Gratitude

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Wandering Fashion Stash

I have a small stash of clothing left over from a former fashion doll collection. Every so often I come across it as I root around my basement storage looking for other things. I try to make note of where I saw it so I can find it again, only to search in vain the next time I want it. It's as though the box had legs capable of carrying it from one basement room to the other. I'd been on the hunt for it for well over a year without success--until it resurfaced a week ago, on a top shelf well out of my reach. Did I run upstairs for the step-ladder? You bet I did. And glad I did so.

The box contained clothing items for Tonner men and women, as well as for Franklin Mint character dolls. I found a jacket for Tonner men that looks like it will fit Model Delf Avalanche. I didn't want to take off his Highland garb so he didn't try it on. (SoulKid Yarn has been rehomed so Avalanche inherited the Scottish outfit Yarn had been wearing.) I also found a Tonner tuxedo jacket. How and when did that get separated from the shirt and pants?
Monica wearing Emme
I never had many fashions for Tonner's Tyler, probably because I bought dressed dolls and didn't change their clothes. The one outfit I have--Shakespeare in the Park--is too small for anyone currently on hand. I won't get rid of it because you never know when a future doll may come along who finds it a perfect fit. There was an outfit for Tonner's plus-size model Emme, which almost fits Raccoon girls. I'm debating whether or not to alter it. Not only is it loose on top, but when the doll is seated the high-low gown readily reveals whether or not she is wearing underpants. The shoes fit (if you like flimsy plastic shoes).
Vinyl Princess Diana fashions
Most of the stash consisted of extra outfits for Franklin Mint dolls: Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, and Laurel Empress of the Elves. I can thank a flooded basement in a previous home for the fact that I still have my Diana dolls. The flood damaged the boxes of both a porcelain Diana and the vinyl fashion Diana, so I never felt I could sell them. (The dolls themselves were on display in my bedroom and came to no harm.) That's good news for my WithDoll girls, who are now enjoying Diana's gowns. The gowns are a better fit on Priscilla, who has a large bust. They tend to engulf Emma's smaller chest. I also have Diana's wedding gown, as well as the pale blue suit that came with the doll. Although the jewelry fits WithDoll girls, I found that Diana's tiara suits Raccoon Gene's smaller head better, while the large necklace that came with Gene's pink gown works better on Priscilla, so they switched jewelry. The Franklin Mint clutch handbags are so small they look like wallets. Shoes don't work at all.
I can't see any of my WithDolls wearing Marilyn's gaudy red gown. Fortunately, the Marilyn Monroe doll is one that didn't sell--too many of them available at any one time--so I have the option of exchanging outfits. The boxed doll is wearing a cute pink and black gown that should look sweet on Priscilla or one of the elves. I don't know about the Lucille Ball I Love Lucy outfit. It's from the episode where Lucy and Vivian are on the candy-making assembly line. It would work as a waitress uniform if I ever want to pose dolls in a diner-like setting.
Ruby wearing Laurel
The final outfit available to me was one belonging to Laurel Empress of the Elves. Laurel was a beautiful doll resembling Arwen from Lord of the Rings, but because The Franklin Mint didn't have a licensing agreement for LotR they gave her another name. The outfit consists of a long green sleeveless tunic worn over a white blouse and brown trousers. Everything fits my WithDoll elves except the boots, but the tunic is a little too tight to wear over the pants. I suppose Angela could wear the blouse and trousers while Ruby wears the tunic together with the leggings and arm warmers I made for her. For now, Ruby is wearing the leggings with the blouse and tunic (above).
Laurel's tunic with my leggings & arm warmers
I have a small number of vinyl dolls left, some that did not sell, others I didn't want to part with or for whom I have no boxes. I'm beginning to see these less as a storage liability and more as an untapped source of extra fashions. I've already mentioned the possibility of switching Marilyn's two gowns. There is an Elizabeth Taylor doll with a gorgeous white ballgown. I also have a couple of Mel Odom dolls (Gene and Madra) whose outfits may fit MiniFee. I know MiniFee can wear Madra's coat.

As for Tonner's Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean), I think I'll keep him just as he is.

And before I forget, here is Raccoon Monica in the unruly Iplehouse wig after I tamed it with a hot water soak. The "before" photo follows it.
The taming of the wig
Yikes!
I've given it another soak since the "after" photo was taken and it's looking even better. I think the trick is not to blow it dry, because the dryer seemed to add curl rather than straighten the hair. I thought it would do the opposite.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

FID Claude and Raccoon Temptation Monica

Yesterday was bitterly cold, with leftover ice and snow from the day before, so I skipped the March doll meet-up. Not to worry, though. If I don't have meet-up photos, I do have photos of two new dolls to share.

The first arrival was Iplehouse FID Claude. His SID version was the first big Iplehouse doll I fell in love with, early in the Elemental Guardians series. No way could I resist that sweet face with its quirky little smile. I eventually sold SID Claude for the same reason I sold my other big Iplehouse dolls: too heavy, too hard to manipulate, impossible for me to restring. Not to mention how much display space they occupy. Then along came FID Claude. Under 50cm tall but with all the detail of the bigger version. In other words, perfect. Even so I almost didn't order him, put off by a face-up that made him look too boyish for the mini Hercules body. (For the record, FID is a slimmer HID, not a miniaturized SID.) Fortunately the B-type makeup not only looked more masculine, but resembled the makeup I wish I had requested with my original Claude, so I ordered him. How could I not?
Claude arrived a week ago yesterday, having spent a mere two days in transit. I tore into the box before the delivery man even left my driveway. FID Claude did not disappoint, although the wig I ordered did. At least it wasn't intended for him, but for Raccoon Monica, who was in transit at the time. More about the wig later. I didn't order clothing this time, just brown boots for my JID boys to free up their black boots for the FID men. A word of caution about JID shoes and boots: the boots fit FID men, the shoes don't. Boots are always a bit longer than shoes, and male FID feet need that extra length.
I gave Claude the wig I had intended for Leonard. It's odd, to me Leonard's face looks slimmer than Claude's, but whereas the wig seemed skimpy on Leonard it fits Claude just fine. The wig is James from Facets by Marcia. Most of her wigs are by Monique, but she also carries a few styles identified only as being from a Custom Manufacturer. Inside the wig is a tag that reads JF Styler.
The shirt I meant to put on him was badly wrinkled after Lawrence wore it. I did eventually iron it but for now, in a hurry to take photos while I still had good light, I dressed him in pants and shoes and got to work. Even half dressed he gamely played up to the camera.
Raccoon's Temptation Monica in Sweet Mocha resin arrived Monday. You'll remember that the first Monica I received was the wrong color. I sent her back, not minding the extra 3 or 4 weeks it would take to re-make her if waiting meant I'd get the color I wanted. Finally the shipping notice came. I had tracked her progress and knew when she was out for delivery, so I started to panic when it looked like the mail carrier wasn't going to stop. Maybe he saw me in the window or else he happened to remember he had a package, but he backed the truck to the end of the driveway and walked up. Thank goodness!
So here's where Iple's miserable wig comes in. I wish I knew how they tamed it for their photos. I couldn't make it look presentable no matter how I brushed it or tried to pin it back. It sticks out all over the place, totally uncontrolled and uncontrollable. Not only that, but sections of the first row of the cap look like there is no hair attached. It's also extremely tight on a Raccoon girl, whose head is slightly smaller than an FID woman's. That's the second FID wig I've purchased from them--both were unwearable. Their construction reminds me of the cheap wigs I bought early in my BJD collecting days. It's not the quality one expects or normally gets from Iplehouse wigs. The first photo below shows the wig on Monica. The Iplehouse wig is on the left in the second photo with a For My Doll wig on the right. She's wearing the For My Doll wig in the other photos.
Back to Monica. The Sweet Mocha is such a lovely skin color, dark but still light enough to show every detail. I had already decided that she would wear a dress I made from a Designs by Jude pattern for DeeAnna Denton called Hollywood Ahoy! I had ordered Raccoon's pink evening gown with her in mind, but Gene claimed it when I returned Dark Mocha Monica. Gene has informed me that she will not relinquish her gown, especially now that I've finally found the small stash of clothing from my old Tonner and Franklin Mint fashion dolls. (I've been looking for it for well over a year.) None of the clothes fit Raccoon or FID women but the jewelry works, so with the pink gown Gene now wears a tiara and necklace originally belonging to vinyl Princess Diana. The dresses, surprisingly, fit my WithDoll girls.
I had trouble photographing Monica and Claude together. My camera takes its reading from her and Claude ends up washed out. Granted he is pale to begin with; even so I'll need to pair him with Normal Skin girls. With a darker girl, distance shots work better than close-ups.
Monica photographed better with FID Lawrence. Iplehouse Real Skin is slightly warmer in tone than Raccoon's Sweet Mocha but the colors are otherwise closely related. They work well together.
I now find myself in the unusual position of having no dolls on order. That's not to say there are no dolls on my want list, only that any new orders will have to wait until a doll sells or my tax refund arrives.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bagpipes for Leonard

Last week after I posted FID Leonard in his Scottish Highlander outfit, one commenter suggested that all he needed was pipes. To tell the truth, bagpipes hadn't occurred to me, but once planted the idea took hold and I couldn't let it go. (Thanks, Mia!😊)

First I looked online to see if I could find suitably sized bagpipes for sale. The musical instruments site where I bought my small bouzouki didn't have any, but I did find some pipes advertised on another site as a Christmas ornament. The size seemed right, the price was decent and yet I didn't buy them. Instead I pulled up lots of images of the real thing, hoping to find a pattern. Although I didn't find one, I learned enough simply by looking that I decided to make my own anyway.
I started by assembling materials. I didn't buy anything. Heaven knows I have enough craft materials on hand to stock a shop as it is. I just went with what I had. Pictured above:
  • an image - I could have printed a diagram from the internet, except I found an image in one of my books: What's What, a Visual Glossary of the Physical World, by David Fisher and Reginald Bragonier Jr. Hammond, 1981. There may be newer editions, but for something as ancient as bagpipes it didn't matter.
  • fiberfill - for stuffing the bag.
  • glue - to hold it all together.
  • round sticks - 2 sizes, for the pipes. (Mine came from the grocery store.) I used a candy apple stick for the bass drone (the tall pipe that is thicker around than the others) and a couple of wooden skewers to cut down for the chanter, the blowpipe and the two tenor drones.
  • paints - I used black and dark brown acrylic craft paints. I painted a coat of dark brown first, then after it dried I painted black over it. I was going to use silver paint for the metal bits, but decided to use craft sheet metal instead (see below).
  • polymer gloss medium - for a bit of shine on the pipes and protection from scratches.
  • 2 paintbrushes - one for paint and a different brush for gloss.
  • wire - The photo shows a small roll of florist wire covered in white thread. This was to have wrapped around the drones to represent the mounts, but I found as I tried to work with it that the thread unraveled. Glue just made a bigger mess, so I discarded it.
  • tartan fabric - to cover the bag. I replaced this with red velvet.
  • ribbon - to connect the tops of the drones. I replaced this with a length of yellow cord (pictured below) with tassels at either end. No idea what it was originally attached to--it's been sitting in a box of notions for years. It was the perfect length so I went with it. So glad I didn't use it for something else!
  • muslin - for the bag itself. Actually the muslin was a test of the paper pattern I drew. It worked, so I used it. Bagpipe bags are usually covered with either a solid fabric or a tartan.
  • ArtEmboss metal sheet. I cut a strip about one-half inch wide. The metal is soft enough to cut with scissors and folds easily. I folded each long edge under by one-eighth inch, so that my final width was one-quarter inch. The folds make it thicker and the edges are smooth so I won't cut my fingers. I cut the long strip into pieces just big enough to wrap around each pipe. Although the metal looks gold in the photo, the color is pewter.
  • fancy braid - to decorate the end of the bag cover. It should be a fringe, but I didn't have any.
  • jump rings - my substitute for the florist wire. I used jewelry making tools (a cheap set acquired for doll projects) to open the rings enough to insert them and them clamp them shut again.
  • miscellaneous - scissors, sandpaper, craft knife, wire cutters, ruler, needle and thread, etc.
The finished pipes. From left to right: tenor drone, tenor drone, bass drone, blowpipe, and on the bottom: chanter. I admit to a somewhat unscientific approach to positioning my pipes. I made the bag, stuffed it, sewed it shut, and then jabbed the pipes into it. When it came to putting the bag cover on, I had no way of transferring the holes to the second fabric so I made new holes where I thought they should go. They didn't line up exactly--if at all. If I make another set I'll mark the placement of each hole on the pattern.
And here are the finished pipes in use. They probably could have been slightly bigger. My bass drone couldn't have been any taller unless I cut it from a dowel, because what you see is the actual length of the candy apple stick, minus about one-quarter inch that's sunk into the bag. I did find measurements for standard size pipes on one website, but when I converted them to doll size the resulting instrument would have been way too big. It is what it is.
In other news, FID Claude arrived yesterday and I'm expecting Raccoon Monica tomorrow. I'll discuss them next week unless there is a doll meet-up next Saturday. Or if there is a doll meet-up and snow, in which case I won't go.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Leonard Joins the Scottish Highlanders

I knew as soon as Lawrence arrived that I wanted to dress at least one FID man as a Scottish Highlander. Not Lawrence, however; he simply doesn't give me that Highlander feeling. Maybe Leonard or Claude. After living with Leonard for a week, I decided he would work.
The kilt essentially is a wrap skirt with pleats around the sides and back. You take a wide rectangle and fold it into even pleats leaving an unpleated section at either end. When worn, the unpleated sections overlap resulting in a flat front. These flat panels each get a pair of small darts at the waistline to accommodate the curvature of the waist. Add a long strip of fabric for the waistband, wide enough to fold over and trimmed to fit at the ends, and voila! That's all there is to it. The length is up to you. I leave the hem unfinished, merely pulling threads for a slight fringe at the bottom.
The fly plaid is a simple square. All I do to finish it is to pull threads all around to give me a short fringe. The fly plaid should be bigger than the one I made. The fabric was left over from another project and I didn't have enough to make it larger. I raided my jewelry box for brooches. I found a couple of Scottish brooches with amethysts in the centers; the stones clashed with the red tartan. The gold-toned brooch is not technically Celtic, but close enough. The brooch with the blue stone is Scottish. It's large, quite heavy and tends to pull the plaid down, but we use what we can find. And seeing as there is a thin blue line in the Glenn plaid, I had to go with the blue.
I gave Leonard the shirt I had made for Idealian51 Cuba and made a new one with slightly longer sleeve cuffs for Cuba. I also made both shirts slightly longer in the body than the pattern called for to make sure they wouldn't pop out of the waistbands. The shirt is from the Dandy pattern (Tamara Casey for Designs by Jude) designed for Tonner's 19-inch Mortimer Mort and Peter Pevensie. I omitted the jabot and the lace on the cuffs as I wasn't going for the dandy look.
For fun I decided to make a short vest. The Dandy pattern includes a long waistcoat, so I traced it onto tracing paper, stopping a little below the waist. As it was my first time using these pattern pieces, I made a muslin first, sewing the back and shoulders and basting the sides. It was a perfect fit so I kept the muslin for my lining and cut new fabric for the main vest. I sewed buttons on, only to discover that I had to nudge the fly plaid out of the way in order to see them. I guess the burning question is: how much do I want to show off the buttons?
I've spent the last few days searching online for the perfect wig. Why is it the ones I like are either the wrong color or the wrong size? I looked through my growing stash of size 5-6 wigs and came up with a Monique Gold Shaine, which I bought for my Raccoon girls. No matter how I comb it, it never hangs right. It's not like pulling it back and tying it will ruin its style. I had been looking for a red or a brown wig for Leonard, so I'm surprised the blond works, despite his dark eyebrows. As for Cuba's Ello-Rose wig, those wavy curls are impossible to brush or comb. What a mess! All I can do is spray it with water, re-tie it and hope for the best.
I still need to make flashes for Leonard. These are bits of colorful fabric attached to garters that help hold the socks in place. I made a pair for Cuba but they don't stay up; I need to fix them. On the other hand, the kilts are long enough that the flashes don't show so I wonder if I should even bother.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Iplehouse FID Leonard

I had a feeling Leonard would arrive after I posted my Valentine's Day couples--and he did, by one day. Considering all the snow that fell beginning last Sunday afternoon, I'm amazed that he arrived at all. But he's here, and so are the two outfits and wig I ordered with him. I had worried that items (like the wig) which have since sold out would cause a delay while Iplehouse restocked. Instead it looks like they may have set aside everything ordered at the same time as the doll. I hope so. That means Claude should show up in another few weeks, despite the presence of sold-out boots and wig on his order.
FID Leonard and Raccoon Gene
Now that I see Leonard with my previously ordered Lawrence, I wish I had ordered Leonard in real skin and Lawrence in normal skin instead of the other way around. It's hard to choose when Iplehouse shows the dolls only in peach gold and light brown. My imagination can take me only so far. Claude will be coming in normal skin also, instead of the real skin and peach gold Iplehouse shows. Fingers crossed! Of course with FID Claude I have the memory--not to mention lots of photos--of the normal skin SID Claude I used to have, so there shouldn't be any surprises.
FID Lawrence and FID Leonard
On to the clothing. I ordered two outfits with Leonard: the Vintage Road Set and the Black Tuxedo Set. I'm a little nervous about the Vintage Road Set. Blue denim coupled with a black pullover is a recipe for staining. I could have washed the jeans before putting them on a doll, but I was afraid they would shrink. Clothes from Iplehouse are usually skin tight to begin with. After some thought I put the Vintage Road Set on Lawrence, as he is the only doll I ordered in real skin and is less likely to show stains than the other two. I already have the tuxedo on Leonard, which leaves the gray pants and shirt for Claude.
Leonard with Raccoon Sarah
The Tuxedo jacket and pants are a good fit. In fact, the pants are even a wee bit loose, so there is room to tuck in the shirt. Like the gray shirt, the tuxedo shirt is tight enough that it gaps in front. The cummerbund, which is supposed to cover the pants waistband, is too tight. Why did Iplehouse put belt loops on the pants? There is no belt. I'm left to wonder if the cummerbund might fit if I removed the loops. It will take a fair amount of work to do it right, so I want to be sure before I attempt it. There is no possibility of adjusting the cummerbund itself, as it closes with Velcro strips. Maybe if I get brave (or bored) someday I'll simply make a new cummerbund. For now I have the cummerbund sitting above the waistband. I can just barely fasten it.
That leaves the tie. A simple little item, no? A small bow with two ribbons to fasten it. Two ribbons so long that I ended up with a much larger bow in back than in front, way too much ribbon to tuck neatly under the collar. What to do? I snipped some of the length off the ties, folded the ends under and sewed a snap set. I'm not sure the ribbon won't unravel at some point, so I think I might make a new tie by attaching a small ribbon bow to a piece of black elastic. I don't know. Considering how much Iplehouse charges for a complete outfit, shouldn't the outfit 1) be complete and 2) fit in every respect?
Leonard with Raccoon Sarah*
I had a bit of a struggle getting the Vintage Road Set on Lawrence. At first it looked like the pants legs were too narrow to go over his feet but I was able to stretch them enough to get them up. Too bad these guys can't tuck in their butts--I could have used a little help easing the pants over them. The pullover sweater needs to go on carefully. I put one sleeve on, then the neck, which made it awfully hard to maneuver the second sleeve. Probably it would work better to put both hands in, ease on the sleeves and then pop the head through the opening. It would help if the shoulders were not quite so wide. Thankfully he can get into it, which is more than I can say for the shirt Soom sold for Idealian51.
FID Lawrence and FID Miho**
After I put on the bracelet I was left with a mystery piece. I didn't remember a necklace with this outfit. Finally I went back to the website to see what it was. I think this is what Iplehouse calls a decorative belt. It appears to attach to either the belt or the belt loops. None of Iple's photos show exactly how and where, because the sweater comes down over it. Thanks, Iplehouse. At least this outfit comes with a belt.
FID Miho in Navajo
A final word (or more) about wigs. Leonard's dark blonde wig is a James from Facets by Marcia,  made by a custom manufacturer (not her usual Monique Gold). It's a lot tighter than I like, and because it has less hair it makes his small head look even smaller. I think I'll reserve it for my first Raccoon man, whenever Raccoon Dolls gets around to releasing one. Leonard's fuller, reddish wig is from FairyLand. It was sold as a wig for LittleFee but I always found it too tight to get on mine. Occasionally one of my Raccoon girls will wear it; for now I think Leonard will keep it. The wig I bought from Iplehouse is a mess. Not only is it tight, it was poorly cut. Granted I am no hairdresser, but I will probably give it a trim and see if I can salvage it. Heaven knows I can't make it much worse. When it comes to wigs the FID men appear to fall between sizes 5-6 and 6-7. I would be tempted to buy a Jpopdolls wig size 6.25, if only she sold some in a style more befitting a man. The only style currently available is Kanalong. In my opinion it's just too long.

All the girls pictured are wearing wigs by Monique Gold as sold by Facets by Marcia. Gene's wig is Faye in reddish brown, Sarah's is Pretty Girl in carrot red, and Miho's is Navajo in brown black. Because it's so tightly braided, this wig did not fit her at first, so I let Gene stretch it for a month or so. Now it's perfect. Hmm, maybe I ought to let the girls stretch my men's wigs, too...

*Sarah is wearing the gift dress that SoulDoll sent with the purchase of Vito Freya. It's a little loose on top and might work better on a doll with a larger bust. I believe all my Raccoon girls have the small bust. I'll have to try it on FID Miho for fit.

**Miho is wearing an Iplehouse sweater and leggings made for JID girls. Because the leggings were short for her, I crocheted some leg warmers. She needs boots.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

For Valentine's Day

Yesterday morning I awoke to the sound of a snowplow scraping the road. That's all it took to convince me that I would be missing yet another doll meet-up. It's a fact: the older I get, the less I care to venture out on snowy roads. Whether the snowfall is minimal or a full-blown blizzard, I don't like to drive in it.

My dolls, however, were dressed for a Valentine's meet-up. What to do? I didn't have the heart to disappoint them, so I took photos anyway. I present them today in place of the meet-up photos I would have taken yesterday.

Brianna, a FeePle60 Cygne, would have made her meet-up debut--all by herself because she doesn't have a sweetheart. (My one F60 boy now has three girls to choose from. He'll stay undecided if he knows what's good for him. It keeps the girls on their best behavior.) I did make her a heart-shaped pillow for Valentine's Day. I think her wistful expression says it best: a pillow is a poor substitute for a warm-blooded lover.
She is wearing Zaoll Luv's full set outfit, a nice fit even though she is a few centimeters taller than Luv. Her wig is from Jpopdolls.

Luts Model Delf Annette also would have made her meet-up debut. She is paired with Model Delf Avalanche, who is beyond thrilled finally to have a girl made especially for him. Her outfit is by Sadol; his is sewn by me from a combination of Adams-Harris patterns that I originally made for a Limhwa Mono or a U-noa boy (I don't remember which but both boys wore it). Their wigs are from LeekeWorld.
I love how well engineered their bodies are, which puts me in a quandary right now. Do I buy the newest Model Delf boy or wait for Raccoon's promised male dolls. If the Raccoon guys don't appear soon, I know where my money is going.

Then we come to my odd couple: SoulDoll Vito Jin and Dollmore Zaoll Luv. I keep them together because of their heights; otherwise, their head sizes and overall proportions are a mismatch. I would love to find a girl that looks better with him. There was SoulDoll Vito Freya--a perfect match who unfortunately didn't stay very long. If I could find a girl with most of Freya's proportions (minus the bounteous booty)...well, bye-bye Luv.
Jin has a new wig, a Monique Gold Buttercup in chestnut/brown black. His outfit combines a Doll Heart shirt and vest with Dollmore Zaoll jeans and Iplehouse nYID shoes. Luv's outfit combines a blouse from an Adams-Harris pattern for SD girls with an Iplehouse JID jumper. Her wig is from LeekeWorld.

But what's this? Uh-oh! Trouble in paradise!
The head size is right, but she is quite a bit shorter than he is. Still, I can't deny he looks interested. So does she. And I have seen many human couples where the girl is much shorter than the boy. We'll have to watch this and see what develops!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Cutest Doll Crochet Pattern Book

Perhaps I should have titled this: The Cutest Doll Crochet Pattern Book I Have Found to Date. Truth be told, most of the books of crochet patterns for dolls that I've found focus either upon 18-inch play dolls or upon amigurumi. A quick browse of Amazon books shows me some new titles I didn't see the last time I looked. Even so, none of them consider ball jointed dolls, much less tiny BJDs, so basically I am on my own in figuring out how to adapt the patterns. Before I get too far ahead of myself, here is the book, by Isabelle Kessedjian:
A caveat for users in the US: the crochet terms in the book are UK/European. I copied the author's chart showing US and UK equivalents onto a card that I can use as a bookmark, for when I need a reminder that dc in this book equals single crochet, not double crochet as I would normally expect. Another caveat, this for everyone: there is no gauge given. You're given the weight of the yarn and the size of crochet hook used. The only way to know what size garment you will end up with is to make one and see! The same goes for using different yarn or another size crochet hook. This appears to be intentional, a matter of the author letting each individual decide for herself what size her doll will be. Yes, but it's also just a tad frustrating.

That said, the projects are adorable. You get not only the doll with a variety of costumes and accessories, but also props like a suitcase with a blanket and pillow, a basket, a cake and cupcakes, a camera and a schoolbag. You also get amigurumi pets such as a toy bear, a penguin and little fish. I don't foresee many little fishes in my doll world unless my dragons like to eat them, but I can't wait to try the bear and penguin.
My intent in buying the book was to use the patterns to clothe my smaller BJDs: FairyLand's Realpuki and PukiFee, WithDoll tinies, and Doll Chateau Ada. I own two pairs of tiny trousers that someone knitted for Realpuki. Every time I look at them I wonder how the maker did it, because I have never seen knitting needles that would produce something so small. Since then I have found metal crochet hooks that tiny. Whether I can see well enough to use them is another matter, but hope springs eternal, as they say.


I decided to make a test garment to check for size and also to see how well I could follow the instructions. I selected the sweater, as it forms the basis for coats and dresses, and started with Aunt Lydia's Classic 10 crochet thread and a size B (2.25mm) crochet hook. Bad choice. The sweater, like many of the other garments, is crocheted in the round, but no matter how many times I tried, I couldn't keep my chain straight as I worked the foundation row so that I consistently ended up with my slip knot one row above my hem. Undaunted, I switched to Aunt Lydia's Fashion 3 crochet thread and a size D (3mm) crochet hook. It wouldn't give me the size I ultimately wanted, but at least I would be able to see what I was doing. After getting the same results several more times, I gave up working in the round and decided to make a sweater that would close via buttons or a Velcro strip.
The sweater looked fine until I reached the armholes. Suddenly I realized that despite having exactly the number of stitches in my row that the pattern called for, the resulting garment was not going to fit any doll in my collection. Oh well, I told myself, I need the practice. So I continued making the first sleeve, which seemed much thicker and wider than those in the book's photos. I had to see what it looked like on a doll. I picked a LittleFee. Hmm... If I made the sleeves shorter than the pattern called for she could almost wear it. Of course, it was too long for a sweater, but it might work as a coat or a bathrobe. Maybe add a fuzzy yarn as trim around the edges. So I did just that, using Patons Cha Cha for the trim. (Note: eyelash yarn is not easy to crochet.) I crocheted a quick belt from the Fashion 3. And here it is:
I've learned a few things from making this test garment. 1) Except for hats, forget about working in the round. 2) I need to get comfortable with Aunt Lydia's Classic 10 and a smaller crochet hook. 3) All of these patterns will need some adjustment to fit my dolls' differing body types.