Friday, 25 May 2018

(2) Hand-pieced patchwork skirt

Part 1 here: 

This is MSD scale, for my iplehouse JID girls. The dolls are approximately 16-17 inches tall.

This is also a drive-by, as I've a stack of sewing still left to do on this one/  (Click on images to see them enlarged.)

Multicoloured patchwork almost complete-circle skirt has taken some 4 days of sewing so far.

Multicoloured patchwork almost circle skirt with partial cat:

Beautiful sorbet summer colours aren't they?  This was fun to make and I'd love to make lots more but they take forever.

We're getting there though.


Sunday, 20 May 2018

(1) Getting that perfect fit...

Playing with my new Iplehouse JID, Amy is fun.   She has the small bust, unlike my older girl, Rachel, who has the large bust.   I've been wondering how to get outfits and patterns to best fit both sized busts.  When it comes to closely-fitted items,  two girls are a little too different to be covered with one single bodice pattern.  I will work on some loose garments at some point, like peasant blouses.

I've been playing around with fabrics for this project. I've lots of small scraps to use up.

Not entirely sure where this is going yet, but isn't it pretty?  (Click on images to see them enlarged)

Returning to the bodice issue, Amy was up first.  I've decided that a bodysuit/leotard type of affair will work best.   Then the two girls can have their individual leotards, and I can make a really extravagant single skirt to go over the top.

Amazing fit though.  I'm ecstatic with this.  It's not easy constructing a garment with woven and knitted fabrics!

And from the back.

Luck played a good part with this (although I would have eventually got the fit I wanted out of sheer bloody-mindedness.)  It seemed that everything turned out right first time with this one.

Will post more pics as things unfold.  I have vague ideas in my head, it's a case of research and development as I go along.

 Part 2 here:


Friday, 18 May 2018

Special outfit for Iplehouse KID

This little doll is a dream to sew for. I love the size and lack of bust, which makes it really easy! 

Having bought lots of stash earlier this year, I've put together some lovely mixed prints for this fabulous little ensemble.  Reds are the thing, it seems, along with terracotta and salmon.

Click on the pictures to see them enlarged.

In my Etsy shop:
(Approx $145.00 by PayPal currency converter.  This will fluctuate by a few cents daily, according to the exchange rates)

Again, Inspired by Nadir Positano, I wanted to do more patchwork in this.  I'm loving the piecework skirt ruffles.

I've taken great care to make sure no red fabric is against the doll.  Everything is white, or lined, and the Lycra armlets, stockings and knicks are all white on the inside.  I'm always very careful with my dolly ensembles to eliminate any risk of staining.

The Etsy listing goes into a full description of each piece (8 in all)  So this is mostly for the eye candy.

I love the little undies.  :)

The shoes are really cute too. 

And the hat has a lace hatband, trimmed with hand-crocheted flowers. 

Lonnie is such a sweet lil' model.  She looks so wistful.  I love the KID size so much that I've ordered another,  Paige.  She has a cute smile.

Also - I received the shipping notification today for my nYID girl with SID Mari head.  I am so excited to get this big girl.  Slightly nervous about sewing for her though.  I only have one other doll that can be called SD, and that's my Laycee head on the Tobi body.  The proportions of Iplehouse dolls are gorgeous though. Very womanly.  She's going to get some lovely boho clothing.

At some point...

So much to do,  etc, etc.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

A VERY rough guide to getting your designs printed on fabric.

Most of us know about Spoonflower, who print customers and designers patterns to order.    Prinfab are also excellent, and I've mentioned them before.  But for stretchy fabrics, might I recommend Contrado?

Spoonflower - large range of fabrics including a couple of good stretch ones.  Bit slow to print and dispatch. Quality can vary a bit.  I find some SF fabrics are a bit grainy, but nothing too drastic.  A higher dpi in your image will help.  SF say 150 dpi minimum, but I find a 200 dpi image looks clearer when printed.

Prinfab - Good range of fabrics, approaching that of Spoonflower.  Much faster turnaround - I often get my fabrics in 3 working days.  But as yet they don't have stretch fabrics - I'm told by Prinfab that they're hoping to have a stretch jersey by the end of this year.  Quality is always excellent.

Contrado UK - Probably the most expensive company if you're buying yardage and fat quarters, BUT, they do great samples from as little as £3.00 for an A5 size piece.  I like to buy A4 pieces, with two designs on the same sampler.  These can be used for matching knickers, socks, armlets, gloves, beanie hats, etc.  (For Contrado USA, use this link)  Quality is always excellent.

Here is my latest sample from Contrado.  I have one of my exclusive patterns and some stripes I designed. (Click on the images to see them enlarged)

The outlines for the stockings etc are drawn on by myself and not printed by Contrado.  In theory you can create pattern pieces as part of the design, but I've found problems in scaling and distortion throughout the printing process, so I don't bother with that aspect.

With Contrado, you get useful information on the sample too.  This is Lycra Matte, which is nice and thin, with a good 4-way stretch.

Now, a lot of people tell me that they have no designing skills, but it's the easiest thing in the world to create a matching fabric for your doll's outfit.  Stripes are dead easy, or simple dots. 

Here's how to do even stripes. Work on a scale that you find easy, and then just reduce the size of the image to a suitable scale for your doll - you can do any stripes. My sample above has a slightly different original pattern:

  This tiny design when repeated will give you this:

And for dots, this is still not too difficult:

It gives you this when repeated:

Or you can try less regimented and simply random dots on a square. 

USE A HIGHER DPI IMAGE FOR CRISP CLEAR PRINTS.  I find 180 dpi (dots per inch) acceptable, but 200 dpi prints (or even 300) much clearer.  Some sites recommend a minimum of 150 dpi, but I find this a little too low.

These are hastily done, but you get the idea.  Small easy patterns when repeated will give nice simple designs for things like matching stockings and knickers, etc. 

Hope someone finds this useful!   I love getting my sample prints in the post. I spend a bit more than I should, because candy store; but for a couple of bucks here and there, it's easy to make some matching stretch items for your dolly outfits.


Saturday, 12 May 2018

Patchwork dress for Iplehouse KID - 1

This blog being sadly neglected of late, I'm aiming to post at least short drive-bys, if nothing else.

Being a huge fan of Nadir Positano clothing (sumptuous shabby chic) I've stocked up on different fabrics and am finally embarking on a project I've wanted to try for ages.  This might have been a little easier had I started on one of my larger dolls, but I love the Iplehouse KID size so much, I've got to make something lovely for this gorgeous little doll.

First, having some lovely little red shoes, I wanted to make a matching outfit, with patchwork, ruffles and layers of skirts and petticoats.  I picked out my ravishing reds, and added some  peachy/light terracotta colours.  I wasn't sure if the colour combinations would work, but I think they do look rather delicious.

All this is done by hand.  I have a perfectly good sewing machine on my table, but my back won't stand up to long sessions on it. 

Click on the pics for larger versions.

Piecing the fabrics for assembly:

Putting it all together:

Thus far, I'm delighted with it.   The skirts will be sewn to the bodice  next, and the dress finished off, then the petticoat, which will be a two-layer affair, methinks.


Friday, 11 May 2018

Some things....

I just wanted to let people know a couple of things. This has in no way upset me, and it's not aimed specifically at anyone. It's something I meant to post for a while now, and a perfectly reasonable question from a lovely lady has prompted me to explain myself a bit more.

I get quite inundated with pattern requests, and because I work alone, it's hard with the timescales involved to produce everything I'm asked for. For this reason, I have to try and pick the patterns that sell well, to reproduce in other dolls.

For example if (say) a teeshirt sells well for Ellowyne, I'd eventually do one for Kaye wiggs. Many of my stretch fabric patterns don't sell brilliantly. People seem a bit afraid of stretch fabrics, and that's quite okay, I understand. But if a pattern is not doing terribly well I tend to put reproductions on the back burner. That is not to say I'll never make the requested pattern, but it's going to be some time in coming. I do get a bit overwhelmed with private messages containing pattern requests and can't do them all.

This does not mean I'm not exceptionally grateful that the doll community likes my patterns and want to see more! I really thank you all for being the wind beneath my wings.

There might be the odd pattern here and there when I feel capable. We'll see how it goes.

I'm also taking a bit of a break from patterns, as I burned out trying to keep my head above water for the last couple of years. Now the benefits which enable me to legally carry on working as self-employed have been reinstated, I'm taking time to just breathe and do some work on my newer dolls just for pleasure. All I can do at the moment is make outfits to sell and do some research and development, with a view to eventually producing some really lovely new patterns. I'm just taking some time to work slowly, try out things I've been longing to do... just to get my mojo back!

Thanks for reading. As you were.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Outfits for Boneka and Iplehouse BID

It's taken a while for these to be finished. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to design and fit bodices to three different sized dolls, and then ended up making multiple accessories for all three resulting dresses.

The one omitted from today's reveal is my Iplehouse KID, and that's only because I'm waiting on shoes. Once they're here and I've faffed with them, the KID outfit will be offered for sale.

So today we have my BID and my Boneka modelling the items.

First up is my BID in 'Little Fluffy Clouds'.  

The blue and white theme made me think of sunshine and  blue skies with fluffy white clouds.   I've added lots of accessories to this, every one handmade.  I particularly like the scarf, crocheted in lovely drapey viscose.

It was hard to get the length of handbag strap I wanted, and to get it over the doll's arm and head, so I added a little jewellery clasp to make it loads easier.

I love my girl in this, especially in the blonde wig. There's something about blondes dressed in pale blue.

Even the shoes are included!  I've bought a lot of dolly shoes lately, because I'd like to be able to sell them with outfits, so customers get the full set.

And my cute Boneka girl is next. Clara is wearing

'Tea and Rust'

I've made up the same amount of accessories. Sorry, no shoes for this one.  I couldn't find any to match.

The gloves and stockings are fabrics I had specially printed to match the outfit.

I really like this with a redhead wig.

There are lots of lovely little pieces in these two outfits.  So the lucky buyers will have fun dressing them up and getting different looks.

So yes, I'm rally loving the scale of these dolls, especially the KID (not featured today) Next I want to make something lovely for either the KID again, or my new small-bust JID, Amy.

I also have had my sun-kissed Missy head back from Dr Krowe, and he's also doing a Laycee head for me.  So I've got a fair few new things to show when I can get around to photographing and blogging.  The swing and making is all consuming lately, so I've just been indulging my passion.


Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Iplehouse BID and KID

Having ordered some of my grail dolls recently, the first two have arrived.

Bonnie - Iplehouse BID
Lonnie - Iplehouse KID

I may have to find names for them, as Bonnie and Lonnie sound like some dodgy comedy double act.

Bonnie (left) has custom eyebrows, and Lonnie on the right has a completely custom face up.  Iplehouse have done such a great job, I'm over the moon. 

Aren't they beautiful?

Of course they'll be even more lovely with wigs and something to wear.  I may get new eyes too. The default eyes are lovely, but quite dark and I can't quite make out the colour.  We shall see.

The Peach Gold skintone is a beautiful as I'd hoped.  A lovely healthy flesh tone.  I'm so looking forward to sewing for them.

I'm waiting on JID Amy and nYID Mari, both in special real skin.  Though now I want one of each in Peach Gold.  Heh.  I'd better get to saving my pennies.


Sunday, 8 April 2018

KP-008: High waisted dress and beret knitting pattern for Kaye Wiggs girls.

After all the coats and sweaters,  something more girly was in order, so I've come up with these little high-waist dresses for our Kaye Wiggs dollies.

*Available in my Etsy shop:

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

My Craftsy store:

On CD disc from Ebay: (No VAT payable, and no charge for the CD itself, just  the pattern cost and the postage. Free postage on orders over £30.00)

Or right here on the blog: (PayPal shopping cart)
If you do buy from me here on the blog, and you live in the EU, the rules state that I don't have to charge you VAT as it's a direct sale. Once you have cleared checkout, I will email the pattern files to you directly. Please allow me 24 hours, because of time zones. Usually it will be far quicker than that.

You can find the sales pages at the top of the blog, in tabs for each section. I will email you the pattern PDF files directly, after you've cleared checkout. Click this link to email me, if you have any queries.


The dress is knitted in 4ply, and I've used variegated yarns for the top and plains for the skirts, and vice-versa.
Here's the first one, knitted in woolly yarn on top, and cotton yarn for the skirt. Th cotton knits up slightly longer in the skirt than a woolly yarn.  (I use the term 'woolly' not for pure wool, I mean any yarns that are not springy, like cotton yarns)

For this 18” doll purple/rainbow dress, I've used Scheepjes Catona cotton for the main colour (skirt) and Sirdar Snuggly Crofter Baby 4ply in contrast colour.

You can click on the pictures for larger versions.

Next is Gracie, my 17" girl.   She has a separate pattern.  Both dresses fit both dolls, but as the Mei Mei body is a bit bigger around the bottom, and she's shorter, I've created a slightly different pattern for her.

For this peacock greens dress, I've used Drops Delight 4 ply for the main colour (skirt) and Phildar Phil Light for the contrast colour. 

Phil Light is actually a 3 ply yarn, but it's so fluffy, it knits up well for this dress on the 3mm needles. I've brushed the yarn too, to bring up the fluffy pile. 

And finally, here's another one, shown on my lovely new Missy (Abby body)  Please excuse the lack of head, but she's with Dr Krowe for a makeover.
For this I've used an unbranded acrylic 4 ply oddment for the main colour (skirt) and King Cole zigzag 4 ply for the contrast colour.

Different yarns do knit up differently, but I've made this, and the beret in several different types to try them out, and all look lovely on the dolls.
I think I may be all knitted out for a while.  Maybe I'll sew something next, but I'm still up in the air over where to start. I think a de-cluttering of my sewing room might be in order...


Saturday, 7 April 2018

Spring 2018 - Something extra special for Kaye Wiggs dolls

Have been taking my time with this. The colours really inspired me. They're so pretty and ideal for Spring.   I started out with the jacket and hat from the recent knitting pattern, and added lots of bits and pieces.


Lots of extras have been added, and I've even included the boots.  I changed the laces, choosing pink ones to match the outfit.  Click on the images to see them enlarged.

I was quite pleased that the bear matches the boots.  Serendipitous.

The entire outfit will fit the 17" Mei Mei doll, and both 18" dolls, the MSD and the newer 'Abby' body.  The hat also fits different head sizes. It looks adorable on my Layla, and fits Gracie's larger head.

The undergarments were initially made to fit my 17" doll, but the fabric is so soft and stretchy, it easily fits the slightly taller girls.

I would show it on the Abby bodied doll, but her head is off for a makeover.  I have tried the entire outfit on her though, and it does fit perfectly.

Gracie, you're such a poser.

I absolutely love pretty dresses with big boots and legwarmers.  I used to wear a lot of this sort of stuff in my youth.

It's been lovely since my benefits were reinstated. I've been able to meander through an outfit or a pattern without that sense of pressure, or stress, which is so bad for my anxiety.   Not sure what the next project will be.  I have lots of bits and pieces, garments lying around that I should really turn into full outfits.

I also want to make something stunning for Evangeline soon.  I've been squirelling away the fabrics for it.

We'll see.

Ell is sadly neglected, as is Patience.  Hmm....



Friday, 30 March 2018

My work on the Chicstar website

Just a quick drive-by post.  It's always kind of exciting to see one's own work in an online store.

This butterfly print is one of mine, and seeing it on this lovely dress is a thrill. 

They've also accepted a couple of my other prints, so I'm looking forward to seeing those appear.  


Sunday, 25 March 2018

KP-007: Knitted coat pattern for Kaye Wiggs girls

Feeling chilly lately! So I made my girls snuggly coat, jacket and hats.   The new pattern is fun to knit, and is laid out so that you can choose sleeve fittings (over thicker or thinner garments) and you can choose length. Knit a coat or a jacket with matching hat in two styles.

*Available in my Etsy shop:

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

My Craftsy store:

On CD disc from Ebay: (No VAT payable, and no charge for the CD itself, just  the pattern cost and the postage. Free postage on orders over £30.00)

Or right here on the blog: (PayPal shopping cart)
If you do buy from me here on the blog, and you live in the EU, the rules state that I don't have to charge you VAT as it's a direct sale. Once you have cleared checkout, I will email the pattern files to you directly. Please allow me 24 hours, because of time zones. Usually it will be far quicker than that.

You can find the sales pages at the top of the blog, in tabs for each section. I will email you the pattern PDF files directly, after you've cleared checkout. Click this link to email me, if you have any queries.


Love the two girls together.

Layla is wearing the clothing from KP-006, the capsule wardrobe under her coat.  Gracie has bare arms under her jacket.

The hat is very cute and will fit Layla's head, and Gracie's larger head.  I love hats with ear flaps, these are very easy to knit.

Knitting seems to be my passion at the moment.  I will be sewing again, but I find knitting is very restful.   Next, a dress, methinks.  If I can get it right.


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Kaye Wiggs Layla MSD

Eeeeh!   Finally, she's all complete.

I got my Layla's head back from Krowbar today.  I love all his face ups, but each time they still seem to get more and more beautiful.

I've added eyelashes, and inserted lovely brown eyes.

The wig is a Monique Gold 'Bea', which is very pretty and wavy, but I had to trim it a bit to tame it.  I don't know how people who publish all these lovely pics of their dolls to the interwebs manage to cope with all the flyaways.  I often dip a comb into water and comb the wigs through, but putting a damp wig on a BJD with face up is really not advisable.

Dipping a finger in water and smoothing the ig a bit helps, just as long as you keep any moisture away from the doll's face.  Face up sealant does not like water.  I've learned this to my cost, so please learn from my expensive mistake and preserve your dolly's face by keeping it clean and dry.

Right. Onto the picspam.  Click on the images to see larger versions.

She's dressed in the knitwear outfit I made for KP-006, the capsule wardrobe.

At first I didn't get the eyes in right, and you can see eye putty squidged through so it was visible.   But this pic below is the best one I've got so far of the lovely artwork.

I do like slightly thicker brows.  they make the doll look more youthful, and I love the young Brooke Shields look.

Excuse all the stuff in the background.  I do need to put up a proper white backdrop and photograph her properly, but was eager to get some quick snaps.

She's perfect.  I'm so happy with her. And just in case the lady I bought her from is looking in, thank you so much! 


Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Got my knit on

Since winning my appeal and having my benefits reinstated, I've been having a sort of busman's holiday.   I find it very hard to just kick back and do absolutely nothing, so I've just been puttering about for a bit.    With the backpay I received, I admit to having a little bit of a spree.  I bought some Iplehouse dolls (ZOMGYAY CAN'T WAIT) obviously, and I got one of my my Kaye Wiggs grail dolls.

And a beautiful new Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 tablet.  Which has become an extended part of me.  I adore the thing,  and frequently stroke it lovingly and tell it how clever  it is.

I just recently also blew a fair bit on knitting yarns too, and have got my knit on lately.

Wool Warehouse is FAB for knitting yarn in the UK.  They seem to be cheaper than most other sites - indeed I haven't found one cheaper (thanks Trish!)  But that doesn't mean the quality of service is sacrificed.  They phoned me to politely apologise for not having one of the yarns I ordered in stock, and usually I get my yarn next day, or within two days.  Perfect.

It also comes in beautiful large organza bags, so I can keep it clean and dust free, and it looks so nice.

Here are some plain cottons, in mouthwatering colours:

And I'm a sucker for variegated yarns.  Compared to years back when did a pile of knitting projects for art college, the selection is huge.

This is the same bag, just photographed from the other side...

So I've kind of been relaxing, and doing a lot of knitting, and working out patterns. Here's a sneak preview of a coat and hat set, which will be released soon-ish.

And a little knitted dress, which I think Layla wants to keep. It'll look great with necklaces and tights. Those eyelets around the waist will have belt/ties, eventually.

Despite the overspend, I have kept some of the dosh safe and sound in my savings account for a rainy day.   I now need to stop spending, mostly because I'm running out of space in my tiny, tiny room.   I can't seem to knit or sew fast enough...