Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Another quickie

I used to do a LOT of embroidery, but haven't done so for years.  Today I decided to add some embroidered embellishments to a Sindy waistcoat, and I'm loving it.  So therapeutic. :)

Just simple french knots and lazy daisy stitch. 

That's it really for today. I'm actually procrastinating because I’m supposed to be going through my hard drive and deleting a load of duplicate files - which are taking up a hell of a lot of space. 

It's so boring.  And more than a little confusing.  Bleh.


Sunday, 29 March 2015

A nice gentle Sunday

I haven't been slacking in my absence, honest guv.  After a couple of requests, I've picked up my vintage Pedigree Sindy dolls so I can make some sewing patterns.

For over a week, I've been working on something similar based on the SSP-009 Patience retro outfit... which in turn is actually a design that I based on an old Sindy outfit I made years back.  So many years in fact, I pulled out my old pattern pieces and realised I've learnt so much since those early days!  The old patterns are not so good, they have weird darts that just don't belong in a sewing pattern when the design could be so much better.

But!  I'm undeterred.  I've been re-drafting those old patterns in a more professional way, and the clothing is looking good.

This is the original outfit, the one I based the Patience design on:  I don't have the doll in this picture any more, she's a partial repaint with a silky re-root that I sold way back then.  And hopefully is still in a collection somewhere where she's being enjoyed.

Love this outfit so much.

Just to go off on a tangent some... I thought I had three old Pedigree Sindys in my storage box, but after turning my room inside out, I can only find two.  I'm gutted because the one that is lost is a minty Active Sindy - with working ankles, whose plastic was fresh and pink and still looked like new.  I can't think what's happened to her, but I'm hoping she'll turn up in a box somewhere.

But anyway, the Active Sindy I still have - although she's very shabby and I have to tape her waist in place, is still good enough as a fitting model.  She's been waiting for a re-root since forever, but I found a little wig that was too small for my Monster High dolls, and fits her perfectly.

Here she is as the new outfit is being sewn. The wig is very cute. 

It's always a trip down memory lane sewing for Sindy dolls.

My second Sindy is just a basic Pedigree body, in much better nick, and who has a re-root and partial repaint.  I prefer the pose-ability of the Active body, but the basic Pedigree body is slightly different so it's good to have both dolls so I can make the patterns fit them both.

Here's my basic girl.  I gave her green eyes and freckles too, they look lovely with the four shades of red I used for her hair.  I do like these dolls, but the lack of pose-ability in the Pedigree basic drives me nuts.

I had a Pedigree Sindy as a kid, (along with Daisy and Pippa,) and never owned a Barbie until I was in my late 30s.   I remember one summer, my little brother and I were allowed to bicycle into the local town (we lived in rural Devon) all by ourselves!  We went to a sort of country fayre, where they had jousting and medieval re-enactments, along with sideshows and things.  It was a glorious sunny day, and we had the most fun - and didn't even squabble for the whole time. 

Anyway, I was so taken by the medieval ladies costumes, I went home and spent the next couple of days making a medieval gown, over-gown, wimple and circlet for my Sindy doll.  I often used to make not-very-good clothes for my Pippa dolls, but this one Sindy outfit was my crowning achievement, and it's the single doll outfit that made me want to start sewing for dolls as an adult over 15 years ago.

I wish I had a picture of it.  I might try to re-create it for Ellowyne. That would be so much fun...

But yes, it's Sunday, I'm being lazy, and I'm maundering. Back to the present day.

The retro outfit pattern isn't finished yet, because I'm waiting for some fabric to arrive.  The weekend isn't a write-off though, I've been spending it re-drafting a brand new bodice for Sindy.  It's going really well.

The first attempt - the grey one on the left was almost okay, but a few things bothered me, so I made a second toile, the green one on the right.  The fit is perfect, and I'm looking forward to making a lovely summer frock.

I have some fabulous cotton lawn in my stash. The print is sort of small, but it changes over a large area of the fabric making the actual repeat really huge. It would make a really interesting summer gown, but I'm not sure if the scale is better suited to Ell.  We'll see.


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A spot of self-indulgence

I haven't been too well for a while, but I can never put the sewing/crafting to one side because it's the one thing that helps with my problems.  So, bearing in mind I seem to have acquired a huge stash of wine or burgundy-coloured bits and pieces, I settled down to make some accessories for the red tulip dress.

I've managed to complete and bead the dress... however the pattern won't be available for a while. 
I won't be selling anything for a while - for reasons I won't go into online; I have a hundred and one things to get sorted out and I'm not well enough to do them all quickly. But if you've enjoyed my patterns, please bear with me. I'll be back hopefully in the summer - and I promise there will be new patterns.

For a while, it'll just be a bit of "show and tell" as and when I can manage it.

Firstly, here's the completed look.  I'm very happy with the dress and taught myself how to do perfect bead edging.   The seed beads I used are 15/0 and I think they're the tiniest that you can possibly get. Needless to say, after such tiny work, I was a bit cross-eyed for a couple of days!

The dress itself is made from Kaffe Fassett's cotton shots (I think the shade is mulberry) this is gorgeous soft shot cotton.  The weight is a little lighter than most quilting-weight cottons, it's almost but not quite as light as cotton lawn.  I love it for dolls clothing and will probably be investing in a bit more for my stash.
The underskirt is in my usual fine cotton voile - the shade is just a shade darker than the dress fabric, for a bit of depth.

I absolutely love beading, but really need to be in the mood for it.  It's very therapeutic - but only when it goes right.

The first accessory I wanted to make was this pair of gloves. I've had an ides for them for a long time now, and finally decided to have a crack at it.  They are made from woven fabric, not stretch, and they are actually lined! It's a tiny project, but luckily as I've sewed things for tiny Pippa dolls, they weren't too hard to make.

I'm working on some for the Tonner 17" guys too, and a pattern will be forthcoming at some point.

Of course I had to bead them.  I love sewing bead flowers.

As they're not stretch, they need a fastening, so I went for a wraparound glove, fastening with seed bead buttons and tiny hand-sewn buttonhole loops at the side of the hand. They're perfectly shaped for Ell.  I fully intend to try and make a longer evening pair, with lots of little seed bead buttons and buttonhole loops.

To tie in the flower motif, I made a little flower choker in the same beads.  My apologies for the quality of this next picture, it was out of focus so I had to doctor it a bit to sharpen it up.

The choker fastens with a 4mm bead as a button at the back, and a tiny loop made out of the 15/0 beads.

By this time, I was feeling really adventurous.  I don't often make shoes, because there's so much work involved in them, but as I'd spent so much time and effort, it seemed a shame not to have a go at the shoes .. and after all I have all this burgundy-coloured stuff in my craft drawers.

They're made out of real kid leather, with proper insoles and outer soles. The heels are pinned before gluing for a bit of extra strength.  It's all very involved, but I taught myself how to do this with the help of Tarja's fabulous doll shoes blog:
I recommend you read back through he blog, where you'll find loads of information on how to make doll shoes.  She's a very talented lady.

I'm very happy with my own efforts.  I even made a little flower decoration with a couple of pink rhinestones and some more of the 15/0 beads.

And that's it.

Here's my lovely Pris in the ensemble. Looking very glam for a cocktail party.

She probably needs some tights too, but I haven't got any tights fabric that is suitable. Maybe some kind of mesh in a neutral colour, I think more burgundy would be overkill.

Hope you enjoyed!  :)

I'm currently working on some pedigree Sindy patterns too.  So my temporary partial absence will bear fruit.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Almost nailed it.

We're still on the tulip dress at Raccoon HQ. It's lucky my model is so patient.

This is the third draft of the pattern so far, and it's very nearly there.  In fact to the untrained eye it's actually there, but I want to fiddle with the fit at the back of the skirt.  I've now figured out where to alter it without compromising the beautiful rosebud shape of the skirt.  (Yes, I'm still thinking of this as the rosebud dress.)

I was overconfident when embarking on this version. I had some cotton fabric with metallic print for the bodice, and some soft grey cotton voile for the skirt.  I added some metallic fabric paint to the grey skirt panels to tie it in with the bodice, and it seems I expended a lot of energy on doing that when I need to make yet another toile.

D'oh. Well at least I'm not working in horribly expensive silks.

Here you can see the shape is lovely at the front.  I'm thinking that the hemline is still a bit too wide all over though. so I’ll alter that.

I found a way to reduce as much bulk as possible in the construction for this dress, but a different method of construction popped into my head, so I'll be trying that as well.

Incidentally, the skirt looks a tad purple-y because it's a very fine grey voile over a purple lining.  I plan to make an underskirt in the purple of the lining. If all goes well.

As you can see, the back is a much smoother curve than that horrible angle in the yellow toile I showed a couple of posts ago.  But I still think I want to tweak it a bit.

Nicely shaped bum.

Badly shaped bum.

So off I trot, to have another bash at it.   I'm happy to sew a dozen test garments if it all comes right in the end. I almost gave up on this design completely but for a few words of encouragement from the marvellous Tommy Courtney.


Saturday, 7 March 2015

16" Poppy Parker (and some Gimp tomfoolery)

Poppy arrived yesterday but I was getting so bitter and twisted over that stupid tulip skirt that I didn't have time to appreciate or to show her.   So today I'm taking a break.

She's gorgeous.  *Happy sigh*   I've always loved Poppy Parker but I don't like the 12" bodies. They flop about and are hard to pose. The 16" body is fab though.  I like the hinged feet, and the knees stay straight.  The hands also pop off like the smaller Integrity Toys dolls, so yay for that too.

Firstly I had to do something about her cardboard hair.  I like the way it's styled around her head, but I gently washed the cardboard curls that hand at the back, and trimmed off the tangly edges. Then I coated the hair in some of my own human hair gel, which just holds it nicely.

It's nice and glossy now, with no fly-aways

I also sorted out Tulabelle's hair, which is lovely but really flat on top which made her look weird. I've restyled it into an updo with the help of more human hair gel.   human hair gel washes out easily, and really does seem to hold doll hair in place.

I'm so glad I bought both dolls.  Their faces are so different and I love the shared body.   I also like the snooty supermodel expressions they both have, although Tulabelle looks a little less of a diva than Poppy.

I’ve also been messing about with some new filters I've installed in the Gimp.  Most filters are a pile of poop, but a couple work really well.

Here's a pencil portrait filter:

And  a colour sketch filter:

This also looks good with the photo of both girls:  the only trouble with some filters is they don't deal with eye details very well.

And I love this one, it's a graphic novel filter, and makes the photo look like  painting:

Of course I couldn't let it go with the girls, I had to try a couple of these on Phin:

Pencil portrait:

And the graphic novel one: Not as good as the girls, but I quite like it.

But yes. I digress.

Needless to say, I will be making some lovely things for the new girls to wear.  They have such a 1950s hourglass shape to their bodies that I feel 50s retro inspired. :)

But there's a long old list of things I want to get done, so the new girls will have to wait around for a bit.  My poor Cami is still standing on the shelf virtually untouched.  So many dolls, so little time...


Friday, 6 March 2015

Working on the tulip dress.

Still slogging away at the tulip wrap dress.   I decided the bodice needs to have a wrapped look too, to give the final dress unity, so that's what I've been working on today.

It's nearly there.   The only problem is that the front has to wrap, and it needs a back opening too.  I could make it front opening, but that would cause problems with not being able to hide snaps or hooks, or whatever.  So when it's being sewn, the bodice needs to be pinned at the back, pined at the front so it sits perfectly on the body, then re-pinned both at back and front until it's all perfect.

It'll be worth doing though, if only I can make it work!

I don't always use plain fabrics like muslin or calico for my toiles, I prefer to use up scraps and use the kinds of fabric that people will probably use when making my patterns.  I'm trying this dress in quilters-weight cotton.  I usually use lighter weight fabrics such as lawn, voile, batiste etc, but this garment needs a bit of structure, so the quilters-weight fabric is probably the best to choose.

Next, another attempt at the skirt.


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Ellowyne Wilde sewing pattern SSP-010 "Gypsy".

Having had some gorgeous Pakistani lawn, which I hand-dyed a while ago, I came up with this lovely dress with a real romantic woodlands feel to it.   I'm kinda tempted to make a floral crown and some faery wings to go with this at some point.

The striped fabric is my own design from Lacuna press.  I love autumnal shades, but this lovely outfit will look good in soft spring, or hot summer shades.

It's the Ellowyne version of Patience’s "Posh Frock" (SSP-004.) Both patterns can be found in my Etsy shop, in the Straightforward patterns" section.

Here's the link to this newest pattern: 

I love the red wig with these colours.

You will need to remove Ell's hands to put on the armlets.  These dolls are designed much like Monster High and fashion Royalty dolls.  (I'm also pleased that my new Tulabelle has removable hands too.)  Even the by's hands pop off. A really good design I feel.  Ell's hands tend to be very firmly fixed in, and I remove mine by twisting and tugging at the same time.

The dress can be made without the ruffle if you prefer.  (Excuse the pin) and I've made my petticoat in the contrast stripey fabric that I’ve used for the armlet and skirt ruffles.  It all ties in nicely.

And here's Ell looking very demure:

This is such a fun pattern, I enjoy making it up every time I size it for a new dolly.   :)



Monday, 2 March 2015

More work from my lovely customers.

 I love when people show their sewing from my patterns, and it's also nice to see other folks dollies.  So I've posted these little cuties to show what people are making.

This first is pattern SSP-007, the dungarees & leotard pattern, sewed by the lovely tillietogs over on Flickr.   Her lil' gal has a wonky eye so she even has a matching eyepatch.

I love the knits and crochet she adds to the outfits. 

Next are a couple of versions of the pinafore & dress, pattern SSP-005. 

This first is by Julie, over on Facebook.  I love the foxy fabric, and the hat!

 And finally a lovely red dress for Patience, again pattern SSP-005,  made by Debbie, also on Facebook.

I've always loved polka dots.  :)

As for me, I'm working on an Ellowyne Wilde version of the Posh Frock pattern for Patience, (SSP-004)   one of my favourites, and my model, Pris, is looking very lovely already.  I'll show pictures on publishing day.