Monday, July 25, 2011

She's my all American Girl.... made in Japan. I hope she likes irony

Even though I was taking a break from writing on the blog, I wasn't taking a break from sewing. So while I was not typing, I was still sewing, slaving under the hot sun to make tiny clothes for tiny people. Okay, it just my room, but it was still hot! And while I did a lot of different sewing, I only managed to get one doll dressed to my satisfaction. I attempted several items that were destined to either the unfinished project box, or simply the trash can. But still, I got one doll dressed, and progress is still progress.
I started focusing on my American Girl Barbie. I have been waiting for her for months, so I was eager to get her dressed. But before I could start dressing the doll there were some physical issues that needed to be dealt with. She needed an actual Barbie body, and she needed her neck split dealt with. I started off with the neck split. I used the glue I have just for this type of issue. Unfortunately, for some reason I could not get the sides of the neck split to match up correctly when the glue was on it. I could get it to stay for a little bit, but it would shift slightly before it was able to cure enough to hold it by itself. It was not a good situation. Eventually I had to make peace with the idea that her neck wasn't going to be a perfectly aligned and let it cure. But when I tried putting the head on the spare body body the glue didn't hold and the split opened up again. So I took a deep breath and re-evaluated what I was doing. I remembered reading that when dealing with a neck split it's best to use a Barbie body with a small neck knob. It's less stress on the head when putting it on the body. I only have two dolls with the older type of bodies that use the smaller knobs. One is being used by my blond ponytail who has her own neck split, and the other is with my blond Midge, Honey. So Honey had to make a noble sacrifice so that American Girl could have a body. But don't worry about Honey, it actually worked out in her favor. The body with the small neck knob was actually in worse shape than the newer one. It's missing more fingers, and has a few cracks in the torso. So Honey was able to upgrade. I would never sacrifice a Midge doll for a Barbie doll. I like Midge just as much as Barbie, and it's not fair to take something so big as a body away from one doll to give it to another. Anyway, I re-glued the neck devising a system that was able to keep the two sides lined up, and it worked this time! When it had cured I heated the head up with a heating pad and eased it onto the body. It worked this time, the glue held! Finally she was on an actual Barbie body. I'm sure she's happy, it's probably been decades since she was last on the correct body for her.
When that was all sorted out it was time to actually start dressing her, the fun part. The other day I found a photo of a person sized dress that I really liked. It was a red sleeveless dress with a wide neckline... hard for me to explain, you'll see what I mean when you see the pictures. It also had a full skirt. So other than the neckline nothing that I hadn't done before. So I set about to modify the top pattern I use a lot for it. I originally made a practice run with it on the 10th, so that's how that dress came about. Wasn't totally happy with it, so I tweaked it some more and remade it. This neckline was much better, but you really have to be careful. Pulling the fabric through the straps sometimes tears the fabric, but that's a risk you have to take. Other than that, the bodice came out decently. Some fit issues that I had to take care of. I think I need some more work on the pattern, but eventually I sorted it out.
The skirt was a simple gathered skirt. I did have some issues with this because for some reason I kept making the skirt too short. I think on the third attempt I finally got the right length. But again, I eventually sorted that out too. After that it was time to finish it up and reinforce seams and add snaps. After that I wanted to add a bit of decoration to the dress. The original had a broach at the waistband. I decided against that, and moved it up to near the neckline. Now I just had to figure out how to make one. I don't have any Barbie broaches in my collection, nor do I have any idea how to make one. Eventually I decided that it needed to be sewed on. I made one using fake pears and one small rhinestone, but I hated it. So I put the dress aside and left it alone for a while. I was not happy with it. So I did what I always do when unhappy... shopping! But it ended up for the best, I picked up a few things that I really needed for this project. I picked up a package of the metal end caps things for beads... forget the name. I ended up flattening one, and sewing it to the dress. Then I took a single seed pearl and sewed that in the center. Much prettier than the original one.
Also at the store I found some buckram, so I was able to try my hand at hat making! This is my first attempt at it. I will say that while I like how it came out, there's room for improvement. But not too shabby for my first time, I've had worse results with similar situations. For decoration I added this red ribbon to it. I might end up making more hats and doing more decorations with them. Now who needs a hat...
We're reaching the final step with this outfit. The majority of the outfit is done, all that's left are some accessories. The skirt was a bit flat, so I ended up giving her an underskirt with it. I didn't have to make one because I already had one that I had made earlier, so that was nice. I also ended up giving her some white pumps that I had free (since I got rid of the doll wearing them), as well as a pearl bracelet, which again I already had made. But that's when I stopped being able to add things I had around, and actually make something. Since she was on the other body, she had a lot of missing fingers. So I bit the bullet and made her some gloves. I hate making gloves, such a pain. I actually ended up making several test pairs before I made the pair she's wearing now. Still hate making them though. Finally I gave her the red clutch purse that came in the Barbie case with her. It works.
And like that I was done. One doll dressed! I really like this look for her, just wish I knew where to put her on the bookshelf. And I wonder who am I going to work on next?
Recommendations anyone?
Your choices are:
Sport and Shave Ken,
TNT Barbie
Tuesday Taylor
and Superstar Barbie

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