Designer's Challenge - Candy Castle Patterns

When I signed up for the Designer's Challenge, I felt it was the perfect motivation I needed to start on something long overdue... The Designer's Challenge is a collaboration of many of your favorite designers, in which we decided to challenge ourselves, and create something that was difficult to us for one reason or the other.
Oh, I will not torment you much longer, I know I have been teasing the Candy Castle fans for way too long. I present to you...

  The Mini Bubblegum & Mini Bubblegum Swing Dress!

Let me tell you about my struggles, though, and my reasons to have many a cup more coffee than I should have needed with this pattern!

I kept getting emails and messages on my Pattern Group if I would please, please create Pattern This or Pattern That in an 18" doll version too, because surely their daughters would go absolutely crazy if they could dress dolly up in the same amazing dress as the daughters themselves wore.

And I kept saying "Oh yes, what a fun idea, I will do that - at some point." 
"It's on my to-do list!"
"Soon, I promise!" 

But what I was really saying, was: 
There are no 18" dolls where I live in Europe. We have traditional Dutch dolls that look like tiny grandmas and have completely different proportions than your average 18" doll.
How would I draft a doll pattern without an actual doll to design on, to measure, fit, drape on, draft with...

The Designer's Challenge came along and I decided it was the perfect motivation I needed.

I started my intensive search for a doll that would be approximately 18" and lo and behold! I found one. I had to travel two hours by bike (yes, we mainly travel by bike here in the Netherlands!) to pick up Hayden, but she was beautiful and measured 18" and surely I could now make the perfect doll patterns! I felt like I was in doll heaven! Why did I not get this doll before? 

I took her home and I drafted, and draped, and measured, and had some coffee and... a little Bubblegum Dress emerged! Oh holy bobbin, I enjoyed drafting this little ensemble so much I felt like... I should definitely add the Swing Dress pattern in there too! Combining two patterns in one is what I'm talking about!

 Surely before long, the Bubblegum Swing Dress was a fact too, and I loved it so much I decided, my youngest daughter would need one like that, too.

Because this pattern was meant to be kept a secret until release, I silently informed my regular testers about the doll pattern. I started up the testing phase as soon as it was completely finished and I felt confident it was as perfect as it was going to get.

Within hours, my assistant Kari messaged me.

"It doesn't fit." 

Huh? What do you mean it doesn't fit? I asked her, how come it was too tight, how was it possible? Was it too tight at the waist, or just below the ribcage, and could she measure right over the belly button?
"Which waist? Which ribcage? Which belly button?"

I undressed the doll and sent her a picture. I censored it with a cute cupcake-bra, because she is really life-like.

Surely, my assistant started laughing and asked me if I drafted a perfectly fitted dress on a perfectly shaped doll. Well, of course I had! 
She then undressed her doll and showed me the unshaped, naked truth of the 18" doll.

Oh no....
I was presented with the shapeless rectangular, poly-filled body that apparently is an 18" doll. I had no idea. I never even stopped to think about looking up if my new doll actually met any of the regular 18" doll measurements! 

I had thought, surely an 18" doll is shaped like any 18" doll, and had drafted my pattern to fit her. There was even some room for her bossom!

Then the real challenge presented itself: I had to re-draft the entire pattern by simply communicating with my assistant all across the world, asking her measurements, letting her sew up my new pattern pieces and checking the fit on her doll simply using pictures and chat, and estimating how I needed to change the pieces to get the right fit.
I will admit we have had to laugh at the Naked Doll Incident, and by the end of the day we had sorted it all out and the fit was once again, beautiful, but now, for all 18" dolls!

My challenge was drafting a doll pattern which I had never done before, and it became even more challenging when I had to re-design it completely by communicating with my friend all across the world to get the right fit! I hope you like it as much as I do!

So, let me tell you a bit about the pattern... 
The Candy Castle Mini Bubblegum & Mini Bubblegum Swing Dress offers both the regular Bubblegum with its slender everyday A-line silhouette, as well as the full, gathered skirt that resembles a perfect, tiny copy of the Bubblegum Swing Dress. Both dresses are included in the pattern!

 As with the regular pattern, there is a hemmed version with a lined bodice, and a full bias tape version for both dresses, whether you choose the Swing Dress or the regular dress.
You can make SO many of these dresses, and they will never be the same!

I've added an optional velcro closure to the pattern too, in case you think your little girl may struggle dressing and undressing her doll - you can't tell it's a faux tie!

Oh, to sweeten the deal: I added two headband options to the pattern too, that you can make out of leftovers (ribbon or bias tape) from your projects!

 Here is a glimpse of some shots the testers provided:

I will gladly tell you that I have very much enjoyed creating an 18" doll pattern to match two of my girl's patterns and I foresee many doll patterns in the near future - albeit I will make sure to import a proper doll before I do so!

These dresses will be a perfect Christmas gift for a special little girl in your life. 

 You can get the Mini Bubblegum Dress & Bubblegum Swing Dress for the sale price of 4.00 dollar in our Craftsy Shop here through Sunday:

Of course, you can find all our other patterns in our Pattern Store! 

Happy sewing, my friends, may your bobbin always be full!

Enter to win the Mini Bubblegum below and be sure to come back tomorrow to see the next new release- Peek A Boo Pattern Shop is on deck!

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