Thursday, 17 October 2013


Woke up horribly late today, and whenever I do that, I spend most of it in a blind panic.  Not good.   However, having done my chores, I managed to settle into my sewing and that calmed me down nicely.

I tackled the waistcoat that I've been promising myself to try, and I'm prety happy with the result.   It's hard to get drape when lining a stretch fabric, no matter how well a single thickness of the fabric drapes.  Double thickness is always tricky.

My Lizette always seems to look sad in any picture I take, but in this she looks a bit perkier... so at least she doesn't think I've made a terrible fashion blunder. ;)

The waistcoat fits perfectly, which is great.  It does add a bit of thickness to the doll's waist though, because it's self-lined.  It's fastened with a pin at the moment, but I'll figure out a better fastening for it soon.

It's kind of a ragamuffin look, which I personally love.  You can also see where the sleeves form gloves better in this shot than previous ones. 

I still want to make arm and legwarmers, with some kind of hat.  My problem at this time is - what fabric to use for arm-warmers?  I only have the three fabrics that make the tunic, waistcoat and leggings. Using the print would be pointless, because the sleeves are print.  I don't really want to use the dark teal I've used for the leggings, which leaves the waistcoat fabric.  I wonder if it will be too much if I make arm-warmers in the same colour. Does it even need arm-warmers?  I hope people looking at this can leave some input. I welcome constructive comments from anyone, please don't be shy.

(I think one of the mid browns in the print might make good arm and legwarmers, but I'd need to buy some. And I've spent far too much this month)


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Coming together

Lizette is my next model for the new winter outfit.   I'm just loving that soft printed jersey. It hangs on her so nicely. Do excuse the blurry picture, my hands are somewhat wobbly today - I can hardly type straight either. Thank heavens for spell checker!

So far, I've done the leggings and a longer tunic top which is almost a dress.  You can't quite see it in the picture, but the sleeves are extended into fingerless gloves. Doing it that way makes the armwarmers slide on a bit easier, and I just love the look.

I'm working on a long drapey waistcoat to go over the top too. She will be having the arm and legwarmers too.  Then I need to make a hat.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Next project

Just a quick one this evening as I'm not feeling so well and am a bit tired. Hence I don't have much to show for my day.  This is a shot of the fabrics I'll be using for my next Ellowyne Wilde outfit.   The dark teal colours will be leggings and hopefully a waistcoat, and maybe a hat or hood.

The patterned fabric is a gorgeous soft stretch jersey, that is thin but really heavy and quite drapey, so it should hang nicely as a longer tunic top. I've had it for ages and always wanted to use it, but wasn't sure how to use it. Now I have some teal fabric, I think it should work nicely.


Monday, 14 October 2013

Just when everything LOOKS finished...

I seem to be under a curse lately. I finish of an outfit and discover I'm still not done.   Today I mad arm-warmers and leg-warmers for the outfit which has become known in my head as the Ewok outfit.   Unfortunately, the print on the stretch fabric has the effect of making the fabric less stretchy than my other stretch fabrics.  This means they're very tight on the doll, no matter how good it looks. So in all good conscience, as this is an outfit I'd like to put in my Etsy shop - I'm going to have to re-make them a bit looser.

Pah, I say.

Still. Ignoring that, I'd thought I'd give a Raccoon's top tip about leg-warmers and arm-warmers.  The can be fiddly to put on your doll, so I pulled them onto the garments  before dressing the doll, and it worked a lot better.  Once it's all on the doll, you can pinch and pull the warmers around to get a nice ruched look, and to get them into position.

And here's the finished look. Once I've re-done the arm and legwarmers, I'll be able to move onto the next one.

She's nicked Caleb's other pair of boots.  It's a good job he's such a patient little angel.


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Finished hooded scarf/Ewok hood.

I quite like the term 'snugglehood' myself , and yes, she does look a bit like an Ewok.  Not that that's a bad thing.

Right, the reason I needed to tweak, is because I got the hood a little too small, and the back has to sit well. I didn't show the back of the first attempt , because it was a mess.  This is a lot better, and I'm very happy with my newlt drafted pattern.

From the front.  The scarf looks nice enough hanging down loose, but I particularly like it wrapped around the shoulders.  It looks cosy and kind of glamorous at the same time.

So that's that.  Next will come more legwarmers and armwarmers, also in purples.   I'm still waiting for a shedload of fabrics to arrive so I can make more of these outfits and try to design that cowl poncho.

What's that you say? My self-imposed Ebay ban?  I have no idea what you mean....  

Okay. I failed at not shopping. Dismally.

But look! She's so preeeeetty!  :D


Hoodie, scarf, skoodie?

I've seen them called "Snoods", these things. Basically they're scarves with an attached hood.  Snoods are something else entirely to me, being a generation or two older than the fashionistas.

So yes, it's a hooded scarf.

The first draft of the pattern went pretty well, but I do need to make a few tweaks, so I'll be doing that next, and hopefully I can move on to the fun bits, the armwarmers and legwarmers.


Friday, 11 October 2013

I haven't sewn today :(

Having a break and still waiting for some fabrics to arrive before I can get my teeth into anything.  I've re-drafted some patterns and am ready for a sewing marathon once it gets here, but for today, nothing much has happened, apart from a pair of brown leggings identical to the ones I made in the previous outfit.

So for something pretty to look at, I thought I'd show an old outfit, which has been sold long ago, that I made for my JID girl Rachel (Tania Sculpt)

Every item in this was lined, trews, leotard and the tunic vest thingy.    I hand-dyed the green fabrics myself, and with resin dolls, I like to line the garments to prevent the slightest risk of staining.  I loved this outfit, one of my very favourites :)

Hopefully I will have something new to show tomorrow...


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Finishing touches.

Okay, so I know I said it was finished, but I've found some olive-coloured fabric and yarn that I will probably try making into my dream poncho/cape thingy.

For the time being, I'll make up a couple of these little outfits and put them in my Etsy store.  It takes so long to design new stuff, and my shop hasn't had any new additions for too long.

Today, I needed to make the tunic in the colour I originally wanted, so I cut into my pretty new violet fabric and got stitching.

The different coloured tunic gives the outfit a totally different feel. I'll use the stone coloured tunic in a different outfit.

I made some more little crochet flowers and attached them to the hat, with some bead centres, and now the outfit really is complete.

...Unless I work out how to make a damn fine poncho... =^-^=


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Just about done...

 This morning my new violet fabric arrived. I was extremely pleased - it's hard to judge colours on a computer monitor, but the soft viscose jersey is so close in hue to my hand-dyed piece, it's hard to tell where one ends and one begins in the photo!  I couldn't have asked for a better match.

Alas, my good day ended there.  I couldn't get the poncho idea to work at all. The knit fabric I tried using frays so badly, I couldn't have gotten away with hemming it.  I could have lined it, but that made the overall thickness of the poncho too bulky.   I've searched on Ebay (yes I'm still under a self imposed ban, but needs must) for the right coloured dark olive fabric, but can't find anything that can be left raw so that it drapes properly.  The beautiful viscose jersey I've been using is just not available in that colour; and it has to be green because I'm a stubborn old bat.

So I opted for making a very simple wrap that fastens in the front. It feels like a bit of a cop-out, but that was the best I could do with the knit fabric. All the raw edges are sealed in and it's well stitched, so at least the quality is up to my usual exacting standard.

Overall, the look is now complete, but tomorrow I will make another tunic in the violet fabric as per plan A.  I might make some more of those little crochet flowers too, they're so pretty and quite easy to make.  She needs bracelets too. I love bracelets over gloves, and maybe a necklace, depending on what neckline I give the tunic.


Tuesday, 8 October 2013


Today was a bit more leisurely when it came to the sewing.   Accessories like leg-warmers and gloves etc are a bit fiddly and time consuming, but can really finish off an outfit in a fun way.  So I settled down to concentrate just on doing those, and getting them to fit nicely the first time.

I took the trouble to add a cuff to the tops of the leg-warmers too. Really worthwhile.  They look great :)

I tried Caleb's spare boots on Ell too. I like the way they help the doll stand alone without the usual aid of her stand.  MSD boots look huge on Ell, but I love the look of big feet on a doll.  They make her look kinda cute and cartoony :)  

To finish off this outfit, I have my heart set on some kind of poncho or cape, with maybe a cowl neck.   I have some lovely olive knitted fabric I want to use, but how to finish the edges is going to be a bit of a challenge.

I looked through Pinterest and found some nice ideas:

All of these look lovely, but don't have hemmed or bound edges.  I quite like the idea of fringing it, but I don't have any yarn the same colour as my olive knit... and I've banned myself from Ebay/shopping.  I've spent WAY too much lately. All my current projects are to try and use what I have tucked away in boxes and drawers. A considerable amount of materials! Soooo, not sure how to make my own version yet.   I'll have to play around with ideas.


Monday, 7 October 2013


I'd already cut the pieces, so it didn't take me too long to make this up today, even with the hand sewing.


Typically, I forgot to take photos as I went along, D'oh.

I wanted to incorporate gloves into this top. It's something I've been meaning to try for ages, as it will make slipping on a pair of arm-warmers easier.

Because this is one of the softest and most clingy fabrics I could find, the tunic hangs well. Which is gratifying.  I find stretch viscose has a much better drape for doll scale items than many fine cotton lawns, or voiles.  I could have tried a viscose satin, but I'm not brave enough to attempt satin yet.  I have made things with satin in the past, but it's a sod to work with and slips all  over the place. The slightest pucker shows too. I may try some stretch satin in future, but that's expensive, so it will be a loooong old time away.

I think I'm happy with this.  As always, I want to fiddle and tweak the pattern because I can see every last little imperfection in the way it hangs.   Half of me wants to hem it to, but having done and experiment with this fabric, it really is best left with raw edges, so the drape isn't spoilt.  I have owned person-sized tunics with plenty of raw edges left, so I guess it's okay for a doll.

Next, for this ensemble, I want to make the tunic in violet - which I've had to order.  Some leg-warmers and arm-warmers, a hat, and a poncho with a cowl neck.  For each garment, it's probably that I'll make one or two before deciding it's good enough!

I do in actual fact suffer from a degree of OCD, It's part of my overall health issues and is borne from the anxiety and need to establish routines and some semblance of control over life - but I think people with OCD make good hobbyists, and ultimately it's good for the customers to know that the maker of their purchase is an incorrigible perfectionist!


Minidress/tunic update

I took some time to close up the back of the tunic this morning.  Lets face it, it's not really a dress, but is a really nice little tunic.

After re-ironing it, and trying it on Ell again, it's actually a great fit. I like the fact it's lined :)

Without leggings.

I don't think I'm ever going to get rid of that bulge from the leggings waistband, not with a fitted tunic.   It's not tight now it's been properly pressed, but it is still stretchy and clingy enough to reveal the bump.

With leggings.

I'm happier with it this morning, but still not sure what I want the outfit to look like.   I'm going to spend the rest of the day making the fuller tunic in stone fabric.  I've ordered some violet, and hope it's similar to this hand-dyed stretchy stuff that I've used here.  If the fuller tunic works, I'll reserve this one for something else.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Another attempt at the minidress

First of all, I had an idea about making a loose tunic, and found out how to cut a point-hem tunic.  I drafted a pattern and cut out some pieces, then pinned the front to the doll, and it looked promising.  


However... after that I sat and though about what I had really wanted for this outfit - so I decided to try another figure hugging minidress/tunic like yesterday's.  I re-drafted the pattern yet AGAIN, and decided to add a lining in the hope of losing the VPL from the clingier dress.

Now then kids.   For adding a lining to a garmnet, you can do no better than to watch this fantastic technique by Magalie Dawson of MHD Designs.   This is nothing to do with my work - she's an awesomely talented designer and seamstress, and I highly recommend her patterns.

With the video on my computer, I set about cutting and sewing the next version of the dress.
Pattern pieces of the dress and lining. 

The dress fabric is my precious piece of hand dyed purple cotton lycra, the lining is a very thin stretch fabric I keep in my stash for lining stretchy things.

Attaching the sleeves to the lining and dress pieces.

Where to sew is indicated by the zigzag edges. 

Going by Magalie's video, I managed to get the "loop" she describes. From there, sewing the side seams and sleeve seams is very easy.
"Loop" as shown in the video.

Once you've tucked the backs of the dress into the front, it's easy to sew up the sleeves and side seams.  Don't forget to leave a gap for turning!

Almost-finished dress/tunic.

With this technique, it's all sewing at odd angles for a while, and then suddenly you turn it right side out and it's almost complete!  I like the result.  I have actually made the pattern too tight, still. The bulge of the leggings waistline can still be seen. Bah.  I was going to add a belt anyway, so hopefully that will detract from the bump. If not - it looks like I'll be making a floaty tunic after all.

((Finally worked out how to sort out my formatting.  It has to be done in Chrome though, and my heart belongs to Firefox :(  ))


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Mucking around with separates

Inspired by my autumnal palette, I cut out and made some leggings for Ellowyne Wilde yesterday.

The pattern is from the Gracefaerie #56 "Team hoodie warms up".  I printed it out at 90% for Ell, and they fit perfectly :)
Then I set about drafting a pattern for a minidress in a stretch fabric.  The dress for this set is going to be in a hand dyed mauve colour.  I don't have very much of that, so I tested the draft with some stone coloured fabric - of which I have plenty.

Both back and front look good and smooth, with no glaring errors.   There's a slight hitch, however, in that the bulk of the leggings can be seen underneath the clingy, stretchy dress. Bah.

The whole dress looks nice and smooth without the leggings underneath. I may decide not to use this style of dress after all. I may be better off with a separate bodice and gathered skirt.  It will still be short, but the waist of the leggings won't form a bulge.

 I like my Ellowyne Wilde clothes to fit my slim MSD's too. Here are the leggings and dress on a Luts KDf, with immature body.  The leggings fit like a dream.   The dress does too, but the shape of the doll's joints are obvious through the clingy fabric. This would work in a thicker, firmer stretch fabric, probably. Like a cotton interlock or maybe even a lined stretch dress, but I've gone off this idea for now.

I think a bodice with a separate skirt is the way to go here.  I'm SO glad I tried the dress in a spare fabric first. My precious pieces of hand dyed fabric has been saved for something that will work!  I also have a nice pattern for a long tee-shirt dress, so my day hasn't been entirely wasted.

Next, I'm literally going back to the drawing board to create a different style of dress.  Le sigh.


Friday, 4 October 2013

Struggling a bit

I've been lacking any inspiration for days now, and have been thinking more about making several smaller items for an outfit rather than say one time-consuming dress.   Of course, it's all time consuming, but I'm quite taken with the idea of more little bits and pieces to make up a set for a doll.

Hence I've been looking at hats, leggings, legwarmers, gloves, armwarmers, teeshirts and maybe coats, or a lovely cape/poncho to go over it all.  Stretch fabrics and knits are appealing to me lately too, after having googled a pile of gorgeous knitted and crocheted dolly items.  I can knit, and crochet, but I just can't find the patterns I want, and although I know I have the skill to learn, I don't have the patience to work out patterns of my own in knit or crochet. Drafting up sewing patterns is quite enough for me in my teeny tiny workroom.

We'll see.

Currently I've dragged out some coordinating stretch fabrics and knits, with a couple of accent colours. My desk is littered with existing patterns for Ellowyne Wilde and MSD bits and pieces.

Current odds and ends
Obligatory arty close-up
Inspiration surely has to strike soon.  It has to. Agh.


Thursday, 3 October 2013

I maked a crown

I maked a crown by Raccoons Rags
I maked a crown, a photo by Raccoons Rags on Flickr.
So lately, I've been indulging my Soulkid boy Caleb (he's a modified Hunoi sculpt) with a whole new outfit. One that I'm not going to sell from under him! Yesterday I finished it off with a sort of lace 'crown', which was easy to make and has given me ideas for some lovely headgear for dolls in general.

Here he is with his teddy bear (Fudge) looking a proper little princeling.

A new harbour

The good ship Raccoon has moved from Dreamwidth to Blogspot - May God bless all who sail in us...

Old blog here.