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!