Tuesday, 8 December 2015

SSP-030: Edwardian style outfit for Evangeline Ghastly.



I have been extremely quiet, I know.  Just taking a break from much of the internets due to health issues, but have been working away on this latest offering.

It's the 'steampunk flavoured' outfit I made for Ellowyne and her pals, drafted from scratch for Evangeline Ghastly 18" hard plastic bodied dolls.  

(If you have Evangeline "Midnight Lace & Roses", "Dreamstate", or Angelique "De la Nuit" - these are the three dolls I own. This pattern will fit that style of body.)

In my Etsy store:

Or over at Craftsy:

And here on the blog: (via Sellfy)

Etsy will charge EU customers VAT (This does not affect America or other non-EU countries).  I always recommend people to look in my Craftsy store anyway, as the prices fluctuate, due to the international exchange rates.  I always suggest comparing prices.


As with the Ell version, you can have a plain-front bodice, or a mock lace-up bodice.




The leotard and underskirt make a nice outfit, even without the overdress. The red one is ankle length, shown here without shoes or a stand.  The Black skirt is floor-length, shown here with shoes and a stand.


And the leotard fits very nicely too.   With Evie's big bazooms, I've added darts to this garment.



And now I'm working on a version for Patience.   It will take a while!  Work has slowed down now I need to draft everything from scratch,  but rest assurer Raccoon HQ is still in business. :)


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Saturday, 7 November 2015

Latest project: Edwardian style outfit for Evangeline.



I've been absent from my blog for a while.   Not feeling so great, and needed to take a break from t'internet,  but that doesn't mean I'm taking a break from my sewing.

This will be the next Racoon's Rags sewing pattern.  having had to draft all the patterns from scratch, it's taking some time; however, these things can't be rushed!

Here's a quick snap. I apologise for the quality, but you can see the great fit of the garments so far.


I've used quilters-weight cotton for this, and I'm loving the rich wine colour of the overdress.

The sleeves of the leotard will just fit over Evie's big hands if it's stretchy enough with Lycra content, but for less stretchy fabrics, the hands will need to be popped off.  I've tried this and it's no problem. These dolls are designed that way for easy dressing.

Next I need to draft and underskirt, and then a lace-up version of the dress.   This pattern will be very similar to the recent Ellowyne one (SSP-029)

I'll post pictures of the finished items.

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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Two steampunk outfits for Ellowyne Wilde.



I've been beavering away at these two very special outfits for weeks!   It took time for all my embellishments to arrive, and I've meticulously made every item.    The results are lovely, and I'm sorely tempted to keep on, or both, but no.  I must be strong!

They can both be found in my Etsy store: (Section: Handmade doll fashions)

Individual links:

Sugarplum flavoured steampunk: 

Chocolate flavoured steampunk:

To make the dress, underskirt and leotard (not the accessories) Here's a link to the pattern SSP-029.
For the tights, I used SSP-019.


Here come  the piccies.

First the sugarplum outfit.  Dripping with embellishments.



I'm not sure what my favourite part of this is.  Love the goggles, so much fun  to make; but the gauntlets worked so well, I really want to use them again and again.



I embellished the leotard too.  With its bow, it could be worn with just the skirt for the doll's everyday outfit. The leotard fabric is my own design, printed by Spoonflower.

The tights are just to be extra-sure the doll's legs and feet don't get stained.  I've used this leather on my own dolls without a problem, but I'm even more careful when it comes to other people's dolls. Stretch mesh is surprisingly easy to sew by hand.  And I've been avoiding it all these years.


Making boots kills my fingers, but they're so rewarding.  These are loose enough to fit the doll's foot, and over the tights too, and the strap is used to cinch them in to the shape of the calf and ankle.


And here's what the sale is for.   Lots of pieces of goodness to play with.



Now for the chocolate.   This fabric is Lacuna Press cotton ultra percale, printed with my own pattern.


Again,, lots of lovely embellishments.   And the bodice has a mock lace-up front.


Leotard, again my own print from Spoonflower:

With the same tights.


Bootses:


And all the pieces included in the sale:



Now I need to clear up my tip of a desk, and move on to the next sewing pattern.   Maybe something for Evangeline, but I'm undecided.

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Friday, 16 October 2015

Steampunk.



The recent Edwardian-flavoured sewing pattern got me all fired up about steampunk.  So I ordered some bits and pieces, and have been working out how to make steampunk-flavoured accessories, to go with the two dresses I made whilst creating the pattern.

Here's a teaser of how things are going.

I managed to find a bunch of things in brass and antique brass finish.   The outfits are coming along nicely, but dear lord - the work involved!    Well worth the effort, I feel.  But it's taking longer than I thought, and I want to get cracking on the next sewing pattern.



Here's one of a pair of gauntlets I designed.   The dress has some lovely embellishment, so I decided the leotard needed a little enhancement too.



It's going well. My desk is a tip.  But I'm really enjoying making these outfits.


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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Ellowyne sewing pattern SSP-029



Yes I has been quiet of late, but that doesn't mean I'm not beavering away at the dolly sewing patterns.   Here's the latest fro Raccoon HQ - an outfit with an Edwardian flavour.   To me, this also has a bit of a steampunk feel.

It's available now in my Etsy shop:

My Craftsy store:

And here on the blog: (Via Sellfy.)


Etsy will charge EU customers VAT (This does not affect America or other non-EU countries).  I always recommend people to look in my Craftsy store anyway, as the prices fluctuate, due to the international exchange rates.  I always suggest comparing prices.




This is an adaptation of an outfit I made a good few years ago now.  I was looking through the pictures on my hard drive, and rediscovered it.    I still have the leotard pattern I devised, but the bodice of my original dress needed a bit of tweaking.   




Here's the leotard on its own:

For both leotards, I've used Spoonflower modern jersey in a print I designed. 



And the girls in the underskirts.  I quite like this look even without the dress.  It would look good maybe with a bow or some ruffles at the neck:



And another snap of the completed outfits: (Ells head looks so small next to Pru's!)



I've included some ruffles in the pattern, which can be switched around to create the longer or shorter dress and skirt.    It would be quite easy to have a short-sleeved leotard too, with just a puff, if you run some shirring elastic around the cuff hem.

That's it for now.  I'm off to discover the next project.   I have a couple of ideas for Ell, but I'm taken with my new Evangeline friend, Angelique... so I'm a bit torn.   This style would look fab on Evangeline dolls, methinks.

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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Fabrics!



Okay so I'm a fabriholic.  Do I care?  Nuh-uh.

So often I try to find fabrics with tiny doll-scale prints that I can combine.  So often I find one perfectly beautiful fabric... with absolutely nothing that will team up with it.   So this time I took it upon myself to produce the right kind of prints to accompany each other.

I'm currently working on the Victorian-look leotard and overdress for Ellowyne, and I wanted some dark fabrics to use.  This led me to design a hearts fabric, and an accompanying flower/star print. Now I fully confess I've taken my inspiration from some commercially printed fabrics that I have in my stash, and people may recognise the heart fabric; but I have made the appropriate Gimp brushes from scratch, and all the work from pattern repeat to colour is my own.

I sent the designs off to Lacuna Press on Saturday, and they're so fast, the fabrics arrived today.

This is Lacuna Press cotton percale Ultra.   The dark colours have printed so well on it, and I'm very happy.  The camera and lights make them appear paler, but in real life the fabric is in deep shades of chocolate and plum.


I like my fat quarters.  An ideal size for dolly dresses, so I design a whole yard of fabric at a time, dividing it into four sections, one of each design.



And a quick close-up...


Can't wait to use it!  :)

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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Plodding along...



I had the song "Bobbing Along" from bedknobs and Broomsticks going round in my head today... only I kept singing it as "plodding along" while I grappled with an old pinafore pattern I had for Ellowyne.

I drafted this pattern back when I had my first Ell, and my sewing for anything larger than Pippa scale dolls was less than perfect at the time.

First pic though, The leotard part went just fine.  I mastered the art of the leotard fairly quickly, due to the stretchy fabric, which is very forgiving, although it does have its own set of problems.  This is made in Spoonflower "modern jersey" (to which I'm fast becoming addicted) printed with my own fabric pattern design.   I made the leg-of-mutton sleeves a while back, and haven't had the chance to feature them in a pattern yet.



Here's the original outfit.   It sold for less than it was worth at the time, because I was still sort of learning.   It's remained one of my favourites though, and has a steampunk feel.  The new pattern will have the option of a plain bodice, and one with mock lace-up front.



The new fabrics I bought for my latest pattern, are a selection of 3 lovely dusky plum shades, and a couple of dusty paler lavenders.

Here's my first attempt at the plain bodice. I used my original pattern without modifying it.  Because it's not in two sections like the original one was, it doesn't fit quite right.  you can see from this picture that it's just a bit uncomfortable-looking.  The darts look a bit rumpled, and you can't tell from the picture, but the front neckline gapes away from the leotard underneath.

The shoulders also look a bit odd, because the back is too high up the neck.



Fortunately it was pretty easy to smooth it out and alter the shape a little. Here's the second attempt, looking smooth and fitting beautifully.



As a result of my alteration thought, the neckline is not as low, or as square as the original.  So I may have a crack at altering that too..... or I may leave this plain bodice as it is, and alter the neckline for the mock lace-up version.   We'll see how I feel.

I have had pain in my left shoulder recently.  I get nerve pains down from my shoulder joint, and down again from my elbow.  I suspect it's a touch of repetitive strain injury, from lots of time sewing by hand, and lots of time on the computer.   It seems to be getting worse rather than better, but I don't want to stop sewing for weeks on end while I rest it... or indeed using the computer.  Half of my life is on this computer, and I can't imagine how agoraphobics coped before t'internet.

Le sigh.

I don't care. I'll sew until the darn thing drops off....


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Friday, 25 September 2015

Mmmmh ...Spoonflower.



I love Spoonflower for having the occasional free swatch day.  I always pounce on the chance to get another fabric design proofed, so it can be sold.  We have to proof all designs before sale, because colour on a monitor is different from actual printed colour, so every design needs to be checked, to maintain high standards.

You will see my design here is slightly different to the shades in my online shop (link below the pic) It's turned out a beautiful strawberry-looking variation of pinks, so I'm very happy with it.

They've recently bought in some polyester Crepe de Chine, and here's my design on that new fabric. This is an 8" square:



The fabric is very nice for poly.   I can iron a nice crease into it, which means seams will be easy to press nice and flat.   But I've actually bought a fat quarter in cotton lawn.   My dreamy dream fabric.

Here's the design "Vines & roses"  in my Spoonflower shop.

When you buy from SF, you can choose your fabrics from the drop-down menu.   The designers (like me) are paid 10% commission, and all customers deal with Spoonflower, not us designers.

The design is one of my small-scale prints, suitable for dolly clothes or miniatures - like dolls house wallpaper.   You can also buy this in paper form from SF, and they even sell actual wallpaper.

Now back to work for me.  I'm supposed to be busy, but my attention span today is slightly shorter than that of a goldfish.....


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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

New outfit for Ellowyne.


The first ensemble for the delightful Ellowyne Wilde in a while now. I love sewing for this girl, and having recently finished the sewing pattern, I had a ball today and treated myself to an accessories-making binge.

Now available here at Etsy:

Hey, it's less calories than a chocolate binge.



The Alice band is one I made for the TUTE#019, Alice bands for all dolls.   I've tinted the flower with silk paints, to tie it in with the pinkish theme.



I made a little handbag too, with real kid leather from a closing-down sale stash I bought many moons ago. It keeps paying for itself, and I love working with it.   The back does not open, it's a decorative sort of a thang.

The necklace is made from glass seed beads, and I made a little hook fastening for it.  My previous trade as jewellery maker comes in handy for dollies.

And I added a ribbon belt to the pants.   The belt is in two parts, and is stitched securely to the back of the pants next to the closure.   I've left the rest of it loose, so it can be adjusted when the doll is dressed in the pants. 


 And as the pants fabric is some I have only used in a lined coat before. I wanted to be safe from potential staining.  It's high quality, viscose and cashmere, so it should be fine, but to be really sure, I made a pair of no-elastic tights to go under the outfit.


I'm so happy I created a tights pattern. They're so quick and easy to make, and very useful.

So often I see a pretty dolly ensemble for sale, which states 'jewellery not included".  I never like to team a doll's outfit with jewellery or accessories unless the whole caboodle is on offer.   Although I do make an exception with shoes.  I think sometimes one needs to show an outfit to its best advantage with footwear.

This particular ensemble will look great with any pair of Ellowyne Wilde shoes. I tried on the doll a pair of zip-up high heeled boots, and it looked fab.




My favourite item is that leotard. The roll collar worked better than I'd dared to hope. And I love the fabric.... even if I did design it myself.  

Well, I guess it's a good sign if one loves what one has designed, right?

Darn tootin'.


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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Ellowyne sewing pattern SSP-028: "Polo".




This took so long!  I think I'll have to get used to that, now I've almost exhausted my existing patterns.  I'll have to draft brand new ones which means painstaking attention to fit, and working out all the glitches before I feel happy to offer the pattern to the buying public.

Quality is really important to me, so please excuse my slowness.  It's better than offering half-baked products.

Available now in my Etsy shop:

My craftsy store:

Or here on the blog: (Via Sellfy)

Etsy will charge EU customers VAT (This does not affect America or other non-EU countries).  I always recommend people to look in my Craftsy store anyway, as the prices fluctuate, due to the international exchange rates.  I always suggest comparing prices.


On with the fun part.   Here's the cover.



I've posted about the pants a fair bit, and now they fit perfectly, but choose your fabric wisely.



I re-made the leotard as well, the collar is heaps better now....  Why have 'nice' when you can have gorgeous?



The waistcoat has princess seaming. Now I used to be a bit scared of princess seams, but after some exploration, I  offer a couple of tips in the instructions to help you sew these seams a bit more easily.


For the Alice band see TUTE#019, and for the tights (which I made to protect dolly from any potential pants-staining) see SSP-019.

Whew!  Now, let's see.  What's next.....


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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Choosing fabrics for dolly clothing.



I've mentioned this in a recent post already, but having has some dramatically different results - now I've finally finished my trews - I thought I'd make a post specifically about it.

One of the main problems in sewing for dolls is drape.  The fabrics will never drape as heavily on doll scale as they will on human scale, this is particularly noticeable on crisp medium weight cottons, such as those used by quilters and patchwork peeps.

Don't always blame the sewing pattern!  Consider your fabrics carefully, they make a huge difference.

Most people like to sew doll's clothes in quilters weight (QW for short) fabrics. These vary a lot from range to range in crispness and handle; and come in such an array of beautiful prints and colours that they are lovely to use for dolls.   I tend to advocate using lighter weight fabrics such as lawn, batiste, voile, crinkle, even muslin.  

However - I do tend to try and bear QW cottons in mind when I draft my sewing patterns, understanding that they're often the go-to fabrics for many dolly seamstresses.

Keeping this in mind, I set out to draft a really good trouser pattern for Ellowyne, as part of my next sewing pattern which is not just for pants, but for an ensemble.  In the process, I ended up making nine pairs of pants, until I got my final two properly finished pairs.

The first few toiles I made were in scraps of QWfabrics that I had lying around.  My reasoning for this, is that if a pair of trews looks good in QW, then they will look even better in a more appropriate fabric.  The fabrics I always suggest are very soft lightweight denims, an upcycled denim shirt, or some "jeggings" or anything really thin works well.  Some fine soft needlecords, or micro-cords, and I also have so soft rayon with cashmere that works beautifully.

Here's a first pair of pants, using the pattern which I know works really well from my toiles.  The fit is good as you can see, but this crisp fabric wrinkles everywhere.  The crotch isn't brilliant, and the legs below the knees look crumpled.



From the back the crotch is even worse, it's worse in real life than it looks in the picture.



Now, here are two pairs (my final ones) in red (viscose/cashmere mix) and darker green (a softer QW cotton than the fabric in the previous two pictures.)

You can see the dark green pair, although still a tad wrinkly, do sit better on the doll, because the fabric seems to be a touch softer than the last pair, and the oh-so-soft viscose/cashmere pair are smooth and beautiful.


And from the back, the green pair again are better than the first two pictures, but the red pair - well, you can see how different they look.


The red pair will be the ones I use.  I'll add some extra detail later, but wanted to show how well they came out, and what the different fabrics look like.




A soft lightweight wool blend, or some softer tweed should work also.   I choose cottons and viscose (rayon) because they press so beautifully,  I recommend pressing seams open (if you're not overlocking) on doll's clothes, to  reduce bulk in the seams, and pure wools can require a LOT of steam pressing to get them nice and flat.

A wool/acrylic blend may be easier to press, because acrylic knitting yarn is easily pressed really flat. Polyester can be a b'iatch to press a crease into as well, although some of the newer ones like spoonflower's 'modern jersey' do press a bit better; as do some polycottons, as long as there's about 50% cotton in the blend.

I guess people have all sorts in their fabric stash,  just keep an eye out for good fabrics on shopping trips is all I can say.  I buy most of my fabrics online, so it's hard to feel what they're like until they get here, and occasionally I find I can't use them. That said, some online stores will sell you small samples.

Don't be above upcycling either.  Charity shops (thrift stores in the USA, I think?) often have some hardly-used, or brand new garments that people don't want.   I like to buy the brand new  or nearly new items, launder them well and cut them up for dolly clothes.  

This wasn't meant to be quite the essay it turned out to be!   But I hope some people find it useful.

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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Not so pants now....




Okay, everything is much less pants today.

I've finished the final toile for the trews for Ellowyne, that fit over the leotard.  I took off the trews from yesterday, that I didn't like, sorted out the back, and tried them on the doll sans leotard, and they look much better.

As for yesterdays shorts, I've added the legs, and made them a slightly more subtly flared, and sewed them up.   They look great.  I'll probably put on a mock-belt detail too, but that's for later.  Right now, I'm very happy with the almost completely wrinkle-free crotch.



From the side you can see the nice flare.  These are great boot-cut trews.



And with high-heeled boots.  They look really good.


I tend to make my flared pants longer than straight legged ones. That's because with flares, I prefer a high heel under the leg, and with straight leg or skinny pants, I like to put on MSD boots with flat heels, over the top of the leg.


Now to go and make a proper pair for this here leotard ensemble. I haven't even begun the vest/waistcoat yet.


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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Digital papers now available



I wanted to wait until I had a few packages to upload, and now I'm happy to say my digital papers are now available.

These are in high quality JPG format for Etsy and through the blog.  
For Craftsy, they are in high quality PDF format, as this is the only format Craftsy will accept.

All the papers come as 300dpi images, all 12" x 12" square, which seems to be the standard size being offered by digital paper sellers all over the Internets.

Mine can be found in my Etsy shop:

My Craftsy store:

And here on the blog: (Via Sellfy)


I love pattern design, it's what I studies at art college, many moons ago, and I've come up with some pretty colour schemes.

People can use these for their online artwork, such as websites, blog backgrounds, etc. Or they can print out their papers to use in art journals, mixed media pictures, collage, dolls house wallpapers, crafts, cards, gift tags, all sorts of papercraft.  

Here are my first five collections:











There will be plenty more in the future, because I like to unwind from a days sewing by making pretty patterns on my spiffy new computer.

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