Sunday, September 25, 2016

Work in Progress: Rapunzel Cosplay

I've been working like a fiend possessed, trying to get dolls ready for the Vermont Doll Lovers' Halloween meet-up. I don't remember if it's in two weeks or three. Either way, I have a lot of work to do in not a lot of time.

Several dolls already have costumes from past years. Even so, I always like to have one or two new costumes to make things interesting. Earlier this year another collector sold me the fullset outfit from FairyLand's Lunnula Moonbeams release. My FairyLand FM60 Mirwen will wear that, while my F60 Siean boy will have to be Harry Potter again--at least this year he has the round glasses to complete the look. They're a bit snug. I hope I can stretch them a bit without breaking them. I could have dressed FM60 Lacrima as Frozen's Elsa again but I wanted her to have something new. After giving it a bit of thought (and looking through a Simplicity catalog devoted to costumes) I decided on Rapunzel from Disney's Tangled. Why Rapunzel? For one, the dress looked fairly easy to reproduce. And then I found Pascal. And a Rapunzel wig. We have green eyes. No frying pan, but you can't have everything.

This is Rapunzel (illustration copyright Disney):
The more I studied this dress, the more I realized I have just the patterns needed to construct it. They are the ever versatile #10 Takeshita-dori and #16 The Corset, both by Gracefaerie Designs.
Obviously the dress would need some alterations: lose the collar, modify the neckline, lose the flare of the lower sleeve, lengthen the skirt, add a front panel in a printed fabric. I had a number of purple fabrics, most of them prints but not the right prints, so I went to Jo-Ann's. Knowing I'd never find a pink and purple stripe for the sleeves, I constructed my own from my basic lavender bodice fabric and strips of the medium purple that I will use for the corset. I had a few odds and ends of trims in various shades of purple but not enough of any of them for the skirt. Not only did I find an acceptable trim online, it arrived fast enough for me to use it!
A word of warning before I show you the dress. I've been at it for several days and have ironed parts of it as I went along. I have not, however, ironed the full dress. It still needs snaps for closure and I want to finish off some inside seams. In other words, it's looking poufy now but hopefully that will change when it's done. And then there is the matter of color. My camera seems to have a hard time reading purple. It wants this dress to be blue. No part of this dress is blue--not even the flower trim on the sleeves. For that matter, the cutting board behind the dress is not gray, it's green. Fingers crossed that everything will come together when I add the corset and put the completed outfit on the doll.
That little green thing with eyes--that's Pascal. If you're not familiar with the movie, Pascal is a chameleon. He likes to ride on Rapunzel's shoulder, or else on her head. I don't know what it is about the little guy, but with one look he can make both grown men and powerful Palace horses toe the line.

I have already cut out the fabric for the corset and its lining. I still need to cut and sew a slip to give Rapunzel's dress that bit of lace peeking out at the bottom. And when I finish that, I need to start on something for FID Miho to wear. I really should start my Halloween costumes earlier!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fashion Iplehouse Doll Miho

I have just received my first doll in the new Iplehouse fashion line--and I am in love! It took only six weeks from order to receipt for a doll with face-up and one outfit (the white dress and jewelry shown below). By comparison, I am at four months and counting for my WithDoll tiny Fox Lucy.
To look at any of the three girls in the initial FID release, you'd never think you were looking at a doll under 46cm tall. Iple chose to introduce smaller versions of three of its larger women: SID Yui and EID Raffine from their limited FOMA line, and SID Stella. Yui underwent some slight modifications and became Miho, the doll I ordered. Looking again at her sales page on the Iplehouse site, I see a difference between the doll pictured and the doll I received. My Miho's lips are parted. She's not showing any teeth, but there is a distinct space between her upper and lower lips. The sample doll appears not to have any space between her lips. An accident in casting, maybe? It will be interesting to see other Mihos as they arrive.
The FID ladies stand 45.5cm tall. There were two breast sizes to choose from: large and medium. I always choose medium when I can get it. It's neither too small nor too large. FID ladies are 2.5cm taller than JID girls, with the same size feet. Though I no longer have a JID girl for comparison,  I still have their shoes, and the high heel shoes fit FID ladies with some room to spare. Stockings would fill the gap; I happen to have felt insoles in mine. Miho came with three pairs of feet: flat feet, normal height heels and higher heels. Iplehouse had two styles of FID high heel shoes available (now sold out). I didn't care for either so I took a chance that JID heels would work. The red flats in my first photo are by DollinStyle. I bought them for my MiniFee girls and found that they are a good snug fit on FID. Of course, I never discover perfect shoes until they are just about sold out. Denver Doll had them for a long time and now they're gone. There is one color left in another style that fits Raccoon Doll.
As you know, I was eager to compare the Raccoon Doll ladies to the FID. In the photo above you can see Raccoon Doll Lucy on the slim body in sweet mocha resin, FID Miho in peach gold resin, and Raccoon Doll Sarah on the original body in normal resin. Sarah is wearing the DollinStyle flat shoes mentioned just above the photo. Raccoon's slim body is closer in size to FID, which made me hope they might be able to share some clothing. So far I've found only one dress that Miho can wear--Dressing Up for Tonner's 17-inch Hermione from Designs by Jude. I could barely fasten the snaps but I got it on. At least I know I can use this pattern to make something for her.
I spent most of yesterday trying clothes on Miho (who, by the way, tells me her name is Elle). She can get into a number of things I made for JID girls. The trouble is the styles are a bit too juvenile to work for a woman. If I can figure out which patterns I used--not an easy task when you mix and match pattern pieces like I do--I'll make her some things that look more grown up. Of the JID clothes I bought from Iplehouse, only two outfits work. One I haven't photographed yet. It's a bit young looking but it fits perfectly. The other is the clingy black and white dress below. This one is a little too tight, especially since I once took in the shoulders to adjust it for a small chested JID Asa. I'll let it out again and see if the fit improves. If it weren't made from stretchy fabric it wouldn't have gone on at all.
It's a good thing I have an FID male on order, because Elle/Miho is taller and more mature than all but one of my mid-size boys. In the photo below you can see her with a Lumedoll, SoulDoll Vito, JID boy, Luts Model Delf and WithDoll boy. Not pictured is a Dollmore Kid, who is a little shorter than JID. My long-departed MiniFee boy was even shorter. What's a tall girl to do? She'll just have to sit back and wait for Lawrence.
I fell in love with EID Lawrence when he debuted in Iple's Carved Heritage series. Much as I wanted him, there was no way I could handle a doll that tall and heavy, even if I could justify the price of the doll and the cost of his clothing. So when I saw that one of Iple's initial trio of FID men was Lawrence I didn't have to think twice about ordering him. At 49.5cm he'll be 2.5cm shorter than Vito. He'll be my first doll with a beard and mustache. No naval uniform, alas, but we'll adjust. If he ships as quickly as Miho did, I should see him in mid- to late-October. Squeeeeeee!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Scottish Dress and Vermont Doll Lovers Meet-Up for September

How many of you guessed from last week's teaser that I was planning to make a dress inspired by the Outlander TV series? The idea of making a Scottish dress occurred to me when I was looking for cloak ideas for my WithDoll elves. I happened upon a website: (aka The Celtic Croft) that not only showed me a variety of cloak possibilities, but also bills itself as the source for "officially licensed Outlander-inspired apparel and tartans". While not obsessed with the TV series, I do tune in occasionally. I'm a huge fan of the costumes.
Going through my stash I found some plaid fabrics, but none of the pieces were large enough to give me a long, full skirt. I headed to Jo-Ann Fabrics, where a patient hunt through the aisles turned up a brown-gray-black tartan in a scale that wouldn't overwhelm a mini-mature doll. Lacking a plain brown homespun to use for the top of the dress, I chose a pale gray velvet from my stash, which I accented with black lace and brown ribbon. I also made a long white half slip (not shown) and a tartan stole.
As you know by now, I never make an outfit without some sort of pattern to give me the basic shape. One look at Romantic by Adams-Harris and I knew I had it. I've made this dress several times in the past, so I tried one on my Dollpire Kid Roo to see how it fit. The fact that she has a very narrow waist meant I would be able to move the front edge of the bodice towards the center so that it comes to a point. All I had to do to the sleeves was omit everything below the elbow. I would need only a single floor length skirt, not the short under- and over-skirts shown on the pattern.
Velvet is slippery to sew, especially when you're dealing with small pieces, so I opted to sew the bodice by hand. Once I put it together I decided the neckline was too modest, so I removed the front panel and re-positioned it a bit lower. By a happy accident I ended up with just enough white fabric extending below the bodice to fashion the point. The ribbon is sewn in place so it requires no lacing. The bodice fastens in back with snaps. The skirt was ridiculously simple to make. Instead of making a hem, I just pulled threads to give it a fringe effect. I machine sewed two rows of gathering stitches along the top edge, then sewed up the back seam. I attached bodice and skirt by hand. The stole has pulled threads all around--no sewing involved at all.
The hardest part of this project was taking photos. This is the time of year when my hydrangea blooms (I think it's a variety of hydrangea paniculata). What a wonderful backdrop for a doll in a dark dress! Not that scent factors into photos, but they smell divine! So I took Roo onto the deck to take full advantage of the white blossoms. Bad idea. I couldn't even get close. One bee after another left the hydrangea to investigate. I kept to the middle of the deck, where I managed a few photos before retreating indoors to avoid the photobombing bees.
I have more than enough plaid fabric left to make a kilt for SoulKid Yarn when he arrives. His fullset outfit already includes a brown on black shirt/jacket complete with lace jabot and cuffs, so the tartan colors will be perfect. Although I wasn't originally planning to pair him with Roo, he'll make a lovely Jamie to her Claire.

On Saturday, September 10th, the Vermont Doll Lovers met at its usual place. Because I've already posted several photos of my project above, I'll share only a photo collage of each member's dolls. (Click on any photo to enlarge.) In addition to Roo I brought my newest dolls: WithDoll Egon Elf, WithDoll Lamb Laney (aka Lamb Chop) and SoulDoll Vito Girl Freya. This will be Freya's only public appearance, as I have listed her for sale.
Modern Wizard brought her ElfDolls Dodo, Kathlen and Winky, to which she added three tiny bears. It only looks like we were sharing the same chair. There were three versions of it at the meeting: one matte, one shiny, and one with a desk arm.

Bittersweet Blue's dolls included her Dream of Doll Petsha, SoulKid Miribeyol, a Hujoo Nano-Freya, (and two other Hujoos? pending identification).
Lyrajean's group included Volks SD Date Masamune, Tony, Chiyo, Jun Tachibana and one more; Volks YoSD Kira, Spiritdoll Bastet, Custom House Ai Uriel and Sariel, a Lalaloopsy, and some Sylvanian Family cats.

I'm sure my faulty memory has mixed up/omitted some of the doll IDs. Hopefully one of the attendees will enlighten me.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Long Cloak with Hood

Last week I showed you the short cloak with ruffled collar from Gracefaerie Designs' #27 The Cloak pattern. This week I made the long version with hood from the same pattern and fabric. I had intended it for WithDoll Priscilla, but seeing it modeled by WithDoll Emma, it's clear to me that this is meant to be Emma's cloak. Priscilla will get the same style in a different fabric. Yippee! I get to go fabric shopping!
With last week's cloak serving as a trial run, this version came together easily. My new fusible interfacing seems to be thinner than the one I used on the first cloak, which made the yoke less bulky. The fabric gave me a little trouble where it joins the lining on the hood. Even though I ironed the seam towards the lining as directed, once I turned the hood right-side out the seam allowance twisted inside. It's too late to fix it now, but next time I'll know to tack that seam onto the lining to keep it in place.
The pattern calls for lining the front sections of the cloak. I opted to do a rolled hem on the edges instead and only lined the yoke. As I had suspected it would, it works better on the long cloak than it did on the short version (see last week's photos). I left the cloak long enough to puddle on the ground. There's not a lot more to say about it, so I'll let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!
I'm awaiting the arrival of a little fox from WithDoll. In case she doesn't arrive in time, I have a project in mind to work on for next week's blog. I won't tell you what the garment will be, only that it's not for a WithDoll. One part will be made from the brown plaid and the other part will be made from the silver velvet. I may or may not use the trims pictured.