Wednesday, 30 April 2014

12" Fashion dolls

I have over a dozen 12" and Barbie-sized dolls on my shelf, all looking forlorn and either butt nekkid, or poorly dressed.   I also needed a break from the 16" doll sizes, so I decided to sit and draft a few new patterns for my poor neglected gals.

I rather enjoy working with stretch fabrics lately, so I've drafted a new raglan top, which can also be lengthened into a dress.  I used the clingfilm - (That's Saran wrap to you Yankee Doodles - no offence meant, I don't mind being called a Limey, heh.)  - and masking tape.  Starting on my lovely (expensive!) Integrity Nu-Face dollies, I used a pants patter that I made some time ago, and adapted it so I can make cropped tight pants, or boot cut pants.

Firstly, I made some moleskin bootcut pants and a red raglan top for my Colette:  I think the pink scarf is from a Moxie Teenz.   I quite like the way it clashes.  But the fit is good and I'm pleased with the prototype top.

With that in mind, I altered my pattern to make the top a bit longer, and shaped around the bottom hem:  It turned out well, even though with this scale, it's sometimes hard to stop stretch fabrics curling up at the hem.

With a pair of floral pants, and a waistcoat, I made a sort of flower power ensemble, modelled here by my lovely Erin.  Ignore the purple ink on the top. It's vanishing ink, and I marked out some flowers that I was going to do with seed beads, but I'm not sure if  it will be too much with the floral waistcoat.

It's quite nice to just sewing for my own dollies.  Even though I really, REALLY, love to sell my work, so might end up offering some of these new items in my Etsy store - at some point.   It's the biggest compliment that someone would pay for my hard work, and Etsy is kind of addictive from a selling point of view too.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Lizette in Lingerie.

I love the really old-fashioned Victorian look of corsets and bloomers, so I didn't make a skirt for this outfit, but big loose pantaloons instead.  They're so nice to sew after the miles and miles of fabric that I tend to use for the skirts.  Usually I run elastic through the waists of bloomers, but with these I gathered them onto a waistband.

I also created a new corset pattern, with a pronounced V-shaped front, and slightly more daring at the bust.  I think Lizette looks great in it. :)  Again, the armlets really pull the outfit together.  I like the rose fabric I've used. The scale is slightly larger than I might usually use for a doll of this scale, but it looks pretty good.

In other news.... don't you just hate sewing injuries?   It's laughable that the tiniest nick in the skin, or the smallest pulled muscle in a finger can affect hand-sewing so badly.   I managed to scrape my index finger and the skin is so raw and thin on the very tip, that I can hardly bear to sew.   I hate 'resting up' for something so tiny - but if I don't let it get better, I run the risk of making it ten times worse and/or bleeding all over my precious creations.   Bah.  



Friday, 18 April 2014

I love corsetry

And today I managed to finish off the pink/green corset outfit for Ell.  I've had a blast making these new boned corsets, and I might make another, but I'm all fired up with ideas for using up my Liberty lawn, so yes. The dilemma of what to sew next has already struck.  ;)

I took some arty shots of my bits and bobs, which I almost manage to keep tidy these days.

Cotton reels are always good for macro shots. Did I mention I like pink and green?

Then I stopped faffing around with my camera and made the armlets.   The buttonholes are tiny pieces of careful crochet which I sewed into the  armlets as I lined them, it's vastly more efficient than hand stitching lots of individual buttonhole loops.  It looks very pretty too.  Sort of lacy.

And here she is in her fab new get-up.   Very Easter-y. Despite the lack of bonnet.  It always surprises me when making this outfit, that when the skirt and corset are done, they can seem almost mismatched - but then once the armlets are added they pull the whole ensemble together beautifully.

And one of the gals together in their corset outfits.  Ell's with the Liberty lawn, and Pru's with soft cotton voile.   I love this look. If I was 20 years younger I'd totally wear this.

Now I'm off to clear my desk and gaze wistfully at the huge box of patterns I seem to have.   I swear five minutes ago all I had was three thin folders for my doll patterns. Now I have a big plastic storage tub, and several box files full of the things.


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Corset decoration

Still on the pink/green/cream corset outfit.  For the corsets themselves, I use quilters weight 100% cotton in the best quality I can find.  I'm not so keen on polpin, because it's so tightly woven that it's a real b***h to sew by hand, so I go for the lovely woven printed cotons where I can.

There seems to be MUCH more poplin around on Ebay than ever there used to be.  I guess quilters like it because it's so tight-woven, smooth, and probably very durable, but I much prefer the slightly softer cottons. The quality is just as good, and the needle slides through them beautifully.   I always used to use these cottons for everything, even drapery skirts, but a while back, I found I much prefer lawns and voiles for doll-scale skirts.

But anyway, here's the lined corset.  It's a bit shapeless at the moment. Without the boning and top-stitching, it's quite literally just a lined bag.

And once the topstitching is done, I put in my top sekrit boning.    After that, I added some ribbon detail to the front panel.  It's all very shapely now, and follows Ell's contours perfectly.

From the back:   I've perfected my eyelets now.   I've ruined so many really lovely dolly garments in the past, but now I have it down to a fine art.  I'm pleased with the way the backs line up so well.  

The lacing looks a bit like string in the picture though! It's totally not.   It's waxed cotton braiding cord (or rat-tail) 1mm thick.   It's lovely to use on corsets and a bit more durable than ribbon.    The nylon cords are really nice to use too, but my colour selection is limited at present.  For the next couple of months, I'm trying not to buy in any new materials .. which is REALLY hard.  I love buying craft supplies, but I need to clear some space in my fabric and trim containers before I go buying more.  I also have this massive credit card bill to get rid of. Eugh.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Feeling Spring-y.

However unwell I feel over winter, as soon as the sun peeks in through my window in spring, I usually feel more like sewing.  Having managed to create a couple of really good outfits recently, I'm beginning to remember photographing them whilst in progress again.   (I zoom ahead and the camera sits there, forgotten.)

So for this outfit - another boned corset outfit - I'm using pink and green.   A scary colour combo, but I just LOVE light pinks and pale leaf greens together. They're so spring/summery.   For the skirt I've used some gorgeous Liberty Tana Lawn.  SO EXPENSIVE.   But totally worth it.   I love this particular print. It's enabled me to use cream in the colour scheme, so I now have pink, green and cream.   Which should look very pretty.

The skirt is fully lined with cream cotton voile.   The yoked waistband and all the gathering are done by hand.  I've used the machine for the long straight side seams, the top stitching (except for the green waistband topstitching which is done by hand) and the hems.   It's so great to attach lace with the machine.  Saves my poor fingers no end.

When it comes to curved seams on bodices, sleeves and corsets, I always revert to hand sewing. So much more control that way, and my corsets have a couple of secret processes that just don't lend themselves to machine stitching.  Here's all my bits cut out and marked up ready.   I like to mark my seams with vanishing ink. Time consuming, but it makes for fantastic accuracy and fit. :)

More tomorrow...  if I remember to pick up the camera.


Monday, 14 April 2014

Wigged out 4, Prudence.

I've always felt a bit sorry for Pru, being sculpted as Ellowyne's slightly less pretty friend.   This gal is the prettiest Prudence I've seen - which is why I kind of took a fancy to her.  The poor girl has a massive head though.  Very nearly eight inches in diameter compared to Ell's head size of something like seven and a third inches.  Hardly any of my doll wigs fit her, even the larger 7-8 inch ones I keep for my MSD's with larger heads.  

However, as luck would have it, I had one wig that didn't really suit any of my other dolls and is a bit oversized.  It looks really sweet on Pru, as if it was made for her; so she gets the expensive Leekeworld wig to keep. It's even the perfect colour for her eyebrows too.

To make up for having to live in Ell's shadow somewhat, I decided to dress pretty, romantic and floaty.

The corset is boned (trade secret)  and fully lined, the long skirt is lined too, as are the armlets.   A little choker with a cream rose just finishes it off nicely. :)


Sunday, 13 April 2014

My first Amber.

I've always liked the Ellowyne Wilde doll Amber Stanhope, so I finally bought one quite recently, nude, so she needed something to wear, but a bargain because she didn't come clothed.   Satin Shimmer Amber, to be exact - only I don't much like her flat fringe, so  I may end up scalping her so I can use wigs instead.   I know it probably seems like sacrilege, but I do already have a scalped Ellowyne who is one of my favourite dollies.

But I digress.   I found some gorgeous pink boots on ebay, which are for MSD sized dolls, but you know me and my liking for big clumpy bootses.

As luck would have it, I had some fabric with a pink background that is almost exactly the same as the slightly dusky pink of the boots.  

The pink print fabric was sold to me as 100% cotton - yeah right.  I'm 100% positive it's actually a viscose fabric.   Which is okay, because some viscose weaves are gorgeous and drapey, like this one. - only it's a bitch and a half to sew. Too silky and fragile to enjoy working with.   Even with copious amounts of fray-check to stop it falling to bits.

But, I persisted, and as you can see Amber looks really cute in her new outfit and boots :)

I still have a Prudence Moody doll to dress, but that's in hand as I type.  Once I've finished all the outfits, I'll probably end up selling them all on Etsy, but as this pink goes so well with the boots, I'm not sure I'm willing to part with this one.