Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ok, so I've been delinquent in my doll blog duties. New dress.

The holiday rush is getting me.

I do have a few photos I'd like to show.

Here's a mesh dress, I've been working on.  It is stretchy with hand beading.  Something a little different.

I still need to add the closure to the back..... that's another day.

I have more photos to take..... Got to go do that now.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Here's Agnes in her bargain sweaters!

Thank you to all the "dolly" people that made this possible.  I've never ordered these before, -- I'll Definitely order next year!

This was a 3/4 length sleeve one.  Great little sweater.  I also received 2 full length sleeved sweaters.  I'm going to alter those ones (open the seam and add a small button) -- to make it easy to put on Agnes' hands.  If my thumb can't fit in (I don't put her hand in)  Those delicate porcelain fingers -- they look so dainty -- I'm afraid to stress them -- so I don't.

Here are her other choices.  There was only one other sweater (don't remember why I didn't get that one) -- probably should have.

Now, this last sweater does not photograph well.  I almost didn't buy it.  I'm glad I did because it is my favorite of the bunch!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Treasure trove of stuff (arrived today)

I received 2 gowns and 3 sweaters!  Going to try to get photos in the morning.  Gowns are gorgeous.  I think with a minor adjustment, Agnes will be in business!

The sweaters are adorable.  I will need to "open" the arms to get them on Agnes, but what a deal they were!!!!  Very nice quality.

Reaching back, to the Back Burner!

Not literally,  for anyone that has been following for a while, you'll remember, I ambitiously started (probably too many) projects.

Here is the "awards" dress that I've worked on in the past.  I tried to make a push to finish this dress (figuring I had to be at least 1/3 of the way there) -- Boy, was I wrong.

This thing has been a nightmare ;)  If ever there were a project to abandon, this was probably it.  But I forge on.

It started with making a simple skirt.  Then I marked off using basting thread (black) rows for the layers to be laid.  I then templated and cut using rounded pinking shears 10+ rows of a thin (organza type material).  For the first 3 rows I had added the glitter, the problem was all the handling needed for the arranging and the sewing was causing havoc in my sewing room.  Looks like a princess party took place.  Glitter (super fine glitter) everywhere.  So I decided I would glitter post construction.

So, here's where I am.  Hope to finish within the week some time.  If all goes well.

I wish I had taken more photos (but I usually work at night and the flash on my crappy camera just washes out everything).

I need to finish adding the layers, apply the glitter, add the bodice (glitter that) and viola!

I seem to be one layer short......  Ugggh.  Back to the template......

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Sneak peak.

I've been wanting a Christmas tree (for Agnes).  Something large but in scale.  It is tough to find one with somewhat skinny branches.  Most look like they just took the top off a large tree -- with only 4 or 5 rows of branches.

I wanted a 10' tree (equivalent) -- that meant finding a 20" tree with small branches.  I looked high and low.  All the usual places.  Then I found this one it's about 16" without the stand and the star topper.  So, that's an 8' tree.

I started by rearranging all the branches (to display it -- the job had been hurried).  I wanted glass ornaments.  Not an easy feat.  There are a lot of miniature ornaments, but nothing I can honestly saw I wanted.

I decided to make my own.  First was the stand.  Well, it came in a big burlap sack.  Not to scale and not the look I'm going for.  I cut a water bottle and inverted the top.  It wasn't heavy enough to hold the tree, so I packed it with all the sculpy I'm not using anyway :).

I'm going to make a skirt from the left over brocade from the carriage.

Next the balls or as my mother says the Christmas bulbs (and she doesn't mean the lights).  I used glass beads.  I found some large ones.  I decided on clear/crystal and red.  Just the crystal was pretty, but I think the red helps it "pop".  I strung those on jeweler's pins and used a pair of pliers to fashion a hook.  So far, I've hung 96.  I have about 16 left to go.  As you can see, the red ones are the ones missing.

I need to shoot it outside.  It's just on my kitchen counter -- The balls look like plastic ones.  That's kind of disappointing considering the expense of using glass.   Still needs work....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

Gobble, gobble.  This is the first year my immediate family won't be together for Thanksgiving.  My eldest daughter will be in Massachusetts with relatives there.

As always, I'm thankful for many things.  Health and happiness being most important along with my family.

I can't believe how quickly the time seems to go.

More photos tomorrow.

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Got lucky I guess

I was at one of my favorite stores and found a plethora of fabric that was just the right scale and weight!  This never happens to me.

So I got to sketching. (I can't sketch to save my life -- trust me -- they are rough).  Just good enough for me to recall what I wanted to make.  I think I came close to sketching out an entire "line".  I think there are a total of 15 pieces (so it's a super small line).  I want to make the items, then I want to learn how to photoshop so I can put Agnes in all the pieces and have the whole collection in one shot.  I think that would be so cool.

Of course it is going to take a while for me to complete it (as I want to work off my other list of projects). -- but once it is done, I'm definitely going to get one photo that encompasses the entire collection.

In the meantime, here's Agnes in the next phase of the same taupe dress.

The front has been gathered, the side seams have been stitched.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So, I did break down and make some more concessions.

Last week after contacting a woman who makes gowns,  I'm encouraged that she thinks her gowns will fit Agnes.  I ordered 2 to see if they "work" -- if so I'm definitely getting her to make more stuff for Agnes.  I know I keep saying it.  I'm no seamstress.  I wish I could sew all those tiny seams -- oh so straight -- but I can't (nor do I have the patience or the persistence to continue until I do)!

Like everything in the doll world.... it's going to take "a while".  I'm not going anywhere.  I can wait.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up,  I'm hoping they get here before that!

On one of the boards I saw some great gowns.  Unfortunately, the woman who makes them no longer sews for Agnes' size -- she has moved on to Syb size.  I can't blame her as it is probably more profitable without too much extra material or effort.

I'm looking for glamourous without it being too tacky.

So, once I find a seamstress, maybe I can get some of the more complicated dresses made.

Monday, November 21, 2011

So, I guess this comes over me in waves!

Having completed the Eyemeric outfit last week, I felt a sense on accomplishment.  Although there were things I would have done differently (there always are!)

So, I moved on to a prototype dress.  When I say a prototype.  The actual materials for this dress were 1) difficult to acquire and 2) pretty expensive.  So I decided I would start by making a similar dress from less expensive material and "see how it goes" first.

I actually like the cheaper material better (for scale and the way it falls) -- go figure.

So, after a weekend of measuring, figuring and sewing, here's where I am:

This style dress holds extra special sentiment for me, so I want to make sure I get it right.  I was privileged enough to see the original dress in person (that's a whole other story).   Any guesses on the designer?  I'll reveal when I complete the actual dress (not this prototype) :)

I've put the zipper in the back.  I always screw up zippers.

About 3/4 down, you can see where my machine's foot hit the zipper pull and went a little off kilter.  I should pick it out and start over, but it's just a prototype, so I can't be bothered.  (shame on me).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Finally, a new fashion!

Finally.  I have completed the dress I wanted to make for Agnes.  I think I'm rusty.  I was never a seamstress, but this seemed to be harder than I imagined.  The difficult part was.... well there were several things.  (You can read about it, if you care to in the postscript)

Here's Agnes in a dress that was based on Eyemeric Francois's dress.  Love this designer.

Yes, it was windy and my photographic ability is very limited.


Luckily, this looks better in person.

Here is the original:

How I did it:
I had the benefit of seeing the back of the dress.  There was a lot of detail to that.  Large hook and eye closures closed the back of the corset (I decided to use leather for the corset as there was give) -- I needed give to be able to do the hook and eye closure -- as dolly skin doesn't give.  The fabric (although beautiful -- again not done justice with my pictures) -- didn't drape as I would have liked it to.  But that was a trade off.  I wanted a heavy satin so it wouldn't look cheesy.  This gave me a bit too much bulk.  The leather belt was a nightmare.  I cut it out (several times) -- when I tried to run a top stitch on it, the machine ate the leather as it was so supple and pliable.  Gorgeous leather really -- super soft.  I ended up having to mark it out.  Stitch it on the larger leather, then cut it out.  Worked nicely.  The pleated belting had a laced up back using what looked like rings to hold the ribbon that laced it.  I felt to keep true to the design I had to keep these elements.  The skirt had a few pleats at the top to get the volume.

Back of the original dress:

Ok, how bad is it that I've sought out some gowns for purchase and I'm trying a couple -- if they fit, I'm going to be mostly buying... I can supplement with dresses I know I can't find ready made.  But there's a lot out there.  Perhaps I can find someone who will make custom ones for me.  For now, I'm on to my next prototype.  A copy of a world famous designer... any guesses?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My one carriage post (for this week)

The throne has been coming along marvelously.  I'm very happy with the progress.  It actually looks like something.  Here are some steps.

I started off with the cup packaging.  I trimmed the sides and the back.  I added the velvet to the corners.

Then I fitted the cushion and the inner templates (white pieces)

Here's a side view:

I upholstered the sides, back and front panels.

I still need to pad (and possibly quilt) the inner panels.  Then I'll attach the outer panels.  And the final step will be to trim the throne with either silver, gray or possibly white trim.  I think I'm leaning to silver (although most metallics are difficult to work with).

I hate dragging this on, but the glue and the "design on the go" really is taking more time than I thought.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Windy day. Photo fail!

So, I wanted to get some photos of the skirt portion of this dress.  I attempted to get the back, but, this was all I could capture.  Fail!  It was so windy.  The skirt was like a sail :)  It was all I could do.  I held Agnes in one hand and snapped while her skirt blew!

I have the corset to work on.... It's going to take another day :(

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Previously moth balled project: Designer like dress

I've got three designer dresses that I want to interpret into dresses for Agnes.  Each one is going to take me a Loooooooonnnnnggggg  time.  As I have no pattern (or real sewing skills/experience) -- it's trial and error and learn as you go (which makes it fun and frustrating) all at the same time.   ;)

Everyone was out of the house...  I had time to just sit down and think about what to make and how to make it.  While I get a lot of inspiration via the internet, I also lose a lot of hours here.

So, I look at this dress and I think... How hard can it be?  Now, maybe it's me.  I look at this and I think -- start here.... then do this.... then that.  Only thing is, I start and it just takes so much longer than I anticipate. I thought I'd knock this out in a day (max).  Well, several hours later (measuring, trimming, pleating, sewing) -- see where this is going.  And this is where I am.

I had some set backs (what can I tell you?)  The belt has been the most vexing.  I'm STILL working on it.  I've had to scrap 2 so far.  I think I've figured out how to do it.  If this doesn't work, I'm going to give up for today.  I did work out the belt.  I've spent hours.... I do mean hours on this dress.  I was hoping to get finished so I could shoot it tomorrow (daylight).  I'm exhausted, but think I should be able to finish by tomorrow at the latest and get it shot.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Characters --

Going through some of my sewing and trim things, I came across a strip of embossed "leather" with fur attached to it.   The memory of that strip came back to me.

So, years ago I entered a contest for developing a character for a doll.  I was in New York at the time traveling with my daughter and had access to the Garment district.  My Character was going to be barbarian princess.  Imagining a young girl being "given" to the mighty Genghis Khan.  I made a robe of "animal Skin", a breast plate of antlers, a crown of leather and fur, a staff of crooked wood with a crystal attached atop -- it was packed in a wooden "laquered" chest with an impression of a seal from the girl's village.  (I have to search for the photos).

All that is left of this memory, for now, is a strip of left over fur and leather.   I had mostly forgotten that project; although it took so long to complete.   I have temporarily put it around Agnes' head.  If I ever get through the pile of projects I want to do, I will attempt to recreate the whole thing.

No more contests for me...  I barely have time to finish the projects I want to do (for myself) :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An unusual Sunday post -- New dolls on the horizon??

I know for a while now, I've been thinking no more resin dolls.   Then I just saw this doll..... AHhhhhhhh!  I really love her whole look...... Must resist........  Last week I was on a bjd forum and noticed that this doll "does not conform" -- and is therefore banned from the forum.  Yah!  That usually means I'll like the doll.  I think it is very arbitrary what dolls are and are not allowed.  It's their forum -- whatever.

Here's the website.

Who would have thought a tag name like Buried In Oblivion would have such an effect.  She's a rather large doll (I think 47 Centimeters).  I can resist.....

She really is a beauty.  If they ever make her in 12" -- I'm getting 2!  (I wrote to them -- by email -- asking them if they would ever consider making a smaller size) -- I think there is a big market for a doll that is smaller than a Syb that can wear some of the fashion royalty or custom clothes from the fashion side.

Speaking of larger, Ficon came out with a new doll.  I like their clothes.  But again, I'm not too keen on the 16" size of doll.  Oh, I have some -- but I really think I prefer the 12" size.  Perhaps I'm being silly and some doll will sweep me off my feet??

I am impressed by the 14" Coco Chanel doll that Angelika Balan makes.

Ahhh.   So far, Agnes is my favorite doll by far (and I've got lots.... trust me).

There are just so many dolls out there.  It's hard to keep up.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Ok, this is the last carriage post for a while.  I know my blog has O.D.'ed on it this past week.  This was really supposed to be a blog about Agnes' wardrobe -- so I'm not going to drone on about making this.

As I've said many times.  This is a long (marathon) project.  I didn't want to rush through it, so I'm taking my time and documenting along the way.

In order to do the throne.  I decided to do panels on the sides that could be padded, upholstered and then attached.  Is this the best way?  I couldn't tell you as I've never done it before.  Seems reasonable to me so here goes.

First, I trimmed the back of the throne (rounded the back edges).  Then I traced out the sides, front, back and inner on some poster board.  (any thin cardboard would have done -- I had this left over from a giant flag project that my daughter was doing for Veteran's Day.

I've marked up the throne with a red marker for the corresponding templates:

Feeling pretty motivated today to do some sewing.... Got to go (before the feeling leaves me).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sitting pretty... or should that be Fitting pretty

So, generally when I think of "fitting"  I think of clothing being fitted.  This time, it's Agnes' fitting for her carriage.  The proverbial question, does it fit?

Thankfully, with the extra base that was added, now removed, Agnes appears to fit!

With the throne inserted, she seems to fit comfortably.

Here's another look:

It looks like a go.  Now on to the technical aspect of it.  That's for another post ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

So, It's throne time!

Time to get this carriage on the road (almost literally).

Next step.  Covering the throne.

I was looking through Ebay to find some velvet/velveteen.  When I remembered, I have some.  It is blue. A dusty powder blue.  I was thinking gray.  But the blue with either gray or silver accents will work.

Here's the "throne" sitting on the material:

If I pan out a little, you can get a better feel:

So, now I'm off to make the templates needed to pad and attach the fabric.  (possibly quilt it).  Hmmm....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WordSmith -- I have never been ;)

I read a ton of blogs, boards, and forums.  I read several that english is not the person's first language and therefore they spell phonetically.  It's fun, almost like a puzzle to figure out what people are trying to say.  I could never blog or comment in another language, I give those people my upmost respect.

I try my best when posting to spell correctly, make the best word choice (for me), and attempt not to slaughter the occasional adverb.  If I make an error, I'll usually go back and correct it if I catch it later.  This brings me to this post.  I was commenting on some one's post when I thought doding.  It came up as a spelling error as it does now.  What I really meant was doting.  I always rely on google to do my "spell check"  -- if I enter an incorrect word generally it says "did you mean..." giving me the correct word.

So I googled doding.  I laughed so hard when I saw the meaning in the urban dictionary (try it).  Definitely not what I was trying to say!

Hope you got a laugh from this one.  I will attempt to choose my words wisely, but a wordsmith I have never been!

Now, back to sewing!  The origin of this blog was to document Agnes and her wardrobe.  It seems like nothing but accessories these days.  I want to find a line that fits her, there doesn't seem to be one.  Some of the Poppy stuff fits her, but not all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

These are so cute!

I was rummaging through some stuff that I own and I came across the cutest thing.  It is a lunchbox with the Beverly Hillbillies on it.  Inside is a thermos that opens.  I showed it to my daughter (she's not easily impressed) -- She teased me "and you found a thermos, and it opens, and it had some soup in it, and it was still good, so you drank it?" -- hysterical that one.  I think there was once a banana also (lost).  Anyway, I thought it was cute.

Here it is:

Here's a close up:

Another cute thing was Agnes' new Iphone.  She has a laptop and an Ipad, but did she have the new Iphone?  She does now!

Unfortunately, I cast a shadow on her!

Here's a closer shot of the phone.  I actually saw a tutorial on DOA to make an Iphone.  I was going to do it, but I'm lazy so I saw this one come up (I grabbed it).  It is not plastic.  It is some kind of maybe epoxy on a white metal?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Floored! Literally. More Carriage

I think the carriage posts may be getting a little old for some, but I keep thinking:  This has got to end....sometime.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I really don't want to rush.  I want to take my time and hopefully do a quality job.

So, I figured I'll put in the flooring.  (how hard could that be?) Never a good train of thought for me, as I become frustrated as it does sort of turn out to be kinda hard -ish.  Time consuming.

I wanted to use foam core board (since I had some left over) to form the bones of it.  Also, I had purchased fun foam (white with sparkles embedded into it) with a self stick backing.  Perfect I thought.  However upon closer inspection, this foam was not rigid enough to floor with.

I settled on cardboard as it had a tad bit more flexibility.

So here's how it went down:

First.  Draw pattern.  I wanted to use felt, but couldn't find it.  Decided to use paper (simpler).

Here's the pattern.  I just stuck a sheet of paper in and traced it best I could.  Cut it and did the fitting.

I then traced this onto a piece of cardboard.  Nothing fancy.  Corrugated  brown cardboard.  Cut that out.

This was then stuck to the sparkly foam (you can see that I pulled back the cover sheet) and the cardboard is sitting on the foam in the above picture.

The foam was then trimmed.

So, I had been fitting all along, but still there is the "moment of truth" hold your breath -- does it fit.

Here's the fitting:

It's dark (as I'm shooting without flash),  Checking the corners.  Looks good.  You can get a feel for the glitter.  I think this looks better in person than in the photos.

Here's a panned out shot, so you can get a feel for the placement, etc.

Glad I didn't complete the throne before installing the flooring.  It appears that the throne needs some modifications.

Still attempting to get the fabric for that throne.  Still looking around.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

One small step, one giant leap to getting there.

Ok, so it may not be a giant leap, but it's getting there: (in small steps)

Here are my curtains.  Stitched from the sheer material.  They will need to be attached to a rod inside the carriage.

The throne-like chair is taking longer

First, I'm playing with adding height using foam (but now I need to do another "fitting" to make sure Agnes fits in (literally))

Ok, this was a cheesy post (promise a better one) -- on a different day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fun Friday Post

Here's a post of Agnes.  Taken the day after Halloween.  Agnes looking like "the morning after, when there was a night before".  (A quote from a dear friend).

Here she is in crooked glasses, with her underskirt from her gown (white tulle tied about her for modesty -- here I'm thankful for the flash bouncing) -- barefoot after her beaded slippers have been removed.

She still looks poised (and regal) to me.

I hope to shoot her in the park today.  Weather permitting.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Agnes needs her fairy godmother! More Carriage

'Cause I'm getting tired of this project.  ;)

I'm on to making the curtains and the seat.  For the curtains, I want white, sheer, billowy.

Got it.  I think this fabric will work:

I bought a reusable coffee mug for my daughter and just as I was about to throw out the packaging, I thought, hmmm, looks like a throne (that never happens to me -- usually I "need" something and I have to go about looking for what would work).  So, with that in mind, I did a dry run and it seems to fit.  Now, I'll need to cover the seat before adding it to the carriage.

I went to my local JoAnns.  (great for mass marketing -- not so great for selection) -- I want some velveteen (not velvet-- I would have taken the velvet) -- If you want any color but red or black (possibly hunter green) -- you are out of luck.  Of course I want white or light gray.  Not in the cards.  Got to hit Ebay.  I could go to the on line fabric places, but I think the shipping will be prohibitive.

So off I go.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Royal Pain -- More Coach

Ok.  So now I've decided to add trim to the interior as well as the door and the opening.  Initially, I wanted to use thumb tacks and form a quilted pattern on the walls.  long story short, thumb tacks when being mixed with glue ended up rusting!  Yes, rust.  Nearly ruined the entire interior.

I'm over it.  However, added trim proved to be no small feat.  I'm dizzy from hanging my head upside down to see in while working the trim.  I only wish I had taken photos while in progress.  I was up to my elbows (literally) in glue.  It was everywhere.  Working through the small opening (with my big hands)  -- not a pretty sight.  Royal Pain.

Here's where I am:   Yippee!

Here's the inside of the door

Interior ceiling:

Panned out, here's a view of the "carriage" -- you can see the floor still needs doing.

If you poke your head just straight in, this is what you see:

I seem to have misplaced the foam I wanted to use to make the seating.  Next step:  Flooring.  Then I will make and upholster the seat portion.  (bought more foam today!)  I've decided I want velvet for the seat.  Not an easy thing to get...

Still to come:

Curtains (make and install)
Attach door
make and attach base
decorate exterior

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Coral crown

It has been a thought (perhaps a dream) of mine for some time.  Maybe years now to fabricate a coral crown.

I thought a crown and a throne made of coral and perhaps precious metal silver clay (sounds expensive). The good news is I have the coral.  Each trip to the beach includes my collection of coral.  I probably have enough for a throne,  crown (and then some).

Here's just a small sampling.  Trust me when I say, I've collected a LOT of coral over the years.

 The pieces are between 1/2 inch at the smallest to about 4 inches for the largest ones.

 This is actually the side view of a bowl with shells and coral

 Another glass plate of drift wood, shells and coral

 Dark green (round) plate of coral

Green (square) plate of rocks, coral and shells (general variety of beach finds).

 Below is just a close up of the green (round) plate of coral.

So, my idea is a silver wreath/halo like crown with outcroppings of coral.

The throne would be a coral seat, coral legs, armrests and back held together with silver precious metal clay.  I'm wondering if the coral would survive a kiln firing.  I would think it would, but I guess I'd have to ask a PMC skilled artisan.