How to Make a Jacket for an Art Doll Using Fabric Tubes

Doll Coat Tutorial Graphic

Doll Coat Tutorial Graphic

As part of my Servants of Ord art doll project, I needed to make jackets for figures I was working on and really had no clue how to do it. I searched the web and found some tutorials but nothing really suited my needs so I ended up, as usual, making up my own pattern and fumbling through the process by hit or miss. I decided it would be helpful for me in the future to have a reference for this project so I took some pictures as I worked. Then I thought it might be useful for others as well so I set up this tutorial. I hope it is helpful for you.

I should say first that I am no seamstress and I find sewing of any kind to be rather tedious and annoying. All the doll clothing patterns I looked at seemed to be too difficult and time-consuming plus they were all created to be put on and removed from the doll, something I could not do because I had already glued my doll to a base stand and placed a tray in his hands. Oops. So piecing together fabric tubes seemed the best way to go for this project.

Directions

  1. Step 1: What Size Jacket Do You Need?
    Determine the size of your jacket. You’ll need four strips of fabric, two for the back and two for the front. In my case I wanted the front to be open so my front pieces were narrower than the back pieces. Use cut up strips of paper towel held up to your figure to help you with the measurements. Once you figure out the width that you’ll need, double that measurement and add 1/4″ for a seam allowance. My back strips were 3 1/4″ wide and the front strips were 2 1/4″ wide for a 10″ high figure.
    Next determine how long you want your jacket to be. When I started out I had no idea how long I wanted my jacket to be so I just cut long 7 1/2″ strips, figuring I could cut the rest off later. Be sure to include some fabric for the stand-up collar and for the seam allowance at top and bottom.

    How to Make a Doll Jacket

    The doll before he got his jacket.

    How to make an art doll jacket

    Cut out your fabric strips.

  2. Step 2: Sewing the Fabric Tubes
    Now fold your fabric strips in half along the long side, right sides of fabric together. Sew along the long edge. I used my sewing machine set to a short running stitch. Then sew along one end of the tube. Turn the tube right side out and iron the seams flat. Do this for all four tubes. Hold them up to your doll and check again for fit.

    How to make a jacket for an art doll

    The fabric tubes are sewn and ready to assemble.

  3. Step 3: Fitting the Sides of the Jacket
    Hold up two strips, a back strip and a front strip, to the doll’s shoulder and decide how high you’d like the collar to be. Hand stitch the two strips together for about one inch at the top folded ends to form the top of the coat. Leave a space for the arm and then hand stitch the rest of the way down the seam. Do the same for the other side. In my case, I had to hand stitch these while holding them onto the figure because my figure is holding a tray which prevents me from sliding the coat up over his arms. You might be able to do this more easily if you have a figure with flexible arms to allow you to put the coat on after you sew it.

    How to make a jacket for an art doll

    Fitting the right side of the jacket together.

    How to make a jacket for an art doll

    I had to sew up the sides of the jacket while it was on the doll because the arms are already attached to the tray. Oops, maybe I should have thought that through before I added the tray.

  4. Step 4: Fitting the Back of the Jacket
    Next, sew up the back. Again, I had to sew mine right onto my figure but you can probably sew yours more easily. I wanted to have tails on mine so I only sewed the back about halfway down. Trim off the uneven ends at the back of the jacket. Turn the edges under and hem.

    How to make a jacket for an art doll

    The left and right sides of the jacket are sewn up. Now it’s time to sew up the back.

    How to make a jacket for an art doll

    The back of the jacket is ready to be sewn together.

    How to make a jacket for an art doll

    All four pieces are sewn together. Now it’s time to trim off the excess and hem the bottom.

    How to make a jacket for an art doll

    Here I have the hem pinned up and ready to sew.

    How to make a jacket for an art doll

    The completed hem. My stitching is pretty bad. I ended up sewing in a silky fabric lining to cover up my messy stitches. It gave the coat a beautifully finished look.

    How to make a jacket for an art doll

    The jacket is put together. Now time to add the sleeves.

  5. Step 5: Making the Sleeves
    Measure out some fabric for your sleeves, doubling the size and adding 1/4″ for a seam allowance as you did in Step 1. I rolled the bottom of my sleeves to make a cuff so add fabric for this if you choose. Put the right sides of the fabric together and sew up the long sides, this time, however, leaving the top and bottom of the tube open. Slide the tubes onto the arms. Turn the fabric ends under to make a hem and attach with pins to the shoulder area of the jacket. Hand stitch around the sleeve opening. Roll up the ends of the sleeves and hem or glue in place. Do this for both sleeves.

    Putting Together the Fabric Tubes to Make the Art Doll Sleeves

    The sleeve material is pinned and ready to hem.

    Putting Together the Fabric Tubes to Make the Art Doll Sleeves

    The sleeve is hemmed and is ready to roll into a tube and attach to the jacket.

    Putting Together the Fabric Tubes to Make the Art Doll Sleeves

    Putting Together the Fabric Tubes to Make the Art Doll Sleeves

    Putting Together the Fabric Tubes to Make the Art Doll Sleeves

    The left sleeve is finished. Now to make the right sleeve.

    Putting Together the Fabric Tubes to Make the Art Doll Sleeves

    I’m holding up the right sleeve to check for length before I start sewing it in place.

  6. Step 6: Add Details
    Decide how you’d like the front of the jacket to be fastened. You have many choices here. You can leave it open, fasten it at the collar, add buttons all the way down, or sew on some kind of decorative fasteners.

    Putting Together the Fabric Tubes to Make the Art Doll Sleeves

    I’ve chosen a jewelry finding to use as a coat fastener. I simply sewed it on and used embroidery floss to tie together the two side of the jacket. Beads dangle from the ends of the floss to add a richer look.

And my doll jacket is completed! I’d like to go back someday to resew some of my seams with better stitching. But I probably never will. Or perhaps I could glue the seams down so you can’t see any stitches at all. Here is the finished jacket:

The Servants of Ord - Art Doll Jacket Made with Fabric Tubes

One of the servants of Ord wearing his homemade jacket.

And here is the completed project:

The Servants of Ord

The Servants of Ord

The two jackets on the left were constructed in a similar way but I varied the fabric and the style.

The Servants of Ord project was chosen to be included in the book entitled “Incite, Dreams Realized: The Best of Mixed Media” which you can read more about here.

I’d love to see your doll jackets – please leave me a link in the comments below!

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