Friday, October 26, 2012

New Dresses in the Etsy Shop.

Now that I have managed to sort out my working schedule, and my photo taking routine, and I'm done with wig making, I'm going to be getting more sewing done.

2 new SD dresses and 2 new MSD dresses are up in the shop.  I have a nice rainbow collection of fabrics that will be turned into one of a kind dresses in this style with variations in collars and cuffs and trims, with matching or contrasting wrap belts over the coming weeks.

These shirt dresses look very cute, and will fit a wide variety of bust and waist as well as hip sizes on MSD and SD girls.  They are easy to dress and undress the girls with, no removal of head or hands. Just slip them on over the doll's head and wrap the belt on and tie it.  They look good when the doll is seated as well as standing, and are nice, casual dresses that will also decorate any room your girl is in.

I came up with this design because I wanted to be able to change my girls' outfits more often and easily, and I hope others will enjoy the same convenience.  The wrap belt can be replaced with a corset, waist cincher, or belt of your own choice, or worn over a frilly petticoat for a very retro 1950's look.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Making a Mohair Doll Wig: Putting it Together

This is part two, part one, is here.

You'll need the mohair wefts you've made, and a doll wig cap that you've either made or purchased that fits your doll, and a wig stand of some sort, a good thread to match the hair as closely as possible, a milliner's needle, and some long pins, with ball heads.  I used quilting pins.  (Note: I am assuming you know how to sew, or you wouldn't be trying this.)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Amazing Pets! Felted Animals Custom Made by GourmetFelted

I just found out that Gerry from Dreamfiber also does needle felting sculptures.  I'm thinking perfect pets for ball joint dolls!  Her attention to detail is so amazing!

GourmetFelted is her other shop.  Photo credit and link to Gerry.  I'm just stunned by the work she does.  This is amazing work.  If you can't clone your pet, you can have Gerry make a 3D portrait in miniature.  Doesn't he look like he's going to give one of those happy little barks any moment?

Making a Mohair Doll Wig: Wefting the Hair

First of all, I'm sharing my progress on this project here for the members of World Wide Doll House, a BJD forum open to all members. 

World Wide Doll House is more like an online doll meet up than a BJD specific forum, where members can discus lots of other things, the same as you would at a regular doll meet. We're also working on promoting a "World Wide Doll Month" for September, where you sign up to do something you'd been planning on doing for ages and just haven't done (like writing a book on NaNoWriMo, only with doll related projects.) There is a small, but growing market place there, as well. Check it out! ^_^  It's especially good for European region resources. (It's also moderated for spam posts so knock it off, jerks!) 

Now, I butchered a modacrylic wig trying to style it for one of my dolls, and unable to find the perfect wig for him, I decided to try something I'd been wanting to do for some time. Make a wig. I'd looked on Youtube for tutorials under the BJD key word and nothing I found, at the time, was quite what I wanted.  But in the side bar, there were links to human wig making.  After studying quite a lot of them, I put the links to the ones I found most useful here.

After locating a source of gorgeous natural mohair at Dreamfiber, I bought some and started trying everything until I came up with the method here.  Gerry at Dreamfiber must have the patience of a goddess, because without her preparations, I don't think I would have been able to do any of this.  

Now for the Tutorial! ^_^ 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tailoring and Patterning

I have been tailoring since I started sewing.  I have a stack of trusty books with everything anyone could possibly need to know in them. Some of them can be found in local dead tree repositories (libraries).

While a lot of it translates just as easily to making BJD clothing, not all of it does completely.  You can't, for example, put all the layers of hand stitched padding that make the perfect shape in a man's bespoke suit in a doll's suit.  It would add a lot of unnecessary bulk.  Cheat and use a good knit iron on interfacing instead. 

For instance, welt pockets.  With the larger dolls, yes.  With anything under 60cm, I'm inclined to just use the mock pocket and call it done.  I've noticed a lot of the 60 cm boy dolls have huge hands compared to the proportions their pockets would be on their garments.  A patch pocket or flap for style, but if it were in proportion with the hand, rather than the garment, it would have to be huge. 

 It's safest to use only the thinnest tropical weight suiting and very thin lining can be used for dolls.  Sometimes that means the fabric frays as fast as you work with it, so you have to take extra time to go around every piece with Fray Check and be extra careful about using good tight stitches.  

It takes a lot of patience to properly sew any garment to couture standards and only about 50% more to tailor a suit for a girl or boy doll.  It's much easier than tailoring for a human.  The trick is assembling garments for dolls follows a slightly different path than for humans.  Small sleeves are tricky to turn right side out and getting linings to hang right without bagging the fashion fabric is difficult without a LOT of pins and some unfortunate swearing.  (It helps, really.)  And most good tailoring books assume you don't need an actual pattern, because if you're reading the book, you know how to measure and draft a suit pattern by simply doing it.  There really are only a few main changes in men's suit styles. All the fashion of the past century is just a matter of details and fit.  

ball joint doll custom sewing 2

Suits go from loose to tight, depending on the season and whim of designers, but the basic pattern is pretty much engraved in stone. The Jacket: a front, a back, sleeves and a collar. The Slacks: Back and front. The Vest: back and front.  Everything else is just where you put, or don't put pockets, double breasted is just a bit more overlap and western is just a shape of a front pocket or yoke, a tail coat is just a jacket with its front cut short and its back lengthened.    

ball joint doll custom sewing

 Once you've made a few suits, it's just like any other sewing project.  Lots of sewing, lots of pressing and attention to detail in the shaping and line of the fabric will get you--a suit.  

The biggest problem with making Doll sized suits is the buttons.  It's difficult to find buttons that are a tiny 5-6 mm.  I use Barbie size buttons for the cuff trim buttons, but unless the companies making doll clothing have someone making buttons specifically for them, I haven't found anything that works that's an actual button to start with except the plastic ones I'm using now.  I'd love to be able to find brass ones.  I'm going to try using spacer beads, with another bead in the middle to make the shank. But that's up in the air right now.