Friday, 25 May 2018

(2) Hand-pieced patchwork skirt

Part 1 here: 

This is MSD scale, for my iplehouse JID girls. The dolls are approximately 16-17 inches tall.

This is also a drive-by, as I've a stack of sewing still left to do on this one/  (Click on images to see them enlarged.)

Multicoloured patchwork almost complete-circle skirt has taken some 4 days of sewing so far.

Multicoloured patchwork almost circle skirt with partial cat:

Beautiful sorbet summer colours aren't they?  This was fun to make and I'd love to make lots more but they take forever.

We're getting there though.


Sunday, 20 May 2018

(1) Getting that perfect fit...

Playing with my new Iplehouse JID, Amy is fun.   She has the small bust, unlike my older girl, Rachel, who has the large bust.   I've been wondering how to get outfits and patterns to best fit both sized busts.  When it comes to closely-fitted items,  two girls are a little too different to be covered with one single bodice pattern.  I will work on some loose garments at some point, like peasant blouses.

I've been playing around with fabrics for this project. I've lots of small scraps to use up.

Not entirely sure where this is going yet, but isn't it pretty?  (Click on images to see them enlarged)

Returning to the bodice issue, Amy was up first.  I've decided that a bodysuit/leotard type of affair will work best.   Then the two girls can have their individual leotards, and I can make a really extravagant single skirt to go over the top.

Amazing fit though.  I'm ecstatic with this.  It's not easy constructing a garment with woven and knitted fabrics!

And from the back.

Luck played a good part with this (although I would have eventually got the fit I wanted out of sheer bloody-mindedness.)  It seemed that everything turned out right first time with this one.

Will post more pics as things unfold.  I have vague ideas in my head, it's a case of research and development as I go along.

 Part 2 here:


Friday, 18 May 2018

Special outfit for Iplehouse KID

This little doll is a dream to sew for. I love the size and lack of bust, which makes it really easy!

Having bought lots of stash earlier this year, I've put together some lovely mixed prints for this fabulous little ensemble.  Reds are the thing, it seems, along with terracotta and salmon.

Click on the pictures to see them enlarged.

In my Etsy shop:

Again, Inspired by Nadir Positano, I wanted to do more patchwork in this.  I'm loving the piecework skirt ruffles.

I've taken great care to make sure no red fabric is against the doll.  Everything is white, or lined, and the Lycra armlets, stockings and knicks are all white on the inside.  I'm always very careful with my dolly ensembles to eliminate any risk of staining.

The Etsy listing goes into a full description of each piece (8 in all)  So this is mostly for the eye candy.

I love the little undies.  :)

The shoes are really cute too.

And the hat has a lace hatband, trimmed with hand-crocheted flowers.

Lonnie is such a sweet lil' model.  She looks so wistful.  I love the KID size so much that I've ordered another,  Paige.  She has a cute smile.

Also - I received the shipping notification today for my nYID girl with SID Mari head.  I am so excited to get this big girl.  Slightly nervous about sewing for her though.  I only have one other doll that can be called SD, and that's my Laycee head on the Tobi body.  The proportions of Iplehouse dolls are gorgeous though. Very womanly.  She's going to get some lovely boho clothing.

At some point...

So much to do,  etc, etc.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

A VERY rough guide to getting your designs printed on fabric.

Most of us know about Spoonflower, who print customers and designers patterns to order.    Prinfab are also excellent, and I've mentioned them before.  But for stretchy fabrics, might I recommend Contrado?

Spoonflower - large range of fabrics including a couple of good stretch ones.  Bit slow to print and dispatch. Quality can vary a bit.  I find some SF fabrics are a bit grainy, but nothing too drastic.  A higher dpi in your image will help.  SF say 150 dpi minimum, but I find a 200 dpi image looks clearer when printed.

Prinfab - Good range of fabrics, approaching that of Spoonflower.  Much faster turnaround - I often get my fabrics in 3 working days.  But as yet they don't have stretch fabrics - I'm told by Prinfab that they're hoping to have a stretch jersey by the end of this year.  Quality is always excellent.

Contrado UK - Probably the most expensive company if you're buying yardage and fat quarters, BUT, they do great samples from as little as £3.00 for an A5 size piece.  I like to buy A4 pieces, with two designs on the same sampler.  These can be used for matching knickers, socks, armlets, gloves, beanie hats, etc.  (For Contrado USA, use this link)  Quality is always excellent.

Here is my latest sample from Contrado.  I have one of my exclusive patterns and some stripes I designed. (Click on the images to see them enlarged)

The outlines for the stockings etc are drawn on by myself and not printed by Contrado.  In theory you can create pattern pieces as part of the design, but I've found problems in scaling and distortion throughout the printing process, so I don't bother with that aspect.

With Contrado, you get useful information on the sample too.  This is Lycra Matte, which is nice and thin, with a good 4-way stretch.

Now, a lot of people tell me that they have no designing skills, but it's the easiest thing in the world to create a matching fabric for your doll's outfit.  Stripes are dead easy, or simple dots. 

Here's how to do even stripes. Work on a scale that you find easy, and then just reduce the size of the image to a suitable scale for your doll - you can do any stripes. My sample above has a slightly different original pattern:

  This tiny design when repeated will give you this:

And for dots, this is still not too difficult:

It gives you this when repeated:

Or you can try less regimented and simply random dots on a square. 

USE A HIGHER DPI IMAGE FOR CRISP CLEAR PRINTS.  I find 180 dpi (dots per inch) acceptable, but 200 dpi prints (or even 300) much clearer.  Some sites recommend a minimum of 150 dpi, but I find this a little too low.

These are hastily done, but you get the idea.  Small easy patterns when repeated will give nice simple designs for things like matching stockings and knickers, etc. 

Hope someone finds this useful!   I love getting my sample prints in the post. I spend a bit more than I should, because candy store; but for a couple of bucks here and there, it's easy to make some matching stretch items for your dolly outfits.


Saturday, 12 May 2018

Patchwork dress for Iplehouse KID - 1

This blog being sadly neglected of late, I'm aiming to post at least short drive-bys, if nothing else.

Being a huge fan of Nadir Positano clothing (sumptuous shabby chic) I've stocked up on different fabrics and am finally embarking on a project I've wanted to try for ages.  This might have been a little easier had I started on one of my larger dolls, but I love the Iplehouse KID size so much, I've got to make something lovely for this gorgeous little doll.

First, having some lovely little red shoes, I wanted to make a matching outfit, with patchwork, ruffles and layers of skirts and petticoats.  I picked out my ravishing reds, and added some  peachy/light terracotta colours.  I wasn't sure if the colour combinations would work, but I think they do look rather delicious.

All this is done by hand.  I have a perfectly good sewing machine on my table, but my back won't stand up to long sessions on it. 

Click on the pics for larger versions.

Piecing the fabrics for assembly:

Putting it all together:

Thus far, I'm delighted with it.   The skirts will be sewn to the bodice  next, and the dress finished off, then the petticoat, which will be a two-layer affair, methinks.


Friday, 11 May 2018

Some things....

I just wanted to let people know a couple of things. This has in no way upset me, and it's not aimed specifically at anyone. It's something I meant to post for a while now, and a perfectly reasonable question from a lovely lady has prompted me to explain myself a bit more.

I get quite inundated with pattern requests, and because I work alone, it's hard with the timescales involved to produce everything I'm asked for. For this reason, I have to try and pick the patterns that sell well, to reproduce in other dolls.

For example if (say) a teeshirt sells well for Ellowyne, I'd eventually do one for Kaye wiggs. Many of my stretch fabric patterns don't sell brilliantly. People seem a bit afraid of stretch fabrics, and that's quite okay, I understand. But if a pattern is not doing terribly well I tend to put reproductions on the back burner. That is not to say I'll never make the requested pattern, but it's going to be some time in coming. I do get a bit overwhelmed with private messages containing pattern requests and can't do them all.

This does not mean I'm not exceptionally grateful that the doll community likes my patterns and want to see more! I really thank you all for being the wind beneath my wings.

There might be the odd pattern here and there when I feel capable. We'll see how it goes.

I'm also taking a bit of a break from patterns, as I burned out trying to keep my head above water for the last couple of years. Now the benefits which enable me to legally carry on working as self-employed have been reinstated, I'm taking time to just breathe and do some work on my newer dolls just for pleasure. All I can do at the moment is make outfits to sell and do some research and development, with a view to eventually producing some really lovely new patterns. I'm just taking some time to work slowly, try out things I've been longing to do... just to get my mojo back!

Thanks for reading. As you were.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Outfits for Boneka and Iplehouse BID

It's taken a while for these to be finished. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to design and fit bodices to three different sized dolls, and then ended up making multiple accessories for all three resulting dresses.

The one omitted from today's reveal is my Iplehouse KID, and that's only because I'm waiting on shoes. Once they're here and I've faffed with them, the KID outfit will be offered for sale.

So today we have my BID and my Boneka modelling the items.

First up is my BID in 'Little Fluffy Clouds'.  

The blue and white theme made me think of sunshine and  blue skies with fluffy white clouds.   I've added lots of accessories to this, every one handmade.  I particularly like the scarf, crocheted in lovely drapey viscose.

It was hard to get the length of handbag strap I wanted, and to get it over the doll's arm and head, so I added a little jewellery clasp to make it loads easier.

I love my girl in this, especially in the blonde wig. There's something about blondes dressed in pale blue.

Even the shoes are included!  I've bought a lot of dolly shoes lately, because I'd like to be able to sell them with outfits, so customers get the full set.

And my cute Boneka girl is next. Clara is wearing

'Tea and Rust'

I've made up the same amount of accessories. Sorry, no shoes for this one.  I couldn't find any to match.

The gloves and stockings are fabrics I had specially printed to match the outfit.

I really like this with a redhead wig.

There are lots of lovely little pieces in these two outfits.  So the lucky buyers will have fun dressing them up and getting different looks.

So yes, I'm rally loving the scale of these dolls, especially the KID (not featured today) Next I want to make something lovely for either the KID again, or my new small-bust JID, Amy.

I also have had my sun-kissed Missy head back from Dr Krowe, and he's also doing a Laycee head for me.  So I've got a fair few new things to show when I can get around to photographing and blogging.  The swing and making is all consuming lately, so I've just been indulging my passion.