Sunday, August 20, 2017

FID Raffine, Raccoon Doll Steeze Rosie, and Creature Doll Mei

Can you believe it? Three arrivals within four days! I ordered Raccoon Doll Steeze Rosie in May, FID Raffine six weeks later (June) and Creature Doll Mei two and a half weeks later (July). Raffine arrived first on August 10th and the other two girls made their appearance on the 14th. Luckily I had most of my sewing done, so it was a simple matter of dressing each new arrival and taking photos.

Iplehouse FID Raffine was available in a choice of two makeups: this one (which is similar to FID Miho's makeup, which I eventually removed) and one with a lot of glitter and gold in it. (I haven't seen any examples of that one. Must be it didn't catch on with collectors.) For the record, I think this makeup works better on Raffine than it did on Miho, although I wish the Iplehouse artist had a lighter hand with the blusher. It photographs well, but in person it looks like a bad sunburn. Raffine arrived in time to go to last week's doll meet-up. Here are some additional photos:
She wore the above For My Doll wig to the meet-up. A couple of days ago I received a new Queenie wig by Monique Gold that I had intended for Creature Doll Lucia. As it turns out the wig is too full for Lucia--it hides her elf ears. Raffine tried it on and liked it. So did Mei, but Raffine is keeping it for now. It adds a bit of color to her overwhelmingly silver gown. (The dress pattern is Star Gazer from Designs by Jude. I had to remake the bow because my fabric wouldn't hold a crease.)

I asked on Den of Angels and also searched online for the meaning of steeze because I had never encountered the term before. According to a couple of urban slang dictionaries, the word is a combination of style and ease. That makes Racoon Doll Steeze Rosie a girl who carries off her style with ease. Sort of a street version of panache. The alternative face-up choice was Kong's Ann Rosie, whose platinum hair and red lips conjure up Fay Wray as Ann Darrow in King Kong. Although I liked both incarnations of Rosie, it was Steeze Rosie who jumped off the screen and demanded to come home with me. And here she is:
I bought the Monique Gold Ginger wig before she arrived. One look and I didn't need to try any other wigs on her. As for her outfit, after I made the aqua top and a coordinating print skirt, I came across another outfit while searching through my clothing stash. I don't remember for which doll I made it--possibly a WithDoll--but all I had to do to make it fit Rosie was to move the snaps a bit. It's from Gracefaerie's #14 Mini Wardrobe for Narae pattern. When I made it I omitted the sleeves from the jacket and blouse and left the skirt unpleated, which makes it look like a completely different outfit.
Rosie is cast in Raccoon Doll's new Milk Mocha resin, a beautiful soft color between normal and Sweet Mocha. Shortly after she arrived, Raccoon Doll announced the sale of four limited edition heads, one of which is an elf version of their Daisy sculpt. Much as I would love to have a Milk Mocha Elf Daisy, I can't afford a whole doll at this time and ordered the head in normal resin. She'll take over my WithDoll Priscilla's body. The timing was perfect, as I had been about to list Priscilla for sale. Now she'll be repurposed instead. I know the head will fit the body because I tested a Raccoon head for fit; I only hope the resin color will be a decent match. Both of my normal skin Raccoon girls are now two years old, so odds are the resin has mellowed. Even so, their color isn't too far off WithDoll's normal resin. It should work.

Last of the new arrivals is Creature Doll Mei. Unlike Lucia, Mei is human, not an elf. (I wanted one of each.) As I don't care for the company's face-up style, I ordered her blank and painted her myself. Here she is before face-up, which lets you see the basic sculpt:
I encountered the same problem when painting her that I encountered with Lucia: a slippery spot above her left eyebrow that wouldn't take color even after spraying with MSC. Fortunately I noticed before I got too far in the painting, so I was able to remove the color I had already applied and go over the area gently with a fine-grit sanding sponge. It's odd that two dolls should have the same issue. I wonder if it's something to do with how they prepare their molds for casting? Here is Mei with completed face-up:
Mei went through several costume changes over the course of the week before I decided to make something that would be uniquely hers. Using the same Gracefaerie #14 Mini Wardrobe for Narae pattern, I chose the pieces for the Lolita dress and then deconstructed it. Gone are the sleeves, the collar, the excessive fullness of the skirt and the lacy embellishments. I knew it would work because I've done it before (in two different sizes). The result is a simple sleeveless dress which I embellished in a coordinating fabric:
Finally, a comparison shot of all three girls. Keep in mind that Raffine is the only one wearing high heels. The other two are wearing flats. All three are pretty close in height and aesthetic, not surprising when you consider that Raccoon's and Creature's sculptors both worked for Iplehouse before setting out on their own. Mei's wig is by Iplehouse.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Vermont Doll Lovers Meeting August 12, 2017

Lots of photos today so I'll keep text to a minimum. We had 8 attendees at yesterday's meetup: 5 members and 3 guests. Everyone brought dolls! They ran the gamut from an oh-so-real looking elf reborn to anime figures to BJDs. (Click on any photo to enlarge.)
My girls. I'll introduce FID Raffine (on right) next week.
Bittersweet Blue's crew
Dancing Hare's (NY guest) elf baby, made from a kit. He didn't cry once!
Modern Wizard's big girls.
Lyrajean's crew
Bishonen Steve belongs to Melface.
Part of Urban Hermit's (Montreal guest) crew
Two really big guys from Granado and Dollits.
Melface's crew
Anime figures and skeleton crew.
Uh-oh! (Belongs to Bittersweet Blue)

Lyrajean's Licca

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Three More New Outfits: I'm on a Roll

I don't know how I did it, but I managed to turn out three more outfits this week: one dress and two skirt-and-top combinations. My impetus was the expected shipping of Raccoon Rosie, because I wanted her to have something new and uniquely hers upon arrival. So, even though I was itching to start a skirt and top for FID Grace, I started with a dress for Rosie.

I chose a tried-and-true pattern: Dressing Up, from Designs by Jude (for 17-inch Hermione and Nancy). I've made the dress before for Raccoon girls, as well as the skirt-and-top option for Creature Doll. Much as I hate to keep recycling the same look, the dearth of suitably sized patterns at least inspires creativity. This time I omitted the sleeves from the dress. I also made it in color block instead of the same color throughout. Both fabrics--an orange print and a yellow eyelet--came from my stash. Raccoon Monica served as my fit model.
I love how it came out, and the colors work well with Monica's sweet mocha resin. Of course, the longer I looked at it the more I wondered if the color combination would work equally well with Rosie's new milk mocha resin, which is supposed to be pinker in tone. On the off chance that it might not work and because Monica informed me that she intended to keep the dress, I looked for another quick project. (I mean, just look at those eyes. Would you dare cross her?) I chose Designs by Jude's Urban Beat, a skirt, jacket and long sleeve top pattern that I have previously used for both Raccoon girls and Judith girls. I made the skirt and top in colors that should work better with pinker skin tones. No jacket this time. More photos when Rosie can try it on. Fingers crossed that she'll like it. If not, it's back to the sewing table.
After all that rush, here we are a week later and Rosie is still queued for shipment. Hmm, how long is this queue?

Mid-week I finally got the chance to start Grace's new outfit. She has been dressed as Claire from the Outlander series pretty much since the day she arrived. That worked well in cooler weather, but it's now August and just looking at the heavy cowl and gloves made me itch. Recently I purchased two patterns from Designs by Jude fitted to FID ladies: a two-piece casual outfit called Clam Bake and a long gown called Star Gazer. I'm sewing Star Gazer for FID Raffine, who is on order. Not waiting for a shipping notice this time, I started sewing it yesterday. Gonna be gorgeous! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I had been thinking for some time of making a bohemian/hippie style outfit for FID, inspired partly by a Doll Heart outfit I purchased for my FeePle Moe60 girls and partly by the hippie style outfits produced recently by Iplehouse. Until now, the only thing stopping me was wondering how to construct the three-tiered skirt. Making Rosie's skirt this week provided my Eureka! moment. So, with the halter top from Clam Bake, an extra tier added to the skirt from Urban Beat, and a variety of prints in shades of gray and near gray from my bottomless stash, I came up with a vintage bohemian look for Grace.
Her wild and crazy hair is a new wig from Iplehouse. Believe it or not, it spent a full day soaking in water and fabric softener--which didn't help in the least. In the end I figured I'd let her embrace it as part of her look. Also, after taking these photos I added another snap set to keep the top from gapping so much in front. Despite an entire page of photos, the halter pattern was somewhat hard to follow. There was one bit I didn't understand at all, so I'm not sure the fit is exactly as it's meant to be. If I make it again (to go with the clam digger pants in the pattern) I'll try putting it together slightly differently and see if that makes it fit better.
Both girls are wearing new eyes from Safrin Doll. Monica's are a color called Juicy Pear Bold; Grace's are called Tiger Lily Natural. The colors are rather intense, even the so-called natural ones. I did get a pair in Autumn Natural for a larger doll that look normal by comparison. I need to take photos. Monica is also wearing a new wig: Wendy from Monique Gold. The part should be on the side, but either way I like it.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

More Outfits for FID

Last week I mentioned I was working on an outfit but wouldn't show it until it was done. Now that it's done I'm not sure I want to share it. Okay, I'll share it but just so you know, I'm not particularly happy with it. The pattern is Metro Coat from Designs by Jude. Seeing as previous patterns for 19-inch Tonner male dolls all fit without alteration, I felt confident going in that this would fit FID men. Imagine my surprise, then, when I couldn't get the upper arms through the sleeves. I don't know if the narrow sleeves were solely to blame and the shoulders would have fit otherwise, but it was obvious that this coat would need another home, so I tried it on Model Delf Avalanche.
Length is no problem as it's supposed to be long, and a roomy fit is acceptable for a coat. Although the pattern envelope shows the coat in black, the mandarin collar inspired me to use an Asian fabric instead for an ethnic-influenced garment for FID Bichun. Avalanche gets to keep it for now, so long as he doesn't get too comfortable because I also want to try it on my Soul Vito. I'm almost hoping Vito is too tall to wear the coat, because I can't easily adjust the fastenings if needed. I didn't have in-scale buckles so I arranged decorative metal pieces on either side of each snap set. That makes for an annoying number of individual pieces to remove in order to reposition snaps, unless I can do it from the opposite side. Here's a close-up of the pseudo-buckles:
Originally I had planned to make a pair of pants (from the Date Ready pattern) for Bichun to wear under the coat. I saw no reason not to make the pants anyway, figuring that sooner or later my two kilt-wearing men would want a change of clothes. After I made the pants in dark brown, I pondered what to do for a top. It occurred to me that I could pair the pants with the off-white shirt I made the week before, and then pair last week's gray striped pants with the gray FID shirt I bought from Iplehouse. Problem solved without sewing another shirt. Win-win.
Miho scored my last project of the week: a skirt and vest made from MHD Designs' L'Ecoliere pattern for Kaye Wiggs minis. The pattern includes a blouse, which I started sewing in a pretty pink cotton but abandoned without adding the fastenings. It looked too much like a pajama top. If I find a pattern for pajama bottoms I'll finish it. Too bad the pink was a fat quarter--I don't have enough left so I'd have to find something that coordinates with it. Luckily I had a white Iplehouse blouse for JID girls that fits perfectly. I sewed the skirt and vest from a gray-and-white stripe menswear fabric and have enough left over to make pants for one of the guys. For that matter, I probably have enough to make an entire suit!
If I use this pattern again for FID, I'll add darts to the front of the vest to minimize the boxy fit. The back is gathered with a small self-belt, so the back fits fine. With Miho and Bichun looking suitably businesslike, I decided to let them interact with a tiny laptop. I wanted it to look like an internet café--too bad I forgot to get out my coffee cups. Not only that, but when Bichun sits his pants ride up. He needs socks! At least the pants are loose enough that he can sit in them.
Next I'll have to sew something for an incoming Raccoon girl. She's queued for shipping, which means I haven't got a moment to spare!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Shirts (and Pants) for the Guys

I finished two projects this week (and started a third, but will wait until it's done to show it). One of the projects has been hanging over my head ever since my Soom Idealian51 Summer Monologue Cuba arrived in November 2016. That was a long time ago, so I don't blame anyone who doesn't remember the outfit I ordered along with him. It consisted of off-white pants and a shirt that came with the following instruction: "This shirt is designed as not to be open. Since the fabric is weak we suggest you to wear it taking off shoulder joints for easy way to wear it." They're kidding, right?
Naturally I wasn't interested in taking off any shoulder joints. Instead, I tried to put the shirt on a number of smaller male dolls, all to no avail. The weak fabric warning made me nervous. Would it pull apart at the seams if I stressed it in any way? I studied the shirt closely. If only I could open the front completely and add snaps to fasten it, I'd be able to use it. The problem there was that I didn't have any matching fabric to extend the placket the full length of the shirt. I considered removing the placket and making a new, full-length placket in a different fabric. Would that look tacky? Not being one to make things easy for myself, I decided to pick apart the entire shirt and make a pattern.
Having spent three days meticulously undoing seams and removing threads, I take issue with Soom's statement that the fabric is weak. The basic fabric's loose weave may require delicate handling when sewing, but the shirt was reinforced throughout with iron-on woven interfacing. In addition, each piece was serged all around and some seams were doubled (in two different colors, no less) and then top-stitched. This weak little shirt was put together like an army tank.
After removing the placket--and believe me, that thing did not want to come off--I cut the shirt front in half. I ironed all the pieces I would use, then traced them onto white paper. I gave the shirt front an extra half inch to allow for a self-lining that would double as the new placket. In retrospect, I should have given the stand-up collar an extra quarter-inch because it didn't quite line up as it should. Too late now. Cuba has a shirt he can wear with the lightweight pants--and I didn't have to remove his shoulders to put it on. I did run out steam when it came to fastenings, however, and decided to forgo the buttons. They would have been purely ornamental in any case, as the shirt closes with snaps.

My second project of the week involved the Date Ready pattern from Designs by Jude. I had made the shirt once for FID Bichun and thought it could use some improvements. This is the shirt:
Improving it involved choosing a lighter weight fabric and paying more attention to the collar. While I was at it, I decided to make the pants as well. They turned out to be quick and easy, having no pockets, belt loops, or top-stitching to fuss with. They could probably be a bit longer. At the moment they hang long because the waist is loose, but I left it loose on purpose so I could tuck in the shirt. It could stand to be a bit tighter; all I have to do is move a snap. Date Ready includes a sports jacket and a tie. I'll make the jacket when I find a fabric that works with the pants. Not only does the tie look easy to make, but it will keep the shirt collar together for a more finished look. And the outfit really does need a splash of color.
By and large, I find that Designs by Jude's patterns sized for 19-inch Tonner male dolls work well for FID guys. Fit issues are minimal, which is a great time saver. And if you're interested in pants with more tailoring, some of the other patterns in this size have all the details.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Vermont Doll Lovers, July 15, 2017

The Vermont Doll Lovers met yesterday at a member's family home. The weather mostly cooperated, although this being Vermont we did experience intermittent clouds, making photography on the screened-in porch occasionally problematic. Five members attended. I am missing a few doll sculpt names. Sorry about that.

Here are Modern Wizard's dolls:
The big girl is a CP Juri 2005 head on a ShinyDoll Thaasa body. Her name is Sardonix. I believe the others are hybrids.

Lyrajean brought an assortment of Volks dolls:
YoSD Kira and Yuh
SD Date and Jun Tachibana
SD Chiyo and F36
And two Unoa Quluts: a Lusis with a new face-up and a Sist.
Bittersweet Blue brought a Paradox Megu 2 head on Dollzone body, a FairyLand MiniFee Chloe, and a Hujoo Berry:
My apologies if there is only one photo. I couldn't fix the others.

Fey Ladybrought two big boys, a Dollzone Brant (seen here with Modern Wizard's Sardonix), and an Angell-Studio David with custom face-up:
Finally, I brought elves (Creature Doll Lucia, Lumedoll Meissa and WithDolls Ruby, Egon and Angela) along with Dollmore's Judith Girl Scents of a Rose Zinna:
Check out Lucia's shoes. I made them!

Looking over the photos, I'm impressed by how many doll companies they represent. I'm glad our taste in dolls is all over the board, because we get to see more dolls that way.

Next meeting is in August.