Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sally Progress

I feel like I worked all weekend on Sally, but didn't make that much headway - like I should have been able to finish the doll over the span of two days. But in reality, I did make good progress. Writing instructions takes me a LONG time, because I don't want to miss anything. And the instructions need to be concise. And the illustrations clear. And the format easy to read. If I'd only been making the doll, she'd be done by now.

I have to admit that the arms and legs aren't actually attached yet. They're just tucked into her dress. I'll attach them for real after the face is painted - no need to have all those arms and legs getting in the way.

I'm currently working on (or about to start, rather) the instructions for painting the facial features. I will try to take lots of photos, and use a color printer for the face painting insert for the final pattern. This will be a class handout, too.

So what's left to do: face painting, doll assembly, hair, hat, sign. And maybe a stand of some sort.

I've asked my friend and co-worker Danielle to test the final pattern for me, and I trust her to let me know what needs tweaking or fixing. It's good to have friends like Danielle (thanks, Dani!).

After that, I'll make one more doll - following the pattern and instructions exactly. This third doll will follow the red, white and blue guidelines for May's class (and now that I've organized my fabrics, I should be able to find something suitable WITHOUT buying more fabric.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lots of hand sewing

I've been doing lots of hand sewing today. It's something I enjoy doing, but I'm afraid to admit I've needed to use the magnifying glass on my Ott light. I've been putting off getting my eyes checked, but it's obvious I need a new eyeglass prescription. It's rough getting old.

Now I'm getting ready to make the belt, also from the brown fabric. I bought some little buckles on eBay a few months ago. Several styles, in both gold and silver colored metal.

Since this post, I've received a couple comments about threading needles and diminishing eyesight. I recently bought a needle threader, and just used it for the first time. It's better than sliced bread!

I learned about this product through an online quilting class (that's right, I don't have nearly enough on my plate). The class is offered through, and I'm really impressed with the quality of the information being taught (not affiliated, just happy customer). I bought two needle threaders on eBay (one for me, one for my mom). The teacher of the quilting class is Jenny Doan from the Missouri Star Quilting Co.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Slow and Tedious Progress

I've been diligently working every chance I get, sewing, stuffing, photographing and writing the pattern instructions for Suffragette Sally. It seems like it's taking forever. Particularly time consuming is editing out the background of the pattern photos (wouldn't have to do this, but it makes the body parts stand out and cuts down on toner use).

I'm currently painting the shoes on these feet, and while they dry I started working on the dress, photographing and describing each step. I still need to add the contrasting trim to the sleeves and see if I can find some tiny brown buttons. I also need to make a belt from the trim fabric. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Second Suffragette Sally Sample

I've been working on a second sample doll for the class I'll be teaching in Ohio in May (see badge link to the right). The first sample doll was designed on the fly, with very few notes taken during her construction. This second time around, I'm writing instructions and inserting photos and illustrations as I go. Some of the design elements I'm using are unique to this doll, so I'm having to really think about the instructions after looking at the first doll to refresh my memory. It's also been awhile since I've written a pattern, so I've forgotten some of the formatting and tricks I've used in the past (darn this old brain!).

I'm making this one of craft velour again (a different skin tone), and I tweaked the pattern so her hands have individual fingers that will be wired. I've picked the fabrics for her clothing, but I'm not sure how the chocolate brown will look as a collar. I'm going to do it anyway, though. The contrasting trim around the sleeves bottom of the dress will be of the same brown fabric. I've got to find some tiny brown buttons, and I'll also paint her shoes to match.

This is the Sally prototype, made in May of this year. She still (gasp!) has no underwear, which must be remedied ASAP.

I think I'll release this pattern and pressmold after May's class, which should give me plenty of time to improve the pattern.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Organizing Fabrics ~ SOLUTION FOUND (but such a time-consuming task)

There's no question I have too much fabric in the studio. I love that friends think of me and pass on remnants, but the fabric tends to accumulate. So I started shopping eBay for a solution. I found a seller who listed hand-held wire shopping baskets in lots of 12, for a pretty good price (and shipping wasn't through the roof, either). They were the right size to fit on my wire shelf.

Over the past week I've been organizing the fabrics by color family. Now I can easily pull out a basket and see most of what's in there. And I don't have to worry about fabrics slipping behind the shelf ('though I found a few treasures back there!)

Trouble is, I ran out of baskets. So I ordered a second lot, which arrived yesterday. I may have a few baskets left over, but I'm sure I can find uses for them.

This is a before photo taken a couple years ago. It didn't look quite that good at the beginning of my project last week. If anyone is interested in these baskets, check out seller Bentley's Display on eBay. They're located in Portland, Oregon, though these particular baskets are made in CHINA (for those who feel strongly about buying American). I prefer to do that as well, but these were the only baskets I could find that were the correct size. They arrived the day after I bought them. I am not affiliated with the seller, just a happy customer.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Did it again ~ TWO issues of Prims magazine, selling one (SOLD)

I'm not sure how I did this, but managed to buy TWO copies of the Autumn 2011 issue of Prims magazine. So I'd like to sell one to the first person who emails me at I'll sell it for the sticker price of $14.99, but will ship for FREE to US addresses. International buyers will have shipping discounted.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Back to Dolls

Finally, a completed doll after a nearly summer-long hiatus. This week I finished the last of four Averill dolls (which I see I started over a year ago! This last one has been lying around with her chosen fabrics for far too long). I've still been working on the paperclay-over-cloth doll from that vintage pattern, but had to do something while the clay dried.

This one is made from peach craft velour. Her hair is upholstery trim, but it needed some serious trimming when the glue finally dried. Still could use a little trimming in the back. 

I've also used my fingernail and toenail technique on this doll.

I received a comment to this post asking if Averill's hands are too big. I think they are. I also think her arms are a bit long. Part of the problem may be the result of stretch direction of the fabric. And regarding the hands, their design and construction probably contributes to the appearance of the size as well. I should make another, orienting the fabric to the stretch goes across the limb and hand to see if that fixes the problem.

As for the other projects on which I'm working, I still need to make a dress for Marti's Cecelia, but haven't been able to get in touch with her using the email address I currently have (I think I found her on Facebook, but want to approach her without sounding too weird).

I also need to make a couple more sample dolls for my class in May ~ Suffragette Sally.