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.

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.

Almost organized

Weekend fun on GeorgiaYes, I really hate filing. It seems no matter how hard I try to come up with a system and how much time I spend I can never find what I’m looking for. It seems this is how I lose then find photos. Today after a doll photo shoot while also baking bread, I resolved to upload the pictures from my camera and then file them so I would know where they were. I have been working on my “new” filing system since the beginning of the year and it is slowing coming around to organized.

While sorting the new photos and filing them I found more photos I thought I had lost in the computerElla with Gerogia and Patsy. I ended up cutting my photo session short so get some more sorting done. Maybe by the end of the year I will have found all my photos. I have a list of missing stuff, so I can take more pictures, the only problem with that is I also need to find the doll clothes. That has been another sorting project I am working one. If anyone has a good way to store a lot of doll clothes samples let me know.

You can see one of the photos I found of Georgia from Tonner’s Mary Engelbreit doll line of a few years ago. She is wearing the BID Weekend Fun outfit. It fit her perfectly. As I mentioned on my Facebook page I bought a Patsy/Anne Estelle and a Parnilla Ghastly doll. A lot of people said that the Patsy body is the same as the Engelbreit body, but I didn’t find that the outfits I made fit Georgia/Anne Estelle very well, or at least not well enough that I would feel comfortable recommending the patterns for her. Although this one I called Ella did work great. This also fits BID, but I haven’t taken pictures of it yet. I really need to get organized!

My Emily

Emily's ShortallsReally, isn’t my Emily is the prettiest little girl? I never really think of her as a doll. She is so life-like. I finished this short-all outfit for her a few weeks ago, but just haven’t gotten around to setting up the kitchen photo studio. It is really an all-day project and I like to have a few outfits to work with before I go to all that work.

I mentioned on Facebook that I just got a Patsy/Anne Estelle doll off Ebay. As a few people told me she is close in size to my Iplehouse BID but not all the clothes I tried on her, fit well. She also could wear some outfits that I made for Leeann/Petite Ai, but not all. So I guess I will also be going thru all my outfits to see what fits her and take some pictures at the same time as I do my picture for Emily.

I really think Emily reminds me of a child from the 50’s and Pasty is from the 30’s or at least that is how I envision them. I have a great book by Dover of spot prints and there are little girl’s dresses pictured that I have always wanted to make so I have picked out 3 that I will be doing for Patsy, and maybe see how they work on BID.

I guess I picture Emily in a Dan River plaid dress with full petticoat or a pleated skirt and white blouse with knit vest and tame. Maybe I can work on those ideas soon. I would love it if you have some suggestions as to what  you would like to see me work on. Sometimes I get designers block and it seems like I have been suffering from it for the last month or two. Guess I had better get back to work now.