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.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Introducing Creature Doll Lucia

I suspect many BJD collectors have yet to discover Creature Doll. It's a fairly new company, started by Tae-Wong Park in late 2016. Mr. Park previously worked as a sculptor for both Iplehouse and SoulDoll. The Iplehouse connection will be fairly obvious to anyone who collects those dolls. I don't see as much SoulDoll in his work, but then most SoulDolls that passed through my collection didn't stay long. So far in his first year with his own company Mr. Park has produced two Limited dolls and three Basics. All are 45cm tall mini-mature females. Two of the five are elves. The two Limited editions had full sets that included a considerable amount of (resin) armor. Armor is not a prime selling point for me, no matter which company makes it, but I'm a total sucker for elf ears. So I ordered Lucia, the only Basic with elf ears.
Lucia before face-up
Lucia is a lovely doll with a slight smile but no visible teeth. I ordered her with the optional face-up. After reading comments by DoA members who had received theirs about how very pink her makeup was, I contacted the company and cancelled the face-up. Of course, that meant I would be painting my own, which can be a challenge on a size 5-6 head. In fact, I ended up painting her four times because there was a slippery spot above one eye that wouldn't hold pastel powder or paint. The last time, after removing the previous face-up and while the resin was still wet, I sanded the area lightly with a fine grit craft sponge. That took care of the slippery resin and I was able to complete her face-up.
With completed face-up
Considering how similar their physical measurements are, I was eager to see how Lucia would compare to my Raccoon Dolls and FIDs (Fashion Iplehouse Dolls). Lucia has bigger feet than the other girls. On the plus side, she stands more solidly and her proportions look more natural. On the minus side, I'm having trouble finding shoes that fit. The problem is not with the length of the foot itself but with the ankle construction, which will not support the doll if the foot is tilted away from its locked-in position. It's the Iplehouse ankle--exactly. Creature Doll introduced heel feet with its newest girl, Lilith, along with a pair of high heel shoes. Until now the only shoes available were combat boots, which are not my style. I should have added the feet and shoes to my order, as it hadn't shipped yet, but I decided to wait and see what shoes I had that would fit the flat feet instead. I have three pairs of dorky looking flats (same style, different colors). Nothing else works. So yesterday I placed a separate order for heel feet and shoes. The shipping cost is half as much as the cost of the items. Next time I'll order the heel feet with the doll. Of course, now I wonder if I have other shoes that will fit the heel feet. The cycle starts again.
Raccoon Sarah, Creature Doll Lucia, FID Miho, FID Bichun
One Creature Doll feature that I wish the other girls had is the split elbow peanut. This joint makes it possible to bend and simultaneously turn the elbow, allowing more natural arm movement. It doesn't make for the prettiest looking joint, but you can't have everything. The FID and Raccoon elbow peanuts are solid pieces. In order to work well, the solid peanut needs to pull down from the upper arm and up from the lower arm. Theoretically you should then be able to position the upper and lower arm pieces nearly parallel, with the peanut forming the curve of the elbow. This presupposes that the parts will lock in place. In practice, I find it doesn't always work. In fact, it seldom works. The Raccoon joints seem to lock slightly better than the FID, but neither girl can touch her shoulder. In my opinion, Creature Doll's split elbow peanut is sheer genius!
Split elbow peanut joint
What Iplehouse calls its Mobility thigh joint (and charges extra for) comes standard on Raccoon and Creature Dolls. I never appreciated the joint until I started collecting the Raccoon girls, when I discovered that it really does allow the leg to turn out more gracefully. It's a more attractive look, although the line of the joint itself is not as aesthetically pleasing in a bikini-clad doll as is an uninterrupted thigh piece. The knees on all three dolls are similar looking; they just seem to work better on the Creature Doll.
I haven't tried many outfits on Lucia yet. So far she can wear a blue dress I made for WithDoll Priscilla and a qipao I ordered from Raccoon Doll. We would have tried on more things except I got sidetracked by three consecutive days of sunshine, which allowed me to work on face-ups. Believe me, this area gets so much rain that the minute it looks like the sun might last all day I immediately gather my art supplies and start painting. So in addition to Lucia, my FeePle Moe 60 Cygne got a new face-up this week, too.
New face-up for FM60 Cygne
As you know, I tend to name my dolls and then promptly forget what those names are. I can't in this case because she is my third sculpt named Lucy. Okay, it's Lucia, but it's too close. So Raccoon Lucy is the only one I actually call Lucy. Withdoll Little Fox Lucy goes by Lulu, and Creature Doll Lucia will answer to Lily.
Raccoon Lucy (in heels) with Lucia
Well phooey...I received notification that Creature Doll is sold out of both heel feet and shoes. No idea when they will be sold again. Apparently there is a production problem.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Scents of a Rose Zinna

Talk about an unexpected delivery! I ordered Dollmore's newest Judith Girl Scents of a Rose Zinna on June 16th and she arrived without fanfare early this past week. This sort of thing never happens in the world of BJD collecting unless a doll is in stock--and doll companies rarely have the dolls in stock. You order, they make your doll, then they ship. Usual time is two months or so, often longer. I think what happened here was that Dollmore took sample dolls to a doll convention and those are the ones that are finding their way to collectors now. Scents of a Rose Zinna is a Limited Edition of 10 dolls. I know of one other person at the moment who has received her. Do I mind receiving a sample? Heck, no. I'll take instant gratification any day. Although I sort of missed the ritual of unraveling the mummy. Rose Zinna was well wrapped, but not to the extent (or the amount of tape) that I usually encounter.
My mail carrier had a good laugh, seeing my surprise. Usually I am at the door before he gets out of his truck. The thing is, Dollmore didn't let me know they had shipped. Not only that, but the last time I checked my status on their website (ironically to make sure my payment had gone through) there was nothing happening. And here she is.
Her costume was the main reason I bought her. There's a hint of historical flavor to it, a hint of the boudoir, and I love the color, the trims and the rose patterned fabric. It was a bit complicated to put on, sending me to Dollmore's website at least twice as I tried to figure how what goes where. There are a lot of ribbons. Pretty, yes, but they're there chiefly because every part of the costume ties on. Although the ribbon lacing on the front of the corset is strictly for show, the corset fastens in the back with--you guessed it--more ribbon lacing. Even the panties tie on with ribbons. The only parts of the outfit that don't tie in some way are the shoes and stockings and what Dollmore calls a waist decoration--essentially a bracelet that goes around the waist.
Much as I love the corset, I haven't found the best way to position it. The darn thing has boning in it, which is hardly necessary when worn by a hard body doll. It's not like it has to hold anything in--or up. I laced it tightly, only to find that it sits rather high on her chest. The tight corset also makes her difficult to pose: she's so stiff it's as if all her torso joints were gone.
Her default wig is a pale blonde. As usual with Dollmore's pale blond wigs, it looks slightly green in photographs. I went through my size 7/8 wig bin and came up with two alternatives: a milky pink from Luts and a dark carrot from LeekeWorld/DollGa. Has anyone ever seen a carrot in this shade of red? I haven't. Makes you wonder what kind of plant food they give their carrots in Korea. That said, the red wig is my current favorite despite the fact that it's a bit loose, even with a wig cap under it.
Rose Zinna's sales photos downplayed the amount of red in her makeup. She is very red, especially around the eyes. While it works with her costume, it might be a bit much if I ever change her into everyday clothes. Who am I kidding? Most of my Zinnas wear their full sets exclusively. I only re-dress the ones whose full sets I didn't like, like my Maxima Suntan Zinna. She's another one whose makeup is extreme. So far I've been able to live with it. Extreme or no, there's just something about those Judith Girls!