Tag Archives: Sewing

Blog Anniversary Presents

Wow! I want to thank everybody who commented on the blog’s anniversary post. Your kind words warmed my heart; you are why I adore being part of a blogging community. I didn’t expect anything more than your comments for the blog’s anniversary. It was a pleasant surprise when I received gifts from two awesome people to mark the occasion. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t expect it, and I feel positively spoiled by their generosity.

The day of my blog’s anniversary, my husband surprised me with this gift. He claims that it was no small feat keeping it hidden from me over the past few weeks. I have been working towards getting the last boxes of random brick-a-brack unpacked, and he claims to have moved it several times because of my productivity. Honestly, I don’t know how I could have missed this; it is huge.

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This is a Barbie Bed & Bath Fold Out Doll House from 1998. It includes a bathroom and a bedroom area. It is missing the bow on the outside, but the inside is fairly complete. The canopy over the bed is missing, but there are different variations of this toy that never had a canopy. In any case, you can see pictures of a more complete model here. It certainly is a charming, even if it has some discoloring from sun damage. Thank you, my dearest, for such a thoughtful gift.

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The house itself opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the blog. I can repaint this and make it into any number of backdrops! It could be the Tardis. It could be any number of houses featured in the show. It could be a palace or alien world. The possibilities are endless! I am going to re-watch some Doctor Who episodes with Ood in them to see if any rooms are worth recreating with this house. If nothing strikes my fancy, I will keep it in mind for future projects.

Next, I will share with you a gift from my friend Gwen. I have to start by saying nothing is more fun that getting a package in the mail that you weren’t expecting. The box arrived a few days after the blog anniversary post. The pictures aren’t the greatest because I was having lighting trouble, and I hope you can forgive me.

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I won’t lie. I have seen this guy on shelves at various stores and I have been tempted to buy them every single time. So, so tempted…. Why? Because he looks like that one character. You know the one, I think his name was Ricky. Despite the resemblance, I never could bring myself to buy one because my budget has been too tight to splurge on a new doll. It appears that I am not the only person who saw the resemblance. Gwen included a note with this doll saying, ‘He reminded me of the plastic guy from the first episode.’ Deliciously fitting for a Ken doll.

The doll itself is called Water Play Steven or Barbie Beach Steven and he is a 2015 release. Wow! He is so modern for my collection; it’s hard to believe. I know he will need a facial repaint to truly capture the essence of Mickey Smith, so he isn’t on the short list for upcoming projects. I have a back log of projects I want to do before I dive into repainting. Still, I am glad to have this doll as part of the collection. It makes me smile to think of my plastic Mickey hanging out with the dolls. It is a delightful reminder of the season that pulled me back into Doctor Who after so many years.

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Who doesn’t love a good Disney prince? Well, at least when their heads are firmly on their shoulders (I’m not bitter). This is Eugene Fitzherbert from the Disney Rapunzel movie. I liked him in the movie because he is clearly more flawed than the average prince, and who doesn’t love his name? I’ve been a sucker for Genes ever since I watched Star Trek as a child. I’m getting off track! More commonly known as Flynn Rider, this doll has a nice head sculpt that captures his character. There was sticky note on him saying ‘Lose the goatee and he will look like Jack!’ I can certainly see the smoldering resemblance between the two. I think that this doll is destined to become Captain Jack Harkness, in all his glory.

The doll is a Mattel 2014 Flynn Rider doll. While I couldn’t find a review or similar for the doll itself, this post by Never Grow Up compares him to a Disney store Flynn Rider doll. I am a little bit scared because a blurb under one of the pictures says that his pants won’t come off. I…. I feel like this is the exact opposite of the Jack we all know and love. Will it be a disqualifier? Maybe. I will have to unbox him and examine him to know for sure.

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Now, the astute reader may wonder why I haven’t unboxed these two dolls. The answer is simple: my toddler loves unboxing. I am going to save the unboxing for a snowy (do we even get snow down here?) or rainy day when we can’t go outside, so right now they are hanging out in the front closet. I am sure they’ll strike a pose with the Ood ladies once they are free of their plastic prisons.

Speaking of Ood, I have been working on the Ood mask pattern. Something just came over me yesterday and I started making notes for version 2 of the mask. If I am lucky, I will only need two versions. I won’t know for sure if version 2 of the mask will be the final version until I crochet it and see how it fits on the dolls. My wrist is doing well enough that I tried knitting with my brace off yesterday. Yay for progress! I finished one of the gloves for the first Ood doll. With some luck, I can get the other one done and posted next week.

Also… The new sewing machine foot arrived! I chose a clear version of a 1/4″ piecing foot, and it is fantastic. I have been playing around with it by piecing together scraps of fabric; it is much easier to use than the larger 1/2″ foot. I love having a 1/4″ guide as I’m working. I plan on starting on the jacket and other aspects of the second Ood later this week! I have the fabric cut, so I just need to sit down to get the sewing done. Then comes pictures and writing and everything else…. Well, the life of a blogger is never easy. Now you know some of the cool things I have queued up for the coming weeks.

Once again, I want to say thank you for everybody who wished me a happy blog anniversary. I appreciate your kind words and the motivation you give me when I read them. Ya’ll rock! Thank you for reading and I hope you have a fantastic week.

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Ood Pants, Take 4

It has begun! I have sewn my first garments for fashion dolls. It has been quite a journey. Sewing for dolls was different than anything I have sewn before. I am excited to tell you all about the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, and the creamy middles.

All sewing adventures start with choosing a pattern. I decided to use pattern G from Simplicity 1242. I was drawn to this pattern because it was simple and vintage; I absolutely adore vintage style. After browsing the instructions, I realized it was a straightforward pattern. It only required two leg pieces and some elastic for construction. After rummaging through a bin of fabric scraps, I assembled everything I needed for this journey.

I began by unfolding the thin pattern paper. This is always the most nerve-wracking part for me. With a toddler at my legs, you never know when an arm will reach up and try to rip what I’m working with. Luckily, she was more interested in her blocks than what I was doing up above. Once I had found the pattern I needed, I used white copy paper to trace the pattern. I didn’t want to cut out the original because I am certain I will be making this pattern again. I don’t like to cut original patterns, and doll clothes are small enough that I can get away with this little cheat.

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Next, I ironed out a piece of scrap fabric. It was part of a fat quarter I had leftover from making a drawstring bag. I believe the fabric is 100% cotton, and it is somewhat thin. I figured it would be a good fabric to test this pattern. First, I folded the fabric over so that it had two layers. Then, I cut out the pattern twice. I wanted to make at least two pairs of pants just in case one had problems or the sewing machine decided to eat the fabric (I love my new machine, but it did that twice when I was making curtains – eek!). The first piece I cut out was exact to the pattern. The second pair had an added 1/4″ in the waist area. Bloggers Brie and barbielea suggested adding extra space in the waist to better fit modern dolls, and I figured I should listen to their experience. Once the fabric was cut, I made my way to the sewing machine.

Before I started sewing, I read the directions that came with the pattern. They were composed of two blocks of text and two pictures; they certainly didn’t spell things out to the level I prefer. Being the visual person I am, I relied way too much on the pictures when assembling the first pair of pants. The first few steps went well. I sewed the front seam, pressed and sewed the top seam, and inserted the elastic without incident. Next, I looked at the second picture where it illustrates how to stitch the leg seams. I stitched up both legs, and then I went back to the back seam and crotch. That is when I realized my mistake. Because I waited to stitch up the back, it was hard to get the fabric to sit properly. The crotch area was particularly wonky. I read the written instructions again, and I was supposed to stitch the back seam before I stitched up the legs. Oops! I made the most of it, and when I was finished it wasn’t too noticeable on the outside. The seam is uneven when you look closely, but you can’t tell anything is wrong when the doll is wearing the pants.

Once I had the pants sewn up, I realized I had made another mistake. The bottom of the pants had a raw seam! I forgot to fold over the fabric and hem the cuffs at the bottom (where the feet come out). I looked at the instructions and I didn’t see it in the written part or in the picture. Maybe patterns expect us to know to do those things? Maybe I can’t read? Maybe I’m a total noob? I’m not sure; it is probably a combination of all three possibilities. To fix this, I rolled the fabric into the pants and pressed it with the iron. Then, I hand-stitched the hem into place. It was tedious work, but I finished it quickly due to the small size of the piece.

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This first pair looks pretty good, all things considered. This was my first attempt at making doll clothes, my first time sewing with a 1/4″ seam, and my first time using this pattern. Even with the mistakes I made, the pants fit my Ood doll! It was a bit difficult to slide them over her hips, but it wasn’t impossible. The bigger challenge was making her giant feet fit through the bottom cuffs. Even with those small problems, I am very happy with how the pants turned out.

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Because the first pair of pants were a success, I decided to do something fun with the second pair. I used a decorative flower stitch on the bottom cuffs to make them more interesting. Decorative stitches are a big advantage to having a computerized sewing machine; I wanted to utilize that capability. It didn’t take long to thread the machine and sew it into the cloth.

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Before I started construction on this pair of pants, I made sure to re-read the instructions. Between what was written and what I remembered from the first pair of pants, they came together beautifully. The final seam was much easier to sew, and I didn’t have to hand-stitch anything. I am very happy with how it turned out, and I am stunned at how little time it took to make them once I knew what I was doing. It would take me over a week to knit or crochet a pair of pants, and I was able to make two of these in a little over an hour. Huzzah!

I decided to let Snow White wear these trousers. The pink detailing seems to fit her style better than it does for the Ood dolls. I also couldn’t get them to fit the Ood dolls. The first pair of pants had extra fabric in the waste. The smaller waist works great for dolls with a teenage body, but it was too small for modern Barbie dolls. Old patterns are fun! I guess I will plan on making at least two of anything I sew so that I can adjust them accordingly.

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One big problem I felt with both pieces involved the feet on my sewing machine. None of the feet that came with my machine sew a 1/4″ seam well. The feet are all better suited for a 1/2″ or larger seam, and I found myself sewing blindly on all the curves. It was easier to sew the straight area of the leg because I could guide the fabric on both sides of the foot. On every curve, I was afraid that I would sew myself out of the fabric or I would sew too far into the fabric. I don’t like gambling, so I had to find a solution. After doing a quick search online, I found a sewing foot that is designed for assembling doll clothes. I ordered it off of eBay, and I am waiting patiently for it to make it to our home. I have decided not to sew any more doll clothes until I receive the new foot. I want to make a jacket or shirt when it does arrive. I have enough scrap black fabric to make at least one shirt, and I don’t want to ruin it by using the wrong foot.

One of the jackets included in this packet of patterns may work as an Ood jacket, after a few modifications. It is pattern E from Simplicity 1242. My only hesitation is that it looks a bit too long for an Ood. There are a few other jacket and shirt options in the other Simplicity patterns I bought. I will compare them before I make a final decision. We shall see what I come up with!

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I think I can say that one Ood will have a knit outfit while the second has a sewn outfit. I have also been playing around with a few other ways that I can differentiate them. Eye color is the first thing that comes to mind, but I have a few other ideas, too. What they hold in their hand is another way to differentiate them. One will have a hindbrain while the other has a translation orb. Before I hurt my wrist, I was playing around with different ways of making the translation orb. For now, I am stuck just looking for brain patterns online so that I can get a feel for how other people approach constructing a brain. Thus far, none of the patterns look like they can easily scale down to Barbie size, so I may be making my own pattern for that, too. Stay tuned!

What is next? Well, my wrist is still on hiatus. I am doing some exercises to help build up strength, but I get pain and cramps whenever I try to knit or crochet. The way I have to bend my wrist is putting too much stress on it. I don’t want this injury to linger, but at the same time I have a lot of things I want to craft. I am trying to do one row for the Ood shoes every night just so that I can make some iota of progress. If I keep that up, the next Ood update might be the Ood shoes for the first doll. For now, I am going to focus on writing a few more posts about our summer and the cool Barbie things we found while visiting family. Thank you for reading about my first sewing adventure! I hope you have a fantastic day.

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A New Frontier: Sewing

Wow, what a summer it has been for us. As I have said before, my family recently moved south. Moving is always a challenge, and there are always casualties along the way. This time around, my sewing machine was the biggest loss. It was a Europro I had bought at a thrift store. I think I spent $25 for it and another $35 to have it serviced and a part replaced. The people at the repair shop said it was a fairly new machine and would have cost $350 if I had bought it from their shop. I rolled the dice and would up winning with this thrift store find. It was a solid machine and it served me well for many years; I was sad to see it go. The movers did pack it well, but the box it was packed in was crushed under something heavier. This caused some bending of the case and some of the machinery inside. It made a terrible crunching sound after I powered it back up, and it was at that moment I knew it was beyond repair.

The moving company paid out a little over $100 for the value of the machine. Isn’t it fun how insurance works? It pays for how much they think the item is worth and not how much it would cost to replace it. While I certainly got my money’s worth out of the machine, I was shocked by the various options and prices for a replacement. Do I want to spend $1,000 for a good quilting machine? Do I want to thrift a new machine and roll the dice again? What brand do I want? Mechanical or computerized? Where will I get the best deal? There were so many considerations.

I didn’t take this decision lightly. I researched different types of machines, different brands, and other factors. I decided that I didn’t do enough sewing to buy an extravagant machine. I didn’t want to spend a large amount of money on an expensive new machine because we will likely be moving several more times during the lifetime of the machine (it’s just a reality of my husband’s career). I wanted something that meets somewhere between quality and affordability. I narrowed it down to a few machines I was interested in, and then I went to a local sewing shop.

The lady at the shop was very nice. She showed me several machines and gave her opinion on them. I told her my needs, and she said that a Brother machine would probably be best for my needs as an occasional seamstress. She showed me several models, and in the end I spent $150 on a Brother CS-6000i. This model has been out for several years, and it seems reliable. It has so many positive reviews; people seem to enjoy it. The lady at the shop said that she often sells this as a starter machine because it travels well (for going to and from sewing classes) and it can do a little bit of everything. She said she wouldn’t recommend making a large quilt on it, but it can do smaller projects. This fits me very well. I was impressed with the various feet and accessories it came with, too. I have used exactly 2 of them, but it’s nice to know they’re there if I ever need them. I saw a beautiful quilted pot holder on Ericka Eckles’ blog, and I would love to tackle that type of project with this machine. I am currently making drapes for our new home, and I hope to use scraps from that project to attempt a potholder of my own. We shall see how it goes!

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Over the last few weeks, I have used the machine for some minor hemming and curtains. It is a nice machine, and I look forward to using it in my home and beyond. One thing I learned from chatting up other bloggers is that you can buy sewing patterns for 11-1/2″ fashion dolls. I looked online, and I made a short list of the different patterns currently offered by the main pattern manufacturers. Then I waited. I have been around craft stores long enough to know that most patterns will go on sale for $1-$2 every few weeks, so it is just a matter of time for them to become affordable. Last week, my luck struck! Hancock Fabrics had a 5 for $5 sale on Simplicity patterns, so I went there to stock up! It was my first time at their store, and I was happy with the experience. I was able to pick up all the patterns I wanted at an excellent price.

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Simplicity 1242 (MSRP $18.95)
Simplicity 5785 (MSRP $13.95)
Simplicity 4702 (MSRP $14.95)
Simplicity 4719 (MSRP $14.95)
Simplicity 1955 (MSRP $16.95)
Simplicity S0734/1234 (MSRP $16.95)

That is a total MSRP of $96.70, and I paid $6.00 for them all. That is a 94% savings. I feel like a savings ninja! Pattern sales truly are the only way to buy patterns. I don’t see how any seamstress could afford them otherwise.

As of right now, I plan on using the pants and jacket from Simplicity 1242 for the second Ood outfit. I think that it would be interesting to have two outfits that are stylistically the same but made from two different mediums. It should also be much faster to sew an outfit than it is to knit an outfit, too. This will help me finish the Ood dolls and move on to something else. Right now, I feel like a wedding is calling me. I have many patterns from my mom that could apply to a wedding scene…. It is so, so tempting. I’ll try not to get too far ahead of myself, though. I need to focus on one character and one outfit at a time.

Currently, I am making solid progress on the knit Ood jacket. I hope to have it finished this week! With some luck, I should have it posted next week. I am excited for how it looks, but I also know that I am about to tackle the hardest part of the pattern. Hopefully the sleeves and the neck area will go smoothly. I look forward to sharing the next update. Until then, I hope you have a fantastic day.

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Cofelia’s Stockings

These stockings have been a headache, but I finally managed to finish them. Yay! I created them using this great tutorial by Adam’s Doll-Related Blog. His looked more polished, but mine will work for Cofelia’s look.

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The biggest difference between his stockings and the ones I made is that mine are open toed. Because it is quite different, I will post a few pictures of the process.

First I traced the leg, just as the tutorial said. Then I cleaned up the lines and drew a few guiding lines. I couldn’t draw a proper line from the toe to the thigh because Cofelia’s feet are too big. Instead, I drew a line from the ankle and worked with that line to create an open toed sticking. After playing around and creating a few lines for the shape of her leg, I inked the finished stocking pattern onto a fresh piece of paper.

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Next I prepped the cloth. I used an old pair of stockings. First I pressed the fabric and made sure to find an area without any flaws to attach the stabilizer. Then I attached the stabilizer. Much to my surprise, the stabilizing paper I used did not have to be ironed on. It is a peel and stick type, which was easy and convenient. That would also explain why it was ridiculously expensive. But I digress…

From there, I traced the pattern into the stabilizer. Pro tip: use a different color than the thread you are using to sew the item. I used a black pen and black thread, and it was hard to see. If I do another pattern, I will use ink that contrasts so that I don’t strain my eyes while sewing. Trust me, just don’t do it.

This next part is where I made another mistake on the first stocking. First, I forgot to attach the lace to the top before sewing the long side-seam to the stockings. I had to undo half an inch of tiny stitches so that I could go back and fix it. After fixing that, I cut and sewed the edge for the open toe with a blanket stitch and used a back stitch to sew the long seam. After that, I trimmed the fabric, ripped off the stabilizing paper, and turned it right side out.

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At this point, I tried putting it onto Cofelia’s leg. I then realized that the lace didn’t have as much stretch as the stocking fabric, so I had to rip it off and re-sew the top edge. From there, I was able to get the stocking on. With my newfound experience, I sewed a second stocking in half the time it took for the first one. The second one did have a slight problem with the stabilizer not wanting to release. There were several days between when I attached the stabilizer and when I ripped it off, and I believe this is to blame. The box says that the stabilizing paper releases best when it is attached to the fabric for an hour or less. Oops! Next time I will read closer before starting a project. Still, there weren’t any noticeable runs in the finished stockings, so I don’t need to make a third one.

I am so happy with how it looks! The shoes fit over the stockings, too. It is a big relief knowing I won’t have to make another pair. The only problem was that the open toe part was big enough to leave a gap of skin. I used a crochet hook to pull the stockings down and secure them to the shoes, eliminating this problem. It does slip at times, but for regular play it won’t matter. I did the easy fox just for pictures.

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The baby adipose are very happy with how their matron looks.

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They do still enjoy causing a bit of trouble, though.

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This leaves one final detail before Cofelia is finished: her hair. I am going to style her hair and take some finished photos! I am ecstatic; the end is so close I can taste it.

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