Saturday, 29 November 2014

Progress on the Jedi outfit.

Worked out how to make the waistcoat-type garment that goes over the Jedi tunic yesterday.  I sewed so much!  My fingers were sore, but I just had to finish it.

Here's the ensemble together. It's damp in the picture. I wetted the garments under the tap to a) remove all the vanishing ink and b) style the over-garment so it hung properly.

I'm using a bit of scrap ribbon for the belt, temporarily:

Now at the back,  I believe that Obi Wan's over-waistcoat ends at the belt, from the outfit on my action figure (which is impressively accurate) and from the only picture I've managed to find. 

But I like the look of the two pieces of fabric falling below the tunic hem, so I've made mine like this.

I left it all overnight to dry out, and this morning tackled the belts.  first there's a wide fabric one, like the kind that fastens a kimono, over that is the leather utility belt.

In fact, the belt that came with my 12" action figures looks good on the 17" Tonner body: 

I was tempted to use my spare one for my Jedi and call it quits, but for the scale of the lightsabre hilt.   My lightsabre chopsticks arrived today and they're just about perfect for the 17" body.  The 12" scale hilt is just as long, but is thinner than the hilt on the chopsticks, so it doesn't look quite right. 

These chopsticks are awesome, I love them. (The 12" doll's lightsabre is at the bottom of this picture below.)

So I ended up making my own belt. I had some kid leather in the same colour as the boots. It looks almost black here, but is a dark brown.   It's not as detailed or as cool as the smaller scale belt, but I had fun and it looks kinda good.   The clasp in the centre was something I couldn't really reproduce, so I've just added a twist of wire and made some tiny D-rings to embellish it.

The lightsabre hilt should clip on to the belt, but I'm really a seamstress, not a modeller, so I've made a loop for it to slide into.

It's looking better and better.  To be honest, I only wanted to make a robe in the beginning, because I'm into coats and capes, but it's been a pleasurable digression.

The boots I'm using for him are not tall enough up the leg. Jedi boots are knee-high.) So I'm currently attempting to make some gaiters in exactly the same colour leather. 

I'll be posting pics if it works. If it doesn't ...we'll forget I ever mentioned it. ;)


Friday, 28 November 2014

Jedi tunic.

There's probably some correct fandom terminology for each of these garments, but I'm going with tunic right now, based on the research I've done.   I love Jedi costume. It smacks of Japanese kimonos and samurai warriors.

The tunic is finished, pretty much.   It all looks a bit white, but I plan to tea dye some of the bits and pieces in varying depths of shade.

(Obi Wan's boots are much higher than these. I do have some that are higher, but I thought these looked more 'Jedi' than the others, and are a darker brown.)

I haven't used a fastening because the garment doesn't really need one.  There's a criss-cross waistcoat type thing that comes next and the wide fabric belt seems to hold everything in place.  Over the fabric belt goes a leather belt with a sort of clip for the lightsabre hilt.

And from the back.

I'm pleased with the shoulders where the sleeve joins, it worked beautiful and isn't as hard as I thought is would be... even with a lining ( I can't resist lining things.)   The proportions are generally good for this first draft.  The whole thing needs dampening to remove the vanishing pen marks, and needs a bit of styling.

It could do with being a smidge longer overall, and the fronts might look better if I take a half inch away on each side.

Off I go to attempt this waistcoat type garment.  I'm looking forward to doing the belts immensely. :)


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Jedi trews for 17" Tonner guys.

Another quickie today, just to show the Trousers I've made for the Jedi outfit.

I've used my pattern #012 for these pants (in my Etsy store) The plain version fits just nicely.

I know Obi Wan's pants are pretty loose fitting, but I like a sexy Jedi, so these are a much snugger fit.  They'll look better with the boots I have in mind too.

The fabric is actually a fine needlecord, but I've used the reverse side because it's actually quite nice.  I don't have any off-white or stone coloured denim - almost impossible to find - so this will do nicely.

That's the grunt work over. Now I get to play again, and make a pattern for the tunic.  My fabric for the robe arrived today, but I won't let myself attempt it until all the under garments are complete.

I've also found a bit of perspex rod for the light-sabre, but am wondering how the devil I'm going to make the grip section.  I'll have to shop around for some kind of light-sabre keyring or toy I guess.  It's tricksy in 1/4 scale. I have a couple of 1/6 scale light-sabres for the action figure of course, but it looks too small for these bigger male dolls.


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Jedi undergarment.

Just finished this off today.  It went well for the first draft of a tight fitting garment.

Here's the tentative first fitting, with the wrap-over shirt inside out:

And the finished item.  The sleeves are nice and snug too.  Luckily the hands pop off this particular doll nice and easily.

It's still covered with vanishing ink marks, and I used a beige thread because I may tea-dye it later on.   The fit is great though, I'm pleased with it.  I added the pants to make a leotard so the whole thing would stay tucked in to the trousers I'm going to make.

Not sure if I have an off-white coloured fabric suitable for the trousers, but I'll see what I can come up with.  I have some nice cream needlecord, but somehow I don't think Jedi wear corduroy. Heh.


Monday, 24 November 2014

Starting the Jedi outfit for 17" Tonner guys.

Today I have mostly been making Jedi undergarments.   Well, it seemed a good place to start.  I've drafted up a pattern for the robe, but realised that there are several layers involved and each needs to fit over the other.

There are different combinations of colour and shape around the net on cosplay sites, but I went straight to Obi Wan's particular raiment.  Mostly because I have the Padawan action figure and his costume is pretty good.   I picked the costume from Attack of the Clones, purely because I liked it.  It's not an attempt to make it perfectly accurate, but I wanted to do the research.  Not purely because of the McGregor goodness, but also I happen to like Star Wars.

My Padawan is swathed in cheesecloth, and on looking up some good pics from the movies, that's what Mr McGregor seems to be wrapped in, so that's what I wanted to use.  It's hard to find in the UK, bizarrely, but I found a store in the USA that does lots of different colours, so I treated myself to yards of the stuff for future projects.



Okay, so the first layer looks like some kind of wrap-over shirt.  You can see at the neck in the pic below. The cuffs seem to swathe his wrists like a kind of wrap.

The sleeves of this underthingie are tight around his arms.

It's hard to do  very tight sleeves on a doll when the fabric is not stretch, but I've gone for something fitted as well as possible, even though the hands will have to be popped off to dress him.    I've devised a wrap-fronted shirt, with cuffs that simulate the wrapped effect a bit, and this first bit of clothing will be in the form of a leotard, so I can pull up his trousers over it and it will sit right.

Next, I'll make the longer, wide-sleeved jerkin, and then the strange garment that comes down over his shoulders and belts up. It's not quite a waistcoat, but I'll work it out.

There will be pics as I go along.

(...Why yes, this was a perfect excuse for some McGregor picspam.)


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Finished Highwayman coat for 17" Tonner guys.

Loads of sewing later, and it's finally done.   Modelled here by my beautiful Lucas, a customised Imperium Park Phin doll, done by the fabulous Dr Krow.

The coat is actually for one of my other dolls, but they're all off being modified and repainted at this time, so Lucas gets to wear everything until they get back.  His proper eyes arrived today and they look so much better than the ones I've been using, so I've actually taken some decent photos for a change too.  :)

Stand by for shedloads of picspam.

The shoulder cape (or storm cape, I think it's called. I know the flaps on a trenchcoat are called storm flaps.) is detached.  One could sew it onto the coat through the buttons I guess, but I didn't want to commit to having it there permanently, because the coat looks so good with or without it. 

 I love the back.

I had to edge stitch the bottom hem of the cape as it was belling out a bit, due to being cut on the bias.  I've seen these tiny neat running stitches in Saville Row suits. It's a a nice technique that holds and edge in shape.

What I've done with my cape, is decorate it with buttons and I've pinned it to the coat from the inside.  I pin a lot of my doll's clothes when they're on my own shelves - never for pictures I'm taking of articles to sell.  I like the fit to be genuine and speak for itself.

This cape actually looks great just laid over the dolls shoulders and tucked under the coat lapels.  It doesn't really need an attachment to the coat itself, which is good because besides hooks and eyes or snaps, which would spoil the look of the coat, I can't figure a way to make the cape detachable.

It's quite modern looking, and not meant to be historically accurate.  That said, it would look great with a tricorn, or modern accessories.  I had fun with the detailing too, with added pocket flaps and straps around the cuffs.


The lining is gorgeous with the black outer.

What a dashing adventurer he looks. <3

Next, I have plans for some long capes. I want to do a long unisex cape with a hood, and another one in a highwayman style again.  I've found the most gorgeous, light,  drapey viscose fabric from an unexpected source, so I can't wait to start.  The colours are to die for.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Long black coat for 17" Tonner guys.

I've been working away at the long coat fro my Tonner boys.  There's a hell of a lot of sewing in this!  Also it required good prep, and making sure all the bits are added at the right time during construction, belt, pocket flaps, etc; but it's nearly finished now and tomorrow I'll start work on the shoulder cape to give it that Highwayman look.

It's in the cashmere and viscose fabric I ordered, which is lovely to sew.   It needs fray check though for two reasons.  One, yes it does fray rather a lot and two, it's a very heavy, slinky and drapey fabric. The fray check around the edges helps to stabilise it for easier handling and sewing.

The lining is in Kaffe Fassett shot cotton.  It's gorgeous.

Please excuse my awful pictures.  I have bad handshake today, and can't seem to get a decent shot. These show hoe good the coat looks on though.

I couldn't find the balance with the lighting either.  One is too dark, the other too bright.  Pah.

It looks proper Matrix-y to me as well, more than Highwayman-ish.  But I hope the cape will solve that.  Not that there's anything wrong with a guy in a sexy Matrix coat. :)

Ugh, sorry that last one is so blurry. 

I'm loving the coat from all angles, back, front, sides.   With the next version, I plan to try adding a vent.  I was going to do it with this one, but my sewing expertise doesn't quite extend to lined coat vents.  I need to find a cheat with the lining, to make it easier for both myself, and anyone who comes to sew the pattern when I finally manage to publish it.

It's slow going today because I managed to slice up my thumb (in two places) with the cheese-slicer last night.  It's sore as hell.  I will never use that vicious thing again. 


Friday, 14 November 2014

Amazing charity shop find.

I occasionally manage to pick up something brilliant in one of out local charity shops.  This must be quite an affluent area because people throw away brand new clothing.

Because of the coats I'm making at the moment, I thought I'd see if I could find any charity clothing in a suitable weight for dolls.  I couldn't believe it when I found these three brand-new skirts, still with labels attached.  They're definitely never been used.  Two are Marsk & Spencer, and all three are pure new wool in a very light weight. Perfect for doll's clothes.

The top one is a sort of charcoal brown. It's definitely not quite grey, and is a fab colour for coats for the boys.  The middle one is charcoal, and the bottom lighter grey one will make something gorgeous for the girls. Who are grumbling about being neglected.

I'm really quite fussy about picking out charity shop clothing to make garments for dolls. The textiles have to be in immaculate condition, especially for outfits that I plan to sell. I would never sell an outfit made from pilled or worn fabric, so I'm delighted to have got these.

Looking forward to chopping them up and seeing what they're like to hand sew.  :)


Thursday, 13 November 2014

More coatliness.

I managed to adjust the coat I'd almost finished yesterday without having to sew a whole third version.  Thanks be. 

I figured how to alter the collar, then removed the top snap and added it under the other two snaps, and pressed the lapel into place.  It looks great now.  My buttons arrived too, so I've added those to finish it off.

Here's the second version I showed yesterday, with the alterations next to it. I think it looks a lot better.  It'll look great with a scarf too.

I added two buttons to the belt at the back. these are 6mm buttons and okay for coats, but I need to get some smaller ones for things like waistcoats. Hand painting my own home-made buttons is taking up a bit of time, so I might buy a few more for reserves.

 Next, I've been thinking of making a longer more dashing version in a cashmere blend for Phin.  I also want a Highwayman feel to go with a tricorn.  I've done a lot of looking around at Highwaymen style coats online, and found a couple that would fit in with this coat pattern:

 This first one has a cape that sits under the collar and lapels, nice and easy to figure out. Incorporating a cape into the coat itself as I sew will create so much bulk, that I'd rather make the cape as a separate accessory. Then once the pattern is published, it will have more versatility.

 This next one shows that a Highwayman's cape is probably cut out of a circular piece and shaped, so it drapes down nicely.  ( I also like the point at the back)

However... on a doll scale, unless the fabric is incredibly soft and drapey, the weight of the fabric is not enough for the fabric to fall properly. I made a prototype to experiment, but it just stuck out stupidly and wouldn't hang.

Hence for a doll, the cape will need to be fitted to some degree.  That's okay because it will still make a good Highwayman's look, and can also be used for a slightly Victorian or steampunk look. (A bit like the capes Jon Pertwee wore in those old Doctor Who episodes.  Now I'm showing my age, heh.) 

Anyway, here's the first draft on Lucas:

It's okay, but could do with reshaping a bit around the bottom hem. At the moment it's not attached.  It sits perfectly over the coat shoulders and doesn't actually need any attachments if the doll is on display, but I will work out some kind of arrangement to attach it and make it removable.

The back is nice too. I may button the point to the back of the coat. At the moment, it's held by a pin:

It's a teeny bit bell-shaped for my liking just now.  The bottom hem kicks out too much, and the point could be pointier, but it's getting there.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Lucas by Dr Krow.

Just a quickie to try and show the workmanship in Lucas's face-up.  Ignore the wet hair, I dip my fingers in water and smooth down the wigs to shape them.

You can see the delicate subtle lines of his lips here, and I love the way the llips are not clearly defined at the edges. It's more natural and I think masculine.

The shading around the orbits of the eyes is beautiful too; as are the tiny faint lower eyelashes.  I have put some applied doll eyelashes on the upper lids, and trimmed them short to stop him looking too girlie. 

The one thing I can't seem to capture is the individual hairs that have been painted in as the eyebrows. It looks here like it's just one sweep of colour but it's more detailed than that.

You can see at the outer edges of the eyes, the 8mm eyeballs are just a tiny bit too small for him, but irises in the next size up (10mm) are just too big and make him look wrong.  

To remedy this, I've ordered some flatter-profile oval dolls eyes and am hoping they fit properly. Otherwise I'll be looking into how to make or modify my own doll eyeballs.

A HUGE thank you to the marvellous Dr Krow, who resides here in the UK and is an absolute wizz at modifying and painting resin dolls.  <3  The artist has said she will take on commissions for these Wilde Imagination dolls with their really hard vinyl heads, but any vinyl softer than this - even Bratz or Moxies - is sadly no go.  Far too hard to work on and can't be dremelled or enhanced with epoxy sculpt.


Draft 2 of the Tonner 17" male coat.

So here's the second version of this coat.  As you can see in the front, the front closure is a lot better, and the lapels are much improved, as is the general fit around the front top half.

I've lengthened the sleeves a little, and am toying with the idea of adjusting the shoulders a tiny bit.  I'm not sure if they really need it though.

The collar looks a bit too wide.  I widened it for this version thinking it was too narrow, but I've overdone it I think.  Either that or the lapels need to come out a bit, possibly a bit off the collar and a bit on the lapels would work.

Also, I think the top snap should be set lower.  The coat has a slightly too-feminine feel to me at the moment. 

The back is still really good, so I won't faff around with that at all.  This coat is still unfinished because I'm awaiting some doll sized black buttons which haven't arrived yet.

The fabric I chose is actually some lightweight denim.  On this scale is looks a bit like charcoal tweed, which is a really nice look for this garment.

I think I may add pockets to the next one as well. Or at least some mock-pocket flaps.    Once this pattern is perfected, I've found some cheap cashmere/viscose blend fabric, and I'll make a longer version for Phin. Who insists all his stuff is better and classier than everyone else's.

In my head anyway....


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Lucas is home :)

Stand by for Lucas spam.   He arrived today having been modded to take glass.acrylic eyes and repainted.   My god, he looks amazing!  I'm so happy with him.  :)

(I've asked the artists permission to make a recommendation - and I'll wait until I get the reply.  She usually does resin dolls, and I don't want to be responsible for her getting asked to do vinyl dolls without checking it's okay first)

Here he is, the shy lil' angel.

I think his wig might need a bit of a trim, it's bushy in places.  

And one with the flash - which is a bit bright. I included it to show how different he looks under different lighting.:

These are 8mm acrylic eyes. They do look lovely, but I can't capture how nice he is with the camera.  I'm okay at photography but by no means an expert.  Lucas is beautifully shaded, the eyebrows are so perfectly painted with individual hairs, but I can't quite capture the effect. The lips are just exquisite too, very fine lines and perfect shading.  I love everything the artist has done.

He's still a very sweet character .... and now he looks a lot like Matt Smith. Which as far as I'm concerned is awesome.  I love the 11th Doctor, it's kinda fitting for a steampunk guy doll to look a bit like him.

Matt smith's eyes are a browny-green, which I believe is pretty much hazel, so I'll be looking for some hazel eyes for him.

I'll be sending the other three heads I have of this sculpt to be modded and painted up.  There will be pictures when I get them back, but it will probably take a good few weeks.

For now, Lucas needs a new outfit. The one he's wearing here is for the redhead doll when I get him back. I've added eyelashes to him as well, but I'm using the Nikon camera and it really doesn't like focusing as well as the Canon, even though I know it can.  Stubborn darn thing. 

That's all for today. I'm off to finish that coat....


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Coat progress.

I finished sewing up the first draft of the coat, lining and all.  It's not quite complete because I stopped work on it to appraise and make adjustments.

As you can see the back is a lovely fit.  It needs a bit more pressing, but the shape is just right. The curve of the centre back seam is quite pronounced, but on the doll it looks dead straight and fits over the back beautifully.

Looking at the front however, it's clear the lapels aren't quite right, or the way the top half of the front sits on the doll. 

The sleeves need lengthening, but that's easy enough. 

I've accidentally over emphasised the lapels, and the neck opening is too wide around the doll's neck.  Because of this, the collar doesn't come forward enough.  The front is also too short to overlap and button up.

To rectify the situation, I'll need to adjust the front lapels and the neckline.  The collar should be okay with just a change in the angle of the front ends.  I'll also need to extend the front openings so they overlap properly.

It's a fair bit of alteration after so much work, but it's okay because the majority of the coat is the right fit.   It's tricksy making lined coats, so I think I'm doing okay thus far.

I shall now commence the second draft (after coffee and swiss roll) and when it's done, I'll show more pictures of the progress.


Friday, 7 November 2014

A brief diversion...

... From my current coat project.   After I'd finished Phin's waistcoat I just had to make him a fob watch.  All I had to hand were some 6mm pendant mounts, some card stock and some thick transparent plastic which I've salvaged from doll packaging.  It's darn useful stuff when you need it.

Anyway, it was small and fiddly, I made an experiment by drawing a clock face on a tiny 6mm circle of card and cutting out a 6mm disc of clear plastic to cover it.

Here's the first attempt.  It's kind of okay but...

...In Phin's hand, it looks way too small for a man's pocket watch. Some of these things are chunky, this is more a Ken size, or possibly and female 16" doll size.

With that in mind, I ordered some 10mm pendant mounts through Ebay (where else, heh) and found some clear plastic self adhesive domes, also 10mm, so I got some of those.

One wouldn't think that the extra 4mm would make a huge difference but it really does. It's just big enough for me to look up some clip art on Google, then print and cut out the antique clock face.

It looks great under the clear plastic dome too. I can't get the camera to pick up how good it looks.

Of course there's no key to wind it, but I can't figure out how I would make one; so this will do nicely.  :)

I can't show Phin with the new watch yet, because his head is off and I've cleaned off the face ready to be sent for modifications and a repaint.  But here he is with the original watch, before I did that.  I like the chain against his waistcoat.

Pocket watch chains have a T-bar for looping through a waistcoat buttonhole, but as I can't make such tiny buttonholes, I made a hook to loop around one of his buttons.

Fortunately the pockets are just large enough for the new 10mm watch to fit into.  I'll post pictures when Phin gets back from having his makeover. Hopefully he'll have a coat by then too.