Summer sew along week 1: swimsuit


Time for true confessions…I took the whole month of May off from blogging to deal with “work-work” and also work on the SSA.  During that time I managed to complete a bunch of stuff for a new AG series, some super cute patterns for Lottie and drafted (but didn’t sew) 3 dresses for the SSA.  Then, in a panic, I finished 2 SSA outfits today!  🙂


Based on your votes, this year’s summer sew-along will be 1950s dresses for Wellie Wishers inspired by Betsy McCall paperdolls.  Being gone for so long, I have about a million things to say, but am running out of time, so will just quickly post this and get to the rest later.

The good news is our “Betsy paper doll” SSA will run the whole month of June this year, starting on the first!  The good/bad news is I won’t be here for all of it.  This year, for the first time in more than 10 years we’re actually taking a vacation!  Yay!  So, I’m setting up automated posts to appear for the two weeks I’ll be gone, but won’t be able to see your flickr pix or respond to comments and my etsy shop will be closed during that time too.  This year, I’ve also hoping to have a 1950s-style craft associated with each week that might anything from a simple papercraft to a woodworking project.

Are you new to the concept of the summer sew-along?  Here’s how it works:  You sew along with each week’s project and post your pix on flickr here:

If you finish all the weeks you can get a bonus sewing pattern, which this year will be for Betsy’s dog, Nosy sized to be a companion for 14” dolls, or maybe a mini dachshund for 18” dolls.  I did finish him already and he’s super cute!

Ready to get started?


Note:  you will want to use thin fabric like batiste/muslin weight if you’re doing the ruched sides! (Thank you, Sophie!)

Here’s this week’s pattern

Here is this week’s craft project (an entire doll-sized magazine full of Betsy paperdolls!) and here’s how to fold it



35 responses »

  1. OMG I’m sooooooo impressed. a technique I’ve never seen in sewing “ruched” side. If I spelled that wrong sorry, I didn’t want to go back to check my sp. I wonder if Mrs. McKinney knew about that?

    BTW those paper dolls are the exact thing that Grammie gave me to play with. I believe I waited anxiously for them to appear.

  2. Wow, Jenny! This swimsuit is so cute! I think I have a suitable fabric (you should add to the very beginning of the instructions the types of fabrics that can work… It’s only said when you talk about the ruched sides that batiste is right for this, and maybe it’s a little late for some people who have already cut suimsuit fabric!). I’m printing the pattern right away and will try to work on it today! I really would like to participate this year, as I’ve missed the past 2 SSA because of a lack of free time!

    • Thank you so much! That’s a great point about the fabric choices and I’ll go fix the post now. That’s what happens when you do things in a hurry 🙂

  3. The swimsuit is great, and so are the little Betsy McCall paperdolls, thank you! Just a quick heads-up, the folding pdf didn’t post but a lovely pattern for a carry along bag did 🙂 Thank you Jennie! Have a wonderful time on your vacation!!!!

  4. Hello, and thank you for this great pattern. I’m very excited to use it! Do I understand from what you’ve written that your swimsuit is made from batiste? Or is it just that you lined the gathered areas with batiste for stability and the rest of it has to be knit? (Just trying to be sure I understand.) And, do you think this will fit a H4H doll, maybe with a little tweaking?

    Blessings, Hazel

    • Batiste, lightweight satin or even muslin-weight cotton will work for the main part, lining should be batiste. It should work for H4H too, since it does close with an overlap in back, which should take care of any excess. If you’re very picky about fit, put it on inside out, check the fit and take in any seams a tiny bit if necessary.

  5. Thank you so much for the pattern and the cute paper dolls. I have been looking forward to this. I hope I will be able to finish some of the outfits. We will be away too part of the month of June and I do really want the pattern for Nosey. Will try hard. Might be July before posted. Also where do we post pictures of the things we make. This will be my first time.

  6. Thank you for the great pattern! I’ve been thinking about you and missing your posts. I’m glad you are back. I love the swimsuit. My sisters and I had something similar with the ruching; I wonder if I have a photo from way back then with of one of us wearing it. I don’t have a Wellie, but I have a Hearts for Hearts doll which the Stitchin’ for Kids project is using now that Les Cheries dolls are no available in all the ethnicities. We will be updating our website shortly with the Hearts for Hearts dolls.

  7. Hi! Love your patterns and I have a quick question about the SSA. Do the entries have to be weekly or is it ok if they are all done by the end? I’m going on vacation too and would like to still participate. Thanks!

  8. This is a wonderful pattern! Thank you! I am fascinated by the tip on doing the rusching before cutting out the pattern piece — I would never have thought of this.

    • It should work for H4H too, since it does close with an overlap in back, which should take care of any excess. If you’re very picky about fit, put it on inside out, check the fit and take in any seams a tiny bit if necessary.

  9. Love this pattern, love the ruched sides, that is very different effect. The pattern does not state what fabric is suitable for this. Did you use a stretch fabric? Totally love the paperdolls…brings back lots of memories…wish I still had my Betsy McCall doll.

  10. I’m so excited that it’s sew along time! Thanks for the cute swimsuit pattern. I hope to get it sewn this week. I am also excited to see what you came up with for Lottie – she (and her friend Finn) have recently joined the household and might like some new clothes! Hope you have a great vacation.

  11. Thank you Jen! This is ADORABLE! Do you think it will fit a (semi) current Betsy McCall?
    And although my dh thinks I can figure things out, I’m a bit baffled by the instructions on how to fold the magazine

  12. I am looking forward to your patterns for Lottie and friends. They are very cute dolls and I would love to make some outfits for them. When will you have them for sale in your Etsy shop? Thank you for doing the Betsy Sew Along.

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