Paola Reina Doll

Apple Pie Paola Pattern

Apple Pie Patter on Paola Reina

Yes, I have lots of new patterns for one of my new favorite dolls, Paola Reina. I just fell in love them and now have five of their little girl dolls. I have been so busy sewing these last few weeks I didn’t notice how it was starting to get dark early. It will be even earlier this next week when the time changes. I sure wish they would leave it on daylight year round. I am not a morning person but still need the extra light to sew by. What  about you, are you having a harder time every year trying to thread a needle?

French Lesson Paola Reina

French Lesson Paola Reina

Getting back to the point, I have 4 new patterns for Paola Reina. Plus there are two new styles for Little Darling. It seems Little Darling and the 14″ Betsy McCall can both wear these styles. I have been trying to find the older Betsy McCall outfits I made and try them on Little Darling to see which ones fit and which ones don’t. Betsy can also share some patterns with Narsha by Dollmore, but not everything. Betsy wider through the shoulders and bigger in the waist. The Back to School jumper doesn’t fit Narsha. I have resized it for her but won’t get it online this go round.

As you see to the left is the pattern French Lesson on Paola Reina and on the right is the pattern Apple Pie. Paola Renia does make a larger doll like American Girl, but really this 13″ size is so easy to sew for and to display. She is perfect for little hands and I have made the clothes so they would be easy to put on and take off.  Did I mention she smells like vanilla. Paola Reina would make the perfect Christmas gift and now you can make her a wardrobe too!

French Lesson Pattern

French Lesson on Little Darling & Betsy McCall

I realize I have way to many dolls. This week while I spent a whole day setting up for my photos, I decided that I would leave everything up until the new year. That way I can start taking pictures of the dolls for sale. I started going through them a couple of weeks ago. Finding all the boxes, original clothes and getting them dresses was a huge project. Lucky for me I did have some help from a friend who dolls and  likes to sort things. I am begging her to come and help me as a stylist so I can just take the pictures.

I’m not sure about selling on Ebay. I will post some of my BJD’s on Den of Angels first. Then I thought I could have a Dolls for Sale page right on my website. That may limit my audience but it would mean that I didn’t need to pay all those fees. I am sure some of you are Ebay sellers, any advice, pros and cons? Does anyone still use Yahoo groups? What do you do? Although I have a Facebook account, I just don’t understand how it works. I keep getting charged for a post I promoted even though I thought it was just for one month. They will not email me so I have to say I am not going to be trying to sell on Facebook. Makes me laugh thinking about it.

Just another photo before I go, this is Betsy  McCall and my Little Darling Emily. Aren’t they the sweetest best friends? They are also wearing the French Lesson dress As you can see, one in  printed cotton the other in  linen. I forgot to illustrate the tights on the pattern cover but the pattern does include the beret, tights and dress.


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…]

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.

Lucky Ellowyne

lucky3This is another pattern for Ellowyne Wilde by Wild Imagine. I saw this sleeve idea in Marie Clare magazine a while back. It just happened to go great with the Asian feel pants I made her a week or two ago from this picture (not sure what magazine I tore this out of). IMG_0878 Red Pants

Then as usual I couldn’t decide on what fabric and trims to use. I wanted to make an outfit with an Asian feel, but it  looked nautical after I finished the top so I just went for it and added a heat sealed anchor embroidery. Still I wanted a different look for this so I made it again with a print pant and a solid top with contrast stitching. The stitching really shows off the peekaboo sleeve seams and I really liked the way the color blocked belt turned out.

I still don’t think I got the Asian feel I was after, maybe if I tried it with a printed crepe de chine for the pants and a shiny jersey for the top.  This  always happens in design, even the best laid plans change as you start working. With my studio full of fabric I still didn’t have what I wanted. I need to remember to pick the fabric first then design to the fabric. I don’t know how I seem to forget this first rule of design.

Now that I am thinking about it,  I forgot to take pictures of this outfit on Delilah Noir. I always forget about that girl. She is really a great doll and poses so well. Her bigger feet help her stand on her own.  In case you don’t know she fits in all of Ellowyne’s clothes/patterns and if your looking for a great fashion doll for a young girl then she is a great choice and not as pricy as Ellowyne. I would love to repaint her face someday. I think she could use a little more color.