Sunday, September 30, 2012

Progress Report

Nothing too exciting going in terms of doll swing these days. Comic Con is approaching, and I'm trying to finish my human-sized costume for the event.

Still, some weeks ago, I drafted the bodice for Kozu's outer Renaissance gown and played with some sleeve designs.

 I initially waffled between straight sleeves and shoulder rolls, but the roll looks more interesting, doesn't it?
 I just need to redraft the roll so it doesn't look so wrinkly. This is especially important as I have some satin earmarked for the outer gown. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crochet Trio

One day I spotted a free pattern on Den of Angels for a sleeveless crocheted dress. Due to a need to diminish my yarn stash, I picked up my small hook, some pretty red yarn and got to work...

The first issue was of the gauge. The pattern called for 70 odd stitches for the first row, which would have been to small for my MSD sized girls, so I increased it to 90 odd. When I noticed how lopsided her arm holes and back pieces were in relation to the waist, it took me a while to realize that I forgot to adjust the stitch numbers to accommodate the extra length. By this time it was too late to pull it out and start over (the yarn had been cut and knotted in places, plus wool is sticky and doesn't like to be pulled,) so and asymmetrical closure it was.

The next hiccup was not having enough yarn for the skirt. I tried to add a huge ruffle of contrasting yarn to make up for it, but that got boring after a while, so I declared that this would be worn with modesty trousers.

For dress number 2, I was armed with two hand dyed balls of yarn in similar shades of yellow. Neither one was terribly big, so a third skein in contrasting material was used for decorative bands to lengthen the skirt while making the yellow last. When I ran out of the first yarn, I put in a band of the contrast before starting with the second yellow to help disguise the difference in shade.

The third dress used crochet cotton, which led to a minor downfall. I had plenty of yarn to work with this time and the construction went smoothly except for some small details. On this dress the waist was higher and the shoulder further apart, but I decided to use this as a design feature. More annoying was that I was two thirds done with the skirt before I noticed that it was a bit too narrow, so I pulled it out and started over. During the second creation of the skirt I began getting a repetitive strain injury and I had to put it down for at least a month. Once I picked it up again I chose to finish the skirt at knee length rather than make my arm hate me by making it longer.

To emphasize the shoulder width, I added yellow along the armholes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Forties fun

After reading my book Forties Fashion (see my Library) a few too many times, I got an itch to make some 40s wartime dresses. As great an inspiration as the book and its many photographs is, I wanted some other sources to glean ideas from. After some poking around online, I found the Blitzkreig Baby website and its descriptions of uniforms for women serving in the various armed and medical forces. The dress uniforms, while pretty, didn't grab my fancy, though the work clothes did and I started sketching, stealing aspects here and there.

What with fabric consumption being carefully maintained during the war years, skirts were fairly short and narrow, and it was common for garments to be made from multiple materials. I pulled out a large scrap of checked material, some muslin and other smaller bits of cloth and got to work.

The idea for this dress was taken from the striped Army Nurse Corps uniform, though I left off the tie as I wasn't sure how to get it to hang right in 1/3 scale. I was going to leave off the pockets, as I couldn't get the two to sit on the skirt and look balanced, and then I realized there was only one on the skirt. Silly me.

I don't remember what uniform inspired this dress, only that i liked the idea of a collar and lapels on a work outfit.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Knitted Dresses

Way back when Mariko was still new to my group, I was hunting for clothing patterns for her. I heard that Blythe clothes fit her mold, so off I went to look. I already knew that Knitty had patterns for Blythe. Through them, I found WoolyRockers free patterns, and from there, a simple tube dress pattern on another site. I made two dresses with that pattern, though when I went hunting to find it for the second project, I couldn't find the place. Instead, I took a look at outfit #1 and figured it out from there.

Here is the first dress. It was done on double point needles in mostly stockinette, with some ribbing at the waist. Up top are a pair of flaps to cover the upper body, also done in rib, and eyelet holes in the back that serve as buttonholes. The buttons were are the result of knotting, and though they work, they don't look the greatest. Also, when I first made this dress, it was a glorified shirt, and I had to add some rows at the bottom to cover Mariko's underpants.

The second one has pretty beads for buttons, longer flaps, and a longer skirt. When I photographed Mariko for this post, I put her in some purchased Licca pants for the fun of it, and it rather highlights how short these things are. Oh well, she's a little girl so the occasional innocent short skirt is all right.