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.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Pattern Four Ways, Part Two

What a difference a four-way stretch fabric makes!  In Part One of this post, I discovered that fabric with only nominal stretch makes for a snug fit -- and sometimes no fit at all, at least where the stockings were concerned.  The bodyshirt pattern (from MHD Designs) that I have been using has four variations, two with sleeves and two without.  Today I am presenting the two sleeveless versions.

Both the bra top and the halter top versions have string ties that are sewn, right sides together, and then turned.  For ease in turning such small pieces, I use Patty Medaris Culea's Itsy Bitsy Finger Turner.  It's a set of brass tubes in different sizes, used by cloth doll makers to turn tiny fingers.  Worth its weight in gold!
In retrospect the pink stripe fabric was little thick for a version with extra seaming.  I should have used it for one of the sleeved bodysuits, where the body is made up of only front and back pieces.  The sleeveless versions have a  lower front and lower back, as well as a front top, and front and back facings.  All those seams come together under the bust.  No matter how much you trim the seams, that thickness does not go away.  It may not be obvious to the casual observer, but I see it.

One stocking pinned and ready to sew.  This pattern makes three lengths of stocking: thigh high, knee high, and anklet.  (See the knee high version in tan-and-white below.)
On the positive side, the pink stripe fabric had so much stretch that I was able to fit it on Iplehouse Tania.  That includes the stockings, although I could have used more stretch in the cuff.  As it is, the thigh-high stockings only reach to just above her knees.

From the top:  knee high stockings, halter top, facing, lower body.
The tan-and-white stripe also stretches four ways, but the fabric itself is a little thinner.  The finished product was actually a little too big for McKenna (U-noa Lusis) despite her well-endowed chest.  I compensated by gathering the finished halter top at the neckline and under the arms.  It makes the top a little poofy -- not the look it was supposed to have.  I suspect it will be a better fit on Linn.  I might even be able to remove the gathers.

Tania, on the left, wears a wig from Iplehouse. 
U-noa Lusis wears a wig by LeekeWorld.

The reason that Linn has not tried it on is that she is currently in her box.  Most of the residents of Resin Corner have taken refuge in their boxes at the request of Ball Jointed Woman's realtor, who says collections of any kind are distracting and/or disturbing to buyers.  That is all well and good, but without my resin girls and boys I do not have a blog, so I have stubbornly kept a few of them out to sew for and photograph.  As soon as the house sells, Resin Corner is moving north, where it will put down roots in a new Resin Corner not far from the Canadian border.  And if the house does not sell -- well, Ball Jointed Woman is not ready to entertain that possibility...