Sunday, February 16, 2014

Steampunk for Minifee, Part Three (and Done!)

I must admit, I put off working on this coat/duster for as long as I could.  Not only did it look fiddly, with its leg-o-mutton sleeves, nipped-in waist and flared skirt, but I knew I would have issues with it.  I always do with these patterns, and this one was no exception.  Sometimes it's little things, like the pattern directions neglecting to mention when to sew the shoulder seams.  I figured that one out.  Hint:  When the directions seem to have glossed over something, there is a step missing. 

The plastic bag contains short thread ends for use as tailor's tacks.

Sometimes it's a total lack of understanding on my part.  If you have this pattern and have made it successfully, please look at instruction number 20 for the duster and tell me what it means.  I folded my fabric every which way possible, trying to understand what I was supposed to do with it.  In the end, I shrugged and decided to do it my own way.  I ended up with two neat, knife-edged bottom front corners, but don't ask me to explain how I did it, because I can't.

The thickness of the sleeve gathers meant I had to hand sew the sleeves.

It would have been fun to fasten the front of the duster with three narrow belts.  Unhappily, I am all out of small buckles, so I fastened it with snaps hidden under buttons as the pattern directed.  I used black and brown ribbon for trim instead of belts. All in all, I am quite happy with the finished garment.  It's a perfect fit for MiniFees.  A word of caution; if you use this pattern for a similar-sized doll, or a MiniFee with hook-on hands, enlarge the bottom of the sleeves.  This pattern was designed for MiniFees with magnetic (i.e., removable) hands.

To finish off the outfit, I borrowed a pair of goggles from my Iplehouse BIDs.  I don't think they would actually fit Calandra, but as I only wanted to wrap them around her hair, fit didn't matter.

A word about my tri-fold backdrop.  It's called Sunny Park Scene, from American Girl.  It provides a fun, summery background, but the glossy finish is difficult to photograph.  Even after lowering the shades on all my windows, I still had to deal with glare in the finished photos.  Thank goodness for PhotoShop, even if it didn't completely remove the glare.

I was also happy to find another use for my metal bicycle.  Never mind that Calandra can't reach the handlebars from a seated position.  The fact that this pattern features short pants instead of a skirt makes it ideal for bicycle riding.

Originally I wanted to line the duster, even though the pattern directions did not call for it.  It's easier than hand-finishing all the seams, especially as I do not own a serger.  After I cut out all the pattern pieces (except the sleeves) in lining fabric, I noticed that the front bodice pieces are self-lined.  I couldn't figure out how to attach the rest of the lining, as the self-lining does not extend to the side seams.  In the end, it's just as well that I didn't line the duster.  It would have been too stiff to drape properly.

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