Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beware of Elf! (Kaye Wiggs Lillie Tan Elf)

I should have put a little sign on the cage:  Beware of Elf.  Let's pretend it's there, shall we?

"Oh, what an awful, awful mess!  How will I ever get out of this place?"

"Hello.  Why are you sitting in that cage?"
"Because I can't get out."
"How did you get in?"
"A horrible ogre GRABBED me and locked me in."
"You must have done something to make him angry."
"Of course not...  Maybe...  Very well, yes...  But he deserved it."
"How so?"
"He kept a pretty nightingale in here.  I let her out, that's all.  He walked away muttering, "Make the punishment fit the crime."

"My name is Millie, by the way.  What's yours?"
"You can call me Lillie, for now."
"What do you have in the basket, Lillie?"
"Something good.  Something the ogre didn't see, or he would have taken it away from me."

"Ooooh, cake!"
"That's right, Millie.  And it's yours -- if you let me out."

"Silly elf!  I would have let you out even without cake."
"Is the coast clear?"

 "Thank you, Lillie. It's a pretty big piece. Do you want to share?"
"No, that's okay. You did me a big favor. You've earned it."

"You'd better keep it -- in case you get hungry later."
"Well, okay. Hey, maybe I'll see you around! And thanks! For letting me out, you know?"

"I wonder if I'll see her again?"

Lillie Tan Elf is a tiny (27 cm) doll from Kaye Wiggs. She arrived at Resin Corner on Thursday and waited at the Post Office all night until I could pick her up Friday morning. Her outfit is from a pattern by MHD Designs called Mini Riens (Little Nothings). She "borrowed" her wig from PukiFee Zoe, for whom it was admittedly too large. Brown shoes from Boneka. I tried to put Lillie in a dress, but she insisted on the skirted cami with leggings, saying a dress was too fussy for the sort of mischief an elf likes to get into. I'm happy to say that these are the first tiny straps that didn't pop open as I tried to turn them. Well, okay, I did pop one strap, so I ended up having to make an extra. Still, it's my first successful pair of tiny straps. (Chorus of tiny applause in the background.)

Here is the pattern:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Denim Day for U-noa Lusis

Seeing as I never got back to last week's outfit until this weekend, I decided to make up for it by sewing an extra skirt to go with the unfinished corset top.  This will give McKenna (U-noa Lusis) two outfits instead of one.  Lucky girl!

This week's pattern sources:  BJD Orbyrarium (left), Haute Doll
(center top), Gracefaerie's #21 Corset for MSD (right)

Last week's skirt was the little denim number by Mio that appeared in the BJD Orbyrarium.  Did I neglect to mention that I sewed the entire skirt by hand?  I couldn't maneuver around those small pieces with my sewing machine.  As a result, my stitches are not as fine as I would like them to be.

Corset top and poof sleeves with denim skirt.  The
cowboy hat on the chair sports a matching ribbon.

The corset (Gracefaerie's #21 Corset for MSD) ended up being a combination of hand and machine sewing.  When it came to the curved seams for the bust, I had to leave the machine and finish them by hand.  This is the solid front version of the corset.  The other pattern versions lace up the front, with either laces or hooks in back.  I got lazy and substituted snaps for the eyelets and laces in back.  Not that sewing snaps is any picnic, mind you.  It isn't.  My eyelets always pop out of the fabric, however, so snaps are more secure.  And because I get a tighter fit with snaps, I know McKenna won't be suffering from a "wardrobe malfunction" any time soon.

Same top and sleeves, with the Fun & Flouncy
skirt. McKenna's wig is from Narin Creative.

For the extra skirt I turned to the Fun & Flouncy pattern that appeared in the final issue of Haute Doll (August 2010).  I used this pattern once before, for Iplehouse JID Asa.  This time, instead of using different fabrics for the two skirt ruffles, I used the same fabric throughout.  It's a very easy skirt to sew.  One pattern piece for the yoke and yoke lining.  For the skirt ruffles, you cut two strips of fabric:  2 1/4" by 24" and 3 1/2" by 24".  That's it.  Of course, putting the layers together required some muscle.  Both ruffles are gathered, then sandwiched between the two yoke layers.  I ended up using a denim needle because of the thickness of all those gathers.  Thank goodness I didn't make the skirt out of denim!

I like this skirt better than the denim one.

Today was a clear sunny day, perfect (or so I thought) for outdoor photography.  By the time I had shot the front and back of McKenna's denim set, the wind had picked up sufficiently to make posing her without a stand a dicey situation.  Before she could hit the deck, I headed back indoors for the relative safety of my sewing table and plain white wall, where she could pose without swaying.

The safest pose of all!
Shoes from eBay.  I don't remember the vendor -- could be

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Work in Progress

Let me start off by saying, for those of you who hadn't noticed, that Blogger is acting up.  I have not been able to comment on anyone else's blog.  Instead, I get caught up in an endless loop of being asked to sign in (when I am already signed in) and then being logged on as Anonymous.  This has been going on for the last 3 weeks.  Blogger is aware of the problem, but so far no relief is in sight.  So if you have tried to comment, and can't, that's why.

I can show you only half of this week's project, because I have not finished it.  When done, it will be a skirt and corset top for U-noa large bust girls.  Due to technical difficulties, however, I made much slower progress than anticipated.

Problem pockets resulted when I could not see the lining pieces.
They are the same color as the table in the above photos and
were not addressed in the text or the pattern pieces.

The jeans skirt pattern by Mio comes from the BJD Orbyrarium.  I have been meaning to try this pattern for years.  What stopped me then is what gave me problems today.  The pattern is presented without built-in seam allowance.  It sounds like a small thing and it is, but when you are accustomed to having that seam allowance already factored into the pattern, the lack of it becomes a resounding: "Uh-oh!  What do I do now?"

The photos show the seamstress tracing the pattern onto the back of the fabric with tailor's chalk.  Not a problem -- I have tailor's chalk.  What I didn't realize was what a thick line the chalk would make.  I have a feeling the skirt came out larger than it should have.

For the most part the photos were easy to follow.  Except for the front pockets.  I could not for the life of me figure out how to put them together.  Finally, in desperation, I went to my closet and pulled out a pair of denim shorts.  Its pockets were applied to the front so I did the same with the skirt pockets.  By the time I finished, I pretty much understood how I should have done it as shown in the photos.

Pieces cut out for the skirt (left) and the corset top (upper right)
as well as puff sleeves (right).

I ended up with unused pattern pieces.  Because of the way I made the front pockets, the side pockets seemed extraneous, so I omitted them.  I was still left with two extra waist pieces and a smaller piece that I guessed should have been sewn into belt loops.  These were not addressed in the instructions.  I treated the belt loops as optional.  I have no idea where the extra waist pieces were supposed to go.  The waistband fit without them.

As the skirt is designed to be very short, I added a ruffle in the same floral print that will form the front panel of the corset top.  Right now it looks a bit Carmen Miranda.  The top will either make it appear more so or else pull the outfit together.

If I should attempt another skirt using this pattern, I think I will redraft the pattern to include a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I just feel more comfortable working that way.  I have a great little gadget for the purpose.  It looks like a small coin with a pinhole in the center.  You put your pencil point in the center hole and trace around the pattern.  The wheel keeps the pencil the same distance away as it goes around.  The trick will be in keeping the pencil point sharp enough to do the job.

Here is the completed skirt.  Later in the week I will try to show the completed outfit.

Finished skirt on U-noa Lusis.  All I have left are the sleeves and
the corset top.  The corset is fully lined.  Depending on how much
extra fabric I have at the back of the corset, I will close it with either
snaps or eyelets and a ribbon.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Another New Dress for Oasisdoll Natalie

I seem to go in cycles:  MSDs, tinies, SDs.  Whichever size I am sewing for, it becomes my entire focus to the point where I often forget the other dolls are there at all.  Lately I have been thinking big,  prompted by Elfdoll's reintroduction of Soah, one of my favorite sculpts.  I missed buying her the last time she was available, so this time I hurried to place my order. 

Until she arrives, which may not be for a couple of months, I am assessing the state of my SD-size clothing and the patterns I have on hand.  Soah will have the Elfdoll new body, like Hazy's.  It's a little smaller than Sooah's and Natalie's bodies.  I have ordered a couple of patterns designed for the Elfdoll old body, small bust.  I have made some of them before for Hazy, so I know they will fit Soah.

While I am focusing on the big girls, I notice that Natalie is still wearing her long dress with the long sleeves and her black top hat.  This outfit was fine when the weather was cool.  Last weekend, however, the temperature at Resin Corner spiked to 90 degrees F (a little too early in the season, in my opinion) and all I could think was how poor Natalie really should have a summer dress.

I was tempted to make her a sleeveless version of the dress she was already wearing.  I might do it eventually, but for now I wanted something a little different.  Unless I make alterations, Natalie is too big for some of my patterns, so I turned to an old stand-by:  Gracefaerie's #10 Takeshita-dori.  I decided to make a sleeveless, pared-down version of the Elegant Gothic Lolita dress.

Choosing fabrics for a project like this is always an adventure.  I rarely finish with the fabric I originally had in mind, and this dress is no exception.  After picking up and rejecting any number of fabric combinations, I selected an Asian floral print for the bodice and a Spring green taffeta for the skirt, with a shiny pink metallic for a sash around her waist.

The pattern calls for lining the bodice.  Because the skirt fabric had a tendency to shred, I also lined the skirt.  This had the added advantage of giving the skirt body, making a crinoline unnecessary.  I had already cut the skirt with less fullness in anticipation of the extra bulk imparted by the lining.  For trim I decided to forgo lace entirely and to add a few fabric flowers with beaded centers for a touch of whimsy.

I had hoped to have Natalie wear a new dark wig styled in an updo with long tendrils on either side.  It looked terrible on her, one of the few wigs she can't wear.  I'll save it for one of the other girls.  Instead I turned to a favorite of mine:  Glamour by Jpopdolls.  Natalie's fabulous shiny red peep-toe shoes are from Iplehouse.  I'm so glad she can wear them, as they didn't fit anyone else.

I am eagerly awaiting the patterns I ordered for Soah.  Because Hazy is the same size, I can make the garments and check them for fit on Hazy before Soah arrives.  Of course, that means Hazy will want something new also.  I'd better get busy.

Update, One Month Later:  I have finally replaced the shiny fabric sash on this dress.  The fabric would not lie flat no matter how many times I ironed it, so I bought a length of grosgrain ribbon in a dark raspberry color, which is what I wanted for this dress all along.  Because we took photos outdoors it looks more red than raspberry -- you'll just have to take my word for it.  Nat wears a new wig from Leekeworld in dark brown (Leeke calls this color "maroon").  It is the same wig I didn't like on her the first time we tried it.  Today it looked good.  Maybe it's the effect of the sunshine...