Friday, 31 July 2015

A post for my EU customers.

I was kind of horrified about the new EU laws on VAT.  Most of us micro-businesses are. There seems to be no turnover limit (like there is on regular VAT charged in the UK) to exclude tiny businesses from this administrative nightmare.

I won't go into the ins and outs, I can almost see your eyes glazing over already,  but now Etsy are listing my PDF download prices with the VAT inclusive, and it looks to my EU customers like I've raised my prices.

I have not.  I am not getting the extra... I have to pay it all back to Etsy, and they pass it on to our tax office, HMRC.

In the meantime, I suggest my EU and British customers look to my Craftsy store.   Prices vary day-to-day, due to the exchange rate,  but I suggest you all go there and compare the prices with Etsy, before purchasing.

Raccoon's Rags at Craftsy:

None of this affects my American, Canadian, Australian, customers, or anywhere outside of the European-Union.


Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Whenever I make a toile for a corset, it's invariably way too loose, and overlaps at the back far too deeply.  Then I alter the pattern, and when I sew up a proper version, it's invariably too tight, and the overlap isn't quite enough.

Le sigh.

At least it's looking gorgeous in every other way.   But now I have to alter the pattern, re-cut and re-sew the whole thing.  I know I could use eyelets, but they only really look good if there's no overlap at all, as the edges need to be flush against each other.

Also, I have to add the skirt.  Which takes up more space, and means the gown may not close at all at the base of the bodice.

Here it is over the yoked petticoat, which is pretty much perfected.

Black cotton lawn with white lining.

Back to the cutting board I go....


Monday, 27 July 2015

Fabrics, fabrics, everywhere...

I said to someone that I'd try to take pics of the fabric I'm going to use for the Evangeline Ghastly gown, so here they are.  It's a beautiful cotton lawn, with a print that is small enough for doll scale, but it changes over a large area of the fabric, so will make for an interesting gown skirt.

This is just under a fat quarter - so you can see how the print changes so much from area to area.  Lovely!

It's black and white - obviously. Less obvious are the  the subtle patches of metallic gold print here and there. Tricky to pick up with the camera, so here area couple of close-ups.

I went back to the online shop I bought it from, only to find there's none left, so I have to make mine count.

Whilst we're on the subject, I had a nice surprise in the post from Spoonflower today too.   I save up my Spoondollars, so I can buy sample swatches and pieces of fabric every now and then. I had a lot of spoondollars available recently, so ordered about 50 quids worth of fabrics - with free shipping too!  Yay.

Nobody was happier than me when SF started doing cotton lawn again.  It's gorgeous quality. Soft and nice to sew.  I bought a metre, with four fat quarters in my own print design.  

I'm fond of creating uneven backgrounds with some texture or slight print, then dropping scattered or random roses over the whole design.  It looks beautiful in doll scale, and is what I used for the recent regency dress and bonnet for Patience.

Their modern jersey is also lovely. I usually avoid polyester like the plague, mainly because you cant always get a crease in the damn stuff, so it's impossible to press my seams nice and flat when I'm sewing. This one presses quite nicely though, and has Lycra content too, so is lovely for dolly clothes. I recently made a leotard from it, for my 17" Tonner boy, Ben.

Here's some of my designs.  It's one of my hobbies, designing fabric prints, and is what I actually studied at art college. I'm no Kaffe Fassett,  or William Morris, but it's lots of fun... especially with digital art programs like the Gimp.

Teeny tiny wols and hearts:

And some pretty florals:

Here, I've tried to show the mottled and subtly patterned background:

So that's me, up to my neck in fabric.  :)   There's no such thing as too much fabric.... there is such a thing as not enough storage space though.  Heh.


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Two little regency outfits.

I've enhanced the two outfits I made whilst working on my Regency pattern for Patience, and I'm delighted with how they've turned out. Both are now up for grabs in my Etsy store.

White dress:

Bonnet dress: 

The white dress with short puff sleeves has had lots of pretty accessories added, and Patience looks like she's going to her first ball.


The Alice band with its big bow is so cute. And I've added detachable waist trim - because the trim sits just underneath the bodice, which means I would have to sew ribbon to the gathers
of the skirt, which doesn't always look neat.  So this is my solution.

It was kind of hard to part with these two ensembles.

And with the cream dress, I enhanced the bonnet with lots of pretty trim, including a generous measure of pure cotton lace around the brim.

So much fun.  :)

So now that's done, and I must stop procrastinating over this new project for Evangeline.  She's so BIG.  I'm using up a lot of cotton lawn on this gal.


Thursday, 23 July 2015

We all have days when our brains won't work.

Me more than most?  

Okay, so I've drafted my first garment for Evangeline Ghastly.  I've been excited about this since I bought her, and have spent the last couple of days working out a pattern for a corset-bodiced gown.  (There will be long evening gloves too, if the grey matter will allow.)

The toiles went really well.  Here's the corset part... just sat on the doll and not pinned.  It fits her contours perfectly.

By the way - I don't use muslin or calico for my toiles, I use up old scraps of fabric to save them wasting away in a bag for years on end.

Her bosoms are truly enormous.  Melons, in fact.  But I managed to get a good fit around all the boobage.

Now, before I make a low-waisted dress with a tight bodice, I always make a yoked or drop-waisted petticoat. Here's the toile for that, well the yoke part anyway. I taped it to the body temporarily to prevent slipping.

So far so good.   The skirt panels are usually a doddle to figure out, and that didn't take me long.

However, when I came to cut the darn things out, I kept screwing up.  Infuriating! I wasted some good white cotton lawn.  Not loads, but enough to be irksome.  I've cut this style of skirt panels time and time again, so I have no idea why my  brain won't fire, but finally I've got all the bits cut out, and am ready to make the petticoat.

I'm gonna be SO careful to get the actual gown cut out right.  I have this amazing white cotton lawn with a black floral print interlaced with metallic gold.  It's so gorgeous, and not the least bit cheap.  So as Baldrick would say:  We're not at home to mr Cock-up.

But yes.  Ongoing work is ongoing, and this will be my first pattern for Evangeline.  

(I can't even type. Spell check has been busy...)


Monday, 20 July 2015

Patience Wilde sewing patterns SSP-023: Regency dress and bonnet.

The Regency dress and bonnet pattern is now available at my outlets:

My Etsy shop:

My Craftsy store:

And here on the blog: (Via Sellfy)

I've included three sleeve options for this dress: Long and lined, long and unlined, and short puffed unlined.  I recommend tackling the long lined sleeve ONLY with lightweight fabrics like lawn or voile.  For quilters weight cottons which are the fairly standard cottons a lot of dolly sewists use, I'd recommend the long unlined or the short unlined sleeves.

I've lined these sleeves below, because I was using cotton lawn for both the outer and the linings:

And the simpler short puff sleeves are easier to make unlined:

The bonnet was a joy to make.  I do enjoy a spot of hattery.  It's fully lined, and I like to do parts of it with the lining showing, and other parts with the outer fabric showing.  You can do any combination you like.

Most regency dresses seem to be simple A-line at the front, and gathered or pleated at the back - my dress reflects this.

This looks so lovely on Patience. It took a lot of tweaking and checking, but well worth it in the end for a perfectly fitted pattern. :)

I hope people enjoy this one!


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Regency bonnet for Patience.

I'm a slow, slow, bunny lately. Not sure why, but I can;t seem to settle into the sewing, and I keep thinking of a million things I need to get up and do before I forget.  But at least it means I'm not rushing the patterns.  It's worth making sure I go slowly at times like this if only to get them exactly right.

I've mad this bonnet before, and decided to tweak it just a bit before coming up with this version for the new Regency pattern.  I'm very happy with it.  It's carefully sized so that lots of the doll's hair can be tucked back into it, and at the base of the neck it's shaped to accommodate any long hair hanging down.

Here's my lil' munchkin looking rather sweet.

I do love the gathered crown at the back too.  I did a lot of research on the best way to construct a doll's bonnet, and this is what I came up with.

I quite like to see different fabrics added to a hat, or else things can look a bit too all-over matchy-matchy.  That's why I've left kept the lining fabric on the outside of the brim and the crown. 

Now to write up all those instructions.  Eeep.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Poor little scalped thing.

Just ignore the scalped-ness of my poor Patience, she does actually have a nice wig to wear, but I snapped this in a bit of a hurry.

I'm still working on the regency dress.  I just had a very busy weekend - for me anyway - and it's taken me this long to recover a bit.  (Oh hell, is it really Thursday already?)  Here's the short-sleeved version which will be in the same pattern as the long sleeved one I posted previously.

It looks rather lovely on her, and I need to toy with some waist embellishment, but overall I want to keep it simple.   In this shot the dress is still damp from where I styled the skirt, but I'll leave it to dry while I figure out the bonnet.

I'm neglecting my blog lately, which does not make me a happy bunny.  It's just that I'm a bit under the weather and sewing is going a bit slow at the moment, thus I've not had much to report.

Still, onwards and upwards.


Monday, 13 July 2015

Sewing pattern for Ellowyne Wilde SSP-014 Also fits slim MSD.

Ellowyne wilde sewing pattern
Now I've finalised and polished the pattern, I'm able to offer this latest sewing pattern for Ellowyne Wilde and all her mates, along with slim MSD.  The ensemble fits my Luts Kid Delf girls, with normal and small busts.  It should fit Minifee really nicely, so I'm told, but I don't actually own a Minifee to test it out on.

In my Etsy shop:

Or my Craftsy Pattern store:

And right here on the blog: (Via Sellfy)

Here it is on Pru and on Katie, my KDF.  Katie has the "romantic" bust, and it looks equally good on Hannah, my other KDF, who has a "normal" or small bust.

The tunic is fully lined.   The lining is actually extended at both the hem and the sleeve cuffs, so a contrast lining works really well.   It's cleverly sewn inside so that no seams show on the outside of the garment where the lining shows.

I love the dipped hemline. :)

Here's the leotard on its own:

And with the bloomers.  These are a different style from the bloomers in SSP-015, and are just as easy to make.

I think this outfit looks suitably quirky to be ideal for Pru, and can be prettied up  with trimmings for Ellowyne.

Happy sewing!


Thursday, 9 July 2015

Shaping up...

The Regency dress has come along nicely.  Here's snap of Patience on my workdesk - scalped, poor thing.  You can just see her regular wig on the desk to the left of the picture.

It's a tad soggy at the moment, because I've styled it. I do this with all my skirts, or I find they look a bit balloon-y.

I need to make a short-sleeved version, and then start work on the bonnet, so a fair way to go yet, but at least now I know the pattern works.  I was a bit of a twit in using some expensive custom-printed fabric to make the first version, but I got lucky.    I really do recommend using a cheaper fabric for working out a new design.


Sunday, 5 July 2015

New project: Regency dress for Patience.

I've changed the way I work slightly, so that now I work on a new project whilst I finalise the details and instructions of other patterns.  I've a few in hand, and they're still being finished off.   In the meantime, I needed something summery to sew, and I've wanted to try a regency style dress for Patience for a while now. I already have a lovely bonnet design, which will go with this pattern when it's published.

Now I've worked out how to do the bodice, I took a quick snap.  I'm pleased with it so far.  These long sleeves are fully lined, so this pattern will be a bit more intermediate level, or a little more advanced than some of my patterns, but it's not so hard to do.

I'll probably include an option for simpler unlined long sleeves, and a short puff sleeve as well.

Next to make a nice long skirt.  I've done a bit of research on Regency dresses, and the back of the skirt often trails along the ground, and is longer, and more gathered, than the front.

I'll figure that out next, and am tempted to include an option for a simpler skirt too. One that's the same length back and front.  Not sure yet.  I only have a certain size of PDF to play with, when it comes to uploading to Etsy. If the instruction PDFs are too large, I get all sorts of uploading problems, and have to zip them - and I've had some customers who have problems opening zip files.

It's been nice to go back to girlie things after sewing for the lads.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Pedigree Sindy swing pattern SSP-016 "The Posh Frock".

Here's the latest offering from Raccoon HQ.   A version of the popular Posh Frock for Patience - this one is for Pedigree Sindy.  It fits both the basic body and the Active (ballerina) body.

In my Etsy store:

Or over at Craftsy:

And right here on the blog:  (Via Sellfy) You can buy patterns from the tabs at the top of the blog.

You can make a simpler summer dress, or the ruffle dress with all the whizzers and bells.

The shoulder ruffle is fun, it can be worn off-shoulder, or used as straps:

And the armlets give this outfit a 'Southern Belle' feel.

The petticoat adds more volume to the dress skirt:

My Sindy dolls look so pretty in this, I'm very happy with it.

Happy sewing!