How to Clean Finish Any Sleeveless Top

how to clean finish any sleeveless top for dolls sewing patterns

When I first started drafting patterns, my least favorite was sleeveless tops. Although they are easier to draft, they required thoughtful finish than their sleeved counterpart. Do I add facing, lining or just fold it? The last solution is usually the easiest, although not an ideal finish since the raw seams are still exposed.

Recently, I was drafting a quilted vest for 14" doll, I had this dilemma on how to finish the top without lining. The size of the garment posted a real challenge if sewn with a lining.

One of my testers suggested a Hong Kong Seam finish. While it's a good option, there is still a raw edge on the underside so I came up with a slightly different approach.

I'm sure this has been done before, I just don't know if there is an exact name for this kind of finish. Anyway, this is also an excellent alternative if you don’t want to use facings. Unlike traditional way of using the bias strip where the bias tape covers the raw seam entirely without raw seams showing, this method folds the seam allowance inwards.

This way is best for patterns that were intended to have lining or facings. Keep in mind that you lose 1/4" seam allowance so do not do this with patterns that are supposed to be finished with a bias binding using the traditional method. 

We're going to use a bias strip to cover the raw edges. You can make your own by cutting a strip of fabric 45 degrees on the grain. Doll seam allowances are usually 1/4", so for this, we will need 3/4" bias strip.

Note: on any other size seam allowance, you will always need x3 of whatever your the seam allowance is, so for example, if your seam allowance is 1/2", you will need 1 1/2".


doll patterns

1. Cut a strip of 3/4" bias about 1 inch longer than the front and back armhole length. Sew the bias tape on the front and back armhole at 1/4" seam allowance, right sides together. Cut excess bias tape on the sides. 


american girl doll sleeveless top pattern

2. Iron the bias tape away from the bodice.



18 inch doll sleeveless top pattern

3. From the wrong side of the fabric, cut small clips around the armhole so that the fabric lays flat when sewn. Note: If your fabric has batting, as shown, trim off batting on the seam allowance to reduce bulk. 


sleeveless top doll sewing pattern

4. Iron the bias tape towards the seam allowance to covering it completely.  


sleeveless top 18 inch doll sewing pattern

5. Fold both the seam allowance and the bias tape towards the neckline. 


sewing pattern doll sleeveless top

6. Stitch seam.



 Well, that's it! Easy peasy, right? Please see Related Patterns below on which this technique can be applied.

Until next time, we'll talk about shoes! Yesssss, shoessss... I love making shoes. I will show you how easy it is to make them, even if you don't know how to sew! Oh and hey, don't forget to subscribe!  

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