Where did the time go??

I have been so busy, I’m afraid that sewing has taken a back seat. Started a new vegetable garden, and have been trying to get our bacGardenk yard into shape. We’ve had oodles of rain so everything is growing great. That includes the grass and weeds. This is the second year I have noticed Canning Labelsstrange new vines that are growing into my trees, hence the need to get out do something with the yard. This is a picture of the new raised beds. That is lemon grass coming out of the far box and cucumber behind it.

I had some plums earlier and made plum chutney and jam. Then the berries started showing up in the stores and with the low prices I bought a lot and made enough jam for the next year.  I’m still looking for the perfect salsa recipe for canning. We got a 20 pound box of tomatoes at the farmers market and I canned them all. My slicing tomatoes are also doing well.  It was so much fun designing the jar labels. It was a break from the computer art work I usually do. By now your wondering if I did do any new patterns, aren’t you?

I did get a couple of new dolls. First is Paola Reina. She is a 12.5 inch play doll with rooted hair and the sweetest face. She is child, maybe 8-10. I love her body and how easy she is to sew for. She is as pretty as Dianna Effner’s Little Darlings and you could have 6 of these for the same price as the Little Darling. They can’t share clothes without a lot of adjusting.

BLOG photoI also got some slim 18 inch girls, the Toys R Us Journey Girls and a Madam Alexander My Style. My other 18 inch girls, but just aren’t made anymore and really seem to be more like the American Girl body with the big shoulders. I just buy dolls I like and American Girl just wasn’t my cup of tea. I like the Journey Girls body the best and think Toy R Us does a nice job with the accessories. So I have added the Slim 18″ dolls and my new Paola to my collection. It’s sad that Robert Tonner will be discontinuing his most of his Wentworth line. He had some pretty faces, unlike Antoinette who to me is very manish in features. I guess for those who repaint the face it was great.

I would like to know if you are planning or have bought any of his new line. I fear that Agatha Primrose is too small. Easy to display, but hard to sew for. She looks to me like a young teen but still Barbie size. I think she is very pretty and I love the open mouth. I wish he had done bendy knees for Anne Estelle, although I don’t like the legs of Patsy and I do guess that would be the option. It is very costly bringing a doll to market.

Last but not least, is the new style. Yes it is just one style which I did for multiple dolls, well two for the big girls. I hoping it won’t take me so long on the next pattern set. This is the pattern called Flower Girl. It has a sleeveless dress with matching coat. It is on my Little Darling. She shows off the front of the coat. I used a linen type cotton fabric and lined it in matching broadcloth. The flowers are crocheted and I had them from back when I did design kids clothes. The dress is sleeveless so it isn’t a problem with sliding a sleeve into a coat sleeve. Simple, but with lots of possibilities for dressing this up or down. I can see the coat in velveteen for the holidays with a traditional taffeta dress under it.

I guess it is time to start thinking about the Christmas pattern. Who should I do it for? Suggestions!

Oh Sew Pressing

When I first started sewing doll clothes I realized that pressing was essential to the garments make and coming out how I imagined it. I bought all kinds of aids and tried all sorts of stuff.

For instance, I got one of those tiny hand-held irons that have more in common with a soldering tool than and iron. It might work for quilters to whom it is advertised to, but without steam I found it useless. Years ago Panasonic made a small steam iron the was sold to stichers. It had a great slim body and very pointy tip. It was purple. I just don’t know what I did with mine, it must have gone missing with one of my moves. I got another iron that I used so didn’t realize it was missing until I started working with dolls clothes again.

Naomoto Hi-SteamSo with no chance of finding a small iron, it meant I needed to develop some tools and find some new tools that would work. As you can see this is what I am using now. I have a heated Reliable vacuum/up draft board for pressing. I use a Naomoto Hi-Steam gravity feed steam iron now.   I took my Dritz sleeve board, which is nice and narrow but was a folding affair that wouldn’t stay put, and Dritz sleeve board remademade a new one in wood. I just traced the shape of the old board on to some pine and cut it to shape. I reused the Dritz covers. Now the board is very sturdy.

Another wonderful pressing tool I use is something I bought in a garage sale when I was twenty. To tell you the truth I didn’t really know what it was but thought it was used in tailoring. I got it for 50 cents. I have since found out it is a tailor’s point. I have since seen a [Read more…]

It looks like a Wicked White Winter

Blog3It feels like I have been working nonstop for the last 3 days. I guess it is just the computer stuff that seem to take for ever. My coding skills are improving, but I will never be expert. Stuff keeps changing and if you don’t continually kept at it the world wide web will just pass you by.

This little coat for Leeann turned out so cute. I was hoping it would be great on KID, but it was really too big. I think I will make it over for KID, BeJu and Lark next. Although, I am tired of sewing this fabric. It Blog2was a satin drapery fabric with a slub. I used it years ago when I did little girls fancy dresses for Martha’s Miniatures. I should have thought about the fraying before I chose it! Not easy to work with, but did look nice made up. The faux fur is about 1-inch at its longest and about 1/2 at the shortest fibers. It did have a very natural look. christmas1_2015

I made two more hooded coats out of this faux fur and satin. One is for my Parnilla Ghastly doll and the other is for my MSD size girls. They looks cute all together, I wish I had remembered to take a photo that way.

Left is the dress for the pattern The Devil’s in the Details. This strapless dress is from printed cotton, one of those fat quarters you find in just about all hobby and sewing stores. There is a vest that goes over this also made in cotton. I got the idea for this from some Japanese photos I saved.
The new Christmas pattern is finished. It’s the pink dress to the left for Evangeline Ghastly. I was late getting it out last year and I wanted to make sure you had plenty of time to sew up a dress or two if the 18.5 Ghastly dolls are in your family. Just click the shop tab and it will take you to my website. Then go to the free stuff page.

Doll size rulers

Set of CurvesYou might think this is taking it too far, but it really does help when drafting your own doll patterns. I started using my doll sized rulers about 2 years ago. At first I just printed them on some heavy card stock, and that was pretty good but they didn’t last that long. Next I bought some quilting template material at the fabric store. It wasn’t that heavy  about the same as the card stock. I glued a paper print out of the rulers to the plastic and then cut them out. That set of rulers lasted me up until now. I realized I would be handy to have 1/4-inch marks along the hip curves and new clean set rulers.

So I set about redrawing them from a scan of my old rulers. Who knows what I did with the original file? I always wonder how I can have 15 copies of a photo I don’t need and no copy of one I do. Same goes for the ruler file, it may be somewhere on my 3 hard drives but I’ll be darned if I can find it. [Read more…]

Haute couture (high sewing)

One thing that has always bugged me is when people use to say kids clothes were so expensive and you couldn’t get cute clothes for boys. I would always  explain why something so small was expensive. Part of it was due to cost of materials, people just don’t realize that you usually pay more to buy less. You can make a lot more toddlers dresses than women’s dresses with a minimum order of 6,000 yards of fabric, and then there are the  trims, thread, buttons and the list goes on. The same would hold true for any item made that you don’t make a lot of. With Infant clothing it is even worse, because  you have a lot more detail. Mostly in the griper snaps, testing for hazards like choking and embroideries. The fact is it takes just as long to make toddler boy pants as it does men’s pants, and with the added cost of fabric you can see how it isn’t cheaper to make them. Prices are based on cost of goods and labor plus overhead.

With that being said you can imagine why doll shoes are so expensive. People who don’t know will gasp at the prices I will pay for a pair of doll shoes or a wig. I do think a lot of people that sew for dolls just don’t charge enough for their work and they use fabrics readily available to other home sewers making the only thing they are selling is their sewing abilities. If you want a better profit on your outfits then what you offer has to be special. When I design for my dolls, I know I will be selling the patterns so I don’t use trims and fabrics that I know my followers won’t be able to locate. I have lots of antique fabrics and trims that I don’t use just for that reason.

I am posting this video, to illustrate the point of just how much work goes into making custom garments. I love the fact that they are working on a 1/2 scale mannequin. This was done a lot more back before everything was just mass-produced. Do you remember how nice dresses were finished before the serger? I remember, linings and pinking, and hem tape. I also remember matched prints and plaids.