now what?

After procrastinating for a week, I decided to just gather the necklines and live with the results. 

The lace is attached behind the edge with two lines of stitching. Doing that was awfully fidgety.  If you’ve read my blog for long, you know how much I dislike fidgety. But I did it. I’m not thrilled with the results. It’s bumpy. I’ll live with it, but I won’t try this method again. 

When we get back home, I will make the pattern, do some more math calculating tucks and cut out her dress. I’ll share all that and where I got my inspiration with you soon. 


Roll, Whip & Gather & Gather — 6 Comments

  1. Lovely Nelona can be obtained at Farmhouse Fabrics in Beech Island, S.C.

  2. To gather, you can insert a thread in your roll and whip and then pull it up to gather. I’m sure this method is in SarH’s book.

  3. She looks so sweet. If you do not like the way it lays under her dress, perhaps it could be a nightgown? It is so feminine.

  4. Thanks, Kathleen. Her dress will have a band that covers the bumpy gathers, so I don’t think it’ll be a problem.

  5. Hello, I am from from faraway Sweden, I love reading your posts they are very inspiring, makes me want to go and sew immediately, and all the useful links so glad I found your blogg, many regards Maria