Sunday, March 27, 2011

Long post.... Hand cramp!

Now before I jump into what I did yesterday/today I just want to wish my Mother a Happy Birthday today! I spent a good deal of this morning making cupcakes quietly, hoping she wouldn't come into the kitchen during. I've been super secretive about it, I made sure all of the dishes I used went into the dish washer, I threw out the cake box in the trash in my room, and all of the cupcakes are in my room, so she won't see them until tonight. (Can we talk about temptation?) Also the cupcake pan is in the upstairs bathroom because it wouldn't fit in the dishwasher. The lengths that I go to surprise someone. I hope that it's still a surprise, even though I was super quiet when making them, I still made enough noise, I just hope she didn't hear it and figure it out, making all my work be all for naught. I still have to make frosting for them, but I'm going to wait for that until it's later in the evening, although I'm sure by the time I get this posted I will have made some.
Anyway, back to yesterday. I spent a good chunk of the day being lazy, trying to find something to sew. The issue is, I just can't think of anything that really speaks to me. Right now a lot of people are dressed satisfactorily, and all the people who aren't, I'm still thinking about how to dress them. If I could think of something, I would be working on it, but they're being difficult. But honestly, I like that. If everyone was dressed perfectly, it would be a very boring collection, I like it when it's always evolving, and getting better. Since I don't have any dolls to work on (that I really want to) it was time to get another doll. Not buy one, since that hasn't been something that works for me, but pull out one that isn't officially part of the collection. Now, some of you may remember "The Blue Box of Doom", the box of dolls that accumulated from my childhood that I left up in Connecticut. It made it's way down here last year and I vowed to clear out the mess. Since I had already picked out the majority of the dolls that I liked and wanted to keep, the majority of the dolls remaining ended getting cleaned, redressed, to get donated. (They're still kicking around, anybody need a lot of generic Barbie dolls?) A very select few remained that I wanted to keep, or still wasn't ready to get rid of just yet. The other day I pulled out a doll to clean and redress, then decided that I really didn't want him, so he's been added to the donate pile, so there's some progress. Today I decided to cull though the pile again and pull someone else out. Even if I don't take anyone out today, I'm able to think about dressing a different section of dolls that I'm not completely mentally drained with.
So I looked though my pile and selected one. His name is Micheal, and he's from Mattel's short lived "Young Sweethearts" line from 1975. I found him many years ago at a local antique mall, and in my naive experience I thought he was a Mod Ken. I believed he cost ten dollars, and came with his stock clothes and shoes. When he got home, he did not get the gentlest of play... I was not a destructive child, but for some reason with him I was not kind. He managed to break at both knees, as well as one foot. I managed to keep track of all his parts and I tried to repair him yesterday. But for some reason the superglue I was using was really bad and didn't even work. (It was so bad that it didn't even manage to glue my fingers together, which I always do whenever I use superglue.) So I opted to just tape his legs and foot back on. It's not a perfect solution, but it works for the time being. Eventually, I'll try again, or just flat out replace his legs. They're attached with elastic, so I'm sure I can fix it when a suitable replacement becomes available. He also got a bath, because he stunk!
When he was done with his bath, and lounging about to dry I started thinking about if I was planning on keeping him. Since he was still sticking around waiting to rejoin the collection, I knew that I wasn't too involved with him. Since I didn't stick in into the donate box, it meant that I didn't want to get rid of him right off the bat. Since he's been with us for a while, not to mention the doll that I dubbed his "wife" was still in the collection, (and on the named shelf no less!) that he should stay, also he was cute, and technically vintage. But then I had to make a difficult decision, where was he going to go? I'm still trying to decide where he belongs, either he's going to go into the vintage shelf (With the 70's dolls), or on the dregs shelf. It all depends on how I feel in time. I just don't want to add him to the vintage shelf because I don't want to add too many dolls that aren't official Barbie dolls, plus he barely makes the cut. But either way he stays, so it's time to get him dressed.
I started off with a photo that I found a while back, it was of the band Abba. While the women were dressed really boring, the men looked kind of interesting in a 70's way. So I wanted to dress a Ken like that, but didn't have any 70's era dolls, but I did now! This was actually the reason that I picked him from the pile, I wanted to make one of the outfits. The one on the guy on the left, if you're looking at the picture. I started with the white overalls since I knew that's what I really liked about the outfit. I used the bell bottom pants pattern that I drafted a while back, and just added a bib on front to make the top part. After that I needed to add the straps, and all the machine sewing was done. I did work on it after that, and got the entire thing finished. After all that I tried it on him, and was totally underwhelmed. It looked really cheesy, and not at all fitting in the collection. I just really didn't like it on him. It looked like, doll clothes. Which I know sounds weird, but makes total sense to me.
In a last ditch attempt to see if it would work, I got a shirt to see how it would look. The first one I grabbed I couldn't get over his hands, so I grabbed another one. This was the one that I made for my Mom's Ken, that had wider sleeve openings. This one fit, so he can use the same shirt patterns as vintage Ken, as long as the sleeves are wide enough to go over his hands. But there was another thing that came out of that little shirt try one, I really liked the pattern on him. In case you forgot it was that red and cream checkered material. So I thought about remaking the overalls in jean materials and making Micheal here a country boy. The problem is, the clothes would be nearly identical to the other Ken, and I really don't like that. I try to have a great deal of difference between how everyone's dressed, rarely using the same pattern multiple times, not to mention, practically the same styling of clothes. So I gave up the idea of the overalls, set them aside, and thought about my changing opinion. By chance I still had a pair of jean shorts that I had made for Charlotte out. When I made them, I needed to soak them, then wash them with my own laundry, and when that was all done she was wearing her Regency clothes, and it's too much of a hassle to take them off to just try on a pair of shorts, so they've been kicking around waiting for me to put them somewhere. So for a lark I tried them on Micheal. Here's a fun little tip out there for all you collectors out there; Vintage Ken can wear the same pants as modern Barbie. It might be a little tight in the back for some things, but they can share. So these shorts fit, and not to mention looked really cute. They were really short, but that fit's the 70's look. So I wanted to do shorts, but since his knees are going to be taped, I really couldn't work how it looked. Unless... I made really tall socks. And you know who wears high socks? Joggers. A quick Google search found me a photo of a sewing pattern of a very 70's jogger. He didn't have high knee socks, but it would still work with the outfit. Last night I worked on the shorts, using the pattern that I drafted for Charlotte. (Te he he!) I also worked some of the jacket/windbreaker. I used the Ken shirt pattern that I use a lot, but this time, I didn't use the curved bottom hem, I just cut it straight. I also cut the sleeves wider, so they didn't taper. I used the red Calico that I used for Charlotte's Halloween costume. Getting a little low on it, I think that might be my next Hobby Lobby purchase, in time. I still have enough for at least another project, but not a whole lot. I got a great deal of it done last night. And I will say the collar was the worst part. I ended up having to redo it at least four times before it came out decently. I got all the sewing machine part done on it last night before I headed off to bed. And I also made the red headband, which he needed because his hair doesn't lay flat. I'm thinking he might need a Downy dunk in time, but it can wait for a bit, it's not that bad.
In the morning I finished the jacket. All it needed was the seams reinforced and two snaps. I'm running out of snaps and will need more soon. After I was finished with the jacket I color fasted it. I also did that to the headband too since it's from the same material and is going to be touching his face, they're still drying so if they look wet in the pictures that's why. After that I started making his socks, which were not easy. These are the second pair that he's wearing, the first pair I couldn't even get to go all the way around his leg. Not sure why they were so messed up, but they sure were. Not sure if I'll ever finish the first pair for someone else, but the second pair worked. I made two lines of red stitching as decoration at the top. I also made him some white wristbands. These go with the overall look, plus it also hides the nick in one of his wrist (also my fault). These are jersey knit because they have to stretch over his hands. I also gave him a white t-shirt to go under the jacket because it's so low cut. I didn't have to make this because I had it already in the bag. I just love when I have stuff that works for a redress. His shoes are stolen, and belong to another Ken, but I don't have enough to go around. I got these from an antique store in town, so I may have to try and get there again and pick up some more, I have several Ken's who need sneakers.
So there we have it, another doll added to the collection, and redressed. And I really like this look on him. Honestly, I'd wear this look if I had the body for it. I love the look of shorts with knee socks. I will admit that it reads a little "porn-y", but I assume that's what the 70's were like. A mystical world filled with pool boys and pizza boys, and terrible innuendos (Among other things). Am I wrong?


  1. I love what you did with your dolls. In my opinion I think sewing is really an being a clothing designer and I think like most artist's there comes a time when you get blocked. It only take a picture or something you see to bring it all back. Like you, I have some dolls I would gladly donate. I went through mine last night and decided what I am going to keep. Thanks for your wonderful posts!

  2. I'm glad you like what I did with him, and I agree sewing is a creative art. And like with any art, you go though dry spells, I just wish that didn't happen. I'm much happier when I have a project to work on.
    And it's good to decide on what's going to stay in your collection, keeps it small, which I have failed to do so. Micheal here brings the dolls on display to 98, that 100 number isn't too far away!