Monday, November 5, 2012

The Trouble with Doll Body Sizes

Fact: Dolls come in as many sizes as people.  You can get a doll with an A, B, C, D, DD or OMG size bust with rest of the body all in the same size. The boys come in wide ranges as well; so what fits one "Uncle" does not fit another "Uncle".  (70 cm and up)  And what fits a Slim Uncle does not fit a Slim EID by any means.  When I started looking at dolls, the first thing I learned was how important it is to know your doll's size, and what companies provided clothing and shoes in that size.  I have a Slim Uncle who's feet are TINY, he can share shoes with my 60 cm boy.  My Dragon Doll Uncles (also considered 'Slim) are so big, you can't zip up the back of boots past their ankles. It's something you learn to deal with, just like when you shop for your own clothing.

My SD or 1/3 girl, a 60 cm tall Dragon Doll Gen 1 body, large bust, has got a 15 cm waist. It doesn't show so much from the front how tiny her waist is.  She's sway backed, which means when you look at her sideways, there is a noticeable dip/curve in her lower back.  In people, this is a fitting issue, because the waist back is significantly smaller then what is considered average.  Clothing will fit perfect every where but in the back waist, where it will gap or sag away from the waist, because there is such a dip there.  Usually there is some tricky bias work or serious darting in the back hip to waist region going on there to correct a sagging amount of fabric.  It also makes my doll quite beautifully balanced, so I'm not seeing it as any type of flaw at all.  (Sherry at Pattern ~ Scissors ~ Cloth has a really good explanation for what and how to do about the sway back figure.)

The only Dragon Doll company photo of her discontinued body type from the side is very small and blurry, so I drew a line where the back is curved. The later generations are not so curved in the lower back.

My slight problem as a clothing designer?  Most SD girls on the market now have about an 18 or 19 cm waist.  So when I design and pattern for SD girls, I try to cover the 15 to 19 cm range in the waist, as well as the popular bust range.  Everything else is usually the same, except for specific doll makers, who make a point of having their dolls a different proportion.  The shirtdress pattern I made in September this year, with the wrap and tie belt, works fine for most SD girls.  However, when I want to do something in the more fitted range, I cut up some of those little square make up remover cotton pads, and pad up my doll with some masking tape and fill in that dip.  When I'm designing a pattern,  if I can, I'll work in some elastic or adjustment straps in the details that look like fashion trim, so the outfit will fit more dolls.

However, I do want to do more fitted clothing, like the vintage inspired wiggle dress, or the steampunk corset.  The restrictions on the "ready to wear" items in my Etsy shop being that the corset will have to be underbust style, and the tight dress may have to incorporate something in the line of an adjusting waist cincher or hidden elastic.  

I'm also still working on casual wear to mix and match; but casual is not so casual when you think about it.  Jeans for instance.  Yeah, they fit tight.  Unless you have the doll in hand, or a pattern made specifically for the doll, you're going to go nuts.  And even then, can the doll sit, or pose, in the jeans?  Hard to tell, but I've seen a lot of standing up doll photos.  I also found out with my first pair for my big guy, that I have to add an inch in extra length to make up for double jointed knee extensions.  They have to be a little loose.  And a beefcake doll like the EID Super Hero is going to have butt issues, if some lee way isn't worked into the seat/crotch area.  Stretch fabric will get caught in joints, or emphasize how strange a double jointed knee can look.  So skin tight jeans are not exactly an option unless your boy girl is going to spend a lot of time standing around looking painfully fashionable. I like to leave some room for the doll to move, but then I spoil my 'kids' rotten anyway.

When you buy clothing (or patterns for that matter!)  for your doll, make sure you know the measurements. If there is a question, email the seller and ask them for the garment's finished measurements.  A good dealer will find out for you.  Measure your doll with a thin, 'cm' tape measure instead of inches.  It's easier to get close measurements in tight curves that way.  I buy a normal tape measure, and cut it in half down the middle for the cm side, and only as long as my doll, so  that I have one in proportion to work with.

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