Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weak knees with an even weaker will..

Well, I got a new fashionista today. I finally broke down and got one of the second series. I had wanted to get one with the newer knee joints for Charlotte. Also Charlotte's arm joint was getting a little swingy, so I was thinking about switching and getting rid of two birds one stone.
I'd never had a doll with the new knee joints before, at this point all Mattel has used it for was the Pivotal dolls, which are out of my price range, so I was interested in seeing how they worked. I had asked about them on the In the Pink Barbie forum, but didn't receive a totally satisfactory response. I think it was something that I'd have to have in hand before I decided if it was a good thing or not.
In good news, the legs are pretty, and offer a lot of new poses that the old legs could not. They can ever cross their legs, in a much more dignified manner. And on the bad side, they're actually pretty loose from the get go. They tend to shift around on their own, causing some very inhuman posing. Also, if you grab the doll by her lower legs, she will immediately fall back. Now, I don't always grab my dolls like that, but I think I do it often enough to have it be an annoying problem. Especially with Charlotte, since I do sometimes grab her legs to look at how the outfit I'm creating works on her. So I was already thinking it was a no go, but then I placed Charlotte and the new doll side by side and that is what cinched it. The body I got was noticeably paler than Charlotte's skin tone. There's no way that would have worked.
So Charlotte's staying with on her original fashionista body. It's not a total wash out, because I looked at the picture of the Vanessa head that I'm waiting for (She got shipped yesterday!) and it looks like it might match. I'm not totally sure because with each picture the skin tone looks different. Sometimes it's ivory pale, and others it's a somewhat tan, and every shade in between. I'll have to see how it looks when it's in hand. Finger's crossed that it works. If it doesn't not really sure who will get the new body. I really don't have a lot of dolls that use the modern neck joints. Excluding the Silkstones (who are all way too pale) I have 10 dolls that use that style. Three of which are already on fashionista bodies. And the most of the remaining one's aren't the correct shade, especially the blue one. It may work for my Cinderella doll, but I'm not that interested in re-boding her. I'd prefer to do it for Mary Claire, but she's more of a pink tone than the body. But I'm sure I'll find someone that it will work for. I just hope that it won't come to be searching though the collection for a match. Keep your fingers crossed, please!
Now, I had to get the doll at Walmart, (the only shopping place in Asheboro... sigh) and they had a limited selection. They mostly had the first line of the dolls. And when I was there I noticed that some of the second line still had the swing knee joint of the first line. I didn't know that they were still using it. It's even odder when you know that by the end of the production of the first line they had started using the pivotal knee joint in some of them. So that meant my options were limited. While I liked the outfit on one doll, she had tights on, and I couldn't see her knee joint. And honestly, when will I use zebra print tights? I ended up picked the doll on top due to the fact that A; I could see her knees, B; I liked her shoe mold (although they were in an annoying pink color) and C; I didn't hate her outfit. The top might look cute paired with shorts. He box was pretty smashed in on the side, but she was fine, and really, I was just going to throw the box out myself when I got home, so it wasn't s big issue. When I opened her, that's when I had another surprise. The top and the skirt was attached. How annoying. I had to take some seams out and add a snap to the skirt, but now they're two separate pieces. I also eliminated the strip of fabric underwear in the skirt. It was just not working for me. If it's that immodest, I'll add a real pair of underwear under them. But at this point I doubt the skirt is going to get much wear in the collection. I have nothing to pair it with. Also, the fashionista body has molded on underwear, so they're always covered. The top's pretty cute, but I'm still not sure what to pair it with. Maybe it's destined for the bag of things nobody wears. Either way I was happy I could tweak them. They have a greater chance apart then they did together.
Anybody want a fashionista head?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chester and the Beast

It was a bit of a break with sewing today. It wasn't a choice, there just was something much more pressing on my plate today. Today we took Chester to the vet.

It wasn't for a regular check-up (although he got that too), it was something a bit more icky. He's been having some issues with his one of his eyes. *Gross Alert* For the past few days he's been having some puss building up in it. We tried to keep it cleaned out, but it would return again. *Gross Alert Over* Initially we waited to see if it would get better on it's own, because it looked like it was getting better on it's own, and it didn't seem to be causing him any problems, but it wasn't getting better on it's own. So we made his appointment.

Getting him into the cat carrier was the easier part. He meowed loudly and frequently the entire way there, which was heart breaking. I wish I could reassure him that we were just doing it to make him better, but I couldn't. But in a side note he was meowing much clearer than he used to. When he was younger when he'd meow it wouldn't come out very clearly. But I guess when he's worried it's better, because he was meowing a storm.
Thankfully it's only a short drive to the vet from the house, also thankfully it was pretty empty inside. Just a lady with her small dog. Not that shocking since it was 11:30 on a weekday. Once in the waiting room, Chester stopped meowing so frequently, I guess he was curious to his surroundings. I'm sure he was getting a lot more smells there then he was used to at home. It was pretty uneventful until a man came out of the exam room with his dog. His big jumpy dog, and his son, who was much less jumpy.
This big old Marmmduke dog was jumpy like Pach, but bigger than Chap. He was more interested in the other dog, and the people he could see, and didn't even realize Chester was in the room... That is until Chester meowed. That's when the dog realized the cat was there and tried to come over and visit. He wasn't violent, just curious. I kept my foot in between the dog and the cat carrier, just in case the dog got too close.
But he didn't, his owner really tried to keep him in check. Although he did manage to get off his leash, which was in part to that it was really loose on him. But he was more interested in something other than Chester, so he didn't come over. My dad actually ended up holding the dog's leash for a while when the man was trying to pay. He was going to have the son do it, but the kid was in the bathroom, although I would doubt the kid could hold him, the man barely could, and the kid was like, 5 or 6. But they did admire Chester. Saying how pretty he was and how nice he meow was. The boy even put his fingers in the carrier to pet him. If I was him I wouldn't do that, but I didn't say anything. Chester's pretty good about strangers, he's never been one to just lash out. So I knew the kid would be fine, I just love when strangers admire my baby.
After they left we finally got into the actual exam room, which was really tiny. Like no joke, it was a glorified broom closet. We were finally able to let the cat out, although he wanted no part of what was going on up on the exam table. My Dad had to hold in down on the table as the vet examined him. The first thing he did, check Chester's temperature, and the cat actually didn't flip out when he did it. I know I would have. He also did a quick check up before he got to his eye. (Commenting on Chester's dirty ears, but then noting he didn't have bugs, he must just like digging in the dirt.) When he was done commenting on my Baby's hygiene, he then took a tissue and cleaned it. So, what we've been doing was right! But then he made his discovery... Chester... had a leaf stuck on the inside of his eye, on top of his third (internal) eyelid. That's what was causing the eye issues!
It was go gross when he took it out. it was like 1/2 inch tall, pretty big for inside a cat's eye. While that was icky, and I feel bad for him, we are actually super lucky, if the leaf had been caught under Chester's third eyelid, he would have blinded himself in less than 24 hours. Just from it scratching against his eye as he blinked. Right now, he just had some irritation that would go away.
He meowed all the way home again, and couldn't be happier to get out of the cage. I opened the cage outside, but he wanted to come inside with me. He's been staying close to home all day. I think he's happy that his eye's not bothering him anymore. I'm just glad he's all right,, and I'm so happy he's better.

You know what I want?

A Global trade buddy.Wouldn't it be cool to have somebody in the world that periodically you each sent each other some local dolls? Nothing too expensive, just a cute play line doll, that normally the other person wouldn't be able to get. I'm sure people have things like that already, and I want to at least try it.
I mean how many times do you pass by a local doll and think, meh? when someone else would kill to get one like it. This way both people get stuff they normally wouldn't.
The issue is I don't know anyone from out in the world. I wouldn't say I'm a loner in the doll world, but I really haven't made any close friends in it. So I'm placing a call out on my blog!
Ideally I would like someone from Japan, as I love Takara Jenny's, but I wouldn't pass up anyone who wanted to try this from anywhere in the world. Who knows I might find a new doll passion out there!
So feel free to e-mail me if you'd want to try this.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Woes of Shopping

Let me start off with the fact that I was trying to be good, for the first time in like... forever. I had eagerly viewed the ad for Hobby Lobby for the upcoming week like a kid opening his Christmas present, but it turned out all it I got was socks and underwear. Calico fabric was on sale still, but I had already passed on most of it the previous weeks. Last week, I was walking around with some of it still on the rolls, and returned it before I got it cut. I had (more than) enough eyelet material, I haven't even used any of the red ribbon I had purchased last week, and they didn't have any other patterns on sale. Basically nothing I wanted and more so, nothing I needed, which is more than enough reason to keep me out of that store.
But then my father called up on Monday and asked if I wanted to go, I held fast and initially declined. Then he asked if I was going to go to look for some things my mother wants. (They had needle art on sale and she does cross stitch.) So I felt obliged to go, since she probably wouldn't go. Not to mention when I pass up going out I tend to regret it after the fact, so I figured I should cut my loses and just go, besides I did need to get some black thread. But that was more of a get soon type of errand.
But I am weak, so very weak, but I did stand strong to my no fabric. Right now I have plenty that I should be using. I walked away from Hobby Lobby without any fabric, ribbons, or trim. Although I did look at all three of those things, I didn't want anything that they had in stock. Especially since I don't have any projects in mind. I did get some black thread (even though it was kind of expensive!). I also got some cross stitch things, although their selection was a little lacking, but I did get somethings, so that should count for something. It was on clearance, which was good, because I have not a lot of knowledge of cross stitch, so if it was the wrong thing I wasn't wasting a lot of money. While I was in the sewing section I picked up some thin elastic. I needed some. I had some a while ago, but it disappeared off somewhere. I have no clue where it went, and I know I didn't use it all. That's been happening a lot lately. I figure it means I have too much crap. Either way, I have some now, so what happened to the other one went is a mute point.
The place that I did the most damage was in the jewelry section. They had certain metal pieces half off, and it killed me. I had looked through the section before with my steampunk project in mind, and didn't find anything that I could apply. But this time I found the most charming antique key charm. It's a little big for the scale, but that works in Steampunk. I just had to have it. Even if it didn't work for her, I was thinking about using it for myself.
Since it was in an aged gold color I had to get some matching chain for it. A while back I realized I had no doll necklaces in my collection. I then proceeded to go though a phase where I made a ton of them. I don't use most of them, but I like having the option. Now that I've built up a surplus of beaded items. I'm beginning to branch out into metal pieces. I already had some tarnished silver chain, but now I have gold as well. I like having it around in case I decide to make something with it. It also was on sale, so it was only 1.50, can't beat that prince. Also in that section I picked up some little cross charms. They were a dollar on sale, so I couldn't pass them up. Also I like using them in my projects. I've made a couple rosaries, so I know I will make them. I think I'll make something with them at some point. I also got some green jade like beads. They were on clearance, so I just had to get them. I've already used them to make a necklace, so I think it was a good purchase. The beads are so rich in color, I love them.So that's what I go. And compared to other shopping trips I actually used most of what I've purchased already. The Key and the chain are now part of the steampunk outfit, I used the elastic, and I used the beads. I'm on a roll!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There's something about Percy

This is an introduction, but it's not about a doll! It's about a plant, so I'm progressing.

Back in February I was living in Maine. The winter was harsh (as well as other things), and it was taking a real toll on my mental heath. That's when I decided I needed a plant. Something green and alive that could cheer up my cold bleak surroundings, not to mention the white bleaker walls of my apartment.
I found what I was looking for at The Christmas Tree shop. It was a complete grow your own plant kit, dirt included. I chose a pepper plant becasue it was more interesting than tomatoes and cucumbers. Also, I'd seen tomato plants being grown, they get tall, and I couldn't keep one of those in my apartment. And that's how Percy the Pepper plant was born.
I planted him as soon as I got home, it didn't start off an easy relationship because at first he didn't grow. His tardiness paired with my lack of confidence in my plant growing skills weighed heavily on my mind. But I should have just been more patient. Percy was just taking his time, and I couldn't rush him. Sure enough he started growing.
Each day he seemed taller, and with more leaves. And I was diligent about watering him, and making sure he had enough sunlight in my little apartment. I introduced him to my mom, calling him her little "Grand-plant." I even did the whole talk to your plant thing, which did help me during some of my period of isolation.Percy made the trip back to North Carolina with us. I made sure he rode in the front the entire way. I even brought him indoors when we stopped overnight in Connecticut at my Grandparents'. And I introduced him to my Grandmother as her "Great-Grand-Plant". She laughed, and made me put a coaster under him when I placed him on her washing machine. I think at this point they all understand that I'm a little odd.
The ride down was rough on poor Percy, he got a little droopy, and sad. I think he missed Portland, he was born there after all. But he did make it to North Carolina. I tried to keep him well and watered, but I wasn't so on the ball now. I was unable to keep Percy in my room due to the fact that I didn't get enough sun. So I put him out on the breezeway. When I didn't see him every day I would sometimes forget to water him, which in the hot North Carolina sun, it would be a total detriment. He would droop, and some of his leaves came in deformed, but he kept growing, and I worked harder to remember to water him.
Yesterday was another big step for Percy. I had to admit he was getting too big for the planter that he came in. He needed more room to grow, and I did the best thing I could for him. I planted him outside. He now lives in my parents vegetable garden, but it was still hard letting go. I know it's for the best, but it's still difficult. Now my question is, can you get empty nest syndrome over a plant?

My Super Secret to Share with all of you...

Now I didn't want to say anything before just because I didn't want to jinx it.
But I can tell you now since it's a reality.
Wait for it....

Wait for it....

I am going to get a Fashion Royalty doll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Aren't you just psyched for me?)
Well, just the head, but that's the most important part. Doll bodies are inconsequential to me, which should be obvious, Charlotte's had like... five bodies before.

But anyway, I've been a closet Fashion Royalty fan for a while. I like them a lot, I find them delightfully interesting, and I wanted to branch out the collection to them, but the biggest issue was their price. It's pretty common to pay over 70 dollars for just a nude doll (And that's on the low end for them). And that don't fly with me. Especially when I'm just getting it to play with, I just can't justify that cost. I guess having Barbie be so inexpensive has spoiled me. I've agonized over getting one for a couple years now. I go though phases where I want one and look around, but never find one that's cost effective enough. I thought just wait until they went on sale to get one. But that never happened, even on sale they were still mind blowing expensive. I couldn't find a website selling nude ones cheap like I have for Momoko, so it would just wait on the back burner, and wait, and wait.

But that all changed the other day. I was logging on to the Doll Show and Sell page, and saw that I had a new message. It was from someone wanting to purchase my extra Blythe pattern. Since I was already there I thought I'd search around and see if there was anything there I wanted. And that's when I saw her... An Aerodynamic Vanessa head for 25 dollars. She was lovely, even with the black lipstick (not a fan). And that price was good for a head, but still I agonized... could I afford it right now? 25 dollars is a lot of money to toss away right now, and that was before shipping. So I passed. I went about business like usual. But it was still nagging me, "Buy me... buy me..." It wouldn't leave me alone, so I decided to see if the seller would accept 20 dollars for it, I guess I can justify 20 better than 25. But when I logged in to ask, she had already lowered the price to 20! Done and done, talk about kismet! I've already sent my Paypal, and she's going to ship it on Friday. I'm so excited.

Since it's just the head, I'm going to have to supply the body. Which isn't a huge deal, I have a supply of them. Ideally I would like to get a fashionista body for her, since I love their poseability, but she's very light skinned, and they've one been issued in tan. So she's going to get a light skinned BB body, my favorite body ever. But that's good because I know I have clothing that works for her. Actual Fashion Royalty bodies are much taller than Barbie, also a whole lot more bustier. They also have left and right feet like the Silkstones, so her shoes options would be limited. Now she can wear any of the shoes the other dolls can.
I'm just so excited! I already know where she's going to live on the bookshelf. She's going to live in the "Named" shelf section. Notable resident's include Charlotte, Joe, and Ashley. Now there's not any free spaces up there, but there's a Vintage Allen doll on that shelf. He's going to be relocating to the Vintage Runoff shelf, and Vanessa will get his spot. I figured we can try this, and if it doesn't work out we can figure something out at a later date.
I'm just so excited! (Can you tell?)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm a domestic God? Nah, just domestic...

Today didn't start off with any doll sewing. On my plate I had a pillow that the dog had torn the corner out of.

My father had been taking to bringing the dog in during the hotter parts of the day. (Here in North Carolina, it gets hot... a lot!) He had started doing it a week or so ago when the dog was sick. At that time all he did was lay on the floor, resting. Deciding to be nice to the dog since it was so hot, he did it again. But this time the dog was well enough to get into mischief. So we now had a pillow with practically one of the corners torn out. So they did what always happens with something that needs mending, they called me. Originally I thought I wouldn't do it, but them I remembered that they do so much for me, and ask very little. Plus it wouldn't kill me to work on my mending skills.
So I took it and decided it was an easy patch job. I still had the fabric out that I used for the remote control caddy, so I used that. I looked though my fabric stash first, but I didn't have any matching fabric, so I had to go the embellished route anyway. Using a simple straight line of stitching I made a simple corner. Then I just tacked it down by hand. It was a pretty simple fix. I would hardly call it a perfect solution, but we hardly have company, so it will do. And if the Queen decides to visit, we've got more things to worry about than one pillow having one corner a different color. I mean what would the dolls wear? They'd all have to go formal, and sewing that many dresses may kill me. So if I ever have the queen visit I might have to ask for dress donations. But we can cross that bridge if we come to it.
When I was showing off what I did, I got the suggestion to add patches at all four corners and that it would look intentional, but I was quick to squash that idea. They're lucky I did one patch, much less three other decorative patches. I really don't enjoy doing mend work, but it's a necessary evil. Anyway I couldn't do that even if I wanted to, since I was out of that fabric.
I had finally used it up by making more cedar satchels. I know I was just complaining about them, then I go and make more. Well you see, when I was searching for suitable fabric for the remote control caddy, I found another piece of that fray happy fabric in another color. At that point I was on a MISSION TO GET RID OF IT! When you cart that fabric from North Carolina to Maine to North Carolina you really think about the odds of you using it. Basically I was just moving it around to get to the fabric I was actually using. This way I was able to get rid of it for good, and free up the space for more fabric that I might actually use.
Also I wanted to further hone my blanket stitch. Now that I can do it, it's actually pretty fun, I'll be tucking that skill away for later. Oh! I also used that thick white thread on it. You may remember me talking about it earlier, I can't use it on the sewing machine, it's too thick and it just tears the fabric. This way I get use it, and I don't waste the thread that I use in the sewing machine. And it actually it works pretty good for doing the blanket stitch, so that's a happy accident. Making more statchel's was good because I needed some of them for the upstairs hall closet. I'm doing a little house re-orginization, so I needed to put some in there to keep the linens gaurded against bugs. Now my parents have a bag full of them, and I kept three to put in the closet, I also have them three more out of the six I made. As of right now I've made twenty of those things. So now that project is done, unless I find more of that gosh darn fabric. And I hope that will never happen.
Right now I'm having some issues, I feel a little stuck in my sewing projects. I just don't know what to do. Sure I have dolls I need to re-dress, but I just don't know where to start. I just don't have a project I want to start, sure, I make things, but other than the Steampunk outfit I don't have an idea who is going to wear it. Even Charlotte's feeling the burden of this "dry spell" she's been wearing project after project and nothing ever for very long, my poor little Princess. I hope to get over this soon, maybe I should pick a doll and just work with her until I'm happy with how she's dressed. A new focus will really help me get over this hump and back into making clothes for who I want. Any suggestions for who I pick?

No pictures today, sorry folks!

The bodice again... and again... and probably again later...

I haven't just been working on the Steampunk dress and those Ceder satchels. I've also been working some dresses for Barbie. What you should know is once I find a pattern that works I adapt the heck out of it and reuse, reuse, reuse. I really like that Bodice pattern from that Barbie in Japan book. It's basically flat construction and goes together with very few stitches.

On your right is a simple bodice and skirt, it's a pretty direct use of the pattern. This was more of a test to try and use that tulip fabric that I purchased at the second hand store. You never really know a lot about a fabric until you actually use it. I learned that this fabric is super thin. Like almost sheer thin, which I'm not sure what to do with it. It's very cute, so I may end up making something for the Chatty's from it. It might be easier since their seams are bigger and less likely to get sucked into the sewing machine. It's a cute dress, but I can't think who would ever wear it. I think this is one destined for the "dressing donated dolls" pile. Like I said it's cute, but not something I would really use. Also for some reason, sometimes when I make that bodice it fits the Vintage girls fine, and other times it barely fits the BB body. This is one of those times. It's practically skin tight on the BB body. I think the issue I have with this is the seams, I have to be more careful and make them a little smaller. But that's for another day.

On your left is that same bodice, but this time I actually changed something about the skirt. I made it out of the same pink broadcloth as the Garden party dress. I was originally go with black, when I remembered that I was low on black thread. Also I've used very little of this pink cloth, so I figured I should give it a try. Now this outfit was made with trying to capture a look. Recently Chelle from The House of Mouse ( posted a music video. I took a gander and while I wasn't an instant fan of the music one of the girl's dress was certainly eye catching. It had a layered skirt, originally I though it was a layered tiered skirt, but it was an overlay. Thinking I could give it a go, I tried it. I took the usual skirt pattern and basically halved it, then I took it again and trimmed it off. So then I had two smaller skirts. I hemmed them, and then sewed them together with the gathering thread. It's very cute, but it wasn't until I got to the point where I going to add the straps when it hit me. It's got a bit of an 80's vibe going on. So I omitted the straps. Once again, not totally sure what I'm going to do with it, but I did reuse the pattern to make the skirt and underskirt for the steampunk outfit. So it wasn't a total loss.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Skipper doesn't need to stay in Barbie's Shadow!

Continuing my posts about introducing the dolls in my banner I would like you all to meet Skipper. As of writing this I have 5 Vintage Skippers/friends of Skipper. They're totally cute, but also a pain to dress. Like you have no idea, it's also hard to get shoes that fit. Skipper is one of the reasons why I sew, since I haven't found any recently made doll clothes that fit her. Out of the five I own, I've had to make three of their outfits completely.
But this Skipper also has another thing I've had to do for her, I re-rooted her. She's originally a brunette that I got a long, long time ago. She was scalped and what little hair remained was very damaged. But she also had lovely face paint, so she managed to kick around for a bit. Her biggest issue, she didn't have a body. I'm really not sure how I didn't lose her, but she managed to stick around. After a while she got stuck in the doll re-root drawer, along with Molly and what other unfortunate victims that get trapped there. And that's where she lived for a while.
Back in February I had a chunk of free time that I decided to fill with some re-rooting. I hate doing it, but I love the results. I tend to go though phases where I do it until I get sick of it, then take a huge break from it. This was one of those times, I decided I wanted to finished a doll that I started a while back, but I needed brown hair. And all I had was blond. It was originally purchased to re-root Charlotte, but it was the wrong color, so I never used it. While I waited for the doll hair I ordered to arrive I decided to work on this doll. When I get the urge to re-root it's best to just do it before the desire fades. I used nail polish remover to clear off the brown paint on her scalp and dove right in.
When she was done I was so happy, she looks amazing. Like I said I love the results. It was also with this doll I actually figured out how Mattel rooted the hair on their doll's bangs. Such an invaluable lesson, although I did learn that not every doll is rooted like that. So it's still a crap shoot when doing a vintage doll, but I know I can do it.
I've also made her clothes too. Her clothes actually match another doll in the collection. Another re-root who I completed right before her, even their hair matches! She's wearing this cute sailor-esque outfit, including a sailor hat. The hat is actually made for G.I. Joe, but I swiped it for the dolls. I use it during re-roots since it fits on the Barbie's head without hair and makes them look more completed than they actually are. But now she wears it, when I do more re-roots I'll borrow it again from her.
Since her hair was finished I had to deal with the issue that she had no body. For her clothes fitting she had borrowed Skooter's, but she couldn't keep it, that wouldn't be fair. Placing a post on "In the Pink" Barbie forum yielded me a Skipper body for five dollars, so yay! But then the seller also sent me a Skipper head to go with the body. Nooooooo! I felt terrible stealing that poor girl's body. She also needed a re-root, and I did it, in the brown hair that I had gotten since then. Right now she's in the re-root drawer waiting for a body, and to get her bangs trimmed. But the blond is up on the shelf, and totally beautiful!

Wish it was Sunday, cuz that's my Funday Pssh, yeah right...!

Today started off with another domestic chore. I was talking to my mother about how happy I was that those cedar satchels were done and that I could start working on my doll sewing again. That's when she mentioned she wanted to see if I could make her a little remote control holder that she could attach to the headboard at night. That way she could put the remote away without disturbing my father if he was already asleep. And so I trudged off.
It went together pretty easy. It was a lot like the cedar satchels, just with a front pocket and some elastic. Also instead of the cedar it had poster board to keep it flat. I was able to use more of that fray happy fabric. Apparently I had another small part of it. This was was more of a beige/gold color. There's still some left, so I might end up making more cedar satchels just to get rid of it. That fabric needs to go. Anyway I made it, and got to the final step and flipped it right side out... I had put the pocket on the wrong side, so the hemmed part was showing. Anyway, it was also too small to fit the poster board so I had to make it again.
The second one came out much better, I used gold ribbon at the top and, more blanket stitch. It came out really nice, like really nice. I wouldn't say I mastered it, but I've gotten pretty good at it. No pics right now because the camera's batteries were dying, and I wanted to give it to my Mom right away.
After that I was able to work on some doll stuff. I tried modifying a doll dress pattern to make something else. I'm not going to give it away yet, but I can say that it didn't work. Adding sleeves just threw all the seams off and it just looked bad. I gave up and moved on to...
THE STEAMPUNK OUTFIT!!!!!! Yes, I took it out and looked at it again. I think the fresh pair of eyes really helped. The issue I was having is that it was looking a little mature, and not as cute as I would like. So I bit the bullet and admitted the problem. The skirt, however cute, was just too long. However modest it was just not "cute". So I made it again, this time a bit shorter. I kept the ruffle at the bottom, I liked that. I also made another underskirt, also shorter. It's cute, but once again I may have some issues with the bulk at the waist. But that's an issue for another day.
I also got the seams reinforced in the arm bands. So I can officially say those, at this point are done. Unless something drastically happens they won't change. So yay! Something done. Hopefully the other parts will start to fall into place.
On buying news, I'm not impressed with anything on sale at Hobby Lobby this week. I need to get black thread, but other than that there's nothing I need from there. Calico fabric is on sale still, but last time I was there I didn't find anything I wanted. I'm hoping to get some dotted Swiss, but we all know how impossible it is to find. Is there an embargo on it or something? But it will save me money. I also found a buyer for the Blythe pattern, so that's good. BUT I also found something I want to buy with that money. I'm keeping that a secret in case it falls though, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A day full of firsts!

Today I finally got around to reinforcing the seams and adding a snap on the Chatty Cathy blue jeans. And that's where I ran into my first first of the day. It's the first time I used a thimble! I was thinking about how hard it's going to be to try and get the needle though all that fabric, so I was trying to think of how to do that. *Lightbulb* how about that thimble that I got on Monday? Sure enough, it worked. Looking it up I found out that's what thimbles are for. I. never. knew. that.

Please keep all giggles and laughs to yourself until the end of the post. You need to realize that I'm basically self taught. I'd taken a sewing class in college, but basically that was about sewing a straight stitch. And while I did work in a costume shop, that was basically do what the boss tells you and you do it. There was very little thinking on my own required. I did love that job, I just wish I knew then what I know now, I would have gotten more out it that way. But, I don't have anyone to teach me, nobody to ask questions to. My mother doesn't sew, and I don't think that my Aunts or Grandmother have sewn anything for quite a number of years. So basically in my family I have the most knowledge on the subject, which really make moments like these possible.

Did you know that July is make and mend month? (this list is swiped totally from New Vintage Lady's blog, you should give it a read it's cool!)

*Use fabric you already have for any new project.
*Alter a current pattern for a new garment.
*Repair/Mend 3 things from your ‘fix’ pile.
*Repurpose at least one piece of fabric.
*Make something for someone else.

Looking over their requirements I realized that I tend to do most of those things anyway. But I'm cheating a little since I'm sewing for dolls and they don't need a lot of fabric. Plus I'm cheap so I tend to re-use my stuff a lot. The one thing missing was "make something for someone else." and I decided to knock that one out of the park today! On Monday during our travels we were looking for some Cedar things. We need to put some down in some drawers in the basement to keep the icky bugs out. At Lowes they wanted 5 dollars for a bag with like 20 marble sized balls of it. Not a good price. At the tractor supply store spending that much got us a really big bag of cedar chips used for pet bedding. The only issue is that it came in a big bag, and we'd have to do something to keep it all nice and contained.
Getting over that hump I decided to make some satchels and fill them with the cedar chips. It's finally time to sew something for somebody other than the dolls. It was also good that I was able to use some of the fabric that I've been lugging around for almost a year now. Back when I was just buying stuff that looked cool compared to what I could actually use I got saddled with some fabric. It was shiny and beautiful, but frayed liked no tomorrow. Going through my pile of fabric I would find other pieces just covered in threads from it, and don't even get me started on how to sew with it, not happening. Thankfully this used up most of it, so it's a mute point.
I ended up making 14 of them this afternoon, and except for one bag that my brother filled with the cedar chips I did them all. Nobody else had anything to do with them. But I also found out another new thing. Look at the picture... looooooook at it, just do it. It's a blanket stitch, I found out how to do that! I figured it out during the first one, and got lots of practice doing it for the rest of them. It was actually pretty simple. (Keep in mind I'm learning all this on my own.)
They are now done and I'm thankful for it. Hopefully I won't have to do another project like that for a while. Even though it's relatively mindless it's still annoying since it's well... mindless.

And jumping back to lightbulbs I broke one today. I was doing my workout and was flailing my arms accordingly. My right hand hit the pull chain on my ceiling lamp. Since it's a tacky crystal it took to swinging. Bouncing around the fan it twisted around and conked into the bulb and out it went. I'm just lucky it didn't break. I stopped my workout then since my hand hurt and I needed to get a new bulb. Luckily it was just a light bulb that was broken and not the whole thing. I think I'll have to be more careful from now on.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Little Dutch Bo... Girl?

Okay, let me start of this post with a new rule for me. I am limiting myself to two blog postings a day. This is beneficial becasue A; It will get me sewing more than talking about it, B; I'm less likely to get burned out on posting. C; You're less likely to get burned out on reading. and D; My life really isn't that exciting to be posting all the time. So this way I can post twice, which allows me to talk enough about my day and if I need to write more I can, but just not post it. That way I can make a surplus and if I don't feel like posting one day, BOOM! new content! What do you think?

Anyway enough talking about my new plan and get down to some actual sewing talk!
Today I was looking at my Second Chatty Cathy. I really liked the white shirt combo with the blue bow. It's very 18th century young boy, and it worked for her, and her hair. But I did not like the blue jean/red high tops that she was rocking. Since they only have one pair of pants between them, there's only one way to fix this, pull out the handy dandy sewing machine!
I took out the pattern that I used for that one pair of jeans, but I had to tweak it. The jeans are really low on the waist. It doesn't help that they Chatty Cathy's are a little pot bellied (but I love them for who they are!) So I added some paper on the pattern to fix that. Then I got to the actual fabric section.

I decided to use the black broadcloth, since black goes with everything. The sewing went together pretty simply, making doll pants are pretty easy to me. Well at least for what I'm looking for. It actually turned out there's too much fabric at the waist, but that's an easy fix. I decided to make them into breeches, and I ended up adding elastic at the leg hems. This was a lot of trial and error. I remember doing something similar to this back when I was working at school, but it's been years. I used some of the elastic that came in the big bag from the Christian Thrift store. Not sure how old it is, but it's still somewhat stretchy. I still need practice with it, but I actually made them, and they look pretty nice.

Once I finished the pants I got around the looking at the outfit. I tried it on with the newborn socks I have, but they were not the best. I got those back when I was hoping they would fit, but her feet are just a little too small for it, but I still keep them around. If I ever come across a newborn in need of socks I have something to give to them, I guess. So I ended up using the tights that she came dressed in. Their home made, but cute. She also ended up wearing the shoes she came with. Over all I was impressed with it, it's so cute! That's the first picture in this post.

It wasn't for a few hours that I got a little less thrilled with this outfit... hmm... what is it? After looking it up and down a few times I realized it was the shoes. They're a little too ornate for the rest of the outfit, especially since they have pink ribbon accents and the ribbon at her neck is blue. That's when I had to take a deep breath and admit something. I was going to have to try again to make shoes for them. After I said that I had to sit down with my head between my knees and breathe into a paper bag. I had tried to make shoes before with horrible results. Frankenstein's Monster type results. It was so bad I even threw out the pattern, that bad. But now I was older and wiser... well at least older. So I figured I should do another go. It took me about an hour to make the shoes. They are far from perfect, but they certainly will work. They're simple black felt ballet slippers with a strap across. I think they work, and I'm glad because I don't think making shoes is my calling. I'd rather just buy them shoes and work on making their clothes. But you'll never know, maybe I'll become a cobbler. Eep!Since I had the pattern out I also made them a new pair of jeans, a pair that would fit them better. Right now it's on my desk waiting for a snap in the back, but I will get to it. I also need to finish the skirt that I made for them, it just need a snap too. It's a new renaissance of Chatty Cathy clothing!

Friday, July 23, 2010

I hate scanners, I really do, and they hate me

So remember those patterns I purchased a few days ago? From Hobby Lobby? So I actually wanted to make some of those. I had looked though my small (by comparison) pattern collection and realized, I hadn't made things from most of what I already had. Most of the patterns I use are from the Barbie CD, ones found online, or that modified t-shirt pattern. Back when I started sewing, and truly appreciating Hobby Lobby's 99 cent sales I would buy whatever doll patterns they had.
This wasn't so bad for Barbie, since altogether the main pattern makers only had about a half dozen Barbie patterns among them. But the American Girls dolls had a lot more. Also they were a lot of really specialized ones. Ones that I have no plan on ever making. Now that I'm a little more seasoned I can actaully look at the patterns and decide if I'd ever make anything from it. That's why I walked away with only six patterns, and one of those were a double.
But with the patterns I have an issue with cutting out the delicate tissue paper that they're made of. Frugal me hates using those patterns, it's so high risk. One mistake and it's a waste. Since I constantly make mistakes I usually copy them down to paper and use the paper one instead. That allows me room for error, plus it lets me make things over and over again. Once I find something that works I stick with it. Just in the t-shirt pattern alone there's 24 dolls wearing it. That's not even including the outfits I've made that aren't being worn.
So I figured I'd scan the patterns into the computer. That way I have it for posterity, so I can print it out and keep it. So I started with the Blythe pattern. Since it's for a sized doll I use, I thought I'd use the pattern the most, especially if I can get it to fit Skipper or Momoko. Also I wanted to scan all of it. With the American Girls patterns I only wanted to make pieces from each one, but I still brought down their patterns to scan too. That was the easy part.
It's known that the scanner does not scan in real size. It automatically expands it, much to my annoyance. It also has a nasty habit of expanding pictures to full page for printing. Cut to me, running around screaming at it. So I thought I'd putz with it and get it to stop doing that. Now the scanners are not mine, it's my parents. But I have used them before, so the programs should be installed on my laptop. Bringing it down, I plugged it in, did a test scan... nothing. So I tried a few things... nothing. I ended up uninstalling the program, and tried to have it reinstall. Nothing, it wouldn't even reinstall. What a crock. ALSO it uninstalled the other printer hardware that I had on there, WHAT??? Why on earth would you do that?
So breaking down I borrowed my Mom's laptop and her scanner and set up shop in the dining room, since it's got the biggest table. My first goal was trying to get the scanner to scan in real size. I could simply not find the settings to adjust this. Dear HP, please make a scan to real size button, it should not be this hard. Especially since I'm not that computer illiterate, I'm actually pretty savvy with it... usually... I finally managed to do it, but it might actually still be scanning too large, not really sure about that.
With that down it was time to start scanning the actual pattern. I'm going to gloss over most of this, there's no need to relive that mess. It took me over three hours to scan 34 pieces, and the most of them were at least 2 on a page. That's including rescanning a bunch after the computer shut down, and a lot when it scanned in the wrong file extension. I should not have to fight with the scanner that much. At that point I was so hot and sweaty (No AC in the dining room) I decided I was done. I just got the Blythe clothes done, and none of the American Girls patterns. At that point I didn't even care. I should not have to fight this much. I hate scanners but they are a necessary evil, but still evil.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Under there? Underwear!

I think my issue with blogging is that I'm getting frustrated with that Steampunk outfit, so right now we're on a break. I took it, bagged it, and placed it in my desk. After that I was lazing about with what to do today, nothing inspired me. I was flipping though my folder of printed Barbie patterns when I stumbled upon a pattern for Barbie underwear. I had made it before with less than stellar results. Thinking it deserved a second chance I though I'd give it a go.
And Presenting;

On your left is my first attempt from a few days ago. Using the pattern I made the underwear out of the light blue patterned calico. What I got was a pair of underwear that didn't have any stretch, and didn't fit the intended doll. I was trying to make Stacey a matching pair of underwear, since the skirt on her sundress was short, and she's not that kind of girl. I then gave her a pair of underwear that I had, so she wasn't flashing anybody. But with the pair I made I couldn't even get them up all the way, her thighs were too big to fit in the leg hole. I had ignored the fact that the underwear should have been made out of a knit so that they could actually fit snugly. I tried it on the smaller dolls; (Skipper and Momoko) they were off at the waist to fit Skipper, but worked as a pair of low rider boy shorts for Momoko. I didn't even bother trying it on Francie since her thighs are similar in size to Barbie. I find that Momoko and Francie are the same height, but their other measurements are very different especially their shoulder and waist. Momoko is much smaller. Finding who they fit done, I set them aside and moved on to other projects. The other day I finally got tired of looking at them , and finally added the snap in the back and reinforced the seams. They look decent, not sure what I'll use them for, but Momoko's always could use underwear, so it's a good pattern to have tucked away for them.
On the right are the new pair. Using white jersey knit (and stabilizer) I threw this pair together. As you can see they fit the BB body. I haven't bothered to add any snaps yet, but I'm sure it will go together pretty simply. The pattern calls for elastic at the waist, but I don't have any thin enough, plus I think using a snap eliminates some of the bulk that gathers at the waist. I haven't tried it on anyone else yet, but I'm sure it will fit a lot of the other dolls too. Did you know that Vintage Ken's waist is very close to the BB Barbie's waist? So they might be getting some underwear too, I'll keep you posted.

*UPDATE* I added the snap and reinforced the seams. The underwear is too big for Vintage Barbie and too low for Vintage Ken. So I may try the original elastic for them, and make it wider if I want to make Ken underwear. But it still fits BB bodies, so that's good.

No new posts right now :(

Fear not I haven't forgotten about you, I'm just having some issue writing. I've got like three posts that I keep working on, but when I re-read them they just ... suck. Hopefully I'll get over this hump and get back to updating, so keep your fingers crossed for me...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another Day, Another Steampunk attempt

Today I kept working with the Steampunk outfit. I don't think I've ever put so much effort into something that's given me so much trouble, usually I give up by now. I think either I'm getting more mature, or realistically, I have had enough successes with this to overcome my feeling of failure.
Looking over the outfit in it's closer to finished state I had to admit the white blouse simply wasn't working. It was just too baggy in all the wrong places (Mainly the bust, you could have literally lost an eye from those bad boys). It was also adding extra bulk at the waist, and just an overall poor fit. Biting the bullet I decided to get another pattern, and make something new. Looking though my collection I pulled out one made by Mattel for Vintage Barbie. I know, again it's going to be a weird fit since the body I'm working is still smaller busted, but I've had greater success tweaking those patterns to fit, so I'm risking it. It went together well, but it was still a little baggy, understandable though. This pattern had different darts. Instead of meeting at a point at the middle of the fabric and expanding out to the seams, this one gathered to a point at the seams. Never seen that bef ore, like I said I'm a beginner, so it's common to see new things. I even added the sleeves and everything. But I'm still struggling with the collar. Really not sure what to do with it, I think I'm going to have to keep doing some trial and error.

While I was re-evaluating my failure with the shirt, I also had to admit the addition of the underskirt was adding more bulk to the waist. It was just too much at that point. But I couldn't easily take it away, it added to the fullness of the skirt, and the over all look. Instead I decided to drop it lower on the waist, or realistically the hip. There it's able to stay up, add to the fullness of the skirt and, keep the bulk at the waist down. I tried it with the one I had, it looked good, but there wasn't enough underskirt waistband material to reach around the hips. While this was frustrating, there is an easy fix, just make a new one. So I did, but this time I made it with the white eyelet material as the lace hem. It now matches the armbands and the collar. I also took the sides in a little, so it contours better to Charlotte's body. I think it's cute, but it actually might be a little too long, so I might actually have to make it again, not that big of an issue, they go together pretty quick!
That's all that happened today, I didn't even reinforce the armbands, maybe another day? Who knows, or maybe I'll just go insane from this project. Honestly, that's more likely.

Steampunk take two

Today I sat down with the intention to make some actual strides in my Steampunk project. All I've been doing is thinking about it and working on parts of it that never go anywhere, it was time for that to stop. Since I had an product to work off of, and fabric like I wanted it was time to shut up and do it. This was going to be tricky sincethe only thing that I had finished was the corset. Sure I had made test runs on other aspects of the project, but some part I'd never attempted and others I hadn't made to the point where I actually liked it.
But before I started I took another detour. I had made a Red broadcloth skirt as a stand in for the real skirt. I had also wanted to see how the red would look in the outfit, this
was before I had purchased the brown and black calico pattern. While I liked the skirt it didn't fit within the project. So I had that kicking around, almost finished. A simple back stitch, some seam reinforcement, and a snap completed it. So now I have this sassy little number in the collection.
With that out of the way I got a chance to look at the skirt pattern. I liked it, but there was just something missing, but I couldn't put my finger on it. After a little bit I realized it was the fact that the skirt was a tad too simple. It really is just a gathered skirt, nothing too fancy. To amend this I added a large gathered ruffle at the bottom. It actually looks really good, and gives the skirt an added element that it needed. This addition made another issue arise, you see with the added weight of the ruffle the skirt now was hanging down. So guess who was able to use the underskirt he made? That's right, this guy! I also added a snap to the skirt, so that's the first actual final piece finished. Isn't that exciting?

With that finalized I turned my attention to the armbands. I figured instead of making a long sleeved shirt I'd just add armbands to it. That way if I mess up I won't have ruined an entire shirt, and if I find better fabric it's an easy fix. I'd never made this before so I actually drafted a pattern. The original idea was to add gathered white fabric at the cuffs and leave it at that. That was before I had a bag full of eyelet material, including some small enough to use. I made a quick cylinder of fabric to test the size, after that came one where I attached the eyelet material to it. Another quick tweak and then I was bold enough to actually use the brown calico. The first one came out really nice, the second one is a little too big. Right now they still need to have their extra thread snipped and their seams reinforced. I think I'll adjust the size issue when I finally do that. They needed to be a little big, because of they need to fit over the cuffs of the shirt I'm using. When you see the picture you'll understand.

The white undershirt is a blouse pattern I've been struggling with. It's made for the Vintage dolls, so it's a little baggy for the BB body, since their not as busty. It's actually a tad big for the Vintage dolls too, so it might be an issue with the pattern and not me. But it has the puffy sleeves that I wanted. I already had it, so I didn't have to make something new, which I love. Not sure I like how the collar fits, still not sure how that's going to work. Here it is sewn down, but I don't like it. Not sure if it's going to be sticking around for a bit.

Anyway enough talking, here's the photo. What do you think?

Time for another Doll Introduction!

I need to keep on tabs for this, or else that header is going to be around forever. Unfortunately I've been stalling since, this one doll doesn't have such a back story as other. Not everyone can have such a sordid past, especially when I get them recently and MIB. It was bound to happen. Introducing my Waitress Silkstone. I started collecting Silkstones because they have the essence of the Vintage Barbies, but weren't as expensive. This was back before I had so many vintage dolls, so they were a nice in between. Also, I don't feel so guilty re-dressing them, since they're not so irreplaceable as the Vintage dolls. I've since gotten over that phobia, and have no issues re-dressing the Vintage dolls, as long as I'm cautions with them. Another plus point is while they have larger busts than the BB body, it's smaller than the Vintage bust, so it's easier to redress. So you'll have an easier time dressing them from the same wardrobe as the BB body, than the vintage.
Another reason why I have so many is due to my frugality. While I love my dolls to death (sometimes literally!) I just can't pay that much per doll. The most I've ever paid for a doll is 60 dollars, I've done that twice, once for my MIB Momoko, and the other time for my Ponytail Barbie, and she came with Solo in the Spotlight fashion. So if you're not too picky you could get them pretty cheaply. On average I think I spend about 40 per doll, sometimes MIB, or Nude. I had a few Silkstones before college, but it wasn't until I restarted my collection that they really exploded! When I got back into it, I just had a craving for them. Before I had three, now I have 11. That's including Modern Circle, which used the Silkstone head mold in a soft vinyl. It stands 10 girls and one guy, but I didn't buy him, I got him in a lot of stuff. I'd like to continue this part of the collection, but I'd have to wait until my funds get a little more funded.
Anyway, enough generalized chat about them, this post is about my Waitress Silkstone. She's originally from the career Silkstone line. This was a line of five dolls each portraying a stereotypically female job. There was also a Stewardess, Nurse, Teacher, and French Maid. They were exclusive to an area. The USA, Canada, Taiwan, Australia, and Japan. I think, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. The Waitress was the US exclusive. I guess she wasn't too popular since I was able to pick her up MIB on E-bay several years later for 29.00, plus shipping. The other dolls in the line go for much higher, so it's probably the fact that since she was made for the US it's easier for me to get her here. Her face paint is much more muted than other Silkstones, with a more Vintage feel. Her hair is shorter than most of my Silkstones, but still long enough to work with. She has bangs, and on each side an adorable sausage curl. In all my travels I always try to keep them protected, since she looks great with them, and I can't make hard curls.
She came dressed in a pink waitress uniform. It also had a removable apron, tights, white high heeled Mary Janes, a cute little "cap", and a coffee pot! Right now nobody is wearing it. With that outfit you really need a strong look to pull it off, and nobody else can. Maybe someday. Right now she's wearing some 1950's day wear, but I have a sneaking suspicion she's going to change into something else soon... I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

*Let's get some shoes* Part III

This is the final part, I promise. I'm sure you're sick about my shopping trip. So while leaving Hobby Lobby I thought of the Christian Second Hand store nearby. It's a bit of a trip, so we rarely go. But I thought about going, and sure enough off we go. It's a bit more run down than the Goodwill, but those are the best places to go, makes it a real challenge.
They had a bunch of porcelain doll, which are so not my thing. I would buy a porcelain doll if; it was vintage, like Ellen Francis, or I was just planning on stealing it's clothes for someone else. Those are the only real ways I would do it. Usually those dolls are so cheap they're tacky. I just don't understand how people would think they would be good for decorating. I find them pretty unappealing all over. They also had some Barbies, but they were charging 4 dollars for them. Can you say rip off? You can get a new Barbie for 6 at Wal-mart. But whatever, they were all ones that I didn't want anyways.Seeing that the toys were a waste of time I decided to check their clothing selection. Nothing to wear, but I wanted to see if they had any made from interesting fabrics. I did not find any fabric to use for my Steampunk project. Not terribly surprised, but I still tried. But I did manage to find some random fabric scraps. I found one of a Navy blue with small white dots, with some larger gold dots in circles. It's hard to explain, look at the picture for what I mean. I also found a cute white cotton with tulips on it. Neither had a price on it, but I took the chance and decided to get them, couldn't be more than a dollar. Nope, they ended up being 50 cents each, so double win! When I got home I unrolled them, I have about a half yard of the navy, and about a yard and a half of the tulips, but it's cut out like someone was trying to make it into a shirt. It's cut in at the sides, and there's a head hole in the center, it's bizarre.

I also looked though their craft section, it was really a mess, but I did find some stuff. I grabbed a bag of misc stuff and decided to get it. I could see a thimble, a tape measure-er, and some straight pins, all of which I needed. Looking at it at home it turns out it's part of a fashion designer kit that was cheaply made, and missing the coolest stuff. The straight pins, made for children, are dreadfully dull. But I can use the Thimble, tape measure-er, and the little scissors that came with it. In hindsight I would probably should have left it at the store. And then there was another misc bag, this one was more promising. But look at it, just look at it. Did you see it? Did you see all that white eyelet material? Almost the same type that I just spent 2 dollars for a yard at Hobby Lobby? Now I have sever yards of it for a dollar. It also came with a bunch of lace too, So I have that. Not sure what to do with that, but at least I have it.
That's all I got there. My Dad got another book, a biography, but I forget who it's about as of writing. So, we go up for checking out, and the woman ringing us out asks me, "Oh, are you a designer?" I detest when people make comments on my purchases. I've become better at talking to them, but I still hate it. "No lady, I make doll clothes, so Barbie's not naked. Designer, pssh." that's what I thought. A simple yes was my reply. "You going to be on Project Runway some day?" *cheep, cheep* (Crickets) "Lady, I'd never be caught dead on project runway, unless it was a doll design challenge. I would never want to be judged harshly on something I do for fun." Real reply, "You never know!"... yeah I do know. NO WAY! I got all that for three bucks, so I get some awkward chatting was due for a karma payout. But now I just have to decide what to do with all this stuff. ~End~

Monday, July 19, 2010

*Let's get some shoes* Part II

I've decided to gloss over the visit to Lowes and the Farm supply store. All that we got there were some ground wasp killer and ceder chips. Oh, chores how wonderful.
Anyway, Hobby Lobby, my home away from home. Since Simplicity patterns were all on sale I figured I should see what American Girl sized patterns I was missing, turns out all of them. I had apparently only purchased Barbie sized sewing patterns, but no American girl ones. I looked through their online catalog, and picked only 4 that I liked. I guess now I'm able to be a bit more picky than wanting every pattern that they make for American Girl dolls. When looking though the McCalls patterns I have, I wonder what I was thinking when I got them. Will I ever make some of these things? EVER? I mean, soccer clothes, really? But these patterns I'd actually want to make, so I wrote them down, and even wrote a short description next to it, so I remembered what it was when I was in the store. Then I promptly lost the list. As of writing this I haven't found it yet. Either way I looked them up again and made that list again.
Anyway in the store they had ALL the patterns I wanted! So I was pretty psyched, they even had two copies of the Blythe pattern, so I got both of them. Coming soon to my dollpage, a brand new Blythe pattern. After finding the patterns (I made a b line to them so that I'd get them asap!)
I looked through the fabrics. I was trying to find some nice Steampunk looking cloth. Ideally it would be a dark brown with stripes. They had nothing like that. Instead I got dark brown with black leaves on it, I also got some brown broadcloth. 1/2 yard of the pattern, since it was expensive and I didn't know if I'll use it all and one full yard of the broadcloth. I also got another yard of white eyelet. (remember that) I thought it was on sale for 30 percent off, but the girl writing up the slip didn't think so. Whatever, it was only a 60 cents cost. I also got a spool of red ribbon since it was half off. I looked for any other ribbon that might work for the steampunk project, but no such luck.
That was all for the fabric section. I also trolled the jewelry for a cameo that would work for Barbie, but they had nothing at all. At this point I was worried, I had the 40 percent off coupon, but nothing that I could use it on. Everything I bought was already on sale. Thankfully my father found some spray paint he needed to use it for. Phew! Taking bets to how much it cost while waiting in line my Dad guessed 28 dollars, I guessed 23. The total? 23.23. That's how good I am.
While we were waiting in line, I saw a woman come in with a BJD. It was weird, I've never seen people carrying dolls around in public like that. I know I'm one to talk, but I've always found some BJD owner's a little intense. I hope she wasn't going after the Blythe patterns, because I got them both! Stay tuned for part III, and it's the final part!

*Let's get some shoes* Part I

Today was a day full of shopping, which you know , J'adore, J'adore.
Remember how I mentioned the simplicity Blythe patterns? Well, guess what was on sale this week at Hobby Lobby? That's right simplicity patterns! I swear I must be psychic sometimes. 99 cents for them, what a deal! I arranged to go yesterday since I needed some other stuff.
While I was out I was so bad! We just had to stop at Goodwill. We almost made it out of the store, but then I spotted a bag with some stuff. It was hard to tell, but I saw a Barbie (her hair was covering her face) an 80's Skipper, some trolls, and A RANDOM HAND. It was attached to something, but I could not shift the stuff around to see what. With my curiosity burning we just had to get it. Besides it was only three dollars and I liked the dress that Barbie was wearing. When I got the car I tore the bag open. Skipper's hair was a mess, not that I cared. The Barbie was a superstar, that I knew. The dress was super cute, but at the side it was beginning to just shred. There's nothing I can do, it's just the fabric is just shredding. I think I'm going to fray check the holes and leave them. They're mostly on the side, so I can ignore them. I have to fix up the doll, but she had her original superstar earrings, pretty cool. But her hair's a mess and on her right hand all her fingers have been cut off, why do kids do that? But I can re-body her. Right now the dress is soaking in some Oxyclean. It had stains. I took of the sad green ribbon, I couldn't save that, so I will replace it. I'm going to hand wash it, then fix the holes. Not sure who will wear it. It's really pretty, but only fits the larger busted girls. Sorry Charlotte!
Back to the mystery hand. It belonged to this made in China Mermaid doll. It's about 3" tall and permanently seated. It has shocking pink hair. I've already brushed it out and it's going to live in the bathroom, or I might just re-donate it, depends on how I like it. There was also this purple bug thing with curly hair. No clue what it is, and I couldn't find any makers mark. I do not like it, and I don't plan on keeping it. Not sure if I'm even going to try to brush it's hair, that thing is creepy.
Now on to the trolls, I used to collect trolls, so I have a small spot in my heart for them. But that was a long time ago, and I don't have any of them anymore. I don't plan on starting another collection. In the bag there were five trolls. One was a Russ, the rest were inexpensive cheap ones. My aunt collects trolls, so we're going to eventually send them to her. The one with purple hair has some scratch marks on it's face, so we won't send that one. I'm going to make in an elf costume and use it for a Christmas decoration. The Yellow haired troll in the bottom row I'm going to keep. I used to have a troll like it that I loved, so it's a reminder of that one. Not sure where he's gong to go live though. The one with the t-shirt and gray hair had the exact hair color as my father. I don't think he was that pleased that it got noticed, sorry Pops! That's all I got at Goodwill, my father got a book though. Stay tuned for Part II! (Maybe that one will actually get to Hobby Lobby since it's the reason we went out.)

There's another one???

Today was about expanding my boundaries into another fabric. Gathering false boldness from my recent successes I decided to make another Chatty Cathy skirt, but this one would be made out of slippery (fake) cream colored polyester. I had purchased it way back when, at the start of my sewing endeavor. Back when I though I could sew any fabric, boy was I wrong. I have a rainbow of colors of this satiny polyester. Black, White, Blue, Red, Purple, maybe more. All I know is that it frays an insane amount and from all my fussing with it, I've managed to make two things out of it, this skirt, and a red top. This piece still have the paper label on it from the Walmart scrap bin, and that means I bought it before last September. So I figured it was high time to use it. For motivation I had a few episodes of Hoarders under my belt. Nothing motivates me better than that show. I refuse to let myself turn into a fabric hoarder. Might as well use it and get more if I like it, and if I don't, at least it was gone.
It was a simple skirt, one that I had made countless times before, and the same one that I had made the day before, but this had another kink added to it. The fabric was just sliding everywhere, not to mention fraying all over the place. By the end of it I was covered in little white threads, as was Chatty Cathy. When it was finished as a giant lump of thread I was forced to give most of the inside seams a heavy coating of fray check. Hopefully that will stop it from coming undone. At this point I haven't added snaps, I did hand reinforce the waistband though. I would have added a snap, but I had just re-dressed Chatty Cathy and was too lazy to change her again.
While I was waiting for the fray check to dry, I figured I should change Chatty Cathy's clothes. She was out of her normal ones for the Christmas outfit photo shoot, but I couldn't very well leave her in those. It's July for Pete sakes! She had been wearing the Dorthy in Oz dress for some time, so I felt she needed something else to wear, even though I love that dress (first piece of clothing I made for Chatty Cathy) she needed something else. I mean, what's the point of all this sewing if I'm going to leave her in one outfit? Since I was doing it for one, figured I should change the clothes on my other Chatty Cathy too.
Yes, I have a second Chatty Cathy, although she gets the short end of the stick. My brunette gets a lot more love from Daddy. I don't even have pictures of the other one. She's a blond, with some severely hacked hair, I could just throttle the child who did that. She cannot talk, and she suffers from the same broken lower body ailment as my other Chatty Cathy, I wonder if that's a design flaw. Like she's being held together with tape. I bought her from E-bay where she was wearing this ornate southern belle dress. It was so not my thing, so when I got her, I decided to free her. Taking off her layers was easy, when I removed her sewn on tights I fond her rocking a pair of large ancient masking tape underwear. I removed that and... her butt fell off. Literally, fell off. So I updated the masking tape layer, and let her stay like that, but she does get re-dressed. I just haven't found what she wants to wear yet. I wish she would tell me. Anyway, since I had her out I was looking at her, like really looking at her for the first time. I analyzed her hair, one side is cut much more aggressively than the other, not a pretty look. So using my mediocre hair skills I putzed around with it. Taking the hair from the right I ignored the part line and put it on the left. It looks much better from the front, you just have to ignore the bald spot in the back. I also ended up taking off her head. I swear sometimes my room is more like a mad scientist's laboratory. That's where I made an interesting discovery. The inside of her head was stuffed full of toilet paper, pink toilet paper no less! (See the picture at the right.) I carefully pulled it out and looked at it all. It was defiantly toilet paper, it even had the serrated edges. So maybe the cotton stuffing in Cindy Sad Eyes isn't factory original. Any ideas why someone would do that?
I still have a hard time dressing her, with her short hair she doesn't do the girly look that the other one seems to stick with. I ended up dressing her in jeans and a white collared shirt. I also took a blue hair ribbon and tied it in a bow around her neck. That looked cute. I think what's going to happen is she's going to be more of a tomboy than the other Chatty. That way she's different, and I can appreciate that. I just need to learn how to make pantaloons. Maybe someday...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Should share this, for a variety of reasons.

Here's the underskirt that I made, since it's no longer part of the Steampunk outfit I can share it. I have had this trimming for, well forever. I bought it was back when, right when I started sewing. I got it to use it for something with the Chatty Cathy, but it was too small, but too large for Barbie. But, this use is both practical, and cute. It's a simple white broadcloth skirt with the trim at the border. Threw it together pretty quick, if I do make it again, I'd probably make it shorter, this was hard to find something that was longer than it.

But I did find something! Let me start off with I love this dress. It's a Barbie Wedding dress that I've had forever, and I still love it. People should know I'm not a big dress guy. My collection's main focus is 1950's day wear. Very rarely do they wear dresses, but I find myself always drawn to this dress, but I find the skirt lies a little flat. In the past I've even swiped someone else's white skirt to use as an underskirt. This totally solves this problem. I think this is going to be paired with it forever. So it worked out for the best!

Also this is my first double photo post, I'm learning!

Christmas in July!

Did you know that simplicity makes a pattern for Blythe? I just found this out today. It's number is 2353, if you're interested. It's new, and I really hope Hobby lobby has them on sale soon, if they do I'll totally snag a copy, or two, depends on how many they have (So I can resell my extras, muhahahaha!). I don't have a Blythe, but I could tweak the patterns to fit Momoko or Skipper. I hope they have them, and that they go on sale, that would be great! I also have a fake Blythe, so I could make her a hat! How exciting, I'm tingling.
This is sort of a lead in to the reasoning behind today's blog title. You see, I was talking about this with my Mom, and I got talking about the one thing missing from Chatty Cathy's wardrobe, a Christmas dress. She said there was one she always had an idea for, a cute Christmas girl dress. Jotting down what she said revealed we basically had the same ideas, just different colors, (Her's was a green/cream combo, mine was red and green.) also I wanted a collar on mine, she didn't have one on hers. So going back into my sewing room, I decided to make a Christmas dress for Chatty Cathy. I didn't have the right colors, but I just wanted to do it. For mine I wanted to use red velvet for the bodice and a Christmas plaid that I actually had. So I decided to use the red calico that I had gotten at Hobby Lobby. I complained about them not having it, and then all I use it for is a thin waistband of a handkerchief skirt for Cindy Sad Eyes, what a brat I am. So I was going to use it, and use a chunk of it. It was at this point I decided to not make it into a dress, I would make a shirt and a skirt, that way I was creating more redressing options later. The Chatties wardrobe consists of mainly that. Lots of mix and match pieces, I did that intentionally, so that they would have more options (especially when I didn't think they'd get a lot of wardrobe options).
I made the shirt first, since it was the hardest, might as well start with it. It actually came out pretty well. I haven't sewed anything for the Chatties since last September, but I guess I've improved. I still made some errors, but it went together well, and looks better than some of the earlier attempts. She's wearing it now, I added three snaps in the back. I got a new sheet of snaps, but I'm trying to use up all of the ones I have kicking around. The biggest issue I had was when I was making the sleeves I used the wrong pattern piece for the arm cuff. It was a simple fix, just tear it out and add the right piece. I labeled the right one, so the next time I make it, this won't happen.
For the skirt I used a linen Christmas plaid that I've had since Christmas. I have a love/hate relationship with this fabric. I got it because it's a cute plaid that is more in scale for the dolls than most. I hate it because it stains. When I first got it, I made Charlotte's holiday dress. It was a simple jumper with a white shirt under it. She wore it for a little bit, deciding to redress her I found that it was leaving red on the shirt, and two parts of her hands that were touching it also had a redder tinge. It's not too noticeable, but as everyone should know, Charlotte has a very quick turn around with costumes. Imagine the damage if she wasn't wearing a shirt under it, had been in it longer, and was made out of a more porous material than all hard plastic. So that fabric has been banished to it's own area, and everything made from it gets soaked in boiling water with salt. Right now her skirt is sitting outside drying, I left it soaking overnight.
I also made a black belt to cover the waistband of the skirt, and make it more like a dress. I also soaked this, because I used the black linen I had that also stains. I'm never planning on it having it touch her skin, but I'd rather err on the side of caution.
So Chatty Cathy has new clothes! Hopefully I'll be able to apply what I learned, (and relearned) when I get the fabrics I want to use when making their actual Christmas dresses. Oh! Maybe I can make a Halloween costume next! I just have to figure out what I want to make for them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dogs, Snakes, and Storms that shakes...

Today was an interesting day to say the least. In the morning there was quite a clamor from outside. Pach (the Dog) was freaking out. I had just put him out when I was downstairs for breakfast. Wondering if his barking had to do with one of the cats (Chester and Waffles) I headed back downstairs to see. It turns out the dog was barking at the dogs next door. They were in the road (like usual) and jumping about. My Dad went outside to see, so I headed back upstairs. Turned out they had corned a black snake (shiver...) and were finishing it off. Snakes, ick!
Also it's been storming all day, like heavy pouring rain with large amounts of thunder and lightening. I just hope it brings the temperature down, man I hate this heat. It's so oppressive, and let's not even begin to talk about what it's done to my hair.
On the sewing end of my live I think I have to give up my plans for the Steampunk outfit, or at least modify what I was going to do. I threw together a quick mock up, and it just not working. With the underskirt, the over skirt, and the bodice there was just too much bulk at the waist. Plus with the two skirts, I couldn't get the bodice to sit flat. To remedy this I think I'm going to skip the underskirt, it's cute and adorable, but adds to the bulk. So into the collection it goes. I'm already planning to use it elsewhere, I mean it's a pretty underskirt, I'm sure I'll find a nice use for it. And now I know I can make underskirts, another skill added to the repertoire!
It's Saturday, so you know what that means, the new Hobby Lobby ad comes out tomorrow. I really hope it has A; Good sales this week, and B; Fabric in a pattern that I like. I think that will help get me motivated again, especially with this steam punk mess.
I just don't know what to do. I think the issue is that I need to pick a doll the needs a redress and design what they should wear and stick with it until they are dressed. That's what I did with Stacey, and couldn't be more pleased in how she turned out. The only issue is, who to work with? (Also with Stacey I had an idea what I wanted, so that made it easier.) Hopefully I'll find something that I want to use.