Sunday, April 27, 2014

MiniFee De-Lishe

We can thank Food Network star Rachel Ray for her heartfelt shortening of "delicious" into "de-lish".  She says it with such emphasis that you know the food in question is undeniably tasty.  Well, I recently came across a FairyLand MiniFee Lishe whose gorgeous artist faceup made her nothing short of de-Lishe!

As usual, I wasn't planning on buying a doll when I went to ebay.  I had sold a doll and wanted to see if the buyer had made payment.  This was totally unnecessary, as I always get emails from both ebay and PayPal when I've been paid.  No emails had come, but I checked anyway.

Anyone who spends any time on ebay knows that ebay remembers the things you've looked at and plasters them across your screen the moment you log on, along with other items in the same category.  That means I log on and see new listings of Iplehouse, FairyLand, and a few other brands of dolls, along with clothing and accessories that fit them.  And there she was:  MiniFee Lishe.  I confess, I had looked at her a couple of times already.  Looked and dismissed, because the seller was in Australia and I knew that shipping costs from Australia tend to be astronomical.  But Lishe was still there.  And her listing period was ending within the hour...

Not to drag it out any longer, you know I bought the doll.  And yes, the shipping cost was high.  I have paid less to have dolls shipped from Korea.  Doesn't matter.  I had to have her.  Love at first sight does that to me.  The seller was awesome and included a two-piece crochet dress, free of charge.  Gifts of clothing occasionally come with a doll.  Sometimes the clothing does not fit well or is not something I would ever buy.  This was one of those happy occasions where the clothing was both a perfect fit and definitely something I would choose.  Actually, I want to learn how to make outfits like this.  I need someone to give me lessons, however, because all I remember of crochet is how to make a basic chain.  It's a long way from that to a dress.

Lishe also came with a wig.  I love it, it's perfect for her, but I can't get it to stay on her head.  It's a size 6/7, which is a size that fits MiniFees when there is some stretch to the wig cap.  I did get it to stay on her head briefly once, but within a few minutes it had worked its way off again.  In the end, I gave up and found her a similar wig from Jpopdolls.  It is also a 6/7, but it's stretchy, goes on without a fuss and stays on.  The longer wig in the last photo is a 7/8, also from Jpopdolls.  I was afraid it would be too loose, but it seems to be a good fit.

I now own all of my favorite MiniFee sculpts:  Shushu, Siean, Chloe, Mirwen, Juri '08 and Lishe.  (I had Celine but sold her.  I didn't care for the teeth.)  I'm not as enamored of the boy sculpts and have only Karsh.  Within a few weeks I should receive a Luts Model Delf Avalanche.  (Who comes up with these names?)  I'm hoping his size will work with the MiniFee girls.  The numbers will never even out, but one boy to six girls just isn't fair.

Lishe will go by the name Tasha, in honor of American illustrator Tasha Tudor, who lived the last 30 some-odd years of her life in Vermont.  My Tasha is on the Active line body, with large bust and model legs.  It's the same combination that Mallory (Shushu) has.  I actually prefer the model legs to the cutie legs.  The cuties tend to look bow-legged, whereas the model legs are straight.

Isn't she de-lish?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Audrey's Easter Bonnet

Iplehouse recently released several new outfits for nYID and SID women.  If money were no object, I would have filled my shopping cart.  As it happened, I could afford only two.  Both are associated with Iple's current pirate themed story.  No, they're not pirate outfits.  One is a nightgown and peignoir set that could fit into any of several historical periods.  I'm saving that one for Samantha's story.  The other is a frothy pink-and-white confection called the Sissi set.  The moment I saw it, I knew it was perfect for nYID Audrey.

The dress itself is a historical anomaly. My impression is that the pirate tale takes place in an earlier century, but parts of this dress could have been worn during the American Civil War and parts of it feel almost Victorian.  The bonnet, on the other hand, would do a Jane Austen heroine proud.  (Think early 1800s.)  With its white lace and pink flowers, it's an Easter extravaganza that sets off Audrey's pink and white complexion to a tee.

There are two sets of ties to the bonnet, one in white lace and one in pink fabric.  I wasn't sure how it all went together, so I went back to Iple's site, where they appear to tie both together in one big bow.  Well, that's fine on their model, who has short hair.  It didn't work quite the same way with a long wig, so I tied the lace ties under her chin and let the pink fabric ribbons trail down the length of her hair.  I didn't take a photo from the rear, but here is one with the pink ribbons brought around to the front.

Did I mention how I love the dress fabric?  The dainty sprigs of pink flowers scattered on a field of white, the tiny pink ribbons, pink flowers and white lace trim--I only wish the flowered fabric continued the full length of the dress.  Thank goodness there is some textural interest to the bottom ruffle; otherwise the underskirt could be mistaken for a slip.

It's a voluminous dress.  In it, Audrey takes up the same amount of shelf space as three dolls in modern dress.  Not that she hasn't been displaced by other dolls in wide skirts in the past, such as Zera in the Sleeping Beauty gown.  The way I see it, this is Audrey's time to shine. 

Iplehouse has released a new basic EID woman.  She is the reworking of the Yur sculpt and her new look makes her a prime candidate to be Audrey's older sister.  Of course, I would prefer to get her on the slightly smaller SID body, which is possible only by ordering via Iple's Doll Choice system.  The only trouble there is that Iple has released a gorgeous wine red dress--and it's in EID size.  [Sigh.]  I'll have to sell at least two BJDs to buy Yur plus the dress.  Who's it gonna be?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Lycra Knit Dress for Lilin

Last weekend at the Chittenden County Doll Club I had a chance to talk with Lyrajean about how she sews dresses for her dolls.  She explained how she traces an outline of the doll on paper (or a paper towel), adds a half-inch seam allowance to account for the amount of fabric her serger will cut off, and then sews.  All told, a matter of 20 minutes.  I wanted to try her technique, but without access to a serger I knew 20 minutes was a mere fraction of the time it would take me.

Lyrajean's Unoa Sist. Her dress was made from either a sock or a sweater.

Yesterday I went through my fabrics looking for a likely candidate.  Lyrajean recommended fabric with 4-way stretch, so I quickly eliminated any knit with stretch in only two directions.  Turns out that accounts for most of my knits.  I did find a few 4-way knits and decided to use a tiny pink leopard print that I haven't used before.

The print was small enough to warrant using it on a smaller doll.  In addition, I figured that I would waste less fabric by making a small dress in case I didn't succeed.  Part of me wanted to try it with a MiniFee, but in the end I settled on Chibi Lilin because a) she hasn't had a new dress in a long time and b) it's hard to find things that fit her.

I carefully traced around the doll onto a piece of paper:  neck to shoulder, underarm to knee.  Then I removed the doll and connected the lines for the neckline, arm openings and hem.  I looked at the drawing.  Then I looked at Lilin.  I realized that with her large bust, a little extra width on the front of the garment might be in order.  So, calling my original drawing the pattern back, I traced it onto a second sheet and extended the outline out to the side a bit in the bust area for the pattern front.  I created a rudimentary sleeve (a rectangle with a rounded top to set into the arm opening), added a quarter-inch seam allowance to all pattern pieces and cut out my fabric.

Lyrajean was right about one thing.  The sewing itself was quick.  The neckline looked like it was going to be too tight, so I cut a larger opening.  I sewed the neckline by hand because guiding my sewing machine around the curve would have been too difficult.  Thank goodness the fabric showed no signs of fraying, so I didn't finish the seams in any way.  Piece of cake.  Now to try it on Lilin.

Obviously her faceplate would have to come off in order to get the dress over her head.  After that, progress ground to a halt.  The dress reminded me of the girdles my mother used to wear:  very stretchy and extremely tight.  Oh-oh.  Was this thing going to fit?  I practically had to dislocate her arms to get them through the dress and into the sleeves.  Once there, the rest of the dress came down over her bust and hips, where it fit like a glove.  A very snug glove.

I toyed with the idea of embellishing the dress with decorative buttons, but only briefly.  I didn't want anything hard attached to the dress in case the dress proved more difficult to get off than it was to get on.  No sense scratching the resin.  So I left it plain. 

Then I remembered a pink top I had worked on a few weeks ago.  It was an experiment that I put aside when I couldn't figure out how to finish it to make it fit.  The main body of the top was cut from a large circle, which I then folded in half.  I cut a neck opening in the center of the fold and sewed the circle almost shut, leaving two small openings for cuffs and a larger opening at the bottom for a banded hem.  Everything worked according to plan except that the neck opening ended up too wide.

So today I tried the pink top on Lilin, right over the dress.  The sleeves were voluminous, but not too long.  Looking at the gaping neckline, I suddenly saw how to finish it.  Threading a narrow ribbon through a needle with a large eye, I wove it in and out of the neckline, leaving the two ends trailing in front.  All I had to do was pull on the ribbon and tie it in a bow.

I am looking forward to trying this dress technique on a larger doll, but using a 4-way knit with less Lycra in it.  After all, it's a dress I'm making, not a girdle.  I want to make a dress that my girls are still able to sit in.  It's getting late, however, so that will be a project for another day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 5, 2014 Meeting of the Chittenden County Doll Club

Where did everybody go?  Last meet-up we had around nine people (and who knows how many dolls) show up.  This time we were back to four collectors and about a dozen dolls.  Couldn't be the weather, because it wasn't snowing, nor was it mild enough for folks to be out engaging in warm weather related activities.  Whatever the reason for the no-shows, those of us in attendance more than made up for their absence with our enthusiasm.  But enough blather from me.  On to the dolls...

The ensemble, minus one.
Modern Wizard brought Janvier Jett, her Angelsdoll cat avatar, whom we hadn't seen in a long time.  The Wiz tried to make me believe that Janvier has worn that wig and that outfit to meet-ups before; however, my photos say otherwise:

Lyrajean brought the largest contingent of dolls.  Her Iplehouse EID Asa was back, accompanied by a new EID Bibiane.  I was watching Bibiane on ebay, so imagine my surprise when I found out she had been adopted by someone in our group.  Unoa Sist, Custom House Petite Sariel and Volks Yo-SD Kira were there, along with Hujoo Freya, just back from getting a faceup to match Lyrajean's cat.  Cute!  Also new was her DIM (Doll in Mind) Love Lloyd.  Actually, only his body is new.  She has had the head for a year.
Grace, Bibiane and Asa testing the theory that redheads have more fun.

Kira and Sariel feel a lurking presence behind them.
Pretty kitty!
Pouting Lloyd, who had nothing to wear!
Megan brought another outstanding sculpt of her own: a robot girl named Lucy.  Lucy's back comes off to show the robot's inner workings.  So cool!  So Megan, when can we buy your dolls?

I brought Iplehouse KID Lisa again, hoping to compare notes with the other collector in the group who bought a Lisa.  Unfortunately she missed the meeting.  If it weren't for the fact that we bought different heads (my Lisa has the human head and hers has the fantasy head) and the dolls are different resin colors, people might suspect we take turns showing the same doll.  Ophelia (my Lisa) was in full evil child mode, trying to bend the other small dolls to her will.   My Iplehouse BID Naias, who goes by the name Daphne, was having none of it, preferring to sit and chat with Lyrajean's Unoa Sist.
Unoa Sist with Daphne and rabbit-eared friend
Wicked Ophelia
My new Iplehouse SID Grace was in attendance, although not in her full set, which my FeePle65 Siean is still wearing.  It's far too fussy an outfit to bring to a meet-up; I'd have spent a good half-hour getting her dressed.  I can't believe I didn't photograph her by herself.  The little Volks Yo-SD Ryo I recently acquired in trade also came along, wearing boots I made for him and trailing his faithful dog Bo (a Ty Beanie Baby keychain, minus the key clip).

Grace with Bibiane and Asa.
Volks Yo-SD Ryo.  I call him Rio, or River.

Next meet-up, for those who forgot or had more pressing matters to attend to yesterday, will be on Saturday, June 14th, at the Brownell Library in Essex Junction.  By then I hope to have received my nYID Oscar and a BID Ringo boy, both on order from Iplehouse.