Saturday, December 28, 2013

Making the Meiji Dress


Phase two of the project is to make a high waisted Regency inspired dress. On page 110 of "Impossible Conversations," she says that she turned to this era again and again for get ideas. The facing page, 111, there's a 1938 photograph of one such design. The light coloring, column-esque skirt and focus on the bosom reflects Schiaparelli's "Statement."

On page 115, the conversation turns to nature, and the Schiap explains her Pagan collection and its leaves and flowers on classic gowns.

With these in mind, and the desire to create a sort of white blouse for the dress, this dress will have a white background, simple lines, and floral embroidery. To give it a kimono flavor, with will have a wide collar and wrap front.

Below, Kozu models the draping I've done.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Swap to Keep the Cold Away


 I recently participated in a winter holiday swap, and this is what I sent one of my partners.
It was originally going to be a dress for Anthea, but I didn't like how it turned out, so it sat in purgatory for a long time. The swap gave me the idea to give the dress a new home to an owner who'd use it.

My first order of business was to remove the skirt and add a waistband, as I didn't like how high it was originally. As I couldn't find more scraps of the fabric, I took some white cloth and embroidered a design to coordinate with the print. Here's a detail:

Friday, December 6, 2013

First Layer


I got the idea in my head that this outfit could do with some undergarments. Since I'm not sure how well wafuku (Japanese) underwear would fit under something with a Western cut, I'm going with Western underwear, circa Schiap's design reign. There aren't too many research sources I know of for 1930s underwear. I saw plenty of ads in back issues of Vogue, though they're largely for girdle/slip/bra combinations. My dolls aren't squishy, so I find most foundation garments superfluous on them. There was a helpful article from the 1920s detailing slips, though they didn't have the line my outfit has.

Thankfully, I came across a book called Vintage Lingerie, and I gave it a flip through. There was a 1930s slip with princess seams, and I'll give that a shot.

After taking Kozu's measurements, I drafted a body block and used it to draft a preliminary slip.
I cut off the shoulder straps, which I'll replace later with ribbon, and lowered the neckline in front and back. I also divided the new block into 3 pieces, with a front (I'll cut it on a fold,) a back and a side piece.

The next step is to pin it together and see how it fits on my girl.


I forgot to photograph her from the front, but so far, everything fits as it should.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Attack of the Face Huggers

Below, you will see the reason for my long absence. It is not because I am easily distracted, or that it's hard to get back into the habit of blogging. You see, I've been stalked by flat brown slug-creatures that enjoy adhering to my mouth, nose and eyes. It wasn't until recently that I was able to trap them, and imprison them on my ironing board:

A sweater I'd been working on felt bad for their plight, and decided to join them in a show of solidarity.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In Which I am a Silly Goose

Here is what's left after my marking and cutting out what I wanted for the dresses:

This is what the pieces look like:

The parts that make me horribly miffed with myself:


To summarize, I cut out two right fronts and only one back of a jacket I was planning. Sigh. Now I must think my way out of this predicament that still gets me a pretty bolero.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Playing with Patterns

What I really like about drafting doll patterns is how easy they are to fit in my field of vision. This makes pattern drafting so much easier.

For today, I will walk you through a couple of new things I drafted. First is where I got the basic shapes. Dolly Dolly magazine used to keep patterns sized for Volks MSDs in the backs of their issues. I picked up this one for the school uniforms, though I've made many alterations depending on what I want to make.


Here is a front piece I altered and used for two of my previous 1940s dresses:

As I want to make a wrap front with a collar and reverse, I added a sort of triangle to the front so it can close the way I want it to. I did the same with the facing. Let's compare:

For the companion dress I wanted to put in a gathered detail in the front, as well as a contrasting waistband and cap sleeves. I shortened the bottom of the bodice, altered the shoulders and made them separate pieces, and slashed and spread the rest. This is what it looks like.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Giving In To Temptation

There is a sewing contest afoot, and dolly sewers are welcome to compete! I hope to make an outfit along the "My Favorite Things" theme.

With me being a fan of many things Japanese and particularly school clothes, picking that was a no brainer. As this is supposed to be historical costuming, and I don't know what the era limit is, I'm erring on the side of caution. The Meiji era ended in 1912, and the website covers clothes up to the 1920s, so I'll be going with a Meiji schoolgirl look.

That said, the first idea that came to mind was an outfit along the lines of Elsa Schiaparelli. Alas, while I squeed inside over her outfits I dug up, nothing clicked until I decided to mix her with with an older, foreign style. This outfit, this embroidery, and this hat especially grab my fancy.

The books I'll refer to for this project is Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby, Schiap's autobiography A Shocking Life, and Impossible Conversations by the Met Museum.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Checking Brown


I chose the pattern and fabric for this over a year ago, maybe even two. Back when I was creating a series of outfits with modern cuts but with a geometric influence, I designed a vest with an asymmetric closing and matching skirt. 

Eventually I found that the vest was way too big, so I took it in on the back and sides with inverted pleats.
The skirt is a length of fabric pleated into place and held with a waistband.

I got the material from a pile of vintage fabric at a shop when I was on vacation, and I didn't want to cut too much into it. I didn't want to cut too much into it, so this simple desire is just right. 


The shirt is part of a purchased outfit and is here to preserve modesty.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dusting off the Blog

Here I am. Between work and a human sized sewing contest, many things fell by the wayside, including this blog. The contest deadline is in ten days, and hopefully after that I will have a bit more brainpower to devote to this place. Now that most of the human contest is complete, I've had attention to devote to working on small things. I've even dug out some forgotten gems and manage to push away the associated shame for now.

There's also another online sewing contest going on that doll sewers are welcome to join, so I'll be dedicating some thought and time to that as well.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Once More, with Pink


My mind is wandering back to the 1940s. I still have fat quarters aplenty, and lots of white and striped scraps from a human sized project I'm working on. Recently I came across an ad in 1942 or 1943 Vogue for a shirtwaist dress that had pleated insets by the hips, reminiscent of the 1920s.

This also gives me a great excuse to use this lovely pink Asian inspired print. I'm a bit preoccupied with human sized things at the moment, so this will stay in the planning phase for now.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Blue and SIlver and Virgo All Over


For the Virgo swap I joined, my partner specified that she wanted a flowing silvery dress. I was at a loss for a design. My swap partner was kind enough to send me a photo of her girl, but it didn't provide me the spark of inspiration I was hoping for. After much poking around the internet, I found the picture of an empire style jumper with a big inverted pleat down the center front.

The other trouble was finding a proper fabric. I have two silvery materials, but one is an expensive satin and a length of lining fabric. I'm not yet brave enough to cut into the satin, and it's not the easiest thing to work with, being slippery and prone to revealing wrinkles. However, I have a lovely blue fabric that I was itching to use, so the logical compromise to me was to use the shiny blue, give the pleat an inset of the lining fabric, and decorate the rest of the skirt with embroidery.
Sigh.

Choosing the embroidery pattern and marking it out was time consuming, but not too bad. It really helped that I chose a simple design. The trouble came with how the marking pen I used showed up poorly against the blue, meaning I'd have to rely on soap slivers, which rub out quite fast. Silver embroidery floss, I soon found out, frays like no one's business. These two factors made the skirt a project I could not carry around as I pleased, and made progress slow considerably.

Due to time constraints, I went with a kimono sleeved bodice for the top. I cut it so that the sleeve hems went on the selvedge, and fronts were connected to backs to save me a few seams. I even bit the bullet and machine sewed seams that I normally do by hand as they're so short. The neckline is still hand stitched on account of the tricky neckline.


More photos below.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

An Idea and the Hunt


Some months ago, I saw the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Ever since, the themes of the show and relationships between the characters have been rolling around in my head, helped by me poking around the internet to read more about the ideas behind the franchise. A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at Madoka cosplay, which gave me the urge to make dolly cosplay. Deciding what clothes I wanted to make was simple, I'd make the school clothes and Homura's magical girl outfit. The former as I have a fondness for uniforms, and the latter as i liked how simple it was compared to the other magical girl outfits. Also, I think it has a strong resemblance to the school uniform.

With those choices out of the way, it was time to find reference pictures. Much to my vexation, the Madoka wiki wasn't the easiest site to access, it would often show an error page if I clicked on it. I resorted to Google image searches, which are far from efficient and took multiple tries to find everything I needed. Full frontal photos were easy enough, closeups not so much, and pictures of the back were decidedly tricky. Also making things complicated was trying to find official rather than fan art in order to get a more accurate look. Hardest of all was getting a decent image of Homura's inner collar. Some pictures and cosplays made it look like it was standing, but as it turns out the collar lies flat.

Here are the pictures I found, in case others want the references.




Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Joy of Fluff

This is something I made Linnea a while ago, when I was on a 1838-1840 kick. I'm aware that this is painfully specific, but I was intrigued by the sleeves that were in vogue at the time. The bodice decorations can be fascinating too.


This is the second dress of this time period I made. The first dress didn't have the delightfully puffy sleeves I was hoping for, so I hoped to make up for it in this one. The sleeves are cut into four pieces, tight upper sleeves, a cuff, big full lower sleeves and a ruffle to hide the join. It backfired a little in that the lower sleeves are too long and collapse upon themselves. Not the sort of look I wanted. Oh well.

The bodice has dropped shoulder and six pieces, with center back and side back pieces, and two parts in front. For this I added a box pleated ruffle. The skirt is plain and fluffs out wonderfully.


Beneath is a petticoat of plain white mystery fabric filled out with gathered panels of lace. By now I am fairly certain that tiered ruffled petticoats weren't period to this time, but it does the job well.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Art of Pillaging


This was an interesting outfit to make. My swap partner had a long list of things she would like to receive. The short of it was an East Indian influenced steampunk pirate set of clothes. Other details included lots of brown, not much black, with maybe a hint of red and orange. The cut should be loose and baggy to allow for movement, hats and scarves, with pockets and pouches aplenty for storage. Gears, buckles, embroidery, steampunk style squids and octopi, and prop knives were also welcome.

As I don't have much brown fabric on hand, I bit the bullet and bought a yard of brown synthetic. After looking at some Victorian and Edwardian era East Indian clothes, I had a rough idea of how the designs should be, which was thankfully geometric. That made patterning and assembly much simpler.

Friday, February 8, 2013

In a Day

This skirt is a little something I whipped up with some self striping yarn the summer before I started graduate school. As the title suggests, it was much quicker than I anticipated. I whipped it up using the Hey Mickey pattern found on Knitty.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A hodgepodge



This is a picture I took back in graduate school. All of the girls here are wearing homemade clothes, with the exception of Mariko's green dress.

Yu Lian, who you can't see so well, is in a white dress with grey embroidery and pintucks down the front. Yu Wei is wearing a pinafore with a great many tucks down the front  and around the skirt.

All the tinies are wearing sweaters based off of the same pattern on Den of Angels. What Mariko was wearing was meant for Calla and Nurit, but the yarn was so thin it ended up too small and went to her. Nurit has a cap sleeved sweater due to me running out of yarn, but that makes it nice and spring like. Calla has her top decorate with rows of hot pink running stitches.

Calla and Nurit are also wearing skirts knitted from the same Bleuette pattern, but with different yarns.