Designing a dress

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One of the things I’ve been working on lately is a new dress for Trixie (Luts Honey Delf Anko). I noticed recently that she doesn’t really have any dresses. She has pants and tops, but not many skirts or dresses. She’s so adorable, she deserves to have piles of frilly dresses. Well, okay, not too frilly, since that’s not really my thing, but frilly compared to the other things I make. Let’s put it that way.

Anyway, here are two versions of the pattern so you can see the progression. I really need to repaint my sewing table. I didn’t do it right the first time and the rubber feet on my sewing machine have ripped up the paint. Also, I don’t know what I was thinking with the lime green.

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And here’s Trixie in a mockup of the dress. Sorry for the awful photo. I think my New Year’s goal will be to improve my photo skills.

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It’s a little wider at the bottom than a straight column, but it’s going to have a very structured a-line pinafore over it, so I didn’t want it to be too wide. The neckline stretched all out of whack; I’ll have to stay-stitch it next time. Or I might add a peter pan-type collar. I am going to add ruffles to the hem, and I’ve been dithering because I didn’t really know how to do them, but then I found a tutorial on Pinterest that shows exactly what I want to do, so I’m excited to try it now. I hope it works in miniature.

Next up: I finally got the nerve to dye a doll! I can’t wait to show you! Also, stay tuned because I’ll be adding some free doll patterns to this site soon. Nothing fancy, but I thought I’d share my patterns for tights/leggings/socks, underwear, maybe tee shirts. Oh, and simple bedroom slippers. Partly as charity for naked dolls, but also for my own nefarious purposes, which will be revealed at a later date.

 


Beautiful Dreamer, part 1

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When you’re the “crafty one” in the family, sometimes people give you stuff that they think you can use. Sometimes it pans out, and sometimes it goes directly into the donation bin. So a while ago, my mom brought me this doll bed she got at a garage sale. It turned out to be an old American Girl brass bed, but it was in terrible shape. When I tried to clean the rust off it, I managed to make it worse by stripping most of the “brass” finish off. Then, my first attempt at a mattress failed miserably, so I kind of gave up. It got tossed aside in my UFO (unfinished object) pile for a couple of years.

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Then, a friend was destashing her doll stuff, and she gave me a fabric-covered box she said was a doll bed. When I discovered it fit perfectly in the bed frame I already had, I decided it was the universe telling me it was time to finish this project. So I went to work.

I bought all the fabric to make the bedding back when I first attempted this project. Apparently I had kind of a quirky, shabby chic style in mind. So I started measuring and cutting.

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Above you see the yellow stripes for the sheets, the red, orange and gold fabric for the quilt, the yellow flannel for inside the quilt, and the red stripes for… well, I don’t remember what I bought the red stripes for. I ended up using it for the back of the quilt and I plan to use it for the dust ruffle, but I’m really not sure if that was the original plan or not.

I considered adding some batting to the top of the box before gluing the sheets down, so the doll would sink into it, but I didn’t have any on hand and I didn’t want to throw any more money at this thing, since I don’t know what’ll happen to it after it’s finished. I might sell it, I might keep it. Right now I’m still in love with it, so keeping it sounds like a great idea. That feeling often passes, though.

I went ahead and glued the bottom sheet to the mattress, since I don’t plan to make another set of bedding to change out. That would be way too much like housework. Then I measured and cut the top sheet and hemmed it on all four sides. Real sheets have woven edges rather than hems, but this is all neat and tidy and it totally looks like I made two rows of stitching om purpose, and not because the first row didn’t catch enough of the turned-under part of the hem (You can’t see the two rows of stitching in the picture, but trust me, it turns out I’m really good at sewing a completely straight line. Who knew?).

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The quilt is unfinished so far because I had to run to JoAnn’s for yet another cut of fabric. Apparently, when I bought the fabric for the quilt, I forgot you need another fabric for the binding.

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So here’s where I am today (and naturally, my cat Soleil thinks the bed is for her). The quilt is ready except for the binding. I was worried about it being too thick to drape well, as mini quilts often are, but I think it works well. If it won’t hang over the sides after the binding is done, I’m going to sew some weights into the corners. Either glass beads or bbs, depending on how much weight it needs.

The sheets are done, so all that’s left are the dust ruffle and the pillows. I can’t wait to see how it looks with all my miniature stuffies on it. The sad thing? This is an MSD-sized bed and both of my minis are currently in pieces, so there’s nobody to lie in it. Oh well, I’m sure one or both of my tinies will fill in until the others get it together.

The big news this week: I’ve decided to exhibit at a BJD show next year. I’m shooting for Austin, but I’ve heard it might be hard to get in there, so if that fails I’ll try Doll-Akon or the one in St. Louis. My theme is going to be “Venetian Carnevale,” so I will consider building another, Renaissance-themed bed. I have a lot of things to build between now and then, but so far this bed has been a lot of fun.


New stuff on etsy

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I haven’t sculpted a new doll in a long time, but I’ve been making clothes for Asian ball-jointed dolls. I just love the style of their sculpts, and the freedom from the art doll’s eternal dilemma — is it art or is it a toy?

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BJDs are unapologetically dolls, meant to be touched and played with, even though they’re really for grown-ups. Making clothes for them is fun because you can make real clothes. Art dolls are often impossible to dress without constructing the garment directly on the doll, and many collectible dolls are so tiny or inflexible that you can’t dress them the same way you’d dress a human.

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BJDs have a different set of problems (I’m still trying to work out how to make a realistic-looking tee shirt for a doll whose head has a larger circumference than his shoulders) but for the most part, you can make their clothes just like people clothes, only smaller and with less material.

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Anyway, above are some pictures of things I’ve made lately. My model is a Kid Delf Bory and she is 40cm (about 16 inches) tall. She’s proportioned like a child, and I think of her as being around 10 years old. I’m saving money for a larger doll, who will be Cleo’s mother, because I want to make things like evening gowns and sexy fantasy costumes that don’t seem appropriate for a little girl. I’ve save $100 so far! Wish me luck!

P.S. I am actually working on a sculpted doll, which I hope to make into a ball-jointed doll of my own. She’s coming along, in fits and starts, and I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. Other people make it look so easy, so maybe I’m just making it more complicated than it needs to be. I dunno.