Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a


This precious little one from Fairyland arrived just in time for Christmas.  She is PukiFee Basic Zoe, and although I seem not to have jotted her stats anywhere, I seem to recall that she is 15 cm tall (just under 6 inches) and wears a 5-6 wig.  The wig size is important.  It's the reason I bought the doll in the first place.
Charo the chihuahua seems to be thinking:  At last!
Someone to play with who is more my size.
You see, I bought a wig on e-bay.  It was adorable, just the style for a LittleFee, and the perfect size:  6-7.  That is, it was supposed to be a 6-7.  In actuality, it was more like a -6.  (I know, there is no such size, but that is how it fit.)  None of my dolls could wear it.  I tried it on every Little and every MSD known to wear a 6-7, and it did not fit a single one of them -- not even Rosette Marguerite, who has a smaller head than the others.

PukiFee Zoe with LittleFee Ante Elf.  The
family resemblance includes elf ears.

Now some people would return a wig that doesn't fit.  The thing is, I really really liked it.  It's good quality -- it's just a tad small.  And I didn't want to mail it overseas, as I would end up paying more in postage than the wig cost originally.  So I did what any other bjd-fanatic would do in such a case -- I ordered a doll to fit the wig!

As I didn't feel like waiting two months for a doll to come from Korea, I ordered an in-stock doll from Denver Doll Emporium.  Zoe arrived within the week.  I knew there wasn't time to get a pattern and sew something before then, so I ordered an outfit at the same time.  So, I can't take credit for the little pink bloomers and white bib.  There is a hair bow, too, but as the wig already came with a pink ribbon, I haven't tried it on her yet.

A new charge for nursemaide Marguerite.

The irony of it all is that the wig is a bit large for Zoe.  (What size is this thing?)  I'm hoping that a wig cap will help keep it on her head.  Even so, it's a lot of hair for a little girl.  She already has a large head compared to her body.  It makes her top-heavy.  I will eventually buy her a wig that is more to scale.  I'm hanging onto the red wig anyway.  Who knows?  Someday a doll will arrive at Resin Corner and find it a perfect fit. 

Little Shiwoo shows off his stuffed moose as Zoe and Charo look on.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Resin Corner Welcomes Iplehouse JID Asa

Ball Jointed Woman is so bad.  I went to the Iplehouse website earlier tonight to check some of my facts and ended up placing another order.  I had to do it now:  the order period ends the day after Christmas.  IH's new BID Byuri will make a perfect little brother to Asa...but I am getting ahead of myself.

Two months ago I ordered JID Asa Special Edition.  She is a 43 cm Junior Iplehouse Doll with "real skin," which turns out to be a warm caramel color, almost a light tan.  What distinguishes her from the other IH JID girls is her eyes, which are 10 mm, unlike the others who have 12 mm or 14 mm eyes.  This makes her facial proportions less doll-like and more human.  More "real" if you will.

Asa/Anastasia wears an Iplehouse wig in a color
called burlywood.  It's a mix of brown and blonde strands.

She is also different in that she is the JID version of one of Iplehouse's larger girls:  EID Asa, a statuesque 65 cm Asian beauty who has been offered in two sold-out special editions and is now available in a basic edition.  (EID = Elder Iplehouse Doll.)  The larger Asa also has smaller eyes than her fellow EID girls.

Another Iplehouse wig.  The color is saddle brown.
Her eyes are a light violet.

Iplehouse ships via EMS.  I received the shipping notice last Tuesday; on Thursday there was a notice taped to my door that the package was at the Post Office.  Halfway around the world in less than a week.  That's fast!  My letters and cards to Canada take much longer than that, and I'm very near the border.

I collected Asa (whom I have renamed Anastasia, because I associate Asa with a man's name) Friday on my way to work.  She spent the day in my car in below-freezing temperature.  It took a long time after I got home for her resin to warm up to room temperature.  The extreme cold seems not to have done her any permanent harm.  I did have some trouble, while she was still cold, keeping the small resin hand ring inside her right wrist.  This is a "C" shaped part that slips over and hides the "S" hook at the end of her hand.  It gives the hand-wrist connection a more finished look.  I'm guessing that the cold shrank the resin a tiny bit.  There has been no slippage since she warmed up.

This wig reminds me of an old TV ad for hair color:
If I have only one life to live, let me live it as a blonde.

Anastasia and I spent Friday night trying on wigs.  Her head size is 7.2 inch, so she wears a 7/8 wig.  Tania is the same size, and yet the wigs seem to fit the two girls differently.  I'm guessing that eye size has something to do with it.  A wig with long or heavy bangs can make Anastasia's eyes all but disappear, where it has little or no effect on Tania.  Eye makeup plays a part, too.  Tania's Cristy Stone faceup features dark liner and heavy lashes.  Anastasia's eye makeup is more natural.  I had to look very closely to determine if she had eyelashes at all.  (She does.)

The burlywood wig close up.
I did not order the full-set clothing offered with JID Asa.  Thanks to Tania, I already had some clothes for her to wear.  I chose a white sweater and white boots, and made a skirt to go with them.  It's the same skirt pattern I used recently for U-noa Sist (Haute Doll August 2010 issue).  Because IH girls are somewhat thicker in the torso, I added an inch to the skirt yoke.  I wanted to make sure there would be enough fabric to overlap for the snap sets.  Looking at the fit of the finished product, I could have added a half-inch instead and still had plenty of room for snaps.

I made this skirt in black for U-noa Sist.
Now, about her little brother...  Byuri is a Baby Iplehouse Doll, about the same size as Fairyland's LittleFees.  He was introduced as one of the first two dolls in IH's new Elemental Guardians series.  The cloud costume didn't thrill me, so I selected his outfit from the other BID clothing IH offers.  I'm afraid you'll have to wait for more details until Byuri makes his appearance at Resin Corner.  Shall we say two months from now?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Dress for Little Fee; a Wig for Dharma

A Dress for Little Fee

In a recent post, I showed Little Fee Ante Elf in a fairy-print dress that was decidedly big for her.  She was happy enough to wear it, despite its size, because she loved the fairies.  I was still debating what to do about it when I came across a new pattern from Adams-Harris called Ridinghood LittleFee.  Aha!  A basic little girl's dress with bonus features of a pinafore apron and a cloak.  I should be able to get a variety of outfits out of this one.

There was one catch.  Ante insisted on having the fairy print, even though I didn't have enough of the fabric left for a whole new dress.  We compromised.  I had a sweet little strip of pastel stripe fabric, along with the remnant of the fairy print.  I combined them.  The fairy print shows up as the hemband of the skirt and the sleeve cuffs.  Then, because the print didn't show up as prominently as Ante would have liked, I cut out one of the fairies and appliqued it to the front bodice of the dress.

Now, either my seams were a little too generous or Ante has been eating too much ice cream, but this dress came out quite snug.  The sleeve cuffs were so narrow that we had to remove her default hands and replace them with her fists in order to get them on.  Luckily changing hands on Little Fees is easy.  The wrist hooks onto the stringing elastic, then a tiny magnet attaches the hand to the wrist.  To change hands, give the hand a quarter turn to escape the resin notch inside, then simply pull off the hand.  The new one snaps on and Voila!

I bought the same Ridinghood pattern sized for Unidoll Momo.  That one will be for Kay Wiggs' Millie.  I also bought a new Millie pattern from MHD Designs called Simplicite.  And a Patchwork Pansy pattern called Mischief promises to fit both sizes of little doll.  It seems my little ones can look forward to lots of new dresses in the future.  Now if only I could find something for Little Shiwoo...

A Wig for Dharma

This week I received a gorgeous curly blonde Dollmore wig that I won on e-bay.  It was supposed to be a size 7-8, but the seller said it didn't fit her IpleHouse JID girl, who wears a 7-8.  I bid on it anyway, figuring that with dolls of several different sizes, it was bound to fit somebody.  Out of curiosity, I tried it on my IpleHouse Tania.  The seller was right -- it was much too small for her.  I tried it on two of my Soulkids -- too small again.  Undaunted, I tried it on U-noa Lusis.  Somewhat big there.  It might possibly fit with a wig cap, but I didn't have one handy at the time.  I tried it on Supia Yan.  Same thing.  Maybe with a wig cap.  Why can I never find a wig cap of the right size when I need one? 

Then I looked at Pixiez Dharma.  Why not?  And at last, we have a fit.  It's a very heavy wig, with a lot of hair cascading down the doll's back.  The bangs are also quite long in front.  It makes me wonder what doll it was designed for.  That heavy hair makes the wig slip backward.  Again, we're going to need a wig cap to make sure it stays on, but Dharma has put me on notice that she is keeping it.  Not only that, but she feels that such a magnificent wig deserves a new and fabulous dress.  That may take a little longer than finding a wig cap, my dear, but I'll see what I can do.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Perfect Fit for Rosette Marguerite

At last!  A new outfit for poor Marguerite. 

I feared I would never find anything to fit her.  Then one day while going through a box of non-BJD stuff, I came across an evening dress for Tonner's Tyler Wentworth.  I had tried Franklin Mint fashions on Marguerite without success.  Could this one possibly work?  It was ridiculously short on her -- I think it came to her knees -- and it was tight around the hips, but the top fit perfectly.  It was sleeveless, so I wasn't sure about the arm length.  There was only one thing to do.

Making a muslin prototype to check for fit
I bought a pattern on ebay from the Fletcher Pattern Company.  Called Safari for Tyler, it consists of a long-sleeved blouse and a high-waisted, long flared skirt.  I hoped the flare would start high enough to accommodate Marguerite's hips.  And I wondered how the blouse would fit.  I cut out and basted a muslin prototype.  In my eagerness and haste, I sewed a few of the skirt sections wrong side out.  It doesn't matter, I kept reminding myself, it's just for fit.  As soon as I saw that it would indeed fit, I laid out my fabric, cut it out, and set to work.

The pattern does not call for lining the skirt.  I chose to line it rather than finish so many raw seams.
At first I had thought I might keep to the safari theme in my choice of fabrics.  Then I looked deeper into my stash and considered calico for a prairie settler look.  But when I came across some Asian prints I knew I had to make the outfit as a marriage of Eastern fabric and Western style.  Even better, I had recently ordered Marguerite a new wig from Soom (Korea) and the color was perfect with the fabric.

Adding the collar to the shirt
Out of her Victorian white ruffled dress, Marguerite looks like a different girl.  And now that I know Tyler fashions can work for her (I didn't need a single alteration to the pattern or the garment) I will be able to flesh out her wardrobe.  She will never be able to wear Tyler's slacks or straight skirts.  I wouldn't know where to begin lengthening a pants pattern to fit -- Marguerite is all legs!  (The Rosette girls measure 47.5 cm tall, with a leg length of 29.5 cm.)  But there is nothing easier to sew than a basic skirt, so I should be able to wing it even without a pattern.

I added lace trim to lengthen the skirt.  The belt is a piece
of orange trim finished with a tiny belt buckle.

A word of caution to anyone else who is eager to try this:  Marguerite has what Rosette/Soom calls a lady body.  She and Fir are the only two Rosette School of Dolls girls with this figure type.  The other dolls have the flat-chested girl body (14.3 cm chest for the girl and 16 cm chest for the lady).  If you use a Tyler pattern for the girls you will need to remove the darts and adjust the bodice for the resulting extra fullness.

Millie admires the new look
One of these days I will order Marguerite another pair of shoes.  That way her feet won't be a dead giveaway when they appear to one side of a photo, as they did in the Mid-Week Sneak Peek.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Perfect Fit for Millie

This past week Millie enjoyed her first Thanksgiving Day at Resin Corner.  One of the things Millie was thankful for was her very own dress, made for her instead of borrowed from one of the Little Fees.

The pattern is called What a Girl Wants, Momo from Adams-Harris Patterns, one of four patterns designed for Unidoll Tiny Momo.  It's a sweet dress with a big white collar that falls all the way to her waist.  A ribbon belt goes around her waist and is threaded through two buttonholes at the bottom of the collar to tie in a bow.  Adorable!

The dress was simple to make, although I did experience some difficulty in making the buttonholes in the collar.  My sewing machine has a buttonhole attachment.  Not that it's doing me any good, because I have never learned to use it.  I ended up making the buttonholes by hand.  The bow hides the buttonholes, so everyone is happy.

Pattern pieces laid out
If you study the above photo, you will notice something odd about the pattern.  The skirt pattern piece should read "Cut One on Fold".  It doesn't and I didn't.  In hindsight I should have known better.  I've made enough skirts and dresses to know that the pattern piece always goes on folded fabric -- unless the skirt is a simple rectangle whose dimensions are given without a pattern piece.  Luckily I had sufficient leftover fabric to cut another skirt on the fold.

The bodice pattern pieces are marked "Cut 2" for the front and "Cut 4" for the back.  This makes sense only if you are lining the bodice with the same fabric as the dress itself.  If you are lining in a different color -- I used a white batiste -- the markings would read "Cut 1 fabric and 1 lining" for the front and "Cut 2 fabric and 2 lining" for the back.

From the top:  finished collar, joined bodice and lining pieces.
Millie also got a new wig and shoes.  Both items came from Luxour Academy; both have sat unused since their arrival because they did not fit the other little dolls.  The socks came from a pattern for Little Fees.  I should have made them smaller to accommodate Millie's thinner legs.  On the other hand, socks that slide and bunch seem to go hand-in-hand with childhood.  There is something oddly endearing about them.

Little Fee Ante Elf also got a new dress this past week.  Unlike Millie, she was less successful with fit.  I used a pattern called A Flutter of Fall by Maryanne Oldenburg that appeared in the October 2009 Doll Crafter & Costuming.  I confess I did not compare the pattern doll's measurements with Little Fee Ante's.  I saw that it was a pattern for a 10 inch doll and assumed it would fit. 

Never assume!  When in doubt, make it in muslin first and check for fit.  The bodice was way too big and there is just too much skirt.  The sleeves were good.  Any narrower and we wouldn't get her hands through them.  I would start over but the fabric was a fat quarter; there isn't much left.  It was such a cute print, too, with small fairies all over it to go with Ante's elf ears. 

On the other hand, I have a cute pattern for a romper.  I'll make it and we can ditch the dress altogether.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Souldoll Sisters

Originally I planned to title this post Soul Sisters.  I realized it might generate a lot of traffic looking for something other than BJDs, so I decided to be more specific.

I have recently acquired my third Soul Kid, the second to turn up on ebay.  Her name is Ahee (if anyone knows the meaning of this Korean name, please let me know in the comments -- thanks!) and she came on Souldoll's double-jointed body.  This means that I now have one of each body style:  the old body (Linn), the new general body (Mayu) and the new double-jointed body (Ahee).

All three bodies have one thing in common:  they are very tightly strung.  The dolls arrive sitting in their boxes, hugging their arms to their bodies.  Linn took three years to loosen up.  She is still tight and still loves to sit, but her movements are no longer as extreme as they once were.  Mayu can be locked into position without too much difficulty.  Even so, she will cross her arms upon any attempt to pose them.  Ahee brought her knees up so many times as I was trying to dress her that it occurred to me to make her an Irish step-dancer's costume and let her kick to her heart's content.

As I am no longer the novice I once was where BJDs are concerned, I shrugged off her antics and got out my restringing tools.  I restrung her arms.  The elastic was so tightly knotted inside her torso that I had to cut it because I could not undo the knot.  Now that's tight!  I gave her a slightly longer elastic; even so, I find her arms tighter than I wanted.  The elastic could have been a bit longer still. 

Left to right:  Mayu (new general body), Ahee (on Linn's original body), Linn (on Ahee's new double-jointed body).  Mayu looks shorter because her shoes have lower heels.
The elastic inside her legs and torso has me stymied.  I can't see how to unhook her feet and I can't reach the knot inside her torso.  Same goes for the resin piece that connects her head to her neck.  It's on a thinner string, but where is it attached?  How on earth did Souldoll put this one together?  I have given up for now.  She has won this skirmish, but not the war.  I will figure out how to restring her.

Ahee has a broad face with something of a Mona Lisa Smile.  Looking at her, it occurred to me that her head might be a better match with the original body, which has chubby hands and feet and looks more childlike.  Linn, on the other hand, has a more delicate, more mature face sculpt.  Her head always looked out of place on the original body.  So, I have switched them. 

Ahee looks perfectly delighted with the transformation.  Linn is not best pleased.  While she likes the idea of a slimmer, more delicate body, she is not enamored of its jerky movements.  The neck attachment prevents her from raising her head.  I now look at the neck attachment inside Mayu's head and wonder if the S-hook is original to it, or if the previous owner took matters into her own hands and replaced the resin piece with the hook.  It definitely gives her head more range of motion.

In the photos, Ahee is wearing a dress made from the Kimono Lolita pattern in the February 2007 issue of Haute Doll.  I have also used this pattern in black and white for U-noa Sist (see my Black-and-White-Party posts).  Her wig is Ashes from Jpopdolls.  The other dresses have appeared in previous posts:  Linn's dress on U-noa Lusis and Mayu's outfit on U-noa Sist.  I'm not sure of the origin of their wigs.  Linn's wig came with Ahee, but it looks like an IpleHouse wig.  There is a wig on their website with two little bows made of exactly the same brown elastic lace.  Mayu's wig came with one of the U-noas I bought on ebay, but it's not a U-noa wig.  The tag inside it says Global Dolls, made in Philippines.  I have not heard of them before.

The past week also saw the arrival of a small shipment of wigs from Soom.  They, in turn, have inspired new outfits.  As those outfits are still in my mind and not on my cutting board or sewing machine, they will have to wait for another post.  (I also ordered shoes for the yet-to-arrive Oasis Doll Natalie.  The last time I ordered shoes for a doll whose feet I could not measure in person, they didn't fit.  Fingers crossed on this one, because the shoes won't fit anyone else.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Millie Has Arrived!

Today Resin Corner welcomed its first Kaye Wiggs cutie.  I so wanted MSD-sized Annabella when she was introduced, but found her price prohibitive.  I resigned myself to not having her.  Then, in July of this year, when she was offered in a 29 cm size as Millie, I knew wild horses could not stop me from buying her.

I tried not to think too much about her during the ensuing months.  Resin BJDs take time.  The customer is not buying a doll off the shelf, but putting in an order for a doll to be hand-crafted from start to finish.  The resin must be poured into a mold, cured, then removed from the mold and assembled.  Some artisans sand the seams left from the molding process; others don't.  Millie's seams were sanded so that she is perfectly smooth.  After the assembly comes the face painting, or face-up.  It's a lengthy process, and when several hundred dolls are ordered in the same narrow window of time, it means that all of them will be crafted before any are shipped.  BJD collectors become very skilled at waiting.

In the last few weeks, as her delivery time neared, I spent more and more time online at the Resin Cafe, a joint Kaye Wiggs-Jpopdolls forum.  (Sign on at the Jpopdolls website.)  Millie was offered in both tan and normal resin.  The tan dolls shipped first, and I had to endure seeing photos of the adorable dolls and reading the ecstatic reviews from their new owners without having my own doll in hand.

Then the normal resin dolls started shipping.  I waited.  I knew what was holding up my order.  I had ordered the red wig that she was shown wearing in the pre-production photos, and I had read that the wigs were delayed.  Finally I got a shipping notice.  At first I couldn't tell if it was for the wig or the doll.  I had a sneaking suspicion it was for the wig only.  Sure enough, a day later I received a second shipping notice.  This time it was Millie.  She would take two-to-three days via Priority Mail.  There was a federal holiday during that time when Post Offices were closed.  I wondered if it would affect a package already in transit.  Apparently not, because on Friday when I got home from work, there was a notice from my mail carrier that she had attempted delivery and the package would be available for pick-up next day at my local Post Office.

So Millie is home at last.  And I must say she is every bit as cute as her photos promised.  Maybe cuter!  She has gray glass eyes, a button nose, and very faint freckles across the bridge of her nose.  I might take a watercolor pencil and make them more visible.  Her eyebrows give her a vaguely worried look.  She has a cute little mouth, fat little cheeks, ears that stick out -- so much personality in such a small package.  I love her knees.  When she sits, there is no elastic showing.  She holds a pose well and balances on her feet without a stand.

I haven't sewn anything for her yet.  I wanted to get her home first and see how the clothes for my Little Fees fit her.  Her body is slimmer than theirs, and she is taller.  She is also a bit taller than my Bambicrony Toto.  Her feet are slimmer.  I found some sweet little ballet flats online, made by Boneka.  They are a perfect fit without socks.  Once I put socks on her, she will need a slightly longer, wider shoe.  I look at the shoes my other small dolls wear.  They are clodhoppers by comparison.  I guess we'll have to play this one by ear.

I have bought three patterns for her.  I would have started sewing today if we hadn't spent so much time inserting eyes and trying on clothes and wigs.  She has a different head shape than the Little Fees.  The brown pageboy wig from LeekeWorld that didn't fit anyone else but Rosette Marguerite fits Millie perfectly.  It will be interesting dressing and styling this one.  Something tells me I had better make a lot of clothes, because the current order period is for Lillie and Tillie, two other tiny Kaye Wiggs darlings.  Lillie has the same face sculpt as Millie but comes in cream resin and has elf ears.  Normally I don't go for elf ears, but she is an exception.  Tillie comes in a tan resin -- from the photos I think it is a light tan rather than a dark -- and has the same face sculpt as MSD-sized Nyssa.  There is no way that I can afford both.  It looks like it's going to be Lillie.  Delivery is estimated as next March.  Time enough for my wallet to recover from this round of dolly purchases.

The question now is, will I give Millie a unique name?  I had one picked out -- if only I could remember it.  I look at her now and all I can think of is Millie.  So, Millie it is.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

This and That

Balljointed Woman has been somewhat remiss in updating her blog lately.  Outside events keep getting in the way of sewing and photography, without which Balljointed Woman has no blog.  So, today has been designated as catch-up day.

You are no doubt wondering what happened to the jacket and hats that I promised McKenna (U-noa Lusis ) to go with her jodhpurs.  I finally finished the jacket, although not without some toil and strife.  The pattern, which comes from Her Delicate Strength, was published in the February 2009 issue of Haute Doll.  Let me admit from the outset that any difficulties I had with this pattern are due to the fabric I selected.  The pattern recommends "lightweight stretch denim or a stretch cotton poplin."  I dutifully bought a stretch cotton poplin.  Did I use it?  No.  I had a stretch cotton suedecloth on hand that I thought would work up like a dream. 

My sewing maching thought otherwise.  It delivered one straight seam without fuss or argument -- and then proceeded to chew up the fabric.  Fine, I thought.  If that's the way you want to be about it, I'll sew the jacket by hand.  And so I did.  It took forever.  On the plus side, I ripped out only one seam, and only because it didn't measure up to my expectations.  This garment calls for a lot of topstitching.  I know my stitches are not small enough, but I could barely see the dark brown thread against the dark brown fabric.  I am still not sure if I positioned the lining pieces correctly.  There seemed to be excess fabric in a couple of spots.  I didn't know what to do with it, so I turned it under.  Out of sight, out of mind.

I also know my seams were within the 3/8 inch allowance, but somehow the end result came up short.  And tight.  The stretch in the fabric is supposed to allow it to fit both versions of U-noa:  the large bust and the small.  Perhaps it is not also meant to fit over a tee shirt.  As you can see from the photos, I did not even bother to place the snaps because the jacket does not close over McKenna's chest.  I need to try it on Chloe (my small bust U-noa Sist).  I am even toying with the idea of shortening the sleeves so that Fiona (U-noa Chibi Lilin) can wear it, although the shoulders might be too wide for her.

McKenna insisted on modeling it, even though I haven't started her aviator cap and goggles (we were going for an Amelia Earhart look) or an alternative newsboy cap.  That's a project for another day.  I feel guilty attempting it now when there are other dolls waiting for clothing.

Poor Marguerite, my Rosette School of Dolls girl, has been wearing her factory-issue dress ever since her arrival.  That's not entirely my fault.  She is an odd size and no one seems to be publishing patterns for her.  Even Soom, which produces the Rosette dolls, offers very little in the way of extra clothing for them.  The matter is further complicated by the fact that the Rosette girls are offered in two body types:  girl and lady.  Of the six dolls in the series, only two have the lady body.  Marguerite is one; Fir is the other.

I did make one discovery when trying various items of clothing on her.  A dress made for Tonner's Tyler Wentworth fit her upper torso.  The waist was a bit too high and the rest of the dress was snug in the hips and way too short in length, but I can see where a Tyler pattern could be adapted to fit.  I have a pattern I want to try.  I should tackle that project next.

I am also awaiting the arrival of a Kaye Wiggs Millie, a 30 cm doll with a sweet face and a girlish figure.  One of the outfits I made for my Little Fee girls is a bit big for them.  Might it fit Millie?  I have purchased a couple of patterns designed for Unidoll Tinies that look like they will fit her.  I am itching to get started on them.

Much as I hate to admit it, I have a Limhwa To You Sara who has been out of her box only twice since her arrival.  The poor girl has no clothes.  Again, she is a size that is unique to my collection.  I have not yet made anything for her.  Goodness but I feel like a bad mother!  Maybe I should stick to one or two popular sizes of dolls.

One doll who will not need new clothes is Bimong's NeoNarae:  ordered last April when the doll was first announced, and cancelled in October when it became apparent that Bimong was not going to fulfill his orders.  Anyone who is interested can read all about it on Den of Angels and BJD Collectasy.  All I'll say is that I won't be ordering anything from him again.

That has not soured me on buying BJDs from other artists and companies.  I recently ordered an IpleHouse JID Asa.  She is a reworking of the sculpt for their Senior IpleHouse Doll Asa to fit the Junior body.  She has a lovely, serene Asian face.  The JIDs are also hard to fit; luckily Asa can share the IpleHouse clothing I have already bought for Tania.

I have also fallen in love with Oasis dolls, which are sold on the Elfdoll website.  I don't know what the relation is between Rainman and the young woman who designs the Oasis girls, but the dolls look to me as if they share the Elfdoll body, even down to the fist hands and heel feet.  There are three dolls, all SD size, all girls, all lovely.  It was so hard to choose among them.  In the end I picked Natalie, despite the frumpy-looking mohair wig in which she is depicted.  A little more than halfway down the column of photos, she is shown in a different wig -- and that, for me, made all the difference.  (Dear Santa:  I still want the other two girls.  Please?)

Last, but certainly not least, is Souldoll Ahee, a cutie that I have always wanted to buy but never got around to it.  I just won her on e-bay.  No problem finding patterns to fit her -- the only problem is deciding which one!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jodhpurs for U-noa

I have been wanting to tackle this pattern for a long time.  It's by Zozo, of Zolala! and it appeared in the October 2008 issue of Haute Doll.  I chose my fabric a long time ago, cut it out, set it aside and didn't get back to it until now.  Perhaps I should have tossed that fabric and started fresh with something lighter in weight.  This fabric's weave is very close.  I don't remember what it is (cotton duck, maybe?) but after working with it I suspect it might serve quite admirably either as a sail for a small boat or as canvas to paint on.  I think this is leftover fabric from L-Heart's Brummel outfit.  You'd think I would remember what a bear it was to work with.

The very first seam the pattern calls for is the curved seam inside the leg.  I no sooner started pinning the two pieces together than I knew I would be sewing this by hand.  There was no way I could make that small a circular seam on my machine.  One of my insets ended up lopsided.  Not sure how that happened, but I took it apart and redid it, topstitching and all.  I did manage the topstitching by machine.

Many patterns call for finishing all seams by serging or by using a machine zigzag stitch.  I don't have a serger, and have a hard time staying on track when I zigzag.  Sometimes I ignore this instruction altogether.  This fabric had a tendency to fray, so some sort of finish was in order.  I don't like using products like Fray Check.  I can never get a thin enough line and the resulting mess dries stiff and is hard to work with.  So I opted to hand-finish with a blanket stitch.  It took forever, but these seams definitely will not unravel.

I had hoped to pair the finished product with the tan-and-white stripe bodysuit U-noa Lusis was shown wearing in a previous post.  The jodhpurs turned out to be a tight fit, however, and I knew I would have to make another top.  I chose the same pink-tan-and-brown stripe that I used for IpleHouse Tania's bodysuit.  It's a great match for the jodhpurs.  Wish I could make the hat, too, but it was not included in the pattern pieces.

I paired the outfit with some cute boots I found on e-bay.  Now I am working on a jacket from a different pattern, but that is for another post.  My sewing machine is not loving this fabric, either, so I am sewing by hand again.  It's a slow process.  I have a couple of hat patterns to try:  I'm torn between a newsboy cap and an aviator cap with goggles.  Maybe I'll make both.

The new top for Lusis meant I had a bodysuit and no one to wear it.  I decided to try it on Narae, who liked it better than the white bodysuit.  I caught Dharma eyeing the white suit and let her try it on.  Not only did it fit her better than it fit Narae, but she was also able to wear the stockings where no one else could.  I don't know if her original body could have worn them, but they fit the 41 cm IslandDoll body with only minimal tugging to get the stockings over her heels.  I paired both bodysuits with existing skirts.  Narae's is from Designs by Jude for Ellowyne Wilde and Dharma's is by Gracefaerie for Narae.  Narae's cream-and-brown shoes are by Luts; Dharma's black ballet flats are by Goodreau.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fun & Flouncy U-noa

This is the other pattern from the final issue of Haute Doll (August 2010).  The ensemble is by Susan Rethoret and is designed for U-noa or Minifee girls.  I actually made only half the ensemble.  I was looking for a skirt pattern that would go with one or more of the body shirts I made recently. 

There is a cute corset top included in the pattern, which I would love to make -- as soon as I get a decent eyelet setter.  My experience with eyelets has been sketchy at best.  Sometimes the eyelets stay in; more often they pop out.  Either I am doing something wrong, or my eyelet tool is no darn good.  (It's a little of both, I suspect.)

The skirt was a breeze to make.  Just 3 pattern pieces:  a yoke, a top ruffle, and a bottom ruffle.  The yoke is lined and attaches with a couple of snaps.  The ruffles are different width strips of fabric gathered to fit the yoke.  How easy is that?  I'm tempted to make a bunch of them in different colors to go with the other body shirts and other tops.

The skirt I made for U-noa Sist consists of a black eyelet main fabric and a black lace ruffle.  Because I knew I was going to pair it with a tan top printed with black flowers (one of the summer body shirts from MHD Designs), I added a couple of light brown roses to the skirt to coordinate.  A couple of black bows in her hair (wig by Luts), black shoes (from JpopDolls), and her look is complete.

I had hoped to show a second outfit in this post.  Unfortunately I did not complete it.  I can't even throw in a teaser because I haven't uploaded any photos from my camera.  If you happen to own the back issues of Haute Doll, the pattern in question is in the September/October 2008 issue.  It consists of a cami and jodhpurs for U-noa by Zolala.  All I will say at this point is that I hope it will be worth the wait!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Marzipan for Mayu

When the final issue of Haute Doll was released, I was pleased to find not one but two patterns within its pages that I wanted to make.  Today I am going to share with you the making of one of those patterns:  Marzipan by Gracefaerie Designs.

Gracefaerie designed Marzipan for 43 cm Planetdoll girls.  The fact that I do not have any Planetdolls did not deter me from making the dress.  I figured it was bound to fit one or another of my slim minis.

Beginning the corset.  Front and Side-Front pieces are attached.  Back and Side-Back pieces await.
Choosing the fabric was the hardest part of this project.  I absolutely love the muted tones of the green stripe used for the prototype.  And the trims coordinated perfectly!  Reading through the instructions, I discovered that Gracefaerie dyed both fabric and trims in tea.  Hmm.  It's a great  look, but do I want to try to duplicate it?  To my knowledge, I have never dyed fabric.  If I did, it was so long ago that the process (and its result) have vanished from my memory.  Frankly, the idea of dying fabric scares me.  I had a friend whose mother tea-dyed all the lace for her wedding gown.  It came out great, but what if it hadn't...?

Bodice and lining pinned together before sewing.  Iron-on interfacing has been attached to the wrong side of the main fabric.
I found a pink stripe in my stash, also an orange stripe.  Loved both, but didn't have a sufficient quantity of either fabric.  I finally decided on a blue-and-white stripe with tiny pink flowers.  I had used it before on a period dress for Narae.  Luckily there was enough left for this project.

For the trims, I already had white lace and a ruffled white organza.  I also had three floral trims in different colors.  They were purchased with this project in mind, but before I had thought about what fabric I would use.  I held each one next to the fabric and finally went with the pink-and-yellow flowers.  I wish they all had been pink.  I didn't really want to introduce another color.  It makes the result a little more exuberant than I intended.

Attaching lace to the bottom of the overskirt.
This outfit looks like a dress but is actually two pieces:  a skirt in two layers and a corset with shoulder straps.  The corset is both lined and interfaced.  I cut out all the pieces and assembled the main fabric layer before trying it on Soulkid Mayu.  Seeing that I would have too much corset in back, I cut a quarter-inch from each center back.  Then I cut off the same amount from the interface pieces and the lining pieces.

Overskirt with yoke attached.  Yoke lining will be sewn down after the underskirt is attached.
When all the layers were put together and I tried it on Mayu again, I saw that I still had enough fabric in back to fasten the corset with snaps instead of eyelets.  The eyelets would have made for a very pretty back, laced together with ribbon and tied in a bow.  However, I have had very poor results setting eyelets.  I'm sure it comes from not having the proper tool, because what was sold to me as an eyelet setter doesn't do the job.  You have to position it over the eyelet and bang it with a hammer.  Sometimes it works; most times it shatters the eyelet.  Even when it works, the eyelet pops out when I lace something through it.  Coincidentally, there has been a discussion on the Yahoo group Sewing for BJDs over the past few days about this very subject.  After weighing the pros and cons, I have decided to purchase a HomePro LR tool.  Maybe next time I come across a pattern involving eyelets, I won't be in such a rush to adapt it for snaps.

Overskirt on the right; underskirt on the left.
The skirt was fun to put together.  It is really two skirts in one:  the overskirt in blue-and-white stripe with lace, ruffle and ribbon flower trim, and the underskirt in white with blue-and-white fabric ruffle.  The two are attached at the yoke.  It was really difficult to restrain myself from hiking up the skirt on one side to show off the pretty petticoat!

Mayu models the finished dress.

In order to show off the shoulder straps to advantage, I chose an updo for Mayu's wig.  She is wearing Hope by Monique Gold in golden-reddish blonde.  A lucky choice, as it matches her eyebrows.  I think perhaps I'll put a few flowers in her hair.

Finished dress from the rear.