Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Darling Project

I've been going through my fabric stash to see what I can use to make an outfit for Darling.  I had hoped to find some kind of pale blue scraps, but I don't like pale blue (for me or the brood), except in denim.  So much for that idea.

Here is what I've pulled out so far:

Bits of tulle, sparkle organza, lace and silk
The lace has sequins and pearl beads sewn to it - the sequins don't show up very well in these photos.

I can see a couple of the sequins, but unless you know what you're looking for, they are really hard to find.
In the close up photo, you can see the pink and violet sparkle organza, the light violet dupioni and the pale yellow habotai (or china silk).  The first photo also shows the darker, lilac dupioni, the off-white silk georgette and the knit silk from a well worn garment that I figured might come in handy some day.

I also thought that I might need something sparkly to add pizazz to whatever outfit I came up with:

Now you can see the sequins!

The embellishments I had to buy, but they were on sale for half price or less (yippee!), so I don't feel so bad.

I like the lace, so that is definitely going to be part of Darling's outfit.  However, with the bits I've just bought, I think I'll have to search further for something complimentary.....or stick with a white palette.  Any thoughts?

Friday, 9 January 2015

Side Project

I really like the Ever After High line of dolls (as does my brood), and slowly but surely, I'm accumulating the signature dolls for my collection.  Which means that some of them only get picked up when they are on sale.  So far, this is who I have:

My Rebels
My Royals
Everyone so far

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Meet the Hatters

Happy New Year!  It's been a while since I was last able to get on the computer for my own purposes, but as I was taking pictures of the many dolls I've accumulated since.......well, perhaps the last time I published something, I was thrilled by this pair:

The Mad Hatter doll was a Valentine's Day gift from a few years back, and Madeline was a Christmas gift to one of the brood.  I noticed that their hats had similar patterns and decided to snap a few pictures.

What do you think, Dad?
I just love Madeline's outfit - she's now on my list of dolls to watch out for when they go on sale.

Now all they need is some tea!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Interesting news in the doll world

As I was getting the brood out of their beds to get ready for school, I heard an interesting tidbit in the business news segment.  Apparently, Disney has awarded the contract for making the very popular Frozen dolls to Hasbro!  As well, they reported that Hasbro would be making other princess dolls as well.  This is all supposed to start in 2016.  I will have to verify this, but it all sounds interesting!

I don't know if I have any Hasbro dolls in my collection...and I wonder what their princesses will look like.  Will they still have more than five points of articulation?  If they do, will they be able to sit like ladies (see this review from the Toy Box Philosopher)?  Will clothing quality be an issue?  In think, though, it will be interesting to see what Hasbro does.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Madame Alexander's Alexandra Fairchild Ford

The family decided to take an outing to an antique mall about an hour away last weekend.  My DH was looking for railroad track, and I figured that I would be able to find something for my dolls.  So far this summer my sweetest find has been a Villeroy and Boch Urban Nature dip bowl, which is just about the right size to be a platter for any of my 1:6 scale group.  The store I got it from was going out of business and $5 wasn't a bad price to pay for a high end item.  It will go quite nicely with the miniature Le Creuset pieces I found many, many years ago, before I was completely doll obsessed.

But back to the antiques mall.  This place is enormous.  We separated, me keeping the youngest with me as they were happy to indulge me in my hunt for doll items.  I found a lot of things I wanted to bring home with me, but I ended up with just three:  a miniature brass candelabra (romantic dinners with the fancy serving ware), a 1:10 scale diecast tandem bicycle (scroll to the bottom of the page to see it) and this doll.

This is how she was sitting in the display case, behind a ton of Barbies and old GI Joe's (the 12 inch ones from the 1970's).  I could see that she was bigger than the other dolls, but I couldn't see any markings, let alone her face.  And as the cabinet was locked, I needed to find someone that could get her out for me....which I did after strolling along the rest of the aisle.

This is what I saw when the gentleman pulled her out (and from the look on his face, I think he was a little surprised):

I did not expect to find this doll at an antique mall.  Turning her over, I found the Madame Alexander mark, just as one of the brood (who were all with me at the time) asked, "What kind of doll is she Mommy?"

"She's a Madame Alexander Alex doll," I answered immediately, without hesitation.  I guess all that time studying doll magazines has paid off.  I noticed all of the points of articulation (marvelling at the toes), but figured that I wouldn't take her yet - I'd walk around and think about it a bit.

Well, long story short, she came home with us, and a quick search of the Internet told me that she was a Mod Alex.

But that's all.  I'm really disappointed that I can't find any information on her (like what is she made of, what kind of hair does she have, how many of her hair colour were made?).  I've even resorted to digging through my old Haute Doll issues, but details are basic at best.  I know that the Alex line has been discontinued, but from the lack of information out there, it's almost as if she didn't exist.

Anyway, needless to say, I'm thrilled to have a "collector" doll - I just don't have any clothing for her.  Along with the lack of information on this doll, patterns and ready made clothing don't seem to be forthcoming either.  I have been able to find some measurement comparison charts, and I see that Alex's measurements aren't really similar to some of the other dolls for whom items are more readily available (Ellowyne Wilde, Gene and Tyler Wentworth).  So, during my search this past week, I went to a local dollar store to see if I could find some doll related items I had read about recently, and found a 3-pack of children's socks.  I've made doll sweaters from socks, and there was a cute stripey pair that I though might make something for Alex to wear while I'm on this clothing quest.  The socks came home with me (along with some other doll stuff) and one of them became this:

Alex is standing unassisted, which apparently is a feature of this doll

A child's sock (and some ribbon) will make an outfit for a 16 inch doll - at least a temporary one.  Cool.  I know that one of the brood was impressed, but no-one has asked me to make one for their least, not yet.

This morning, I realized that I might just have some similarly sized dolls in my collection (and therefore perhaps something to borrow), so I brought them out and made introductions:

from L-R: Moxie Teenz Bijou, Disney Singing Aurora, Alex, Barbie as Genevieve, Moxie Teenz Melrose
Aurora is too big, but Barbie/Genevieve looks like she's similarly sized...

Okay, Alex is taller...
...and has a larger chest...
...and larger hands.
Hmmm.  I tried the dress anyway...

...and that's as far as Alex's hand will go into the sleeve.
But, the sleeves aren't fully attached, which will allow me to see if the dress will fit anyway...

Looks good from the front...
...but not so much from the back
It would appear that Alex is not impressed.
Not crazy about the pink and glitter?
And Melrose (or Bijou) are too small, but they do have similar articulation:

Moxie Teenz are not as busty

A sample of their similar posability.  Here is a better
view of Alex standing unassisted (Melrose is leaning
against the backdrop)

For the time being, Alex has her under garments/summer night wear to keep her decent, but I'll have to find or make something else to expand her wardrobe.  I do have some linen that would make a nice dress...

Bottom line is that I'm pleased to add Alex to my doll family.  And I can't wait to go back to that antiques mall!


I've been griping about how difficult it is to find patterns for Alex so that I can make some clothing that will fit her properly.  If I had taken the time to go through my old issues of Barbie Bazaar/Haute Doll/Doll Reader, I would have found this sooner:

In the November 2000 issue of Doll Reader, there was a contest to design an outfit for Alex.  Two outfits were to be chosen from the entries, with the possibility of them being produced by the Alexander company in the future.  The pattern above was provided as a starting point for those that wished to enter.  There was no specification to enlarge the pattern in the magazine, so if anyone wishes to print this, please note that the bottom of the sleeve pattern piece should measure 72mm across to be the correct size.  Now to the fabric stash....

Thursday, 31 July 2014

My apologies.....

So, it was my intention to post more regularly than this, and in truth, I have a couple of posts that I am working on (but am not yet satisfied with, so I keep re-writing them), and more ideas in the works, but July has been a busy month.  I should not be surprised by this - July has always been a busy month for me - and yet, it is the end of the month, and I'm scratching my head wondering what has happened.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a discovery that one of my brood made.  Please note that the pictures that appear in this post are taken by this young one.

In our house, there are a number of doll lovers.  We are currently quite happy with the Ever After High dolls, but our favourites (of the modern dolls) are Spin Master's Liv dolls.  Of course, there are also Monster High, Bratzillaz, Moxie Teenz, Disney Fairies and some of the Pullip dolls are really wonderful.  I also really liked the My Scene and Wee Three Friends dolls when they were available.

Getting back to the main reason for this post, however, a discovery that was made.  I like the outfits that the Ever After High girls wear, but they are limited to what they come dressed in, unless you're handy with a needle and thread, and can work with really tiny pattern pieces.

In an attempt to get around this, here is what was placed before me:

EAH Madeline Hatter
I recognised the outfit right away, but for those that may not, it comes from the Tommy doll that was part of the Kelly and Tommy as Alice and the Mad Hatter set from Mattel some years back (I believe it was part of the Storybook Collection).

Maddie giving upside down posing a try

I had to admit, she looked pretty cute in her borrowed duds.  I would never have occurred to me to put her in Kelly sized clothing.

Um, I didn't expect that either

Just a short post to share, until I get the others done.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Dress Pattern for Ever After High dolls

I like it when I can combine my interests, and this post is about dolls and sewing!

Members of my brood expressed interest in the Ever After High dolls when they started to appear last year (2013), and luckily, this happened before birthdays or Christmas, so all went well.  The unfortunate thing about these dolls, the girls anyway, is that their bodies are way slimmer than Barbie or Liv dolls, and healthier looking than Monster High dolls, which means that for the time being, any new clothes will have to be made.  By me.

I have spent some time searching for patterns that I can try (as in free) and tweak to suit my purposes, without much luck.  There are lots for Monster High dolls though (which is fine, as some of those ladies live here too).  And then I found some great measurement information on Requiem Art.  If you click on the link, it will take you to the Doll Clothes and Patterns page - the measurement information is in the Subpages for Doll Clothes and Patterns box to the right.  And yes, I could just buy one of the patterns on this site, but I really want to drive myself to the edge of insanity try it myself first.

This information was useful.  I combined the information into a giant spreadsheet of my own, placing comparable dolls side by side.  With that information, and looking at the pictures that are also available on the site that compare body types, I was able to get a better idea of how I might be able to alter a pattern for Monster High (MH) dolls so that it will fit Ever After High (EAH) dolls.

My first attempt has been to use a pattern I stumbled upon while on Pinterest.  The image of the pattern is here.  Just in case this link is broken, it's on sunlight_neko's photostream on Flickr.

Anyway, I printed the pattern, and traced it, adding 5mm allowance everywhere except the hem (there, I added 10mm).  Then, I decided to extend the lines of the bodice front and back to make a shift dress and sewed it all by hand.  You will notice I did not mention enlarging the pattern.  In order to make this dress fit a MH doll (let alone an EAH doll), you will have to.  If you use it as is, it will fit a La Dee Da doll, which have even skinnier bodies.  Just so that you know that this pattern can fit a variety of dolls : )

So after that little experiment, I enlarged the pattern by 130%, 135%. 140% and 150%.  I figure I might as well have a variety of sizes available.  While studying the pattern, I realised that the area at the bottom of the armhole would probably go around the bust, and I had the bust measurements from the charts above.  The 150% enlargement had a finished bust measurement of 8.9cm, more than enough for and EAH doll.  So I traced, added seam allowance and hand sewed a second sample.  This is what it looks like:

Ashlynn Ella's arms are up to allow for better viewing of the dress.  I doubled the pieces for the bodice because the fabric I used would have frayed too much without it.  The alternative would have been to create facing pieces for the neck and armholes, and that's too small for me!  This picture shows how short the bodice is on an EAH would be even shorter on an MH doll, and might be better referred to as a yoke.  The waist seam is just below her bust.  So, my thoughts on the next attempt are to lengthen the bodice pieces so that the waist seam is at the waist...or I could make the skirt less flared so that the dress is similar to an Empire style dress.  I guess I have some options.

Please note, the area of the pattern that I measured is just above an EAH doll bust, and the bottom of the bodice, in the enlarged state without alteration, will be just below.  I also realized that I can use the 140% enlargement for these dolls as the pattern measured 8.1cm and would make a closer fitting bodice.  And I would recommend adding the seam allowance to the pattern, rather than enlarging it enough to include it, but if you decide to go the second route, please let me know how it worked out for you!  I should finally add that I have not yet tried to make the socks included with this pattern...I might get to that after I'm happy with the dress.

Please also note that this dress will be longer on Madeline Hatter as she is shorter than most of the girls, and shorter on Cerise Hood as she is taller, although I'm sure that many EAH enthusiasts are already aware of that.

Hopefully, my next attempts will be better!

P.S.  I'm still working on the Skipper post too - I've decided to rewrite it from scratch because it was getting too long and rambling!