Friday, August 31, 2012

Nothing like the last minute indeed.

You would have thought that on the last day of the month that I'd be making sure I started with getting that Skipper dress finished so I could claim that I got six dolls dressed this month. If you did think that, clearly you don't know me that well. Because instead of working on that Skipper dress, I did other stuff. Mainly cleaning (my room's a mess) and blog stuff (you would not believe how many days I'm behind). I didn't make great strides in either of those tasks, but at this point every little bit helps.
It wasn't until the late evening that I sat down to work on the Skipper dress. I had all the machine sewing done day ago, so I just needed to finish it up. I started with ironing the pleats of the skirt. From there I just did my usual finishing up work, including hand hemming the skirt. I did change it a little bit from how I was planning on finishing it, I was going to do a bow at the waistband in the red ribbon, but decided against it, just having the ribbon around the waist.
And so, without further discussion, let me share with you Skipper, our SIXTH dressed doll of the month.
I think it's cute, there's a couple things wrong with it, that if I made it again I'd fix, but it certainly works for her. I'm glad she's finally been able to move into the collection. Poor Skipper's been waiting since October of last year! There's still several dolls from last year waiting to be dressed, but whenever one gets dressed it's reason to celebrate!
Happy End of the Month Everyone!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kind of progress, Kind of not...

This morning I pulled all the dolls off the sewing cabinet. Even though this past week has been wonderful for dressing them, there's still a great deal of them waiting for me to get them clothed. So for fun I broke them down by era to see how many of each I still had left. Vintage has the highest amount with seven, not shocking since it was the biggest era at the start of the month and only one vintage doll got dressed this month, Mod dolls are down to six, 70's dolls have dwindled down to two, and the random grouping (either modern dolls, or dolls I don't plan on dressing era specific) has five. Hopefully their numbers will keep going lower as I get them dressed and they move from the sewing cabinet and onto the bookshelf, and hopefully I can keep their spots empty and not fill the sewing cabinet top back up. They finally have enough room so they're not squashed up against each other.
By the way, I didn't include TNT Skipper in the dolls I mentioned above. While I'm still working on her dress, she's been hanging out on my desk. I hope from there she'll move into the collection, but I'm going to have to finish her dress first, but I didn't work on that today. Instead I picked up a project for one of the Francie dolls that I have to dress.
Instead of working on Skipper's dress I was doing some online searches for clothing. I was hoping to find something that would help me dress someone else, and I did. It was a really cute sleeveless drop waisted dress. It was originally for a child, but I thought it would work for Francie. I even had a pattern that I could use for it, but I would need to adapt it. So this morning I spent some time tweaking a Barbie pattern until I worked for Francie. But when I pulled out the fabrics that worked perfectly in my head, in person they did not live up to expectations. Like, I hated them together. I ended up looking through my entire fabric stash for something that would work, but no luck. I really don't have much in ways of Mod fabric. I even thought about making my own and paying the super high prices of Spoonflower, but since I don't have any free cash, I quickly ruled that out. I just gave up, I would like to go back to it, since I think it would be really cute for Francie, but I know I won't be able to find that exact fabric I pictured in my head, and I know locally finding any Mod looking fabrics is practically impossible.
I'm sorry Francie, I guess your dress will just have to wait.
But even after that I didn't go back and work on Skipper's dress. Instead I worked on something for Charlotte, but I needed to because I was fixing something I messed up. The other day I was changing Charlotte's clothes and I ended up picking out that black dress I made for her... two years ago? I made it before I went up to Connecticut for fake Christmas when I was searching ever gosh darn Target for that Barbie Basic shoe pack. I made it because I wanted something that would go with every single pair of shoes since I was traveling and couldn't pack ten different outfits. And while I never found the shoe pack until I came back from that trip, this dress was the total silver lining to that whole ordeal. I really like this dress, it's easily one of the top three outfits of Charlotte's. It's just so... her. Anyway, when she was wearing it, I kept picking out the bottom hem. Since it's an older dress, and I made it rather quickly there's some issues with it. It was a good attempt at the time, but I've gotten better since then. I ended up accidentally picking out part of the bottom hem. So I decided to remove it all and redo it by hand. All this happened a couple of days ago and today I finally got around to doing it.
In all honestly, I think I'll end up remaking this dress. There's several issues that I want to fix with it. I was still using the gathering method when attaching skirts and the ruffle on the bottom so it looks pretty amateurish. I mean it doesn't look terrible, but I know I can do better. But I don't have any black calico and the bolt Hobby Lobby has is terrible, so I doubt I'll get any anytime soon, but Charlotte's fine wearing this one as it. And hey, it just got an hem upgrade today!
I'll work on that Skipper dress tomorrow, nothing like waiting until the last minute to get a doll dressed, right?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Done with one, progress on another!

I had set out Busy Ken's shirt and pants last night, so they'd be dry by morning, but I forgot how the humidity affects everything, so they were still slightly damp this morning, but I could still work on them like that. It's not like they were still dripping or anything.
I started off working with the shorts. Since they go under the shirt I can't finish the shirt until I've finished the shorts. They just needed the usual seam reinforcements and snaps. They didn't take me too long, there's not that many seams in these pants and they only require one snap, they're one of the least labor intensive things to finish. I managed to get them done pretty quickly and I moved onto the shirt. I had finished most of it yesterday, and all I needed to do to it today was add the three snaps in the back, and I was done. So once that was over I had most of his outfit finished.
All I needed to do was work on the accessories. I already knew that he was going to get some knee socks, I just had to make them. I had to draft a new pattern for them. So I did, making it the way I usually do. It's just when I sewed up my first one, the fit was really off. It was too tight up at the top and too loose around the ankles. So I was forced to draft the pattern again, and do some adapting. I'm not sure what's going on, but lately the sock pattern hasn't been cutting it like it used to. I'm not sure if my standards are higher or I'm doing something wrong. All I know is I finally got a pair of socks made for him that I liked, it just took me four tries.
For shoes I did look through the Ken bag, but I didn't see anything that really called out to me. I wanted sneakers, but ones that matched the colors in his outfit. Sadly I don't have anything that really matched anything. I ended up picking the blue pair that came on Live Action Ken, it was the closest pair I had to what I wanted. It wasn't much of a loss to Live Action Ken, I removed his clothes the moment he arrived. He'll get dressed in something else... eventually.
Now that he had shoes Ken was basically ready to roll, I just wasn't totally happy with him. I liked the outfit, I really did. It's just his busy hand... was empty. He's the only doll in the collection with that feature and I wanted to show it off. I was just having a hard time figuring out what I wanted him to hold. I wanted something small, outfit appropriate, and not too heavy. My Mom suggested a Tennis Racket, and I did like that, but I found something better. I remembered that I had a sports bag somewhere, I got it last Christmas. It's from the 80's, but they didn't change much design wise. It's sort of like a man purse for him. And since it's all fabric it's perfect for him to hold. I ended up stuffing it with some black tulle I had on the desk to fill it up and to keep it light. Open up his hand and slide it in, and he was finally all dressed!
Here's Busy Ken in his dressed blog debut:Now that Busy Ken was dressed I was free to move onto my next project, the only problem with that is, I don't have many projects left. All that I have to work on it... that Skipper dress. I decided to give it one more go. I was going to make one more attempt at it, and if it didn't work out I was done, Skipper was going to have to wear something else. I started fresh, cobbling together a new pattern from several different old ones. A couple test pieces, and I actually made a go at it with the final fabrics, and it worked! It's a little tight in the shoulders, but this dress fits so much better than anything else I've made. I didn't start working on it until later today, and I got all the machine sewing done, but it's going to have to wait until later to finish it. I'm beat. I've been putting in some long hours lately with all the sewing I'm doing.
But it's been totally worth it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Busy Ken, Busy Aubrey

I started off this morning with Busy Ken's outfit. While his shirt was mostly finished, I needed to make his pants before I could actually finish it. I couldn't put the snaps on before I knew what it was going over. I was not going to sew snaps only to have to tear them out and move them. I hate sewing them the first time, much less the second time.
I did wrestle with what kind of pants he was going to get. Originally I thought about making him a pair of jeans, but wasn't totally sold on the idea. They felt a bit too "dressy" to go with his shirt. I asked my mother what she though, and she suggested red swim shorts, and while I liked that idea I wasn't in love with it. I wanted something more formal. But then I had a thought, why not combine the two ideas? Jean shorts! That would be perfect for him, it would be a nice mix of casual and formal, and be totally era appropriate. This will be the first vintage doll to wear jeans in the collection, jean finally became acceptable day wear in the 70's.
I needed to draft a pattern in order to make them for him. Even though he can't bend his hands enough, he needed to have those fake pockets. Even since I figured out how to make them, everyone's getting them. I really like them. And the pattern isn't even that hard to make. I used a one piece pants pattern that fits modern Ken and the vintage faux pocket shorts I made for vintage Ken to make this new pattern. One quick test of the pattern later I was ready to roll. I didn't need to tweak much on the pattern, I just made the legs shorter. It was the 70's, I could get away with short shorts.
For the fabric I ended up using some denim I had. I bought it a while ago, but just got to use it now. It looks like denim, and really thin, so it's perfect for doll clothes. I didn't use it when I was making Joe's pants because I don't think it works for modern jeans, but would work for vintage ones. I made quick work on the shorts, they are even top stitched with yellow thread. I didn't finish them today however, instead they and the shirt are both soaking in boiling water to get rid of excess dye. I can finish them tomorrow, I wanted to make sure I colorfasted them before I forgot.
Also I wanted to take a break to play with my new phone. Well, my sort of new phone, it's a refurbished model. A couple of days ago I was going to bed when my phone lit up. It said "Syncing Modem, Do not remove battery." I thought this was weird, since it had never happened before, but figured that since it was so late maybe they were doing an update on the phones and went to bed. I woke up hours later to that same message, so I turned to the internet. Turns out that's a hardware issue that randomly happens. There's no update, it means your phone is unusable. We called Verizion, and they said they were going to send a replacement. Like I said, it's a refurbished one, but it's better than no phone. It was free, which was good since this was totally their fault. I can honestly say I've never had a phone die on me. Anyway, so I spent some time playing around with my new phone. Everything on my old phone was unsalvageable, so I'm still working on re-adding my contacts, pictures, and music. I miss my old phone, all the work was already done on that. It's not fun starting from scratch. I really hope this new phone doesn't mess up like my old one, I'm not doing all this work for a third time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Creating a new problem, but fixing an old one

I spent my morning working on Skipper's dress... it did not go well. I remembered that I had a pattern for a set in sleeve Skipper shirt in my pattern folder already. If I remember correctly it was from an attempt at dressing Skooter a while ago. I pulled it out, and made a go at it. It looked decent, but after I got most of it sewn up (from the good fabric) I tried it on Skipper, and there was no was it was going to fit. I couldn't even get both her arms into it. I don't think anyone can wear it. I assume the first time I made it I didn't have this problem or else I would have written something about it on the pattern, so I have no clue what I did differently this time. Defeated from this annoying setback I gave up. Skipper can wait a little bit longer for her dress, she's been waiting since October so it's not like she's in any rush or anything.

From there I started working on a project of Charlotte's that has been on the back burner for a while. It's that dress I started a while back. I can't remember when I shared it with you, but I know I shared her skirt and her petticoat. It's the costume that so far I've had to make everything twice, which is why it ended up getting ignored for so long. I've been having the darnest time with the bodice. I made the skirt and the bodice separate since I love separates, but that's been causing trouble. With the skirt so full I was having a hard time with giving the bodice enough flair at the bottom to go over the skirt without squishing it down or wrinkling. Before I gave up in a while ago I made five attempt at adapting the pattern for it. Today I decided to go in a total different direction. I was thinking about what to tweak on that first pattern when I realized I already had something that could work better. I've had some pretty decent luck with that Princess seamed pattern I've been using forever, and since it's a dress it already had the flair at the bottom to fit the skirt. So I pulled it out, and ended up making a quick mock up and try with with the skirt, and wouldn't you know, it fits over it, and pretty decently for a first time. I still need to do some tweaking to the pattern to get it how I want it, but I made some pretty decent progress today. I'm glad that using this pattern gets rid of that fit issue that I was having with the first pattern, I was honestly running out of things to try to fix it.
So overall, not a whole lot of progress today, but at least I know what doesn't work!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Focus darn it!

I started out this morning focused and ready to sew. My agenda? Finish that dress for Midge. It's so close to being finished, and now that I bought those beads for it, I had everything I needed to finish it. I would love to finally get it done today and be able to move her onto the bookshelf. Since vintage is the section with the most amount of dolls waiting to be dressed it would be great to get one of them finished for my second doll of the month.
I started off with fixing the soft pleating of the skirt. I can't remember if I mentioned it, but there were a couple pleats that were noticeably uneven on one side. In the past I would have just lived with it, but lately I've become more obsessed with getting skirts as close to perfect as I can get them. So I ended up ripping out about four pleats on one side of the skirt and carefully adjusting them until they looked similar enough to the other side. When that was done I was able to sew them down and finally be done with adjusting the skirt. It's a good thing I was finished, I'm not sure how much more sewing and resewing it could take.
After that I went and did the rest of the finishing work. It didn't need much, just a couple minor things, including sewing up the back seam. I had done most of it the last time I worked on the dress, so that didn't take long.
The last thing I did with the dress was incorporate the beads I bought yesterday. When I was in Hobby Lobby I was hoping to buy something I could use as a brooch on the dress, but since I couldn't find anything like that I ended up with the beads. Since beads are a bit more versatile than a brooch like piece, I did toy around with how I would use them on the dress. I almost ended up made a necklace for Midge out of them, but decided that was a bit too fussy for the outfit. Also since they're pointy I was worried about them rubbing up against her neck and causing scratches. I ended up sewing three of them in a line (that I tried to make straight and failed miserably) on her dress. So it sort of looks like a brooch. It's cute and gives the dress some much needed sparkle. And if I find something better I can easily rip them out. They were a bit expensive to only use three from what I bought, but I can still use the rest of them. I wonder if Charlotte needs a necklace...
I didn't bother giving Midge any other jewelry. She did end up with some red ribbon tied at her waist, and some tied in her hair (interesting fact, the spot where her headband is, is un-rooted. She has a legit bald spot for where her hair band has to go. I never knew that before owning one). Anyway, with her ribbons glued, trimmed, and tied she was done!
Here she is in her newly dressed glory:(She actaully doesn't have shoes because I don't have any that go with this dress, we're getting pretty low for decent shoes around here!) Whew, we got our second doll dressed for the month, and we still have like a week to go before the month is over. I wonder if this will be a three dressed doll month? I'd love that.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Today was a No Sew Day

My day did not start off so well. I was super tired this morning and ended up sleeping in much later than I usually do, but even after that I was still feeling really icky when I finally got up. There wasn't any specifically wrong with me, I just felt off and out of sorts. I didn't get much done this morning since I slept through most of it.
The afternoon was a bit more productive because I ended up going out. I was feeling bad, but not bad enough to keep me from going out. But I did feel better as the day went on. And since I wanted to get something for Midge's dress, I had to go out.
And of course since I was out I had to stop into the second hand stores. Most of them were a bust, didn't find a single thing that was interesting. But at the last store we stopped into I found something sort of interesting. It was a pattern for making Barbie furniture. It's McCall's crafts 8140. It shows you how to make all sorts of different furniture. Now that's not really my forte, but I do have a passing interest in it. And since you never know where my interests will lead me I figured I should get it. Also I do make it a habit of buying any doll related sewing patterns I find (when decent prices), so it's sort of an off shoot of the collection in itself by now. This pattern looks to be totally unused, so it's certainly not a bad price at a quarter. I couldn't even get it shipped for that cheap. The envelope has some water damage, but the pattern itself is fine and totally uncut.
And finally I went to Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby seems to have been overtaken by Christmas. They started with a few stands in the isles weeks ago and has swelled to most of the seasonal section, then the gardening section, and now there's Christmas trees all over. It's August for Pete Sake! I can't think about Christmas yet! And yes, I did stroll through the section, I can't help it. I was looking for those large spools of tulle, didn't find any. They might not be stocking them yet. When I was done there I headed over to the jewelry section to find something shiny for Midge's dress. The other day when I was working on it, I decided it needed some jewelry, like a broach on it. I really didn't find too much of what I wanted, but eventually settled on some red glass beads. They're Bead Treasures Brand (half off this week), 3mm LT Siam Bicone (whatever that means). I just got them because they're small and would sort of work for what I want. From there I went to the sewing section because even though I'm not in need of anything I had to stop in there.
I didn't see much in terms of new fabric. I looked at their white fabric to see if they had replaced their shoddy bolt, they had not. I also checked out their Christmas fabrics. Yes, they got to me, I'm thinking about Christmas. I was thinking about how I dressed everyone on Charlotte's shelf last year in Holiday clothes. For the most part everyone that I dressed last year will wear the same thing this year. I do plan on making Charlotte a new dress (whatever that may be), and I do hope to dress some of the vintage dolls this year, since I have most of the dolls on Charlotte's shelf already dressed. But thinking about Christmas got me thinking about an even closer holiday, Halloween. Again, people will most likely end up in the same outfit as last year except Charlotte (and maybe Joe), but I still haven't put much though into who Charlotte will be going as this year. I've only been dressing her up for about three years now. She's been Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Little Red Riding Hood, and Odette from Swan Lake. And honestly, I didn't really care for that Odette costume, I don't even keep it on her garment rack. I don't plan on her ever wearing it again. I did stroll around the fabric section hoping it would inspire me, but it didn't. I did find a fabric covered with nursery rhyme characters and she almost was going to be Mother Goose, but the colors weren't very interesting, also it seemed so boring, so I decided to not do that. I know it's still August and October is still far away, but I should be thinking about it. Leaving it until the last minute is how I ended up with Odette, after the Dutch girl costume didn't work for her and I had to scramble for something else. Hopefully I can find something that I really like.
I didn't get any fabric while out, instead I picked up a spool of white thread. I had the forty percent off coupon and needed to use it on something. I figured white thread is always a good buy since I use it a lot, and I noticed the other day my current spool was running a bit low. So a pretty practical purchase!
Maybe tomorrow I'll get back to sewing, that Midge dress is so close to being finished!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ugh, Skipper...

I started off today with working on a Skipper dress. It's been a dress I've been working on for a while. I have it all sketched out and the right fabric, but I'm having the absolute worst time with the pattern. I guess I'm doing something different because I don't have anything in the Skipper pattern folder that works for what I want. So I've had to do some hardcore adapting and drafting, which is easier said than done. I don't want to even think about the number of patterns I've made and discarded in just making this one dress. I've spent several days and hours working on it, and have yet to make anything remotely passable. Today was just as bad as the other days I've attempted to work on it. So I gave up, I still like the dress and want to go back to it eventually, but it's wore out it's welcome with me today.
In the afternoon I ended up picking Bend Leg Midge back up. She's been lounging around my work stations waiting for me to finish her dress. And today I finally got to that point. I ended up finishing most of her dress. I started off with fixing the pleats in her skirt, the ones in the center were a little uneven, so I ripped them out, pinned them into an even placement, and sewed them back down. I also reinforced all her seams, and I even tore out all the skirt hem stitches and sewed it back by hand using a hidden stitch. But I didn't finish it today.
While I was practically done with it, I noticed that there was another section of the skirt pleats that needed adjusting, and I really didn't feel like ripping out more stitches and fixing it tonight, so I stopped for the night. But it's almost finished, right now there's three things that I need to do to it and it'll be done, but that will have to wait until tomorrow (or later).
At least Midge is being agreeable, unlike that putz Skipper!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr................

Today was a rough day, it was one of those days where every little thing that could go wrong did. I'm not sure why, but the decks were clearly stacked against me. I just want today to be over and all of this negative energy to clear out and leave me alone. I'm not going to bother going into detail since I don't want to rehash it. It's nothing really bad, but just enough to wear on me today.

But I did have something good happen today. I got some fabric in the mail. It's from Spoonflower, which is an online fabric store. What's cool about it, is that you can upload your own images, and they will print it on fabric for you. It's SUPER expensive, so normally it's way out of my price range, but they were doing a promotional thing where you get a fat quarter for the price of shipping. So I had to try it.
Also you can sell your designs on the website, after you buy a test swatch, which is pretty cool. You only get like ten percent, but it's better than nothing. I did check out what people had (there's a lot to look at), but couldn't find anything that really called out to me, so I ended up uploading my own image. But since I wasn't expecting to order from them I really didn't have anything planned to upload. But I did come up with something.
I ended up trying to copy a vintage Mattel fabric. It's the fabric originally used for the jacket to Ken's Student Reporter outfit. It was also used for a Skipper shirt, a Barbie pleated skirt, and a Japanese exclusive Francie dress. I don't own anything made from this fabric, but I found an image online and trimmed it for my needs. I did it rather quickly, so it didn't come out the best. The pattern came out a little large, and the colors are a bit muted. Also it's a bit crooked, but that's totally my fault. I should have taken more care with it. I'm not beating myself up too much over it since it was a learning experience. If I had a do over I'd probably do something entirely different. But at least I'm only out a dollar. I doubt I'll buy from them again, not that there's anything wrong with the product, but it's almost twenty dollars a yard, and I simply cannot afford that.
Here's a picture of Charlotte on the fabric for scale:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Moving on...

I didn't go back to working on Joe's pants today. For some reason lately it's been that each of my projects get one day to be worked on. Either I finish them in that time, or I move onto something else and they have to wait until I come back to them, if I ever do.
Case in point, today.
Instead of finishing Joe's pants from yesterday I started working on something for my Bend Leg Midge. A couple of days ago I found an outfit online that I thought would work for her. It was a cute dress with a matching jacket. I sketched it out, picked out the fabric, and even started working on it. I started with the jacket, since that was going to need some pattern adapting. But... I ended up not liking it. It just was not a cute look, so I gave up on it. I took the jacket and stuck it into the unfinished project box. But I wasn't finished with the dress that was going to go under the jacket. I was however a little hesitant to start working on it then, but today I felt it was time, also I was avoiding working on Joe's pants, so this gave me a good excuse not to.
I was working with one of the new fabrics that I bought from the Quilting Coop. It's a off-white cotton (all the fabrics I got there were cottons) with a small floral print. It's mainly green vines with small red flowers. For the sewing pattern I was picking some old favorites, I literally made this same dress for my American Girl last year, with a minor change. I wasn't going to line this one. Other than that, it was pretty much the same.
So it's not that surprising when for the most part it went together pretty easily, but I didn't finish it today. There's a couple spots on the skirt that I need to fix, and I want to hand hem the skirt hem and I ran out of patience with it today.
I'm sure I'll get back to it...



someday...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

They're his "almost pants" right now.

Since yesterday I banished Skipper's top to the unfinished project box, I really didn't have anything to do today. She was the only undressed doll that I had any idea of what to sew for. I've been doing lots of online research lately, but failed to find anything that really called to me for any of the dolls waiting to dress.
I did end up working on something for Joe. The other day I mentioned working on that Pirate coat for him, I did not work on that today however. I realized that if he had a pirate coat, he was going to need an outfit to go with it. He can't go around with just a coat... he's not a flasher! For the shirt I can use the Steampunk shirt I made for him a while back, it's vague enough in it's era to work for several different ones, but he needed pants. So today I worked on that. I took some brown calico and his usual pants pattern and make him a pair. These are a little different because they're shorter than usual. They only reach to mid-calf. Also there's elastic at the bottoms to give them some gathering. While I do like them I'm not totally in love with them. I did manage to reinforce all the seams on them today. I just didn't add any snaps. I'm sure I'll come back to them some other day and finish them, but don't expect it any time soon. Joe's argyle shirt is still waiting in limbo for me to finish it as well.

But I did wanted to keep you informed on how things are with the North Carolina doll club. I've e-mailed with the woman that runs it a couple times now. The September meeting has a theme now. When I first started talking with her it didn't. She even asked me if I could think of anything, which I was not comfortable with. I had no idea what perimeters they used for their themes, it could be as vague as "the color blue" or as specific as "18th century German composers that heavily favored woodwinds in their music". The theme for September is Country Fair, so sort of between the two options I was thinking. They're also going to have contests for dressed dolls, and cooking, like you have at county fairs. I asked her about how these types of contests are run in their group, and she couldn't give me anymore information. Apparently this is the first time they are doing something like it.
And I am thinking about entering, just to be part of the group. I was hoping to sew something to dress my doll in, but this theme has got me stumped. Over the past couple days I have been wracking my brain trying to think of something, but can't really come up with anything I want to make. The only think I can think of are rehashes of vintage Barbie outfits. I'm still thinking about it, but I have a fall back plan if I can't think of anything. I have that vintage style sundress that I made for Charlotte a while back. It was just for fun, I didn't really need to make it. It's cute, but I'm not in love with it or anything (I feel like it's missing something), anyway, I think that would work for a county fair, plus I made it. I'm thinking if I can't think of anything better I'll put that on Ashley and bring her. I'm not bringing Charlotte to the meeting, you'd think she'd naturally be my doll of choice, but I'm not ready to share her with the outside world. Charlotte is a deeply personal item for me and I don't want to bring her. Ashley's been her stand in before, and she can do it again. What she'll be wearing however is still undecided. And I'm going to have to steal someone's shoes, not sure who's yet.
What I'm going to make is an easier decision. I'm going to make tomato soup cake. It's easy, people seem to like it, and I know how to make it well. I am wrestling with if I should make frosting or not. Usually I skip it since it's sweet enough as is, but some people might like frosting with theirs. I am planning on making cupcakes like usual since they're easier to handle, so maybe I could frost some and not others? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Also, I'm not totally sure if this counts as my "bringing food to the meeting". (Everyone is asked to bring some food to each meeting, a pot luck type deal). I think I'm going to err on the side of caution and bring a bag of chips or something, I'd rather be over prepared than under!

Friday, August 17, 2012

On the Town... briefly

I went out again this morning, but it wasn't a fun trip, it was totally business. I had something sell! It was the more expensive boxed doll that I mentioned the other day (at least I think I mentioned it). The seller paid yesterday and I wanted to get it into the mail today, or I'd have to wait until Tuesday and I wanted it done before then. And I did, and now it's in the postal system's hands. I'm glad it sold, I've had it forever and I'm tired of renewing the ad. Plus, more money doesn't hurt.
Can I say something that's been bugging me lately? In the past few weeks I've had four people contact me about stuff I have on the Dollpage. They contact me, get a shipping quote, agree to buy the thing, then I never hear from them again. They literally fall off the face of the Earth. I never hear from them again. And it's all separate people, for different things. I really have no clue why people are doing that. They're the ones who initialed the conversation and agreed to buy it, why just leave me hanging like that? They could have easily had an out by claiming shipping was too high. I can understand about changing your mind, but how hard would it be to send me an e-mail letting me know? Today after waiting around for someone for almost a week to pay me I took something off hold for them. They can still buy it, but if somebody buys it before them it's their loss. I'm not going to wait around any longer. I guess there's rude people all over the place and the doll community is no different. It's just weird that lately there's been a string of them stringing me on.
Anyway, the post office was the only place I went when out, I headed back home to work on some sewing. I had an idea for a Skipper outfit I wanted to try. It was a two piece outfit, a top and a full skirt. I was working on the top today since I haven't decided on the material I want the use for the skirt yet. I was using my tried and true Skipper shell blouse pattern, with some changes. I ended up adjusting the sleeve openings. They're a bit long on the original pattern and I wanted to fix that. Other than that it's pretty standard stuff. I am adding little bit of decoration to it though so it's not totally plain. It's some lace that I gathered that runs down the front with some ribbon over it. I did all the machine sewing on it today, but didn't bother finishing it, I just wasn't liking it. I think I'm going to go another direction with it. Into the unfinished sewing project box it goes. Did I mention that I'm thinking about bringing back "Finish it up Friday"?
That box is getting ready to overflow again.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Does this sheet make me look fat?

I headed out again this morning, bright and early. In my defense I needed to. Without a sheet any projects I'm working on are at a total standstill. And since I won't be able to get out at all this upcoming weekend, it was either get it now or wait until Tuesday (at the earliest) for another chance. And I knew that if I waited until Tuesday I'd drive myself crazy obsessing about all the projects that I could be sewing for.
So I went out. I headed to the Christian Second Hand Store to get a cheap sheet to cut up. There were a lot to pick from, but it was hard making a choice. It may sounds silly to you all, but I felt bad cutting up a perfectly usable sheet. It's true that I've used them before, but the ones I used were either ripped and unrepairable, or made of the worst fabric known to man. Those I didn't feel bad using, but a normal sheet I feel bad using it when someone else could use it as is. But eventually I picked out one. A simple white one, it was the cheapest. It also came with a pillow case, but I'm not going to cut that up. I'm sure a pillow around here can use it. I also visited the other second hand stores, but the only thing I got was that sheet.
I didn't start sewing when back at home, I had other things to do before. I ended up opening one of the closets in the hallway (which is rarely used). And wouldn't you know, I found the matching fitted sheet to that horrible fabric straight sheet I just used up. I guess I had tucked it away there a while ago and forgot about it. Silly me! Anyway, I took it and brought it into my room. I'm going to use that one before I start using the sheet I bought today. Watch me forget that I have that one and buy another one when I use up this new (old) one.
Honestly, I really believe that could happen....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Shirts for everyone! (Okay, really for no one)

Guess who did some doll sewing today? That's right, me!
Nothing new mind you, but it's a step in a right direction.

The other day I found a new pattern book. It was one for making a variety of clothing for Barbie and Ken. I really didn't care for most of them since they weren't my style or it didn't look like they fit that well, but some of the Ken dolls they used to model the fashions were the Myscene dolls. And since I know Joe can wear Myscene clothing I was hopeful that the patterns could be used for Joe. So today I printed out several of the Ken patterns. While I would like to make several of the ones I printed out, I was especially interested in the collared shirt in the book. That one was the first one on my "to make" list.
But it turns out I couldn't use that patterns. I could tell that it were going to be too small even when I just had them printed out, but still I did a quick fabric mock up with them, and there was no way that shirt was going to close. I did however like how the fit of the sleeve holes and neck hole on Joe. So I made a hybrid. I used my original (still working on) pattern and this new one and combined the two. I used the initial fit of mine with the sleeve and neck openings of the new one. The original ones were a little bit different, but not outlandishly so. They were both rather minor tweaks.
So I've been back on making test pieces, then tweaking the pattern, then testing it again for this shirt pattern. I think I've made four different pieces today. I'm actually making progress on the collar which was the major sticking point the last time I worked on it. I'm nowhere near finished, but I'm liking the results so far. With some more tweaks (and some research) I might actually be able to make a collard shirt for Joe soon. I actually had to stop before I was ready to today. With all my recent pattern testing I've made short work of the sheets I use for throw away projects. They're nothing but tiny scraps now. I'm going to hit up the thrift store for another one if I want to keep testing out these patterns. I hate being at a stand still like that.
Ugh, now I want to sew, but can't! Why can't I win?!?!?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another dull day...

Not the most exciting day today by any means. I ended up sleeping in super late this morning. I've been having a really hard time falling asleep at night for the past couple of days. On one hand I'm glad that I'm able to catch up on my sleep in the morning, but on the other hand I'm setting myself up for another night of rough sleep by sleeping in so late. It's one of those darned if you do, darned if you don't sort of deals.
In the early afternoon I went out. I had to go out. My brother starts school tomorrow and needed some Velcro to replace his broken watch straps. He had asked me to get him some a while ago, but it hasn't been on sale since he asked. Luckily, it was on sale this week, and not a moment too soon. So Hobby Lobby was one of the first places I headed when out. Before I headed out to the sewing section I checked out the scrapbook section. I was looking for a supply for a craft project I'm sort of thinking about trying. I'm still in the budgeting phase to see if the end product justifies the cost. I found what I was looking for, but I also found a couple of new things. Did you know they sell small watch parts? It's totally pandering to Steampunks, but it's actually kind of cool. I don't think I'll end up buying anything like that, but it was cool to see. But you never know, eventually I'll get back to Joe's steampunk outfit and maybe something like that could be added into the design. I also saw some cool (I assume totally fake) wind up keys. Again steampunk pandering, but I had an idea of making Charlotte a wind up doll costume. It hadn't gotten very far from the initial idea phase, but now I know where to find keys like that I can start thinking about it more. I'm not going to buy anything like that before I have things more planned out (if they ever get to that point), but it was still cool to see.
From there I moved over to the sewing section. I picked up that Velcro I needed, and a spool of yellow thread. I've been almost out of yellow thread for a while now, but since I bought all that yellow patterned fabric at the Quilting Coop, I knew that I was going to need more. So I was able to get a new spool and use the forty percent off coupon on it. I also looked around at the fabric section to see if there was anything new that I could use. There wasn't. I looked at their white and black calico to see if they had replaced the terrible bolts from the last time I was there. They hadn't. I almost bought some yellow and navy calico, but ended up not. I really don't have a specific project for them and was buying them to eventually use it, but I decided to save my money. When I actually need them I can buy them, there's no need stocking up more fabrics for when I may use them. Maybe it will motivate me to actually use some of the stuff I've stockpiled. I only spent three dollars at Hobby Lobby this week, not too shabby!
I'll spare you the details about the second hand stores, they had nothing, nada, zip! I visited all three, and left without getting anything at any of them. I guess when you keep visiting them they don't have that much time to restock!
At home I made my brother do some work on replacing his watch bands. I'm willing to help, but I am not going to let him dump that project on my lap especially since it's not like it's a project that only I can do. I did do the sewing for him, but that was super easy, especially since the black thread was already threaded in the machine. It would have taken me longer to change the thread than it did to sew the straps down. But it's over and done with, and I'm glad for that. Now I can go back to being selfish and sew only for me (and the dolls!) But if only I could think of something to sew!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Updates.

We have a little more information about M. Turns out that girl in the car with them was underage, she's 16. She was also M's daughter. The thought never occurred to me that it might be one of his children. I don't know much about his children other than the fact that there's at least six of them, from at least four different mothers. She wasn't exactly uninjured in the crash. She suffered a broken pelvis and something else that I'm forgetting at the moment. (But it could have been worse) I'm still not sure about the guys connection to either M or his daughter. They're planning an autopsy for M, so there's not much news on the funeral plans. I guess they are investigating possibly charging the driver over the accident. Time will tell.
Personally I didn't do much today. Even though I have all that new fabric I still haven't figured out what I want to do with it. I have some ideas, but nothing solid enough that motivates me to get sewing. And I'd really like to have whatever I sew with it all planned out since I don't have enough for do overs in case I mess up. I'm sure something will come to me eventually, I just hate waiting!
But I did do some sewing. A few weeks ago I found a pattern among my stash for a Pirate coat that oddly looked the right size for Joe. I printed it out, made a mock up, then started making it out of that black wool I bought a while back. I'm not sure why I decided to make it, it's not like it was something really missing from his wardrobe, but I started to make it. But I quickly got bored with it and put it away. Today I pulled it back out and did some more work on it. I'm not in love with how it's coming out, if I was making it again I would definitely do some things differently, but what's done is done. I ended up messing up the collar and instead of ripping it out I just decided I was done for the day. I'll come back to it eventually and work on it some more down the road. This is a total impulse project, so it's not like there's a deadline or anything with it. Although Halloween is coming up...
I also replied to an E-mail, one that I've been putting off since yesterday. You see, I contacted the North Carolina Barbie Group on Sunday trying to learn more about them and possibly joining them (at least one meeting). I heard back from Linda (who I believes is the head person) in a really detailed e-mail. It was a little daunting replying to everything she told me, but I felt that waiting 24 hours was busy, 48 was rude, so I wanted to e-mail her back today. I got that taken care of and sent back to her. I'm still really nervous and even thinking about it makes my social anxiety flair up, but I do want to be more social within the Barbie community. I mean I was just talking about how I felt like an outsider in the Barbie community, and this would be a way to actually meet people. They don't have their next meeting until September 8th, and I might not be able to make it, but at least I'm making the effort.
Although, just wait for September 8th's post, "A is still for Aubrey and A is still for awkward", but at least I'm putting myself out there, which is a big step for me.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

So today was a weird one.

So, my Mom's cousin died today.
My Grandmother called my mom this evening crying to tell her the bad news. She was really upset and my mother only got the news that he had been in an accident and didn't make it before she got off the phone with my grandmother because she was so upset (My Grandmother not my mother). My mother and I both have been looking online to see if any news articles had been posted regarding it. Around nine my mother found one.
Can I say, while I am saddened by the loss of this person (let's call him "M"), his death was totally preventable if he made smarter decisions? There's a bit of history with M. He's always been bit of a problem child, one who's reckless and careless actions has gotten him in trouble with the law lots of times. And while most people would be told to straighten up, his mother was always making excuses for him. "Boys will be boys", even though M was 40 and still doing this. He seemed to have a real case of entitlement when it came to stuff that belonged to his Grandfather (my Great-Grandfather). One time he went into the back lot of the property (after his Grandfather had died) and shot up a bunch of old cars that were there, even though he didn't even have permission to be there much less shooting. He would invite his buddies to use the land to go hunting, in spite of the fact that if anything happened on that land, my Grandfather (as well as his father) could be held accountable for any accidents. Just because you have the same last name as the person who legally owns it does not give you the free reign over it.
My Great-Grandfather also used to own his own company. It had seen better days, and by the 90's had dwindled down to only one store (It would have closed well before that had my Grandfather not given up his career to save it). This remaining store was on a plot of land that was wooded. Again M decided that he would have free access to this land for him and his buddies. I know at least one time that the cops had been called on him for being there and trespassing (I'm sure there might be more incidents), but he knew that he wasn't supposed to be there. But, he didn't stay away, and today it cost him his life.
Apparently he, one of his friends, and an unnamed teenage girl (meaning she was under 18) were out joyriding on a dirt road behind the store when the driver lost control of the car and smashed into a tree. His friend and the girl were fine, thanks to the airbag. M in the backseat was not so lucky. He stopped breathing at the scene, and was put on oxygen and airlifted to the hospital, where he died. The cops are still working on how the accident went down, but they know it was a high rate of speed (since it was a dirt road they'll never know the exact speed), and trying to figure out if alcohol was a factor, which I wouldn't be too shocked if it was.
And I am sad that this happened, I'm sorry for his mother, his sister, and the legions of children that he has now left fatherless. I'm also sad for my Grandmother who while not close to him, was still deeply affected by his death (She is very close to his mother). But part of me is mad at him. He was 40 years old, he should not be out joyriding, he should have known better. He also knew that he shouldn't have been there, he knew that he should not have brought his friends onto the property. In all honestly, I'm concerned about his friends suing my Grandfather even though there's legal documentation that M was not allowed on the property. This did not need to happen, at all.
And so Dear Readers, to everyone in cyberspace who may stumble upon it, please think about what may happen if you do something crazy and reckless. Because it may be the very last thing you do.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"It's ALIVE!"

So this happened this morning:And this happened this evening:Look familiar? (If you can see anything in those terrible pictures). It should, you've seen both those dolls before, just not in those combinations. This morning I was doing a Flickr search on Malibu Francie, seeing how other people dress theirs to see what I did and did not like on her. I saw a picture of a Japanese doll head on a Malibu Francie body, it looked similar to Sweet Sixteen. I thought "I wish Sweet Sixteen was on a Francie body, she'd be so easier to dress." But then I wondered, why isn't she? I have a spare Francie body, and the only people stopping me from doing it is me. It's weird, the thought didn't even occur to me. So I took off her head, and put it on the Francie body. I'm still adjusting to the change. I'm not really sure if I like it that much to keep her on it. While I like the smaller bust, the smaller proportions everywhere makes her head feel gigantic. Either way she's not keeping this body. It's the one I got from my birthday with the busted leg. If I do decide to keep her on it, I think I'll hunt down a better condition one for her. I'd love to find her a straight leg Francie body, if I do decide to keep her like that.
And that second doll came about because I had Sweet Sixteen's old body free and I cannot leave well enough alone. Even though I'm still not sure if she'll be staying on the Francie body, I just hat to put a new head on her original body. I looked through my spare heads and found that Quick Curl Kelley was the closest match to the skin tone. So I plopped her head on. Again, I'm not totally in love with it. The body is a bit more peachy than I'd prefer compared to the head, and also I'm not sure if I like having a 70's doll with the vintage style hands, it just feels weird (even though this body was produced in the 70's). I'd much rather getting a body for her that has the Mexico arms, these dolls are so ingrained in my mind using those bodies they look weird without it. If Sweet Sixteen does end up staying on the Francie body, this will only be a temporary body for Kelley too. For now I'm going to stick her away in the closet again. Since I'm trying to see how I warm up to Sweet Sixteen's new body I don't want to keep seeing the old one and being reminding this one's different.
Other than that (and spending time dressing up Sweet Sixteen in Francie sized clothing), not too much to report today. I did get an e-mail from someone interested in buying a boxed doll from me. They were curious about the condition of the box, so I volunteered to take some new pictures of it and they accepted. I sent the pictures a couple hours ago, and haven't heard back from them yet. I'm not worried or anything, it's only been a couple hours like I said. I'd really like for this doll to sell. I bought it a while ago and decided it wasn't something I wanted and I've been trying to sell it at cost for a few years now. It's expensive (compared to the other stuff I sell), and at twenty dollars would be 1/5 of my going back to the Swell Doll Shop budget. Finger's crossed for me Dear Readers that she'll be okay with the box condition and shipping won't be a deal breaker like it's been in the past.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"What are YOU doing here???"

So this happened today:It was only temporary. I had a couple dolls from the Vintage Shelf down so I could deal with their greasy faces, and since I had already messed it up a bit I decided to take everyone down so I could dust. And once I had everyone moved out and finished my dusting, on a lark I decided to see if I could take all the dolls sitting on the sewing cabinet on their shelf and pose them similarly to how the vintage dolls are usually set up. It actually worked out pretty well. There's Francie where Francie normally is, Skipper for where Skipper normally is, Mod for Mod, Vintage for Vintage, and so on. The only main differences is that there are no Ken dolls waiting to be dressed, so vintage Barbie had to go in his spot. But I was pleasantly surprised how well they all fit. Not that they're going to end up anything like that, but it was cool to see. I've since put them all back on the sewing cabinet and put the vintage dolls back in their rightful place.

I did do a little sewing today, but ended up quitting on it. I found a dress that I liked for my Bend Leg Midge. It was a cute little dress with cardigan like jacket top. I was going to use one of the fabrics that I bought yesterday for it. I did need to adapt a pattern for the jacket, but that was easy. After two quick muslin practice pieces I was comfortable enough with the pattern and cut it out. I made some progress on the jacket, but I wasn't liking how it was turning out. It just wasn't translating well from my brain to the actual garment. So I quit. Luckily the fabric I chose for it was one of the larger pieces that I bought so I have plenty still to make something else out of it. Oh well, back to the drawing board for Midge! (And everyone else)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

*Insert cute witty title here* (Because I can't think of one)

Last night after I posted my blog post I got a couple nibbles on some of the stuff that I listed over on the Dollpage. They were both for the more inexpensive stuff I listed, but at least something is getting attention. I replied to them last night, and I was hoping to be able to ship them out today, but no luck. I hadn't heard back from either person by the time I was going out around mid-day.
Yes, I was going out again. I really didn't have to, but the other day I was thinking about the last time I went fabric shopping, neither Hobby Lobby or Walmart had anything close to what I wanted. I was racking where else I could go that was somewhat local, when I remembered that there's a quilting store in town. Duh! I don't go in there very often because they're expensive and it makes my social anxiety (learned that phase recently) flair up, but since I had no other options, I decided to go again. I was hoping that it would have something somewhat similar to what I was looking for, because it was my last option in town.
But there were a couple stops before we visited the Quilting Coop. One of those was the Christian Secondhand store. There wasn't a whole lot to see there, and a lot less to buy. Their toy section has been pretty stagnant for a while now, and the fabric section hasn't fared much better. Which is a good thing I guess, saves me money. I did see something I ended up getting, but not in the toy or craft section. Since they still have a sale going on tapes and I'm still on the lookout for more orange tapes I scanned that section of the store, and didn't see any more (not too shocked since I cleared them out not that long ago). But in the card section I found something interesting. It was a pack of party invitations with Sailor Moon and the Sailor Scouts on it. I assume that it was from the mid 90s' when the show was released over here. I'm not sure how much their worth, or where to sell them, but since they were really inexpensive I could get them and worry about that later. Although I need to be careful about purchases like that, that Carebears Wrapping Paper is still cluttering up my desk, and I really need to be getting rid of things like that, not adding more to the "to-sell" pile.
After a few boring stops I won't bore you all with it was time to head to the Quilting Coop. I was a little nervous about going in, but I sucked it up and went. The person working there greeted me and let me poke around. Can I just say something? I think that every time I stop in there, there's less fabric for sale. This is my third time visiting, and each time I noticed that there's considerably less fabric then the last time I visited. So, it didn't take me too long to see everything that they had for sale, and see that all of the fabric on bolts really wouldn't work for what I wanted. But I didn't leave empty handed. They had a display set up full of bags of scraps, for 2.50 each. That I managed to find several that interested me. It was so annoying because mainly I'd find bags that I felt really strongly about one of the fabrics in the bag, and neutral at best for the other ones. I ended up selecting four of those bags to buy. So I found the woman working there, and had her ring me up. My total was 10.70, I was paying with a 20, plus exact change. BUT! She didn't have enough money in the register to give me change. Luckily I had exactly ten dollars in my wallet I could use. I didn't want to use it since it was my emergency funds, but she didn't have ten dollars in change. And I have something I'm proud of. She asked me what I was going to do with the scraps, and I answered, honestly! Usually I give a vague answer about crafts and change the subject, but this time I said doll clothes! I don't think I've ever done that before. Guys, I'm growing up!
In the car I opened the bags and saw what I had purchased. I'd say I could use about half of what I bought. Some pieces are too small or too ugly to use for my sewing. There was an entire bag that was full of scraps that I think they should have just thrown out instead of charging the same price as the other bags, they were just too small to be of much use to anybody. But I did get some that I really think I'll end up using. I will have to be careful when cutting and when sewing since I don't have enough fabric to redo anything. I'm also going to have to tailor some designs to how much fabric I have. I won't be able to get those full skirts I love out of some of those, but ultimately I'm happy with what I bought.
Want to see what ten dollars of fabric scraps looks like?
Here you go:At home you'd think I'd get down to sewing now that I have all that fabric, but I didn't. Instead I worked on more blog posts. It's just while I like this fabric and thing it will work for certain projects I have, I'm not committed to anything yet. And since I don't have a lot to spare on most of the the fabrics, I'd rather use it when I really like something. I'm sure I'll get sewing soon, just not today!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ugh, so tired.

I had a terrible night's sleep last night. I'm not even joking when I say that I'm running off of four hours of sleep today. I had a really hard time falling asleep, and while I was hoping to sleep in this morning to make up for it, but they're paving the road I live on (it's partially unpaved) there's been loud trucks barreling down the road every twenty minutes, making that impossible. So I was forced to get up and start on my day however tired I may be.
But I've been shockingly productive all day. Not for sewing, I don't have the patience for that today. You remember my telling you about taking those pictures of the stuff I wanted to sell? Well today I wrote their ads and got six things listed over on the Dollpage. There's still one that I didn't get listed yet, but I think I've done enough of that for today. I managed to clear off about half of what was cluttering up my bureau. Hopefully someone will want what I listed and buy it. I'd love to actually get these things out of my house. I have too much clutter that I want, and I certainly don't need more that I don't want! Plus more money is always a good thing.
My blog got some attention today as well. I'm still several days behind, but I'm a couple days less behind after today. Things are still a bit choppy, but eventually everything will be all caught up on. And look, just now I'm getting even more caught up! Awesome right?
Not the most exciting day, but I got a lot done. Maybe I should get less sleep more often! (I'm kidding, I'd never actually do that.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tending to my Progress Garden, not ready to harvest

Today was the kind of day where you didn't actually finish anything you worked on, but you made several strides in getting to stuff's completion.
One of those thing was finally taking several of the dolls and clothing that I've been intending to sell off my bureau and giving them their camera time. I took pictures of four dolls, two outfits, and one doll head. The pictures have been uploaded to my computer, but I haven't gotten a chance to edit the pictures or write the ads that go along with them. I couldn't do that today since my computer was already in use for a couple other tasks, and it's really not up to the challenge of running a half dozen or so programs at one given time anymore. But with the pictures done things will go much quicker. That's the part that I have to plan the best timing for. Since it's so dark in my room I can only take the decent pictures during the middle of the day on sunny days. I can write the ads and edit the pictures any time of the day. Now I just have to find the motivation to do so!
I also worked on that Joe argyle shirt again today. I thought it would be a simple fix by just taking in the side seams, but when I did that it had a weird unattractive wrinkling effect on the bottom hem. I really didn't like it, and knew the only way to fix it would be to take out the bottom hem, and the one snap I sewed, and then sew the side seams. It's like I'm cursed with having to take out snaps and redo them. Anyway, I ripped out the bottom hem, removed the snap, then took the side seams in. That seemed to help, Joe looks less boxy now (but now it looks tight in the waist). I ended up sewing the bottom seam again, but I had to remove it again. I guess adding the side seams threw off the evenness of the bottom hem. It now was much lower in the back than in the front. I ended up ripping out the hem again, then using pins to see how much I had to raise it. But I didn't bother sewing it down again. I needed a break from the project so I set it aside again. I'm sure I'll come back to it again, but with a clearer head. No need to sew when annoyed, that rarely works out.
From there I worked on the blog some more. I'm like eight days behind in my posting, and I really want to get all caught up. So if you're reading something over the past few days and I reference something like you should know what I'm talking about and you have no idea what I mean, don't worry about it. I'm hoping I'll get caught up soon and it will all make sense. I did manage to get three days of stuff published, but a lot of those were mostly already written I just had to edit pictures and add a couple paragraphs here and there. But at least I'm making progress!

Monday, August 6, 2012

One step forward, two steps back.

Good news everyone! I was able to pay my parents back that twenty dollars I borrowed from them to go to the doll shop today. I wanted to pay them back as soon as possible. I just don't like having owed money hanging over my head, it's not like they were bugging me to pay it back right away! And now that I'm all paid up, I can start saving up for my next visit! (I know, I have an addiction, but I'm not yet willing to admit it's a problem yet.) I'm hoping to save up 100 dollars before I go back, but besides my money goals, I am doing something else before I go back. It's that before I go again, I have to dress the number of dolls I bought from there. They don't have to be the actual dolls that I bought, but seven people who are sitting on the sewing cabinet right have to move to the bookshelf before I can go back, no matter when I reach my money saving goal. This little stipulation will hopefully keep me from getting overwhelmed by new dolls. Right now, there's 22 of them waiting for me on the sewing cabinet. That's more than some entire shelves over on the bookshelf! But since I got that TNT Barbie dressed and moved to the bookcase a couple days ago I only need to dress six more dolls. I've made progress on both aspects, dressed dolls and financial. Awesome!
On some sewing related news today I took another stab at that dress I messed up on yesterday. This time I ended up just lining the thing instead of using tulle. I made pretty decent progress on it. I got the entire bodice finished, I even reinforced the seams on it. For some reason the back ended up being a bit bigger than it should have been, so I ended up having to add some darts on the back. Luckily I hadn't put the skirt in when I discovered that issue so I was able to easily fix it.
I even started working on the skirt. I cut it out, and used tulle to hem it, but before I started pinning it to the bodice, I realized that it needed to be lined. It was looking really see through, and I don't want that. When I was thinking about what to do to fix this problem, I decided something, I was done with this dress. I really didn't want to bother with it any more. I just didn't care for the dress. It wasn't working for me. I really should have known it would be like this. I've been thinking about this dress for so long, but haven't actually managed to make it. When something like that doesn't excite me enough to make it when I first think about it, it rarely ends up working out when I finally force myself to make it. So I gave up. I put what I made in the unfinished project box, folded up the fabric, put that back, then put away the patterns I was working with. Might as well banish every aspect of it since I'm officially done with it.
Sometimes these things happen, at least I got that dress out of my system. And sometimes I just have to make something and have it not work out before I can fully divorce myself from it. At least now I'm officially done with it. I guess it's back looking for interesting dresses to inspire me!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Presenting!

While I let going out get the best of me yesterday, today I was determined to finish that Barbie dress, currently named "Groovy Garden Party". (I think it's cute). While it was mostly finished I still did have to do some machine sewing on it. I had to sew down the bottom ruffle for real (It was just held on with holding stitches before) and fix one of the under bust darts. Those were really simple to do, and then I could start actually finishing it. Which is exactly how it all went down.
I did my usual seam reinforcement, then adding the ribbon details to the waist, including the bow, followed by snaps. I thought I could get away with just two, but I had to add a third one because there was a little gaping going on in the backside area. I sewed up the back seam, glued the ribbons so the edges wouldn't fray, and the dress was done! Not done however was the hat.
It was mostly done. I had already trimmed off the excess threads earlier. All I needed to do was attach a ribbon around the crown to cover the stitches that hold the gathers, which is easier said than done. I just couldn't get it to look how I wanted. I eventually had to cut my losses when it was apparent that I just wasn't going to get it exactly how I thought it should look. It's passable, but if I ever remade this hat I know a couple things I'd do differently.
After that it was time to accessorize. I gave her those pink pearlized flats I bought a while back (her best shoe option), followed by a pearl bracelet. I felt she needed some jewelry, but didn't want something too showy. The bracelet is a nice mix of dressy, classy, and understated. And so finally I present to you, Co-Co Go-Go TNT Barbie in "Groovy Garden Party":I think it's adorable, and I'm psyched that I dressed a doll so early in the month. Lately I've only dressed any dolls at the end of the month. This is a refreshing change. She's already joined the collection, even though she's dreadfully close to Julia who's wearing a dress made from that exact pattern... (How gouache!)

But after I finished that I wasn't done sewing just yet. I've been thinking about a dress for my Lemon Bubblecut. I thought it up a bit ago, but haven't found the motivation to actually start it. I would need to do some pattern adapting, and I needed to make it out of super slippery taffeta so I was a little hesitant. But since I had the confidence of getting one doll dressed, plus nothing else to sew I started to work on it. I was quickly able to tweak the pattern, then got to work on the actual bodice. I was lining it with tulle to help me with the hemming at the neck hole and arm holes. I wasn't going to top stitch it (I don't have the correct matching thread), but instead I was going to hand sew them down with a hidden stitch after I made the entire bodice. And since I was working with taffeta I needed to be really careful about fraying. I ended up doing a zigzag stitch on the side seams to cut down on the fraying. It was then that I discovered that I messed up. One of the underbust darts had gotten caught and had been sewed up into the side seam. It was throwing off the fit at the waist. Since I had just zigzagged the side seams I couldn't easily undo it and fix it. Instead I decided to cut the dart free. And to keep that area from fraying I was going to zigzag it as well. But since it was such a narrow seam, using the machine on it had the opposite effect, all it did was cause it to fray terribly. And it was in a highly visible area! No way to fix that little issue. I ended up ripping up the bodice and throwing it out.
It's dead to me! That was annoying, but at least Groovy Garden Party looks adorable!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Back to Town!

I got an early start this morning, but not by choice. I was hoping to sleep in this morning, but it just wasn't meant to be. Today was the first day this week that I did not have my alarm set to wake me up... instead someone texted me roughly the same time that the alarm normally wakes me up. Sometimes I just cannot win. But in the end, it ended up working out for the best. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.
This morning I worked on cleaning up around here. While it's not as bad as it's been in the past, I'm trying to keep it from getting that bad. During my last clean up I managed to put away most of what needed to go away. That left me with a pile of stuff that I was either still working on or hadn't figured out where it was going to live yet. So for the past week or so I've just been moving that pile on and off my desk. When I needed to use my desk it moved onto the bed, and at the end of the day it returned back to the desk. Also it began to grow. Stuff that I should have put away, and more stuff I was working on ended up in it. Pretty soon I needed multiple trips to move it from my desk to the bed, and I knew I needed to nip it in the bud. So today I managed to pare it down to a much smaller pile. All that's left in it, are two dolls, a pile of paper patterns, and some muslin test clothing for those patterns. Hopefully I'll eventually break that pile further down and put it all away completely, but somehow I doubt that will happen. Keeping my room clean seems to be a near impossible task.
I didn't spend my entire day cleaning, you'd think that I'd want to start working on that dress I started, but instead I went out. The last two times I've left the house have been to visit the Swell Doll shop, and I haven't been into town for a couple of weeks now, so I figured that I was due to go out. I probably should have skipped it since it was both Saturday and the tax free weekend. There were so many people in all the stores! Not that I mind people shopping and stimulating the economy, I do however mind people who aren't mindful of when they or their carts are blocking the walkway. A couple times I got trapped by people just blocking the isles for no real reason. It's so annoying!
Anyway, I managed to hit up all three second hand stores, as well as the Antique Mall on Sunset. I checked out the doll booth at the antique store, they are the same dolls. I didn't see anything different from what's been there for the past few years. Same dolls, same clothes, same prices, same 20 percent off. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but if your items weren't selling before, do you really think that business with pick up if you move four feet to the left? Just like with the dolls in the case I didn't see anything new at the Antique mall. The second hand stores weren't much better. I didn't see anything worthwhile at either the Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
It wasn't until the United Christian Outreach Center that I found anything of interest, and even that wasn't something that was super exciting or anything. The first thing I bought was a pattern, Simplicity 8458. It's a pattern for making a cat bride and groom stuffed animal set and their mouse bridesmaids. This normally isn't my usual type of purchase, but I'm going to need formal clothing for stuffed animals roughly their size. I can't say too much about that project at the moment, but there will be more details later. I figured for the quarter this cost me it will save me much more in sanity. This way I won't have to draft my own patterns from scratch. I may had to do some adapting on it, but at least I can use this for a starting point. I don't always need to reinvent the wheel.
But that's not all I found there. I also got a magazine booklet thing. It's called "Juvenile Styles" and was edited by Mary Hoyer. Mine's from 1943 and is volume seven. It's full of knitting and crochet patterns for children, babies, and young teens. I just got it because it's cool. There is a pattern for a doll in it too (Not Barbie sized since this predates her by a good 16 years). Also on the back cover is an ad for the Mary Hoyer doll, "The Biggest Doll Value on the Market Today!". I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it since I don't knit or Crochet. I wouldn't mind framing it just for the back ad, but part of me wants to see if I could sell it. I do hate how the UCOC writes the prices on patterns and stuff like it. I've seen lots of things there I could resell, except someone used permanent marker on it. This booklet survived 69 years in decent shape until someone decided to write 25 cents on it. *Sigh* At least the doll ad is unmarked.
Also when out I stopped into Hobby Lobby. Like I said the other day I needed some supplies and to price some stuff. Unfortunately I didn't see any fabric that would work for the projects I'm working on, and the stuff I wanted to price I couldn't find in the store. Not the most successful trip by any means. I will be heading back there soon though, I need to buy something for my brother but held off this week since it wasn't on sale. At home I did learn that one of the things I was looking for was actually in a different section than where I was looking, so I can check that out the next time I'm there. Hopefully my next trip there will be more successful.
And finally I stopped into Walmart. I wanted to check out their fabric section to see if they had anything that would work for the two projects I'm looking for the right fabrics for. Sadly they did not. I found a couple things I liked, but nothing I was really in love with so I didn't bother getting anything cut there. I don't need more fabric that I might never use cluttering up my room. While I left the craft section empty handed, I didn't leave Walmart empty handed. Over in the toy clearance section there was a clothing pack from that short lived Disney Channel character doll line. They didn't do very well, so they moved into the clearance section. All they had left was one clothing pack for the Hannah Montana doll. It was marked down to five dollars, and since it had been there a while, and I was hoping it would go even lower. But my Walmart doesn't seem that keen on lowering prices even if something's been sitting on a shelf for forever. I actually couldn't find it when I was first looking for it, and thought it had sold. Turns out stuff had just been put in front of it. I did wrestle with getting it, but since the shoes fit Monster High dolls I decided on getting it. That was my final purchase of the day.
At home I was sort of disappointed with the fashion pack. I guess those Disney dolls are bigger than the Monster High dolls, body wise. All of the clothes were swimming on Frankie. I couldn't even get her feet through the pants. And while the body's must be bigger, their feet must be smaller. The purple strapped heels (which is a huge reason why I bought this outfit pack) sort of fit, if you ignore her heel hanging out. The black gladiator sandals fare a little better. Her toes hang over the edge a little, but it fits over the entire foot, even though when you look closely you can see that the Monster High foot doesn't match up that well to the molded arch of the shoe. I did have a bit of good news with it, the purple shoes, actually fit Tuesday Taylor. She's near impossible to find shoes for, and these fit well, and look pretty close to 70's style footwear. So I'd say this was a decent buy. The Tuesday Taylor shoes make it worth it. I'm planning on keeping parts of this pack and selling the rest. I'm keeping the purple dress, the purple shoes, the black shoes, and the clear glitter sock things. (Those sock things do fit Charlotte. Not sure when I'll ever use them since they're something a stripper would wear, but I'm keeping them.) The jacket, pants, shirt, all the jewelry, and the Hannah Montana magazine all have a date with the Dollpage. Even though I usually keep the stuff I get as a "just in case I need this" sort of deal, I have no interest in them. I'd rather get rid of them than keep them. At least I could use something from that fashion pack, right?
Sadly to say I didn't get a chance to work on the dress today. It's not that I'm stalling because I secretly hate it, I just didn't get a chance to work on it today. But hey, tomorrow's another day, right?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Finish what I start? NEVER!

You know how yesterday I stated that while I should work on that Skipper dress some more I probably wouldn't? Well that's exactly how that played out this morning. (Funny that, huh?) Instead of picking up where I left off on the Skipper dress I ended up doing some sewing for Joe. But in his (and my) defense, his project predates the Skipper dress by several weeks.
You may remember that I bought some blue argyle calico at Walmart the last time I bought fabric. I was planning on making him a V-neck shirt out of it, but the project stalled. I did work on the pattern, and I even made a muslin for it. A muslin that's been cluttering up my desk for the past couple of weeks. Today I decided to finally take a stab at making the shirt. Best case scenario I'd actually make it and cross it off my to-do list, worst case I'd end up having a slightly more expensive muslin and could finally throw out the original one. So after trying the original muslin on Joe and noting a couple things to change (like adding more seam allowance for the neckline), I got to work.
It actually went together pretty easily. There are a couple flaws with it, but nothing I can't live with. Most of them are in the back, so most of the time they won't be visible. I did notice some odd pulling on the back from the sleeve openings. It's happening on both sides so it's not a sewing error. I wonder if the armholes are a bit too low. I may have to play around with the pattern some to see if I can fix that issue. I know this pattern really wore on my patience when making it, but now that it's serviceable I can start doing tweaks to improve the fit further. Anyway, I didn't finish it today. I got as far as adding on one snap. While I was working on the placement for the second one I noticed that the outfit was looking a little bulky on Joe. One of the things I did when adapting this pattern was remove the side seam curve that the original pattern had. Since this needed to go over both pants and an undershirt I thought it would need to be less form fitting in order to look right. As is it's a straight line from the armholes to the waist. But since the bottom needed to be big enough to fit over his hips, and Joe's got some big ol' hips, it made his torso look very boxy. I think I'm going to have to take the sides in a little bit, and since doing that will throw off the fit in the back I didn't want to bother sewing on snaps in case I needed to change them afterwards. But I didn't do that today.
After Joe was wearing his new shirt (held in the back with pins), I decided it was a cute look for him, very Ivy League Student, but he needed some glasses. I borrowed the only pair I have from Momoko. I've done this before and they really suit his face. I'd love to have more of them, but they're hard to come by, Mattel really doesn't use them any more. I was doing some searches online to see if anyone had any for sale cheap. I ended up on a site that while not what I was looking for, ended up being helpful. It was a site that sold vintage Barbie stuff. On it there was this really cute mod (clone) outfit. It was a pretty sundress, with a floppy hat, and boot. I really liked the look of it, and thought it would look really good on my newest Mod Barbie. The only problem is was the hat. I wish I could make hats, but whenever I try, it's usually a disaster. But then I remembered something, the other day I found a pattern to make a simple sun hat. It looked like it was something I could do, but at the time I really didn't have a use for it, but now I did.
It's really quite simple, you take two circles, sew them together, flip them right side out, top stitch them, sew a smaller circle in the center of the hat with a gathering stitch, gather it up, (pushing it up to make the crown), then sew the gathers down. I did have to figure out what sized circles, but using glasses I was able to get a decent pattern really quickly. I made a quick mock up, then pulled out some fabric to try it for real. I picked that vintage Mod fabric that I bought a while ago and has only used for Julia's dress. I really don't have that much mod fabric to pick from. The hat came out somewhat decent. Learned a few things I'd fix if I made it again, but it is cute. But it's wasn't exactly what I was thinking it was going to be. I was hoping for a cute simple hat, but it looked a lot more dressy than I was expecting. Too dressy for the simple sundress I was planning on making to go with it. So I had to adapt on the fly. I changed a few things about the dress, added a few embellishments and tweaked it as I went along. I still have a lot to do on it, but I'm liking how it's coming out. If things keep going as well as they are, then TNT Barbie will be keeping this dress.
But more about that later!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another day, still boring.

Another one of those not so exciting days around here. Really not that much to report.
I did however work on some doll sewing stuff, so I have something to share with you all.

Today I made some progress on a Skipper pattern that I've been working on and off for the past week or so. It's a princess seamed dress similar to the Barbie sized ones with some obvious adjustments. I just used the Barbie sized one as a guide for the patterns shapes for this new one. Today I worked on the sleeves and the sleeves hole openings. I'm trying something new with them, and so far it seems to be working (after lots of tweaking). I made a couple of test pieces trying out the new sleeves and so far I'm liking how it's going. I do need to work out a couple other things with it, and make a couple more test pieces, but hopefully it'll end up being a useable pattern.
I even have an idea for what I want to make with it, but not the material for my idea. Sadly, I don't know if anything close to the material I want is available, much less locally. But I will check out Hobby Lobby the next time I'm in there for something that would work. I do plan on visiting there again soon, I haven't been in for a while but I have another project I need material for, a project I want to look at supplies cost for, and my brother needs some Velcro from there. So I have to go. I'm not really sure when I'll get a chance, but I'm not really all that concern. I still have to finish that pattern before me not having the right fabric becomes an issue.
I'd like to say that tomorrow I'll go back and finish the pattern, but I do have a couple other patterns that need my attention and I might end up working on those, but even if I switch projects I'll be working on something, and that's always a good thing. Although, eventually I'd like to finish one of them!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A New Month, A Fresh Start... with old faces

First up happy August everyone! Today is the day that I'm finally done talking about my purchases from the Swell Doll shop. If you have no idea what I'm talking about that's understandable, I'm literally about a week behind my posting. Don't worry, eventually I'll get all caught up, I hope.
And you'd think that with so many new dolls to sew for (again, will make sense eventually), that I'd be chomping at the bit to start sewing for them, but then you'd be wrong. Even with several new dolls I continue to be plagued with a lack of inspiration. I'm trying to not make a big deal out of it, these things happen, and last month it wasn't until the final days that I actually got anybody dressed. Sometimes these things take time. I wouldn't be able to enjoy my successes as much if I didn't have to work so hard to get there, right? At least that's what I keep telling myself.
But this lack of sewing did make me clean up some. I was finally motivated to clean off my work table, put away the stuff that's been accumulating on it, wipe it clean, move it out of the spot where it is, and sweep/dust the floors and walls around it. And let me tell you, so many spiderwebs. I haven't cleaned that spot for a while now, and they certainly took over. I had to kill a lot of them, and get rid of their egg sacs. If you stop hearing from me soon it's because the UN put me in prison for my crimes against Spider-ity. Yes, it really was that bad. But at least it's over and done with even though I'm sure those spiders will move back in soon, they work fast in the South. Like scary fast, but at least it's clean now.
I'm sorry today was such a bore, but hopefully tomorrow will be more exciting.