Sunday, August 28, 2016

Nearing Completion on the WithDoll Costumes

I'm getting there. Individual outfits need a tweak or two. The elves need casual cloaks--I'm debating whether to use a pattern or just wrap and pin a piece of fabric around each one's shoulders. Something along the lines of a Scottish fly plaid, ruana, or stole.

Even though Angela served as my fit model for the incoming dolls, I am not showing the outfits on her. Ruby and Priscilla will be the first to model their respective outfits.

I used three different patterns for Elf Ruby's costume: for the top I used All Dolled Up MiniFee (Adams-Harris) without the sleeves; for the skirt I used Down to Business (Fletcher Pattern) for Ellowyne Wilde, while for the leggings I used MHD Designs' Petits Riens. All three patterns are for different dolls so each called for a bit of finagling. The top would have been too small if I had sewed the side seams. Instead, I punched holes and laced up the sides, gaining a style element along with added width. The supple faux leather doesn't unravel, so I left raw edges for the hems on the top and skirt. Then I added beads because, forest dweller or not, Ruby is a girl who likes some bling. I need to replace her arm guards with a fabric version. As it stands, the laces interfere with the laces on the top.

Priscilla is not an elf. She will be a spirit of moonlight, if for no other reason than to allow me to use up what was left of one of my Frozen fabrics. I chose the long gown from Plaisirs D'Ete (MHD Designs) for Ellowyne Wilde. I knew going into it that the dress would be short on the taller WithDoll, but figured I could lengthen it with a bit of lace. I found lace in a lovely aqua tint and sewed it to the hem edge. So why didn't I like it? No particular reason, just a feeling that it didn't fit Priscilla's character. I looked again at my scraps of fabric. There was just enough to make a self-ruffle. I decided to add separate sleeves that she can wear or not as her mood dictates. I reached for the sequinned fabric from which I had made Frozen Elsa's corset. It had a wide strip of sparkly fabric without sequins just before the selvage edge. Perfect! Finally, I decorated the front with a beaded string tie with pendant half-moon.
Emma also lacks elf ears, so she will be a spirit of starlight. Unlike moonlight, which is the reflection of our sun's light onto the moon, stars are distant suns, therefore starlight is pure light. That meant that Emma's costume had to radiate bright white. I chose white crinkle cotton gauze and Robe Soleil (MHD Designs) for the base dress. Emma is my only small bust WithDoll, which gives her unique fit issues, so I made a muslin of the bodice to be sure of fit. After adjusting the pattern, I turned to the dress skirt.

Robe Soleil is designed to be a long dress. Because the pattern is printed on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper, the skirt panel pieces continue onto a second sheet. You're supposed to cut them out and glue them together. Instead, I opted to use the pattern pieces without the extensions and make a shorter dress. Now that I look at the finished product, I am not completely happy with the outcome, especially with the addition of boots (my only white shoes narrow enough to fit her) and the short cloak. It's too late to sew the extensions on because the decorative streamers would then be too short, so I'm thinking of making a separate, full-length underskirt to give the dress a tiered effect. As an added benefit, a longer dress would hide the boots.
I have never succeeded in turning long, narrow tubes of fabric without tearing the seams. So instead of making fabric dress ties I substituted lengths of narrow white trim. I added a beaded motif to the bodice for some sparkle and trimmed the skirt with alternating strips of the white gauze and sparkly white eyelash yarn. As a final starry touch, I sewed star-shaped sequins to the dress panels, securing them with beads.
Both Priscilla and Emma will have cloaks made from #27 The Cloak (Gracefaerie Designs). I found a fabric similar to Priscilla's dress fabric, but in white and with a burn-out effect. The decorative dots, which I originally took to be tiny metal studs, seem on closer examination to be made of plastic. This made them easier to sew on the machine, but harder to deal with when I tried to hand stitch a rolled hem, which came out looking lumpy. I tried to pick out the stitches, thinking I would just hem it in the usual way, but it took too much time and effort not to tear the fabric. Like it or not, it is what it is. And it's impossible to iron. I can't iron the right side of the fabric in case I melt the plastic. Even ironing the wrong side with a damp cloth didn't tame it. I'm hoping it will eventually relax and hang better. The pattern instructions call for lining only the yoke and front panels. I lined the yoke, but wanted the more ethereal look of the semi-transparent fabric, which would have been lost had I lined the front.
After looking through buttons for an interesting star shape to use for decoration, I finally found a star in a sale bin at Jo-Ann Fabrics. It's not a button. It seems to be designed to slide over a hairband or wristband, so I made a band from the white gauze, passed a six-inch length of elastic through it, slipped on the star and closed it up. Voila! Instant headdress!
Emma got the short version of the cloak with a ruffled collar. I swear I followed the directions to the letter, yet my collar doesn't look anything like the illustration on the front of the pattern. What gives? No idea. Priscilla will get the long version with a hood. I would be tempted to go with a different fabric for the second cloak. The trouble is I've already cut out the pieces. It's possible the long version will hang better from the sheer weight of the fabric. I can only hope. One thing is for sure: I'm giving this one a normal hem.


  1. They look just awesome. I can't wait to see the girls wearing them. Love the light girls idea!

    1. Thank you! I'm eager to see the girls wearing them, too.

  2. The outfits are looking great! I like the idea of something covering their shoulders!

    Love Elf Ruby's outfit! Will she be a huntress? Love the arm guards specially. But my fave is Pricilla's dress, so gorgeous!! I really love the shape it has, and the fabric is gorgeous! Which type of fabric is it? (the name, I mean).

    Emma looks adorable, so cute! White looks great on her! Maybe you can get some heels from Paul Zangby? Those fit Withdoll girls tightly. The head band detail is lovely, such a great idea!

    The white cape looks great! I cannot see enought the pattern photo to "study" it, but probably they changed something and forgot to update the pattern's instructions. It looks great, anyways! The hooded version will be amazing, for sure!

    1. Thanks Musume! Yes, Ruby will be a huntress. I ordered her bow and arrows, with the idea of making similar ones for the other elves if the swords didn't work.

      Priscilla's dress fabric is a cotton knit with 2-way stretch. It has clusters of tiny silver dots (could be metal, but maybe not) and small holographic hearts. I am very sad that I now have only small pieces of this fabric left--not enough to make anything. Maybe Jo-Ann Fabrics will have it again this Fall and Winter. I'd love to buy more.

      I think what's different about my cape compared to the illustration is that I fastened it with a snap set instead of a ribbon. It looks like the ribbon tie allows the cape to close more tightly. I'm looking forward to starting on the hooded version.

  3. Well you certainly have been a busy little bee! The outfits look wonderful and your use of star sequins and the eyelash yarn is brilliant. I also love your idea of the two girls being spirits of starlight and moonlight.

    1. Thanks Xanadu! It looks like I did a lot in one week, doesn't it? Actually I've been working on the outfits for a few weeks but didn't get to show them because of new doll arrivals.

      I probably could have dressed Emma and Priscilla as elves and gotten away with it, because most wigs hide their ears anyway. But I decided to go with forest spirits for them instead, which morphed into night spirits associated with light. Now I have to come up with a story. LOL