Friday, 22 February 2019

SSP-067: Detailed boot tutorial for Kaye Wiggs and A Girl for all Time.

I've always loved making shoes and boots for my dollies, particularly boots.  For a very long time now, I've wanted to make some little UGGS for my girls.  (I then got carried away by making lace-up boots, but that's another post for another day!)

So Raccoon HQ presents this lovely and highly detailed tutorial on  how to make UGG boots.  there are even some stockings, for protecting your doll from any potential staining from dark or deep-dyed boot fabric.

*Available in my Etsy shop:

*Etsy will charge EU customers VAT (This does not affect America or other non-EU countries). EU customers might find it cheaper to buy here, directly on the blog. 

Or right here on the blog: (PayPal shopping cart)
Once your have paid, I will email your digital pattern file directly, within 24 hours at the outside, usually much sooner.


I've seen many tutorials in my dolly internet travels, and I found a lot of them a bit lacking, so I've made this really detailed, to walk even a novice through the process.  There are of course pattern/template pieces for two sizes of boot and three sizes of stocking.

The stockings have three options for stocking tops, including an anti-slip pair.  If your Tobi is anything like mine, she'll be very slippy in the legs, so this technique is invaluable for good stay-up stockings for her.

The Kaye Wiggs MSD UGGs also fit A Girl for all Time dolls, and AGAT also has her very own stocking template.

Boots are such fun to make, I have a pile of them on my desk, and a bag full of different colours of fleece all ready to go.

These boots don't need a separate sole. My girls stand perfectly in boots with just the plain fabric sole.  But if you want to add a firmer sole, there are instructions for doing just that.

So next, I'll be working on the fleecy lace-up boots, and hopefully producing a tutorial for those.  Then I want to make boots for my Iplehouse JID girls, and hopefully even Little darling.  The smaller the doll's feet get, the more fiddly the boot, but I'll take them down in size to fit a few more dollies.


Sunday, 17 February 2019

Always boots, all the time.

More bootses, precious.

These are pretty in pink. Another experiment. I'm playing around with the fleece and have tried bonding it to fabric for the soles in these boots.

Also, if you want to make a relatively easy pair, you don't really need to do all the eyelets.  Simply running some cotton embroidery thread through the fabric with a large needle works quite nicely.

The laced-up one is sorta finished, despite needing nicer laces. Green is used here for contrasts, so it shows up in the photo well.  I might glue some craft foam to the soles to finish them off.  The other one still needs trimming and lacing.  They're on the lasts at the moment.  Can't wait to try them on the doll.

These are taller than the desert boots, and I've tweaked the pattern, trying to get a nice toe shape.  I've discovered the secret, but it's mine. All mine. Mwuhaha.

You might think the sewn through laces are annoying when it comes to removing the boots; but because of the stretch in the fleece, it's actually fairly quick and easy.

The pen marks are Pilot Frixion pen.  Ironing the shoes is pointless, but a just quick burst of steam removes the ink completely.  I scribble all over my garments making tailors marks, and love that the pens I use completely disappear.

And here are yesterday's desert boots, on my sunkissed Missy.

Have ordered different colours in fleece too.  I really .. honestly. I wish I could stop buying fabric.


Saturday, 16 February 2019

Moar Shooz. For Kaye Wiggs and A Girl for all Time.

I've posted some of these on Facebook, but here are what I call the holy grail of shoe projects.  I've long wanted to make my own lace-up boots, and finally, having drafted a pattern entirely on my own, I've found the perfect fabric to use for MSD size doll shoes.


Let me tell you about fleece.  (I use anti pill polar fleece, purely because it's all I could find.) 

It's easy to work with.  It hides all your stitches (okay, so my stitches are perfect, yes I do brag.  But you still can't see them if you sew badly.) 

It is very easy to 'ease' the pieces together whilst sewing.

It doesn't need a hem.  Yay.

It's stretchy, so one pair of shoes or boots will easily slip onto the doll, and will probably even fit more than one of your different dolls. 

Here are my lace-up desert boots:

These are modelled by my KW MSD Missy.  Alas, they don't fit A Girl for All Time dolls. AGAT's feet are too wide.  But that doesn't mean I won't make her a pair.

And the UGGs I posted yesterday on FB.   These do actually fit AGAT perfectly.

I did the seams on the inside, but Myself and everyone who expressed an opinion preferred the seams on the outside. More like real UGGs.  But they're still quite nice.

Here's the single prototype boot.  I need to make another to match, seeing as how perfect this one turned out.

I have a few colours of fleece, so may spend a few days just playing with boot ideas.


Thursday, 14 February 2019

Three new outfits: Kaye Wiggs mini, and Iplehouse KID.

Here are the little outfits resulting from my latest sewing pattern.  I love the flopsy pinafore and bonnet look on dolls. Very Holly Hobbie.

In my Etsy shop:  This link will take you to my Handmade Doll Fashions section.

 "Sweet Pea" for 14" Kaye Wiggs mini
£60.00 plus shipping.

"Strawberries 'n' Dreams" for Iplehouse KID
£60.00 plus shipping

"Sunny Disposition" for Iplehouse KID
£48.00 plus shipping

Not sure where I'm going next.   I'll have to flip through all my patterns and see what grabs my attention.  Though I do have a yearning to try to make sherpa boots....


Monday, 11 February 2019

Raccoon's red hot tips: Steps to success with Raccoon's Rags Sewing patterns.

Here are some of the most useful tips I have, and they relate to my sewing patterns, when doing your preparation.

I always use these methods, as it makes for very precise cutting.  Invaluable when sewing on a very small scale, like doll's clothing.  All the equipment I've mentioned below, I buy on Ebay, just so you know.

You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

1)  Glue your paper pattern pieces to card stock.

This way, you can draw around the pattern pieces directly onto the fabric.  I then cut just inside the lines, and hold up my fabric piece against the pattern piece, to check it's exact.  Recycled greetings cards are good, or you can buy larger pieces cheaply on Ebay.

Use a 'dry' glue, like Pritt stick.

2) Press your fabric before marking out and cutting.

This is non-negotiable!  And press your seams as you sew for a really professional

3) Grain is more important for pattern cutting than you might think. 

 For tight fitting garments such as bodices, it is important to cut your pattern pieces on the grain line indicated. But what does 'grain' actually mean?

Well, for woven fabrics, the way to tell is this. If you can see the woven edges of your fabric (the selvedges) The grain is at right angles to those as indicated in this picture. If your piece of fabric is a scrap without selvedges, then the weft will have a slight stretch to it, the direction that has less or no stretch, is the warp... this is your grain.

Jersey, stretch jersey, and fleece, all have a grain, but as they are knitted, there is no warp or weft. Hold the fabric so the rows of fine knit run left to right, and the up/down direction is your grain - usually the least stretchy direction. If using fleece, the least stretchy direction is usually the grain. The most stretchy direction can be considered the 'warp', and is across the grain, not with it.

4 Draw around your card pieces directly onto the back of the fabric.

This beats using paper pieces pinned to fabric.  It's a nightmare cutting out tiny shapes this way.  I use standard black gel pens, because they don't smudge when  I apply the fray check.  Bear in mind that left and right are reversed when you mark out on the back of the fabric, but up and down are the same.

For best results, use a Pentel gel roller for fabric, if your fabric is soft and stretchy. These pens roll over slinky fabric nicely.   If using a woven or non-slinky fabric, a standard black gel pen is fine.

5) Apply fray check before cutting out.

It makes life a lot easier!  I use Fray Stopper because it's cheaper then Fray Check, and dries much faster, but the nozzles are a bit rubbish.  So,  I transfer my stuff to a fine-nozzle bottle, so it doesn't blob, and I keep a rag in my hand for wiping the tip.  Fray-checking on old bits of card mean you won't wreck your sewing table or desk.

Do not use fray check on stretch fabrics.  They tend not to fray anyway, and fray check will restrict the stretch.

6) Cut away the pen lines.

I cut just inside my pen lines, to remove the ink - it shows through on sheer fabrics, and can run when damp-styling.  Then I hold  the fabric piece against the card template to make sure it's exactly the same size.

When you draw around a template, you can enlarge the pattern piece by up to 1/16" all the way around.  This matters when sewing for dolls, particularly smaller dolls.  So cutting just inside the line should make your fabric piece the exact same size as your card template.

Cut all the notches if they are indicated on the pattern piece.  They will guide you!

7) Cutting on the fold.  Don't just fold the fabric in half to cut out your piece.

I find cutting on the fold very hit and miss when pieces need to be precise.  For example, hats, where the crown needs to fit exactly on the brim.  Or for bodice pieces that need to be exactly the same size as their linings.

I draw around my half-piece, making registration marks (red pointers)  Then I flip my piece over, matching it up carefully, and draw around it again. 

8) Mark out seam lines.

I mark every piece of fabric before I start to sew.  Standard purple vanishing ink pens are great, they can be damped away, or disappear after a few days.  But I also use Pilot Frixion pens, which can be removed by a burst of steam, or a quick press.

It makes for better accuracy if you stick rigidly to the seam allowances  given. For example, if the seam allowance is 3/16” (5mm) don't go thinking it's just the same as (say) 1/4”. The odd millimetre matters with this scale of sewing! Now, I know the standard seam allowance for doll's clothing is usually 1/4”, but when sewing tiny pieces, I find it's more precise to use smaller seam allowances.  Hence, my own sewing patterns can occasionally have varying seam allowances.

9 Hand or machine sewing?

All my own doll garments are always hand sewn, unless I state otherwise.

If you can't sew by hand, and if you're good on a machine, go for it, but I can’t be held responsible if people can’t get as good a result with a machine as I do by hand. Backstitch is best for hand sewing. It is an easy stitch, and will stretch along with any stretch fabrics.

Here's a link to my free  'how to backstitch' tutorial.

10) You are welcome to use my patterns to make your own doll clothes to sell. 

 HOWEVER - please, please, respect my copyright, and give credit to Raccoon’s Rags on your sale page. For example it’s okay to write “Handmade by myself, using a Raccoon’s Rags pattern” or even “Handmade by myself, adapted from a Raccoon’s Rags pattern” But not “My own design”.

I always credit other artisans/designers when I use their patterns or adapt them. They did all the hard work and deserve the recognition.

11) Cultivate good habits.

Some of this prep may seem a bit tedious, but I use these methods whenever I sew anything.  It makes for great confidence when making something worthwhile for a very expensive doll.  :)


Sunday, 10 February 2019

SSP-066: For Iplehouse KID. Puff sleeve dress and pinafore.

My first pattern for Iplehouse KID!   I picked an old favourite, seeing as I've been revisiting it to fit Mini Kaye Wiggs gals.  My Lonnie and Paige look adorable in these outfits.

*Available in my Etsy shop:

*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 and may be cheaper.  I always recommend comparing prices.

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


The dresses on their own.

The pinafore is open at the sides.  you can use ribbon for the mock ties, but the instructions on how to sew fabric mock-ties are very clear.

And the pinafore can be made with skirt backs, or no skirt backs, as a sort of apron-style garment.

There are also tips on page 20 on how to make a sleeveless dress.

Next, I'm still going through my Patience patterns to fit them to Mini Kaye Wiggs.  Not sure which one it will be yet,  Maybe the dungarees... hmm... sometimes, there's too much choice...