Sunday, July 19, 2009

Scrappy Snappy update

Felt tip pen is one of the deadly enemies of vinyl dolls. I can't help that think that Scrappy Snappy would just love to indulge in a little graffiti. So I carefully introduced Mary and Scrappy on neutral territory well away from all stationery. So far so good...

If there were any regular readers of this blog they might recognise the style of Mary's jacket. Yes, I used up some leftover fabric from the Jalie jacket, and made a sasha-sized version. I am not sure such a complex pattern adds much to doll-sized clothing. As sasha aficionados tend to suggest, perhaps "simple lines" suit them best.

Scrappy Snappy

A few months ago a teddy bear maker and doll enthusiast by the name of Ted Menton made a kit for a sasha-sized teddy bear (ie a bear scaled for sashas), and offered to post the construction instructions on line. At the time he started the project, there was plenty of faux fur available in the shops so I elected to use locally available supplies rather than buy the kit from the US. So many people did order the kit, however, that the project got delayed as Ted completed the orders, and by the time the lessons were posted online (Ted kindly emailed me the pattern for free) at "Ted's Teddy Talk", I could find no fur in the Kamakura shops, it being a winter fabric... I guess people in Kamakura mostly wear faux fur rather than make furry animals out of it.

I opened up my numerous bags of fabric scraps and used some faux suede. Very little fabric is needed to make this bear, who Ted named Snappy (because his joints are made with press studs, "snaps" to Americans). The faux suede does have some give so I fused some non-stretch interfacing to the back to make sure that Snappy would maintain a good shape. I stuffed him using the insides of our couch which our little furry friends have made plentifully available. He did look rather naked when finished so I decided to sew him a hairstyle out of some blonde silk yarn I had lying around. This addition does seem to have given him quite a lot of ... character. James says he looks like Johnny Rotten... Consequently I have not yet dared introduce Scrappy Snappy to the comparatively genteel Sashas for fear he will corrupt them.

P.S. That's my marvelous new 15" MacBookPro in the photo!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

red and green - Marfy waistcoat and skirt

I made the waistcoat first. It is Marfy 1468 from catalogue FallWinter2007/08. The outer layer is a faux suede, made of some synthetic fibre. It is easy to work with as it does not fray. The lining is made with silk dupioni in a rather unpleasant pale green with pink cross threads. I underlined (or interfaced) the front pieces of the lining with silk organza. Otherwise I just made the front and the lining and stitched them together as one might a sleeveless dress. I under-stitched the armholes and fronts to keep the lining under control. A few months ago, through PatternReview, I took an online class by Sarah Veblen about buttons and buttonholes. It sounds like a trivial thing to take lessons in, but it was great to learn some correct techniques which come rather close to guaranteeing the desired results. So after having mostly added the lining I decided that not only would this look better with bound button-holes, but that the non-fray feature of the fabric meant this was a really good opportunity to try them out. Since I had already sewn the lining at this point I hand-stitched the buttonholes, which actually was a relaxing way to learn how to make them. I made one practice and then the real things. For fitting I cut 2cm seam allowances, basted together the lining, tried it on, added a bit to the bust and took a bit off the hip, and marked corrected stitching lines on both the lining and outer layer. For the side seams I sewed the outer layer and lining in a single action. I basted this first, tried the waistcoat on and slightly took in the waist before finally stiitching these seams.

The skirt is Marfy 023. It is mentioned but not highlighted in catalogue FallWinter2007/08 which generally means this pattern first appeared in an earlier catalogue, but I do not know when this would have been since I have no earlier catalogues, and I also could not find the pattern on the VoguePatterns site. Anyway, this is a really easy pattern to make so if you are scared by the no instructions of Marfy patterns this would be a good one to start with. I think it should have 4 pattern pieces: 2 waistband pieces, a front and a back. When I came to use my pattern it was missing one waistband piece, but I cannot blame Marfy since we have a small furry pet who just loves to steal bits of paper of this size. So I'm not sure what Marfy had in mind for the waistband but the remaining (back) piece was a simple rectangle so I just drafted a straight 1 piece waist band. I'm not sure I really like waistbands that go firmly round the waist so if I make this again I might just make a narrow binding at the top, and let it sit slightly lower. The skirt has a rear slit and a back zipper. Size 42 fits me almost perfectly (I just took 1cm off the length and slightly straightened the wait to hip profile). I made it out of the same fabric I used to make the green frock. This made things easy since it is a relatively robust fabric but does not need lining, so it is a fairly robust skirt that can still be worn in the hot Japanese summer.