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Dolly Goes Denim Review by Lori Hooten

JoAnn Gagnon
Bunkhouse Books
(509) 337-8845
(800) 337-8845
609 Lower Hogeye Road
Waitsburg, WA 99361

Sewing is a lot of fun for me. I enjoy it. I enjoy it even more when the end result of the sewing is something my girls are excited about. Dolly Goes Denim provided me just that opportunity. This collection of sewing patterns for 18-inch dolls was designed and written by JoAnn Gagnon, and it is the cutest collection of patterns to fall in love with.

Dolly Goes Denim: Doll Clothing Patterns to Sew from Denim is a collection of 19 patterns that can be mixed and matched to create any number of cute outfits for a favorite doll. While the title indicates the material of design is denim, any weight of denim or 100% cotton fabric is appropriate. In fact, I found that working with 100% cotton fabrics such as chambray instead of denim made the patterns much easier to use and the clothing much easier to create. With 100% cotton fabrics instead of heavy denim, the seams didn’t bulk up as much, and the corners and curves were easier to turn and lay flat. The collection of dresses, skirts, shirts, and more will give you a huge variety of options with which to experience the joy of sewing.

This 112-page book includes all the patterns you will need, along with the step-by-step directions for the construction of the garments. The patterns can be removed easily from the book and trimmed to make them ready to use. Just trim around the edges of the pattern piece and place it on your fabric to cut. The step-by-step directions include pictures to assist you.

Dolly Goes Denim begins with some basic sewing instructions and sewing tips. These were very helpful to me. I have been sewing for quite a few years, including for my girls and their dolls, so I am not new to sewing doll clothing. Still, I found a lot of helpful tips in these four pages. The tips included everything from how to find where to sew a 1/4” seam to choosing and attaching closures, from sewing sleeves and collars and necklines to accessorizing for that “WOW” factor. The tips are well worth the time spent reading them and referring back to them when constructing the garments.

There are also several pages of sewing instruction at the back of the book. This section includes specifics on sewing on Velcro, appliques, curves and points, gathering fabric, topstitching, bias tape application, and pintucks. Again, these are tips that helped me a lot. They are the types of techniques that make your garments go from cute to amazing. The information is valuable and will make you a much better seamstress in all of your sewing.

I enjoyed using the patterns included in Dolly Goes Denim, and the girls have their lists made of what they want to create next. They are helping me sew. I had hoped that these would be patterns and instructions the girls could easily learn from, doing a lot of the work on their own. Unfortunately, the instructions are not complete enough for the girls to work through the patterns without a lot of help. There are several steps and explanations I felt were missing in each of the patterns I used. It was not a big deal for me because I am familiar with the creation of garments. If I weren’t, however, I don’t know if I would have been able to figure out a couple of the steps without help. This is still a wonderful collection of patterns, and as I said, the girls’ lists are ready and waiting. We are working through each of their requests and learning as we go. These are fun, cute, and very well-designed patterns that will make any seamstress proud to sew and any little girl proud to put the garments on her doll.

-Product Review by Lori Hooten, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2015