Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Pajamas

My friend came over to visit with several pieces of felt. "Let's make pajamas for the tiny dolls," she said. "Let's not use a pattern!"

I was extremely skeptical, because I didn't think I was that good. To my surprise, I did actually make some pajamas, and they are pretty cute.

My friend didn't finish hers yet, because she was more ambitious than I was. She was trying to make a tiny version of Kit's new One Piece Pajamas..

However, mine is finished, and I am so glad she pushed me to challenge myself!




I did "cheat" and use a pattern for the top- but it was definitely not my idea to not use a pattern!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mini Books: Laura's Little Loot

I love dolls, and I love books. My job includes books. I never leave the house without a book.

So when it comes to books for dolls, I am pretty obsessed. I want my dolls to have all my favorite books, and that despite the fact that AG dolls can barely hold a book in their hands. I am held back only by common sense and budget.

Luckily, there's a shop for that.



Laura's Little Loot makes custom mini books in several sizes. She does an amazing job. The books look just like full scale one.  You can choose to have a book with text inside, or with blank pages. The ones with blank pages cost less.

Laura's Little Loot respects copyright laws. That means that she only prints the full text of a book if the book is in public domain. If you want a book with text of one not in the public domain, like Harry Potter, she will put a summary of the book's events inside its pages, but not the original text.

Here are the pages inside Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which summarizes the book:



I have placed many orders from this shop, and never been disappointed. You have to be patient; it might take a month or two for your book to be completed. In return, she has been patient with me when I could not immediately log in to my Paypal and pay her.

I chose to have the covers from first editions on my books when possible. They also have dust covers.

Kit is helping me model the mini books.


She enjoys Alice in Wonderland.


Zia loves Anne of Green Gables.

Here is a look at the text inside Anne of Green Gables:


Kit reveals how she can read books published after her time period by peeking into River Song's journal from Doctor Who.


(This one actually just has blank pages- but the pages look parchment-y, just like River Song's real journal.)



Laura Ingalls is really proud to show off the Little House on the Prairie Collection.

It even has a picture of her inside!

I have also gotten Day Dreams by Kenneth Graham, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowlings and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.

I do try to keep in mind that my dolls are only 10 or 11 when I pick out books, which is why these are all kid's books so far.

My wish list is a lot longer, including The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery, Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett... I could go on.

In fact, it's probably time for me to place another order!

So, if you like the mini books in the new American Girl Nighttime Accessory sets, but can't afford the $40 or so each to buy all of them, send an e-mail to Laura's Little Loot at lauraslittleloot@hotmail.com and she can hook you up with any mini book you want!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Electric Mayhem

I have always been a huge fan of the band the Electric Mayhem. I once told a boy in high school that it was my favorite band. He replied that he liked it too, but his mother had forbidden him to listen to it. Clearly he did not know it is a Muppet band. Hee hee.

Here we have two of the Palisades Muppet action figures, Janice and Scooter. Janice is the lead guitar player of the Electric Mayhem, and Scooter is the manager. Both characters were originally played by the wonderful Richard Hunt.


They look a bit funny next to each other, as they have totally different body types.

Janice is of course one of the very few female Muppets. She has always been one of my favorites.

Janice is a very cool, laid back hippy. "Look, Mother. It's my life, okay? So if I want to live on a beach and walk around naked...

Janice is so tall and skinny that she does not stand up well on her own. She came with a stand of course, and a guitar. I did not feel like digging through all of the accessories for her guitar.



She doesn't have a lot of articulation out of necessity, due to her extreme skinniness. She can move her arms, so she does not have any problem playing her guitar. 

Her hat is really cool, because it is held on with a magnet. It stays on perfectly and does not leave any mark behind if you take it off.

Scooter is a much more active guy, the "Gofer" who goes for coffee, and whose boundless enthusiasm echoes that of his performer, Richard Hunt.

His action figure reflects that and is ready for any kind of action.

He's actually kind of hard to photograph because of the angle of his eyes. I took these pictures at an angle.


Scooter and Janice look great from behind, too.


As always, I just love the detail on these figures. Yay for the Muppet Show logo!


I am making myself wish I had more of these guys!




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ai doll Hyacinth

I wanted to share more about my Ai dolls, and what they look like in the box.

I am focusing on Hyacinth, because I haven't shown her yet and it was easy to locate her box and accessories.

I got her at my local Tuesday Morning, where I first got hooked on Ai dolls. They didn't look as appealing in pictures on the Internet. My first one was Phlox (still my favorite), whom I took straight to work and showed a co-worker. She immediately ran to Tuesday Morning and bought Azalea.

The box is very nice and sturdy. It is cushiony inside, and it closes with a magnet.  The doll is held in place with ribbons, and is easy to get out, even though the knot under her chin can be hard to undo.

Hyacinth is a sleeping eye doll. She comes with a crochet-type bassinet, a bear hat, and a tiny toy bear.
The pillow is glued down inside the bassinet, and the bear hat does not fit her. It is mysterious to me anyway. Why wear a bear hat when you are sleeping?



Some of the Ai doll accessories are very mysterious indeed, especially the peach-shaped pillow that Phlox comes with. It is too big for her to put her arms around or do anything with.

I admit that the bassinet kind of sold me on this doll, and was a wise move for the Jun Planning Company. If you have a sleeping doll, you need a place to display it in.


She really is cute. Here she is trying to wear a hat that is too small.


Minus the hat.


Her dress opens in the front with velcro. She has matching bloomers on underneath. The underwear on the Ai dolls has a surprising amount of variety.


This is the closet I can come to taking her dress off unless I want to take it off permanently. The sleeve does not fit well over the fingers of that hand.  This gives you a better view of her joints. 
The underwear doe not come on and off.

The Ai dolls have a lot of posibility, which is somewhat wasted on a doll that sleeps all the time.

Here is the stupid bear hat- which does not have any eyes that I can see- and the stupid collar. The collar is not attached to the dress and does not lie flat. I hate it.

I actually took her wig off and used it and Bee Balm for a while, so I can say that the wig is also on the small size. It looks okay on Hyacinth, but it was really too small for Bee Balm.

Here are pictures of the two with their wigs switched.



At the moment I prefer them in their original wigs, but perhaps in the future I will buy Bee Balm a different black wig and hope that it fits better.

These dolls are really fun, and a great bargain for the price they were in Tuesday Morning. They are currently going for more on ebay and Amazon.





Saturday, July 25, 2015

Quints

I am going to date myself a bit here and share some of my childhood dolls.

These are the quints.



They were made by Tyco, and I got them in June 1991. I can be extremely specific, because they were a gift when my brother was born. It was more appropriate than the giver knew, because my brother looks exactly like one of the boy dolls.

Now, if you can count, you can see that one of the boy dolls is missing, the blue one. He was my favorite of the two boys and I live in hope that he will turn up some day.

These dolls are tiny, about an inch and a half. My sister and I used them to play Barbies. Our Barbies always had soooooo many babies.

They did not come with the pajamas- I got those separately. They came naked.



I also had, God knows why, plastic toy cats for them that were the right size and shape that the dolls could ride on them like they were ponies. Those cats are long gone.

Their legs and arms are jointed and they can turn their heads. They are pretty standard joints, and not surprising that they don't have more articulation. After all, they are extremely small.

The quints are in far from mint condition- their hair is mussed, and they have dirt on their faces. I do not care. These were play dolls, and they show it. No big deal.

I had names for all of them and I have forgotten them, but one of the boys I called James, and the yellow girl was called Cynthia.

There were other quints that were brunette or African-Americans, and slight variations, depending on the year they were produced. I am not an expert on these.

I still really like my little quints. Like I said, I'd love to reunite the whole set someday.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dolly's New Wardrobe

A friend's daughter just got her first American Girl doll, Rebecca. I was so excited to start creating a wardrobe for her! Every doll needs some clothes.

I asked what the daughter's favorite colors are, and was told pink and purple. I tried to use these colors as much as possible. I think that will become very obvious when you see the pictures.

I first used my favorite doll dress pattern, Eden Ava Couture's 1930s Vintage Dress.  This dress is very classic, easy to sew, and it uses a tiny amount of fabric. I once made three doll dresses from one adult women's blouse using this pattern. Yes, it's about 16 years late for Rebecca, period- and style- wise, but I decided to go for it.



There was a special request for pajamas. I don't have as many patterns for pajamas as for dresses, but I did have one.  I used the pattern for Molly's original pajamas, which you can download for free from AG Playthings.  I wasted a bit of fabric figuring out how the collar works, but I got there in the end. It did not help that while I was sewing the pajama top, the air conditioner was not working in my house. The sewing machine is in the hottest room in the house. I had a mission, and I was not going to let melting stop me!

The pajama pants were a whole 'nother thing. I thought the pants pattern piece looked really wide, and I didn't want them too baggy, so I made each piece a half inch narrower, making the whole thing overall two inches narrower. Hoo boy, was that insufficient. Elastic was the only thing holding the pants up. They looked like clown pants meet bell bottoms. I ended up cutting another inch off each side. The pants are still loose, but now they look much better. For anyone keeping track, that is six inches of fabric I took off the waist overall. Eek.



To me, the pajamas look like a lab coat- at least she can role play if she wants to, I did my best and the end result surprised my by looking different than I imagined.

I made a dress using the Stenciled Tea Dress from Wren*Feathers. This is also a free pattern, and a simple one. This is much more period appropriate for Rebecca.



I am really proud of it. The hardest part was making the stencil out of freezer paper. I already had freezer paper for applique projects, but I had to go to work and use a special tool to cut out the tiny shapes. Once the stencil was made, I ironed it on the dress front and painted on the design. That was easy!


Here is the stencil on the dress front as I paint on the design:



Eventually I plan to make some more period-appropriate clothes for Rebecca, too. I have some.
Keepers Dolly Duds has published Rebecca-period dress patterns, through Simplicity, pattern 1179. These patterns are very elaborate though, and I wanted to do some quick projects to start Rebecca's wardrobe before tackling these fancier pieces.

Here are all the outfits together:


It's a cute little starter wardrobe, if I do say so myself!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Penny Lane Jacket Update

The Penny Lane Jacket was such an exact fit, I wondered if it would fit Pleasant Company dolls.

And it does!


That is, I could get it on Anne, but she doesn't have a lot of arm movement.

I think it looks cute with this outfit!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Twice the Patience

I know the blog has had a lot of American Girl doll posts lately.

Well, they are my first love, and my main love, and I tend to get focused on one thing at a time.

However, this blog is overdue for some more Patience!

After I got Alice in Wonderland Patience, Wilde Imagination released another doll I could not resist...
Patience Dorothy!



I love classic children's books, and having these two girls to pose together was irresistible.

My dream Patience that I would like to see made would be Anne of Green Gables.

Also, I am still looking for a white rabbit toy for Alice to play with, and a Toto for Dorothy.

Dorothy says, "This is NOT Toto!"


Dorothy and Alice were of course instant best friends.


They read stories together...


And went exploring together...


And just hung out together.

Everyone needs a friend like that. It's a perfect storybook ending!



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Penny Lane Jacket: Pattern Review

I was so excited when Pixie Faire offered the Penny Lane Jacket for free as part of its Freebie Friday promotion. I have wanted this jacket pattern for a few years now. I think it is just the cutest.


I didn't get any pictures of this pattern in progress, but it was much more complicated than I expected.

It is fully lines and all edges are finished. It really feels and looks like a high quality jacket.

In order to do this pattern justice, I used high-quality fabric, too. In fact, I cut up one f my dress pants that had a rip. Much better than throwing it away!

The pattern used more fabric than I expected- it used fully one pants leg's worth of fabric. That seems like a lot for such a small jacket!

Since the fabric I was working with was so thick, I left off the little tabs on the sleeve cuffs. I had a feeling that they would not lay correctly. The jacket is adorable either way.

In any case, I have trouble finding buttons that I feel are the right scale for AG dolls.

The fabric pieces fit well together, with the exception of the inner top of the jacket lining, which was too wide, although the bottom of the lining fit fine. I added an extra dart at the top of the inner lining to make it fit.


I really like the use of a second fabric for the lining. It adds a touch of whimsy or elegance, depending on which fabric you choose. I chose a purple 1930s repro. I think it is fun.

It fits the doll so well that I don't feel a need to add velcro on the front. It stays put all on its own.

I would recommend this pattern, as long as you have some sewing experience. This is definitely not a pattern for beginners!

It looks very sophisticated on Saige, paired with a simple sundress.





Monday, July 6, 2015

Gym Class Outfit: Pattern Review

Another day, another outfit!

This one is the Gym Class Outfit. It was designed by Doll Tag Clothing, and is sold by Pixie Faire.

Every Friday, Pixie Faire offers a free pattern for downloading on that day only, and this was last Friday's.

To be honest, I have a huge backlog of patterns to sew. But I had two T-shirts I was saving to cut up and sew, and this called for two kinds of knit fabric, so it was perfect!

To be honest, I struggle a bit with knits. I find that it is easier to sew knits that come from actual T-shirts instead of knits bought from the fabric store.

Also, in this case I used the finished bottom of the T-shirt, so I didn't have to finish the bottom of the fabric off myself.


This picture shows the pieces I cut out for the pants.


Here is the shirt, partially assembled.

The pattern was easy and quick, and very satisfying.

I made one mistake on the back of the pants and had to re-do, but that was totally my own error. The front of the pants were actually more complicated, and I did those without a hitch.


The finished product really looks great, and like something a real human girl would wear to the gym.


I took this picture to show the cute pink V on the front of the pants. I love this little detail- it really adds something to the outfit.

I actually didn't vote for this pattern in Freebie Friday, but now I am smitten!



Saturday, July 4, 2015

Converting Baby Onesies into Doll Clothes

Happy Fourth of July!

It is rainy here, so I am sewing doll clothes like mad.

I tried something today that I have been meaning to do- converting a baby onesie into a fun summer top for American Girl dolls.

I bought this onesie one clearance at Wal-Mart for $1.50 well over a year ago. Sigh. Better late than never.

I chose this onesie because the price was great, I liked the bright colors, and I knew that the ruffles were way beyond my ability to sew myself with knit fabric.

It is in newborn size. I have heard that preemie clothes fit AG dolls even better, but this was definitely workable. It probably helped that this onesie's sleeves didn't reach the bottom of the armhole.



Kaya is modelling the unaltered onesie, and it is definitely baggy, and of course way too long.

I used the free Trendy T-shirt pattern from Liberty Jane to determine where I should cut the bottom of the onesie off in order to turn it into a shirt.

I then cut about and inch of material off the back of the onesie, removing the original snap closure. I was a little sad that it was necessary to do that, but I needed to do it for fit.



I finished off the edges of the back and added a velcro closure.

I took half an inch off each side seam and trimmed the excess fabric. Again, I would not have been able to do this if the onesie had full-length sleeves that reached the bottom of the armhole.

I finished off the bottom of the top, and voila! I had a bright and cheerful top, perfect for summer wear!



The colors look great on Kaya!

Addy's Christmas Dress

Addy is ready for Christmas!