Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Commission: Soom Super Gem Flapper Dresses

Fishcake has commissioned a trio of basic bias cut flapper dresses she will then decorate to the time period.  This is the example she sent me.  Paid in full, time indeterminately soonish.

Anyone who follows this blog knows I'm nutty about Tracy Butler's Lackadaisy Cats, where cats is flappers and waffles is lies, so I'm hep to the period.  Plus who can resist the era of Berty Wooster?

A while back, thanks to Mrs. Depew discussing it at A Few Loose Threads, I found the book I have been searching for for ages.  A 1927 copy of the Butterick Pattern Company's 'Art of Dressmaking'.  I got it from a used book store through Amazon for something like 11$ if I remember right.  A lot of the techniques in this old home sewing book are now considered only useful in haute couture.  It's moldy (possibly dangerous), falling apart and worth its weight in gold.  I have read of people who had to get rid of old pattern collections because of allergies. Yeah and I'm allergic to cats.  Like I'd let go of this baby.

Note that while she is padding the dressmaking mannequin's bust, the prescribed fashion figure of the time period is 'board straight, board flat'.  However if you read Lackadaisy Cats, you can see that having curves (or a fluffy tail) does nothing to stop how great the fashions of the time looked.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Oh Look, Sunshine

I hope the worst of the bitterly cold weather is over for us here, and all we have to look forward to now is drenching rain.  The sun is finally on the back of the flat where the cat can loll in the window and soak it up, instead of sleeping all day under a fuzzy throw blanket.

Hubby is now confident enough with the program to be able to do our own embroidery design programming for BJD size clothing.  We can work in a 4 x 4 inch space and that actually covers a heck of a lot in BJD land. There will be a lot more examples besides this (designs already in the machine) up on DA as soon as I get time to make them up, starting with a few t-shirts.  Pricing will depend on individual designs.

We have tried free samples from a number of digital embroidery places online in the learning process and were not happy.  Our finding was that too many stitches per mm makes for a stiff mess of thread all jammed into a tiny area, and with no ability to alter the design other than by size, even the smaller designs were uselessly over laden.  Either this is why the designs were free, or the companies need to rethink their concept of 'sample' if they want people to buy their designs with confidence. Based on this experience, rather than say 'buy what ever you like from X and we will stitch it out for you', we prefer to do our own design programming, and only on doll clothing items we make.  This also allows for custom trim, which has put me off making this outfit for Karin (Tiger & Bunny).
I can do the ruffles, no problem, but that brown and pink trim is nowhere to be found, and baring either micro-piecework applique, hand embroidery, or fabric markers and paint, it put the project in limbo.  Now I can just program up the design and slap it on her hat and skirt, no problem!  

My latest (and late) tutorial is yet another attempt to solve the mystery (to me!) of shoes for larger dolls.  You'll find it here.  Proceed with caution.  The wet weather meant not only did the paper clay but the glue took 2 to 3 days to dry, and I think it also added to the fabric just wilting on me even with layers of stiffener ironed on.  But it's a darned good start.  I will adjust the pattern again and try again later.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Commission: Anandoll's MSD WithDoll, Trench Coat and Shirt Dress.

This is for a WithDoll MSD girl, one plum color classic trench, and a peach shirt dress with cap sleeves and full skirt.  Etsy order, deposit paid.  Estimated less than listed 6-8 weeks.

To see the full pictures, go to Anante's DA Gallery.  
Pretty sweet art.  I'm already liking the comic.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year, Happy New Sewing Machine

LilsGirl surpised the heck out of us with this marvelous new sewing machine, a Brother SE-400 (I just realized I have neglected to photograph it, duh), which, as it happens I had been sort of wishing for for some time now!  My Brother serger has been marvelous and I always thought I would replace Singer with Brother from now on. I've had this baby book marked now for a while, thinking someday.  Well, there it was, a wonderful gift and so very much appreciated!

I took the past two weeks to get acquainted with it and used it on some current projects.  It handles beautifully!  And Hubby surprised me by spending the money saved up for repairing/replacing the Singer on a batch of stuff to do the embroidery with instead!  Best Christmas in ages, and what a lift it gave us both, because it opened a new door for him. He is going to expand our little sewing business by learning how to digitize patterns for the machine.  LilsGirl also gifted us with a set of feet that match both machines and do everything but the dishes!  I have one for everything now!

Along with all the minute settings that allow awesome control in sewing, which really shows in the recent work I've done on it, a lot of stress is off me over projects now.  No more allowing extra extra time for picking things out five or six times, or having issues with anything thicker than a butterfly's sneeze going under the foot (I darned a thick acrylic picture blanket with it!)  And no more worrying about the Singer going down.  In fact, I can thread two machines now and not have to switch things every time and work on two projects at once more easily.

Naturally, the first thing I did (after daring to take it out of the box, because I was in shock for a day or two!) was test out the embroidery patterns that come in the machine.

Karen got the first sample.  She's been wearing a tossed together denim skirt with a waist band made for SD girls in haste, while being stripped for fittings, so I gave her a t-shirt to go with it.  No more leopard print handkerchief sarongs.

Christmas morning so she has every right to look a bit disheveled. 

Then I went a little nuts.  Kiki also got a t-shirt from my practice runs, so naturally, she had to have some jeans to go with it!  I changed the color chart on the floral vine pattern to match the grey and denim theme, and with the control on the new machine, they went together so fast once the embroidery had done, it only took me one day for the whole set!  What really surprised me was that after everything else went so smoothly, Kiki, who has never posed quite well, even with her hip replacement surgery, went in to full on 'look at me' mode, posed quite easily and every photo was a first shot. O_o  

I didn't have a small decorative box out of a
 packing box for her to put her foot up on, 
so custard cup to the rescue! 
We already have a few t-shirt/jeans decoration sets programmed for later. The embroidery setting can do a pattern 4 x 4 inches, so it's PERFECT for doll items.  And as the hubby said, no more hand guessing fuzzy chalk marked back pockets, when we can just program a design into the machine and stitch out the pockets as fancy and precise as we please!  But I have to get over this thyroid- immune attack-allergy-whatever sore throat which is tiring me out major the past two days, before I tackle anything more ambitious.  I need to get that one-zero military vest project done, now that I have a machine that will obey and it will look more like a real garment than my hand stitching does.   

My tiny doll sewing book is on back order in Japan, but I'm looking forward to getting that, too!  Adorable little dresses and things with embroidery on them, etc. Yay!

Thank you so much again, LilsGirl!