Saturday, January 28, 2012

Happy Occasions

Here is something I made for a swap late last year. The theme for this was "Dress for the Occasion," in which the participants listed two events for their doll that they wanted an outfit for. My partner requested an outfit for an autumn day at school or a family portrait. Her doll was a boy that liked casual clothing, pockets, and the colors green and blue.

I think this outfit can reasonably do both. I knit the sweater from two tiny balls of yarn left over from other, human-sized projects. The shirt has a collar and a pocket over the left breast, while the trousers have two back pockets and one in front. The sweater pattern was taken from the DoA forum, though I took some liberties with it. The pants were heavily altered from the Undead Threads slopers, and the shirt pattern came from Dolly Dolly vol. 24 and changed so much as to be unrecognizable. The only thing I bought for this outfit were the buttons, everything else was from my still too large stash.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Beautiful Girl Mariko

I am fond of many animes and mangas. Elfen Lied is one of them, and I thought it would be great if I had a doll of one of the characters. I forget how quickly I came to the conclusion, but I decided on getting a doll based off of Mariko, the little one I like to describe as a "cute homicidal five year old."

Then came the problem of choosing the body. There was one I thought of getting (one of the tiny Doll in Minds,) but I could not tell if she remained in stock by American retailers, and how often the company would make more of this non limited edition girl. Furthermore, this mold is not a popular one, and my casual searching did not find it on the secondhand market. And then I saw on Den of Angels that there was a group order taking advantage of a sale Cherish Doll was holding. The company had tinies, I found one mold pleasing, and I joined the order.


Here she is in a homemade skirt and store bought everything else. Here she is in a doll meetup, borrowing a prop.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Here is some things I whipped up this week, for an Italian Renaissance outfit. It's a complicated affair, as I want the clothes to be somewhat accurate, which means a lot of layers and handwork. This week I deviated from the garments to make some simpler bits. By this I mean I went into a research tizzy upon realizing that there are some common accessories in the portraits that I didn't have planned for the outfit, and was that all right?

The first issue was headgear, as many of the ladies have a tiara of pearls circling their heads. It felt a bit plain to just leave the head bare, and none of the other head gear appealed to me. Eventually I found this thread on Den of Angels, unearthed some old jewelry I hadn't worn in years, and banged out those two headbands.

Then a few days later came the tizzy of "What about the girdles? They show up a lot too." Some paintings show women without, but not enough to make me feel any better. Eventually I remembered that I do have a lot of pretty pearl beads, and maybe some other girdle making materials around. The ribbon I found didn't want to be strung, so I used a silk beading cord, some golden beads, a clasp and a lot of pearls and came up with the above. How do they look?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fun with Dyes

One of the swaps I participated in had the theme of unfitted clothing. Wrapping, draping, and loose fits can look really pretty, and there was the added advantage of not having to tailor perfectly for a doll you didn't have exact measurements for.

For me, it meant a chance to play with dyes, which I hadn't done for a while. Wool and silk dye nicely with food coloring and vinegar, which is great in terms of price and safety. I had some natural colored silk on hand, so I set out to make a sari....

...Unfortunately, the sari had ample amounts of pink, a color my partner was quite clear about not wanting. Attempts to overdye it into dark red turned it into an unappealing shade of brown red. I contacted the swap organizer explaining that I had a mishap and I needed an extension, and looked over my material. It still had a lot of usable parts, and my partner said that she would also like Japanese clothing as long as it wasn't a kimono or obi. I ended up making a sodenashi, a type of vest.

It's not the prettiest cut, but my partner adored the colors and work I put into it, so all is well.

Monday, January 9, 2012

From Silent Hill

By far my favorite genre of video game is survival horror. Of those, I adore the early Silent Hill games.  It was much to my delight that I realized that the Narae dolls resembled the protagonist of Silent Hill 3, and that she was a good fit for the parameters I gave myself for bjd collecting. Hence, I bought her as a graduation gift to myself.

Meet Heather Mason:

This is her fresh out of the box and into the outfit I put together for her that resembles her clothes in the games. This vest is by far the hardest thing I had to make. The pockets are just so infuriatingly small. They are supposed to have flaps, but it the scale would have been far too small for me to handle.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


As with many sewers, I have a great big stash, and only so much time/attention span to work on things. It's pretty common to go, "Ooh, wouldn't it be amazing to make X?" and start working on the new thing. Next thing you know, you have a great big pile of things in the "in progress" stack, which is ever growing.

Collecting dolls makes the "in progress" pile and the stash situation even worse, cause the scraps might not be handy for human sized things, but would certainly be useful for your bjds. Also, since they take up less material and don't have to worry about being cold (except Anthea,) current fashion conventions, or an occasion to wear things, there's less reason NOT to sew for them. It has come to the point that my stash is several boxes and a dresser big, and their wardrobes are pretty much filled to capacity.

So I signed up to participate in swaps. My rule is to take as much from the stash as possible when sewing for other dolls and hopefully shrink the darned thing. I also don't like to join ones that have a maximum value or a no hand sewing rule. While my out of pocket expenses for these tend to be low, the labor I put into them is pretty big. Also, when stitching in a small scale, some things are just more practical to do by hand than by machine. Besides, machine stitching is not always a sign of quality. (I glare at my machine, because while I adore it, our relationship is not without hiccups.)

Here's an example:
This was from my first swap, with a mori girl* theme. Being new at this, I didn't want to disappoint my partner, so I made rather a lot of items. Adding another complication was that I'd be on vacation for part of the time between partner assignments and the shipping deadline. I made some educated guesses as to what most participants would want, like a template outfit. This included a dress, pinafore, headscarf and shawl. The rest I added as a personalized touch, like the ribbon on the pinafore and the brown shirt that's to be worn beneath the gown. My favorite parts are the white shawl, which is made with a basket weave stitch and garter stitch edging, and the scalloped tucks on the dress. The blue shawl I added as a bonus, as I made it a while ago and didn't really suit my girls.

*a sort of whimsical enchanted forest fashion aesthetic

Monday, January 2, 2012

Notes for later

I have a great deal of thick pretty stockings that I no longer wear, but don't want to discard. I've been sorting through some sock tutorials on Den of Angels, and am listing them here to find later. I have not tested them yet.

An outfit from six socks
A puff sleeve sweater
Turtleneck sweater