Sunday, April 15, 2012

Progress on a Ponytail!

Even with that pile of undressed dolls waiting for me to get to them, I feel compelled to work on dressing my newest dolls. But part of that may be because I need to hold them to prove to myself that I actually own them. (Pinch me, I must be dreaming!) There is another reason why they're at the top of the list, I actually had an idea I wanted to try for one of them. I actually found it well before they arrived, I found it while researching for Skooter. It was originally a child's dress, but I thought it would work much better style wise for an adult. I just needed the correct 50's era adult to make it for. I held off making it when I found it for two big reasons, mainly because whenever I make something for a doll before they arrive it rarely work out, plus I didn't have the supplies I needed for it.

On the day the dolls arrived I was in the process of going out. I checked the mail right before leaving hoping they would have gotten here, and they had! So their first experience of their new lives was doing errands around town. One of the stops was to Hobby Lobby trying to find some twine for my father. Long story short, I walked all over that store to no success. I did however find something worthwhile in the fabric section. It was a bolt of fabric in the discount section. A Mary Engelbreit pattern marked down to four dollars a yard. It was exactly what I wanted for the dress I had in mind. I wasn't expecting to find anything for this project that day, sometimes it just happens. I also picked up a spool of pink thin ribbon for the project (it was on sale). I bought a half yard of the fabric plus the spool of ribbon for three dollars plus tax! I do like it when my projects are cheap.
When I got back home, I got to work right away. Unfortunately it was very slow going. I was trying something new with the pattern for the dress and I had several false starts on the dress. There's two bodices languishing in the unfinished project box that may stay there for a while. I was ready to give up, when I realized something, I didn't have to go as complicated to make it, I could go simpler and get the same effect. I ended up using the very basic Barbie bodice I've been using from the very beginning of my sewing for it. While it's simple, it's pretty effective. I ended up sewing a line of ribbon along the top to get the look I wanted. (Random side note, I hate sewing ribbon, it always looks so shoddy.) Anyway, changing the bodice pattern seemed to be the solution of my problem, until another problem happened because of it. I was happily working away, even going so far as to add the skirt, but when I tried the dress on, the bodice hem was much too high. I find with this pattern they give you a bizarre amount of fabric at the top to hem it with. I thought I took in enough, but the bodice top was too tall and was gathering on her underarm. Not a pretty look. I thought about leaving it like it was, but knew I was above that. I've come too far to leave petty little things like that in my sewing. So I took the whole thing apart so I could fit the bodice better. I even had to take off the ribbon and replace it. It was more work, but I knew I'd be happier with the end result.
Once I got that fixed (and trimmed the actual pattern piece so it wouldn't happen again), I started on the dress again. Since I had just done it, it went together pretty quick. I was able to get the machine sewing finished and work on the finishing and detailed work that hand sewing is required for. One of the main design features of this dress was going to be bows. It was going to have bows at the waist, and on the shoulder straps. Luckily I found a new (quicker) way to make bows or else I'd still be working on them! I manged to get the entire dress finished in one day. Including a hand stitched hem, one of my straightest actually. It helps when you have a geometric print to guide you!
With the dress finished it was time to work on the styling of the dress. I pulled out my shoe bag and culled through what I had left. I found a pair of white pumps that had recently become free because of a recent shoe shuffle. I also pulled a white pearl necklace from my jewelry bag. For some reason the other two ponytail dolls both have pearl necklaces, so I might as well make it a thing for the new ones as well. I put them on and stood back to admire my work. And I was not that impressed. The dress was cute, but the accessories were not really blending. Yes, the dress has white in it, but it's somewhat muted. The white of the shoes and the white of the necklace stood out compared to it. They were practically glowing. I know I didn't have any pink shoes in the spares bag, so I turned to the collection. They're were two people who were wearing shoes that could work for this outfit. I ended up picking Midge's pink flats. (She was the one I bought earlier in the year for 6.99.) She ended up with the white pumps (they work with her dress). The necklace was a harder fix. I did have some pink pearl beads, but they weren't made into a necklace yet. I had tried once before, but nothing came from that. And the reason for that was because I could not figure out how to pass a needle through them. The holes in them are so small I just couldn't do it. I ended up having to be creative with it.
I took a straight pin and pushed into the hole's opening, widening it on both sides. Then I took some thread and carefully pushed it into the bead. No needle, just the thread. It was a slow, time consuming process, but I actually managed to make it work. I was able to use all the beads I had (I didn't have that many from the get to, the beads were salvaged from something else). Good thing I had the number I did, I had just enough to make a necklace from them. The things I do to make these dolls beautiful!
But I wasn't done with her outfit just yet. I felt she needed a purse to go along with it. I thought about using the same fabric as her dress, but that felt too matchy. So instead I went with some pink calico I had (from Charlotte's nutcracker outfit). I didn't want to make a simple clutch like I've done in the past. Instead I drafted a bigger purse. One that's more like a basket, sort of like the basket that came with Barbie's Suburban Shopper outfit. It's fully lined, and the straps are inset. I also added a bow to the front (it's a very bow heavy outfit). I won't lie, I'm not totally in love with the purse. It just didn't come out as well I had hoped. I might end up remaking it, but it's fine for now.
And finally I tied a bow in her hair with some of that pink ribbon (I told you it's a bow heavy outfit). It's a really cute outfit! Oh! I never mentioned who I'm making it for. I'll just show you the picture and you can see for yourself:

It's my number four! (I just love her!) She's so... wonderful, but they all are. <3 (Yes, that's a heart, I'm just so dopey for these gals!)

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