Sunday, April 30, 2017

Grace and Rex: Fashion Iplehouse Dolls

Wow! Twenty-four business days from order to receipt. That's all it took for two dolls with makeup. No clothing, wigs, shoes or other add-ons, so no doubt that's why they shipped so quickly. Still, I was expecting a two-month wait so I got caught unprepared. I meant to sew for them--didn't happen, as the patterns I ordered arrived only a day or two ahead of the dolls. I meant to order wigs. Well, I did order some, but his didn't fit and I haven't ordered hers yet. They're both wearing temporary wigs from my stash.
Grace is a doll I originally had in SID size. Gorgeous doll, but I couldn't deal with how large and heavy she was. That's why I was beyond thrilled when Iplehouse released her in FID version. She was an absolutely-must-buy. She will be Claire in my Outlander themed dolls, which means she needs amber eyes. Iplehouse sent her with brown eyes, which will have to do for now. Everything else I have is either blue, green or violet.
Rex was released originally as an EID--and if you think an SID female is big, an EID male is even bigger. EID Rex, like Lawrence and Leonard, was one of those dolls I admired from afar but didn't buy. That said, I'm not altogether happy with his FID version. I think it's the makeup. Iplehouse photographed the makeup on real skin resin. It looked good, but the effect on normal skin is quite different. Maybe a different wig will help. If not, I may try my hand at repainting him. It's that dark shadow under his lower lip that bugs me. The sculpt is already indented there, so it will photograph dark even without a painted shadow. They don't paint the philtrum (the little groove under the nose), so why deepen an already deep under-lip indentation with dark color? It's a jarring note. Unfortunately, once I notice something like that it's the only thing I see.
The wig I bought for Rex was cream on top and black on the bottom. Although supposedly the same size as the others, it was too small to go on his head. I ended up putting it on Lumedoll Meissa and put Meissa's long blonde wig on Grace. I like how she looks as a brown-eyed blonde; however, Outlander's Claire is a brunette. For the time being she can borrow a wig I bought for FID Miho, but I'll need to order her a different style to go with the costume. Speaking of which, I am almost done sewing her Outlander outfit. I debated whether to show it today or not, then decided to wait one more week. (Or two, depending on when her wig arrives. I have to order it first.)

Meanwhile, here are some more shots of Rex and Grace.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Dancer and a Chair

This past week I got into a discussion on Den of Angels about Dollmore's Ballet Kid Pirouette Zinna. Looking for a photo that might answer the questions, I was surprised to find nothing more recent than snaps from the doll meet-up nearest Pirouette's arrival in July 2015. That's one of the hazards of buying a full-set doll for which no other outfits are available. As lovely as she is, once I've shown her there is nothing new or noteworthy to share unless I put her in a story, which I haven't done.

A day or two later I was pawing through a box of doll clothing, looking for something else, when I came across a ballet costume I had made for a Mini Supia years ago. I don't think I ever tried it on Pirouette. Would it fit? It did. I found a pair of white tights and the black ballet shoes I purchased from Dollmore. (Why do they sell toe shoes in other colors but no additional costumes?) At last, an excuse for photos. I'll let you enjoy them without further commentary.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Vermont Doll Lovers Easter Meet-Up 2017

Four of us met yesterday to celebrate Easter with themed props (peeps and bunnies predominating) and dolls. Every month we find a new art display on the walls of the meeting room. As luck would have it, all the art was clustered on the two walls we normally use, so we set up against a bare brick wall instead. While it gave the photos character, it played havoc with camera flashes. I corrected as much as I could in Photoshop. Next time I vote for setting up on one of the white walls, no matter how much art it holds.

No one wrote down doll's names. I should know what most of them are but my memory is a leaky cauldron. So unless I happen to know them offhand, they are described but not named. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

I'll start us off with my group, which included my four FairyLand FeePle60s: Mirwen, Lacrima, Siean (boy), and my new Cygne. Both Lacrima and Cygne are showing off new face-ups done this past week when the weather warmed up. Also in the group are PukiFee Rin and WithDolls Lucy (fox) and Laney (lamb).
Modern Wizard's dolls include her ice cream-loving vampire hybrid, a Soom Faery Legend sprite, and a girl (in hot pink wig) made by one of our members.
Lyrajean brought four Volks SD dolls, plus YoSD Kira.
Last but not least, Bittersweet Blue brought a group of dolls that included an SD size Obitsu, a FairyLand MiniFee tan Chloe, a couple of poseable Barbies, a tiny Hujoo Freya cat and four other small dolls. She also opened a bag of teeny tiny dragons. I've never seen dragons that small!
Next month's theme is Vices. I'm pretty sure I have nothing that fits the theme, so maybe my WithDoll elves will finally get a chance to get out of the house for a meet-up. Their vice? I don't know. Maybe good elves gone bad? I'll have to think about it.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Getting Ready for Swim Fun in the Summer Sun

Last summer my doll group devoted two meetings to a beach theme. Great idea, except none of my dolls had swimsuits. I kept meaning to make some but never got around to it. I figured this year I would get a head start, or the beach meet-up would come around and I'd be sitting there again with a tiny picnic basket and one or two dolls in shorts. Or else ignore the theme altogether, but that's no fun.

One of my crochet books (Ready Set Crochet by Susie Johns) has a pattern for a cute string bikini top. It's sized for humans, but adjusting it down to one-quarter size posed no problems. I especially like that it has a bit of shape to it, rather than consisting of two tiny triangles and a bit of string. The shape was surprisingly simple to make. You crochet an L-shape and then join the two short edges, beginning at the point where they meet. I tried the strings two ways. The violet bikini has a simple chain for the strings; the blue has a chain with one row of single crochet. The first looks sexier; the second is a bit sturdier and easier to tie.
My only complaint with the pattern is that there is no corresponding bottom. I was wondering what to do about it when I came across an example later in the book of increase and decrease triangles. Aha! I thought. That should work. Starting at the front waist, I decreased to the crotch, crocheted a narrow crotch and then began to increase for the back, all the while measuring against one of my Raccoon girls every couple of rows. Strictly speaking neither front nor back is a perfect triangle as I was aiming for coverage rather than mathematical symmetry. Maybe I'll try a slightly more daring treatment for the next one.
For accessories I turned to My Crochet Doll by Isabelle Kessedjian. I wanted a sun hat, a beach bag, and a towel or blanket. I used the rain hat pattern, measuring the piece on my doll's head after every round because I had no idea how big the finished hat would be. After round 6 or 7 I realized I needed to start decreasing and abandoned the pattern altogether. I decreased throughout the next 2 rounds to snug the hat around the head, then started increasing for a ruffled brim. To finish I wove blue yarn in and out of one of my decrease rows and tied it with a bow. I am absolutely thrilled with the result. Of course I'll have to make a few more; the girls are already fighting over who gets to wear it.
The beach bag looks okay, but I'll be the first to admit I got lost early on. I couldn't manage the adjustable loop and worked from a chain foundation ring instead. It's an accepted alternative--although I found it awkward to work in a small circle, especially when trying to determine which threads to pick up for my next stitch. Next time I'll try to master the adjustable loop to see if it makes the going easier. I'll need to make a couple more bags if I am to outfit a half-dozen girls for the beach.
No pattern was needed for the blanket. My only constraints were the amount of yarn I had in each color. I used a package of Lion Brand Bonbons containing eight tiny skeins of yarn in bright colors and worked five of them into a pattern of narrow stripes. I wish now I had left each skein attached when I changed colors. Not only would it have saved yarn but I wouldn't have had to weave in all the loose tails. As it was I barely made it to the end of my border before the orange yarn ran out.
The only thing keeping me from starting the next bikini now is yarn. Even though I have plenty of both colors left, it would be pretty boring to have six bikinis in the same two colors. My local store carries limited colors in this weight of Aunt Lydia's yarn so I had to place an order; with luck the yarn will turn up in the next few days and I can get working again.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

New Fashions for My BJDs

This week I highlight fashions recently purchased for various BJDs, along with the finished Opulent gown for Raccoon Monica and a crochet dress I made over the winter.

After posting last week I figured out how to finish the sleeve lining for the Designs by Jude Opulent gown. (Not sure of the period. It feels vaguely 18th Century to me.) I decided I disliked the row of silk flowers edging the overskirt, so I removed them and scattered them across the front of the overskirt instead, where I positioned them over printed flowers of the same color, along with some extra beads to cover same-color dots. I didn't extend the decorations to the back, figuring they would get crushed when the doll is seated.

After all that work I'm still not in love with the gown. I don't know if the problem is the print or the color combination, but the total effect gives me a circus clown feeling. It bugs me so much I didn't bother making the petticoat. What I'd really like is to find a blue and white toile for the overdress and a dark blue for the underskirt. I'll see what I can turn up at the fabric store.

Brianna, my FM60 Cygne, has a new Casual Summer skirt and vest set from DollHeart. I had been eyeing this set for some time, thinking the style would suit her perfectly. It's hard to get an exact fit for a Moe body. Volks size SD10/13 comes pretty close, although I did have to move the skirt's snap to fit her narrower waist. Also the vest/blouse shoulders have a tendency to ride up, but I haven't figured out what to do about it short of tugging the front down every so often. If the back looks ill fitting in some photos, that's where my doll stand grabs her. I can hide the waist gripper under the lace in front but not in back where the edges are sewn flat. The outfit includes lace underpants, a sort-of macramé looking shawl that DollHeart shows wrapped around the doll's hips, and a length of lace for use as a headband. (It didn't work with this wig.) The outfit is sold out at DollHeart; I found it at Fabric Friends and Dolls. I added the necklace, which consists of a tiny corset that was part of a set of Steampunk charms.
The next DollHeart set is not brand new, as my SoulDoll Vito has worn the shirt and vest for a while. It's actually meant for a size SD13 boy so I finally put it on Sheehan, my F60 Siean boy, for whom it is a perfect fit. The set is called Unknown Future and consists of black pants, a gray-and-black striped shirt, brown vest, long brown coat, white scarf and jabot, and a rather large black hat. I didn't photograph the full outfit because I was posing him with Cygne and felt his outer garments overwhelmed her airy skirt set, but here are the pants, shirt and vest. I should have photographed the back, too, because the shirt has some nice detail with a narrow black ribbon laced and tied into a bow. Oddly enough, DollHeart's photos don't show this detail.
Model Delf Annette scored the next outfit, Pianissimo from Sadol. This set was originally available for both SD and MSD girls. Much as I would have loved to have it for Cygne, too, it was sold out by the time I made up my mind to buy it. Sadol now has both sets marked "Available Soon" so Cygne may get hers after all. Annette's set came from Fabric Friends and Dolls. Pianissimo consists of a striped dress with matching panties, white stockings and a navy blue beret. The fabric colors differ for SD and MSD sizes. I do wish some of these companies would pay attention to the wording on the charms they use for decoration. I can live with "Love" on the dress and panties, but the ones on the beret and stockings say "Hand made". Seriously?
Finally, I present a little crochet dress I made for MiniFee. The seller from whom I bought MNF Lishe sent a darling pink crochet dress with her. I always wanted to make another like it, and after almost three years of studying it from every angle I finally attempted it. The top was fairly easy. I got it after only a couple of tries. Even though I could see how the shoulder straps were done, I purposely varied them. The skirt was not so easy. Not that I counted, but at a guess I got most of it done, then pulled it apart and began again five times. Okay, maybe six. Some people can knock off a little crochet dress in one afternoon. Mine took all winter. But the next one will be quicker. The only thing I didn't quite figure out was the scalloped ruffle, as you can tell by looking at it. On the pink dress it is three scallops high. Mine is one scallop high and way too ruffled. I couldn't find any instructions for multiple rows of scallops done the same way (and obviously misunderstood the instructions I did find). I'm still searching, however, and will make another dress if I find the answer. The first photo shows Lishe in the original pink dress; the second shows Mirwen in my variegated blue-aqua-violet version. I would have preferred to make mine in a solid color, but had only variegated colors on hand. I figured it would do for a first attempt.
I had hoped to show off my first ever crochet bikini, but the finished bottom ended up too loose. The top, however, came out great! I plan to remake the bottom part this week, probably as connected triangles rather than as a fitted, panty-style bottom. Unless I find a doll who can wear it as is. We'll see.