Sunday, 30 April 2017

Fun with wool.

Sunday funday.

So I made Layla some dreads.

Trust me, this is the worst -made wig in the history of wigs, but now I've figured out a method of how to do it, I may make a few more with a bit more effort.   It's a hot mess under those top layers, but it does look good when photographed, so I'll keep it as a prop.

It would look great with hats too.

DIY Kaye Wiggs dreadlocks

I used King Cole Riot chunky for this.   I bought some to make myself some hats, and yeah... I ended up using some of it on the dollies.   Tell me about it.

It's a multicoloured yarn, so I picked one with lots of brown shades in it.. I think mine is called Potash.   It's a single ply too, so it looks like little dreadlocks, and they're a great scale for the doll.  

King Cole Riot chunky

King Cole do a DK in this yarn too, which means thinner dreads, if you want to have a go with a smaller doll.   Kaye Wiggs MSD's have SD sized heads, but a normal head-size MSD doll might look better in the DK.

King Cole Riot DK

Anyway, she looks great in it.  Now I want to sew something kind of hippie-elfish for her.  Urban Elf maybe? Is that a thing?  this is why I usually prefer the human dolls to elves or fauns. I find them easier to design for.

diy dreads kaye wiggs

Obviously Gracie wanted to get in on the act.   I'm surprised this fits her, actually.  But I did make the wig cap very stretchy... and I cheat with wigs.

Can I keep it mum? Huh? Can I?

Resin dolls heads are SO DARN SLIPPERY it drives me nuts.   And those silicone wig caps don't always work, or don't always fit.  So I use - and you'll all shriek in horror when I say this - Bostik white stick-n-fix.   Because it's white, it doesn't seem to stain, and it's good and sticky for holding maddeningly slippery wigs in place.

That said, I don't leave it on the doll for any length of time.  Two or three days at most, but more usually just for a photo session.  And it doesn't seem to do any harm.

I have a few more balls of the riot in different colours, and find myself tempted to make a fantasy version.  Of course it would have to contain purple... and I was supposed to be making hats for myself... But summer is coming, so I suppose I can wait until October.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

"Aqua Splash" Outfit for Kaye Wiggs Resin Dolls.

Another one down, four to go.

This is another of the outfits I made whilst developing the recent pattern (SSP-047.)   I'm a fan of monochrome, but I thought this one needed an accent colour.  I've used a lot of pink and lilac recently, so I went for aqua, which I love. It's so fresh-looking and pretty.

Up for grabs in my Etsy store:


Again, I had to make a knit, so I've used a fine 2 ply fluffy yarn in kid mohair and silk.  It's lovely to knot with, but working in black mohair is just...  not such a great idea if you have questionable eyesight.

I finished it though, without any mistakes!  But I've put the ball away and will avoid using it again if I can.

Any old hoo,  The ensemble was created from SSP-047 using the MSD bodice, but the dress, petticoats and bloomers have all been fitted to my 43cm girl too.

Here it is on Layla.  (I do love Layla, and she's so cute, but I'm never happy with the pictures I take of her.)

The outfit looks fab though,  I'm very pleased with it.  Lots of layers, and very girly.  

I carefully hand-tinted the underskirt layer, and the brim of the bonnet with fabric dye.  I wet the fabric first, so it bled in nicely, and used a pale wash of dye, rather than pure colour, as it would have come out too dark, and less is more in this case.  I do love uneven dyes when I'm colouring fabric.  You get more subtleties of colour variation, and it really adds to the shabby chic effect.

Again these shoes were such fun to make.  I'm getting a little faster at it now too.   Maybe I'll make some embroidered ones.  I have a pile of ideas for shoes, it's just a case of finding time to create new shapes for them.

The bonnet is the one from SSP-023, the Regency outfit for Patience.  It fits both Layla's head, and Gracie's.  It's obviously a little looser on Layla, but it does accommodate her elf ears nicely. They can be tucked inside the bonnet, or the bonnet can sit back so the ears peek out, and look just as nice.

And of course Gracie looks adorable in it too.

I taught myself to make these little ribbon flowers by googling for tutorials, and I've added glass pearl beads to the centres.

The belt is black satin ribbon overlaid with aqua satin ribbon.  I hand stitched the aqua to the black as neatly as I possibly could.  The stitches are tiny.

It's hard to say which is my favourite part of this ensemble.   I love the shoes, of course, but the cardigan knitted up so beautifully, and fits so nicely. Plus it's a bit cold today and I'd quite like one for myself.

So. yes, I have two more outfits from SSP-047 to go now, and a dress with sweater and beret to add lovely accessories to... and a beret and sweater that needs a frock and some bloomers.

After that, I'm kind of dying to make a crinoline for Evangeline.  I'm treating that as my reward for getting through all these KW projects!


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

"Spring Sorbet" Outfit with shoes for Kaye Wiggs dolls.

Having made four outfits for the recent sewing pattern, I'm now enjoying the process of adding accessories and fripperies to these little sets.  And this first one is mouthwatering.

Here in my Etsy shop:

£130.00 plus shipping.

The whole look for this one was very pink, and because I made so many petticoats, and added one to this ensemble, it was screaming PINK rather a lot.  Being a fan of pinks and greens - which remind me of flowerbeds and gardens, I added some pretty spring greens to the look.  Complimentary colours often make each other pop a bit (in this case red and green)  and it looked a lot more lively.

Then, I made up a little cardigan in some gorgeous yarn I have, Katia Jaipur. I wasn't sure if it would work, but the sorbet colours are so scrummy, I couldn't stop knitting.

Fortunately, when I added it to the overall look... it really made the whole outfit sing.

The shoes are a result of my playing with silicone molds and plaster casting, to make shoe lasts.  And the lasts I made are worth their weight in gold.  Luckily, my first prototype shoe went perfectly, so I embarked upon a proper pair for the girls.

MSD feet are the tiniest bit bigger than the Mei Mei feet, but the shoes fit both dolls perfectly.

I may try some of these in real kid leather some time.  I made an attempt using Ultrasuede, but it's a little bit springy and tricksy to work with.  I'm nervous about using kid leather because I have a limited stash, and my old supplier went out of business, so I'm a bit precious over how much I use.

So, felt it was.  I adore felt. It's the single most underrated craft fabric of all time.  Some people think its cheap and nasty, but good felt with 30 or 40 percent wool is quite dear, and I find it very good quality.

It's also a dream to sew and manipulate, and shape into shoes.   So, what I've done wit mine, is use the raccoon mystery process to coat the felt.  This makes it feel leathery, and the coating smooths down the surface, so the felt won't fluff up or pill with age. This is my secret process, so don't ask me to share.  I do need to keep one or two trade secrets!

The soles are kid leather, and the insoles are lined with ivory cotton jersey.   I'm a fan of elastic, and didn't realise you could get 3mm doll sized elastic in lots of colours.  After my usual perusing of Ebay, I was pleased to find some very pretty elastic, and have ordered many colours!

The shoes have little wads of stuffing poked into the toes to give them a nice shape.  The doll's feet fit perfectly with this stuffing.  Its a neat little tip to keep softer dolly shoes in shape.

As for the rest of the outfit, I added a pretty crochet flower to a tiny 1" crocodile clip, which is easy to put onto a wig.   And a detachable satin belt.

Whoever buys the outfit will be sent two satin belts, one is slightly longer and fits the MSD body, the other one is for the Mei Mei,

And while I made this outfit using Gracie as my model,  I fitted it to Layla, my MSD too.  That petticoat peeks out from under the dress a little further on the MSD, due to the shape of her body and where the waistband sits.

The waistbands are fitted with extra snaps, so they will fit both the doll's waists. (A is the Mei Mei snap, B is the MSD snap.)

And here are all the layers.   There's a lot in this outfit!

So that's outfit one.  I have three to go, plus one and a half more that I'm making to match some of the knitwear I seem to have produced.   I do love doing some knitting in my evenings, to give me a break from the sewing, but it's addictive - and I keep making lovely little sweaters, hats and cardis that need dresses to match.

No rest for the morally ambiguous.


Sunday, 23 April 2017

Ruff guide: Prototype doll shoe

(From Part 1: Making a Mold from a doll's leg)

Finally, I had the day off to sit and faff again.    Last week, I made the plaster lasts from my doll leg mold (Using Kaye Wiggs MSD.)    The whole process was a bit messy and I cocked it up at one point which got even messier, so I didn't want my digital camera anywhere near the work area, so I apologise for not photographing the process a little more.

But.  Here are my plaster casts, taken from the silicone molds.

When you buy packets of plaster from Ebay, they should come with instructions on how to mix.  I always add a bit more plaster to my mix than it says.   Here I've used stone cast plaster,  it's much tougher than standard plaster of Paris.

You can see where I had my doll's leg taped up with masking tape, over the clingfilm.   This means the lasts are a layer of tape larger than the doll's actual leg.  This is fine.  I sanded mine down a bit, which took some of the thickness away - you shouldn't over-sand though, or the last will be too small. All I did was take the most obvious lines and rough bits off mine.

It doesn't have to be perfect.  You can see little air bubbles in the picture below.  These can be filled in with some white Milliput or Sugru, but it won't make a whole heap of difference.

To get the shape of a shoe, I made a template using my last, and added a curve to the toe, to get a nicer shoe shape, rather than just the toes.

Then I used white Sugru to add to the toes of the last, and made a nice shape, so I can form my shoe around the last.  Sugru is expensive for what it is, but I like it because it air dries, and it's quick and easy to use.

Take a bit of time to make sure both your lasts are identical.

I left my lasts for a few days, because of sewing like mad to try and get all those Kaye Wiggs outfits done.   I took today off, in the name of R&D.  I like R&D days (Research and Development)  It's just a posh name for finnicking about and having fun.

Or in other words... playing with my dolls.

I embarked upon a prototype shoe pattern, and to my amazement it went right first time.  These lasts make it SO much easier to wrap bits of fabric around and form patterns that the dolls leg itself.   For one thing, there's no unweildy doll attached that you must keep clean and damaged.  For another, the plaster is less slippery than resin, so my fabric stayed where I wanted it, as I wrapped my last and made markings for the pattern.

Here's my first little shoe. Felt is great for making doll shoes. I may try Ultrasuede and even real leather later, but felt is an inexpensive practice fabric.

Once I'd taken the shoe off the last, I couldn't get it back on, so I was worried it wouldn't fit the doll. But because resin is slippery, it went on nice and easily.  Hence, note to self. Don't remove the shoe from the last until it's ready to be put on the doll.

I've surfed around looking at baby shoes and doll shoes, it's easy to find inspiration.  I kept these pretty simple with just the eyelets and the ribbon shoelace.   I fancy trying some Mary Janes at some point though.  I'll need to sort out some handmade buckles and figure out how to do it.

I also cant decide if I want to go further and line these shoes.  They have an insole and an outer sole, but I'll see how much time I have to play with ideas over the next couple of days.    Suffice it to say, I'm very happy with the prototype.  Now I need to buy some felt that actually matches the outfits I have lying around.

Any excuse to buy fabric!  :D


Saturday, 22 April 2017

SSP-047: Sewing pattern for playsuits for Kaye Wiggs dolls.

Isn't it typical, you wait weeks for a pattern to come out, and then two come along on the same day.    This one is for both the Kaye Wiggs MSD sized bodies.  It took some working out, but I've ironed out all the wrinkles (if you'll pardon the pun) and the outfits are looking good!

This fits MSD body (45cm/18") AND Mei Mei body (43cm/17")

*Available in my Etsy shop:

And right here on the blog: (PayPal shopping cart)

My Craftsy store:

On CD disc from Ebay: (No VAT payable, and no charge for the CD itself, just postage.)

If you wish to buy directly from me,  I can supply a PayPal invoice and email the pattern to you within 24 hours of payment.  Usually it will be faster than that, I'm just allowing for the potential differences in time zones.  

Email for a PayPal invoice:

If you do buy from me by email, and you live in the EU, the rules state that I don't have to charge you VAT as it's a direct sale.  So I won't.

Price without VAT is £9.50

*Etsy will charge EU customers VAT (This does not affect America or other non-EU countries).  I always recommend people to look in my Craftsy store anyway, as the prices fluctuate, due to the international exchange rates.  I always recommend comparing prices.


The pattern includes two bodices, one for Mei Mei, and one for MSD.  Although both bodices will fit both dolls.

The skirts and bloomers are a little longer on the Mei Mei body, and still look charming.

There are also two waistbands for petticoat, and two for the bloomers, each sized to fit both dolls.    I do give instructions on how to make one dress, petticoat and pair of bloomers to fit either doll too.   So you can make something exclusively for your MSD, or exclusively for your Mei Mei, or an outfit that both your different sized dolls can share.

The petticoat is the same for both versions.

Two versions of the bloomers:

And two versions of the dress:

As you can see, to illustrate my publication, and to test all my patterns, I had to sew four outfits! I was up to my ears in petticoats at one point, because I kept getting confused over which doll I was sewing for.  Because the petticoats are the same for both designs, I just... yeah. SO MANY PETTICOATS.   I don't know what to do with them all, but I'm sure I'll make outfits in the future that I can team them with.

The result is well worth it though, even if I did post on Facebook tearing out my hair.  And it's always fun to dress up my girls in their finery and play with wigs.

I adore KW dolls with all my heart, and I've been incredibly naughty... I've bought sunkissed human Missy on pre-order.  I am SO excited.  But have to wait until September.  At least by then I'll have paid for most of her.

I hope...

Here she is... Not my picture, it's from Jpop dolls.   Such a lovely sculpt.  Kaye is gifted.  Her dolls are so much fun.

That's it for now. A short break to try and make shoes, then back to the drawing board for something new to sew!


KP_004: Raglan sweater pattern for Kaye Wiggs dolls.

It took a lot of knitting, unpicking and more knitting to get this pattern right, but I've done it. So here it is.

*Available in my Etsy shop:

And right here on the blog: (PayPal shopping basket)

My Craftsy store: 

New - On CD disc from Ebay: (No VAT payable, and no charge for the CD itself, just postage.)

If you wish to buy directly from me,  I can supply a PayPal invoice and email the pattern to you within 24 hours of payment.  Usually it will be faster than that, I'm just allowing for the potential differences in time zones.  

Email for a PayPal invoice:

If you do buy from me by email, and you live in the EU, the rules state that I don't have to charge you VAT as it's a direct sale.  So I won't.

Price without VAT is £5.99.

*Etsy will charge EU customers VAT (This does not affect America or other non-EU countries).  I always recommend people to look in my Craftsy store anyway, or buy from the blog, as the prices fluctuate, due to the international exchange rates.  I always recommend comparing prices.


The Sweater can simply be turned back to front to be worn as a cardigan. It is designed this way.  

It fits both the MSD and the shorter Mei Mei body, and may fit other MSD sized dolls too. It's a little longer on the Mei Mei, but looks equally adorable.   At the end of the pattern is a small section on styling your garments, with a few ideas on how to shorten or lengthen,  or try variations, once you're familiar with the pattern.
I don't just throw a few written instructions onto a page and hope for the best. I endeavour to add helpful information and guide people through these projects as much as possible.  An expert/intermediate knitter will sail through the project, and hopefully a beginner shouldn't find it too daunting.

The beret has a stretchy welt, that will fit Layla's head, and  will also fit nicely on Gracie's larger head.

This pattern uses-

1 ball of Berocco Comfort Sock 3 ply yarn will make hat and sweater with plenty to spare. This yarn is nice and soft. I've bought a few balls of it, and love using it. 

Pair US size 00. UK size 15 (Metric 1.75mm)
Pair US size 1. UK size 13 (Metric 2.25mm)

Pair US size 00. UK size 15 (Metric 1.75mm)
Pair US size 2. UK size 12 (Metric 2,75mm)

Next, I'm currently finalising a charming new sewing pattern for both these doll sizes.  So watch this blog :)


Friday, 7 April 2017

Ruff guide: Making a mold from a dolls leg

How to make dolls shoe lasts - part 1.

You know how one minute you're saying to your bestie..  "I'd love to make dolls shoes, but I need some lasts, making shoes on the doll is so cumbersome"  .. and the next minute you're up to your elbows in silicone rubber?

Okay.  So it's just me then.

I did in fact chat to bestie about this, explaining that 'lasts' were items used by shoemakers to form the shoes. And were sort of like feet in shape, to make things easier all round.   And ended up buying some silicone moulding rubber, and catalyst, and some plaster of Paris to make the lasts.   I've some experience of mould making from my jewellery business way back when, and I thought how hard can it be?

Not hard at all, as it turns out.  With minimum equipment, I managed to make the mould.

So here's what I used:

Silicon moulding rubber with catalyst. (Shore A28 or thereabouts, which is the grade of softness. Mine is medium soft. Shore A27 to A30 would be fine)  Here's the exact stuff I used: 

Greyboard (3mm thick)
Duck tape. (aka duct tape, gaffa tape, elephant tape)
Clingfilm (saran wrap)
Masking tape
Bits of stretchy cloth, and some for padding, depending on your support for the doll.
My desk lamp (support for doll)
The dolly
Scalpel with a brand new sharp blade.
Mixing spoon.

All this stuff can be found on Ebay, using the names given as the search.  I get asked where I get all my supplies, and I always say Ebay.  I'm agoraphobic, so almost all my stuff is bought online. (Apart from the spoon which was filched from the kitchen drawer.)

Also - do not freak at the thought of cutting rubber away from your precious dolly with a REALLY sharp blade.  I do understand, and I agonised about doing it for a couple of days.  BUT, the nature of the rubber makes this easier than you may think, and we do protect the doll's legs with clingfilm and masking tape.

So, on with the project.

First, protect your very expensive doll!  I'm using my Kaye Wiggs Layla, so I've been incredibly careful with the body.   Wrap the legs in clingfilm first, and then masking tape.  This not only protects the resin (you will be cutting with a sharp knife later) but it holds the foot still and in the right position.

Casting a dolls leg

The doll needs to be suspended so the foot is not resting on the bottom of the mould casing.  I've suspended mine from the hook on the neck by tying it to the upright of my desk lamp with soft strips of cloth. I've padded her back and tied the body at the waist.  Protecting your doll is actually more important than anything else.  You can make another mould if this goes wrong, but buying a new doll might not be possible if it's a rare lilac resin.

My doll's foot was about 1/4" (6.25mm) from the bottom of the mould casing.

Casting a dolls leg

I made the mould casings out of the greyboard, leaving space around the dolls foot for the walls of the mould.  Duck tape is awesome.  Have some. Love it. Cherish it. With it, you can take over the world.  My mould casings are 13cm tall x 7.5cm deep x 5cm wide.

Make sure your card mould casings are fully sealed at all edges with tape.  And I added a blob of blu-tack  into the inside corners of the boxes, to ensure there were no leakages.  Cardboard is fine to pour silicone into, but it needs to be stout and well taped.

The silicone rubber comes in a tub, with a separate bottle of just enough catalyst for the whole tub.  My tub was 500 grams. I just added all my catalyst and stirred well with a spoon.

making mould for dolls leg

The 500 grams of silicone was enough for only one leg.  Bah. I've ordered some more though.  It was serendipitous actually.  I was going to try and be clever and do both legs at once, but no.  Do one at a time, as it would be too awkward to cut off the rubber once cured.

I got some silicone on my doll's bare leg, but that was okay. It peeled off easily once cured.

The silicone is meant to cure in about 3-7 hours.  Rubbish.  Mine took 24 hours, so don't panic if it's still soft and goopy after 7 hours.  Leave it overnight, resist the urge to poke it to see how it's doing, and it should be a nice cured block by morning.

I laid my doll down carefully to cut off the mould.

making mould for dolls leg

I found the duck tape easy to peel off the greyboard.  Keep your box intact if you can, it will be good to use foot holding the mould parts together later, when you cast your last.  (ha.)

making mould for dolls leg

It's always fun to see the solidified rubber as you peel off the card.

making mould for dolls leg

Here's my box, pretty intact and re-usable.

Before I say anything else, I shall say this:  When you cut your rubber mould, cut a jagged line. NOT a perfectly straight one.  That way the two halves will be easy to put together exactly right.

Instead of cutting down the centre of the fronts and back of the mould, I cut mine at the sides, because that mass of rubber at the front is a bit much to cut with a scalpel.  It cut beautifully, I must say.  Like butter.

Now, I've already put masking tape on the doll's foot, to protect from the blade, but the rubber is soft enough that if you cut your (jagged) line without touching the doll's leg, you can hold the rubber apart, and just a gentle touch of your beautifully sharp and brand new blade will cut away the inner part.

Using silicone rubber for doll shoes

The red arrow shows the part where you can stroke the blade gently.  the rubber is also soft enough that you can pull it slightly away from the doll's leg.  My blade never touched the masking tape.

Using silicone rubber for doll shoes

Below, I'm cutting the other side:

casting a dolls leg

Again, the arrow shows the inner part of the rubber, where you can gently stroke the blade and slice it open.

casting a dolls leg

Et voila!  My two-part mould removed from the doll.  You'll need to tug a bit to get the front of the dolls foot out, but the rubber is soft and very strong.  Just go gently, but firmly.

making a mould from a doll's leg

I've always enjoyed mould-making, but never really find anything I want to cast.  Shoemaker's lasts are ideal for this fun project.

Here's my mould put together.  See that jagged line I cut? that's what makes it easy and acts as a 'register' for the two pieces to fit together easily.  A straight line doesn't work very well, the two pieces won't anchor together.

making a mould from a doll's leg

Some people hold their two part moulds together with tape, or elastic bands, but as the rubber is quite soft and might distort, you can just tape your original box around it to hold the two parts together.

making a mould from a doll's leg

Next, I need to do the other leg, and I'll try to publish my progress when I actually come to casting the plaster in the new moulds.

None of this means I will be making perfect little doll shoes. I'll be attempting it, of course, but for those of you who want to cast any doll's feet/legs for making lasts, this should be of some help.

PART 2 Here: