Sunday, September 27, 2015

Piet Mondrian and Yves Saint Laurent


 Piet Mondrian is a painter who is known for geometric paintings in primary colors.
He is a favorite of mine.

Below is his 1930 painting Composition II in Red, Blue and Yellow.



Mondrian's paintings inspired the French couture designer Yves Saint Laurent. He made a collection of dresses based on Mondrian's  work in fall 1965.

One dress in particular from this collection has become a fashion icon and was on the cover of Vogue. One dress like this is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art,


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Outdoor Doll Shoot

Two of my friends and I did an outdoor photo shoot of our BJDs. We found an unusual local spot that was kind of inspiring. There was a wedding group also taking professional pictures, and a family having professional pictures taken. After the family finished, their professional photographer came over, asked us for permission to take pictures of our dolls, and shared a few tips with us.

We had so much fun!

I have lots of pictures to share, but not all of these are my dolls.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Barbie dress for Makies

I was looking at the Lori dolls at Target when I saw that Barbie had some individual clothes on sale.

Some of these individual outfits were as low as 2.99, others were I think 5.99.

One of these dresses caught my eye. The style seemed very much like something River Song would wear. The color- which was bright pink- not so much. But at 2.99, what did I have to lose?


And it turns out to be a solid win. The outfit fits River like it was made for her. The dress is of course longer on her than it would be on Barbie. I like that, it is more elegant. I would like it even better if it reached her ankles.


The color of course is still  problematic for River. She is ashamed that she even has shoes that match this. Her story is that she is on disguise as she carries out a spy mission for the Doctor.

I might consider dying the dress, but I don't think the mesh on the top would take the dye well, and I don't want the color to rub off on the doll. Sewing that material at this tiny size is also out of my skill set, so I can't copy it. I guess River is stuck with the dress as it is!

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Muppets on TV

I just have to post a reminder that the new Muppet television show will be airing tomorrow!

For more information, visit Tough Pigs!


Gonzo says he hopes there will be lots of chickens.

Mini Lori dolls

The target brand Our Generation has really been upping its game lately. They are really grabbing my attention with the new mini Lori dolls.

I do not like the face of the 18 inch Our Generation dolls, but when they came out with the minis I thought they were really cute, despite having very similar faces.

I immediately went out and got one of the minis- and never de-boxed her. *hangs head in shame*

But now they have a new line of minis, the Lori dolls. The Lori dolls look the same as the Our Generation minis, but they have different packaging and different options.

The most exciting change is that the Lori dolls include dolls of color. Yay!


Here are the boxes of the three dolls I bought. I think Tama is Asian, and Cyarra is African American. They have the same face molds as Lana, who is white and an original Our Generation mini. They could improve by having separate face molds.

The Our Generation box is the smallest, Lori doll Cyarra's is the next biggest, and Lori doll Tama's is the biggest. However, all the dolls are the same size. I think it would be more environmentally friendly to have them all in a smaller box like Lana.

The ballet Lori dolls like Cyarra are 9.99. The Lori dolls in street clothes like Tama are 11.99. There are also deluxe dolls that come with a pet for 15.99. Extra outfits are also sold separately for 5.99. I am an old fuddy dud and none of the clothed appeal too much to me, including the clothes that come on the dolls.

I meant to open all three dolls for this review- but it just seemed too fancy to open three dolls at one time. I decided to stretch out the enjoyment and opened Tama first.

I should point out that I went to a second Target to get Cyarra. At the first Target, one Cyarra had a crooked eye, and another had an air bubble at the end of her nose. I am not super picky, but these things annoyed me too much.

I did need scissors to open the box, despite the lack of plastic.


Here is Tama with the outer box taken off. I still needed scissors to get her completely out of the box- there were strings and elastic bands holding her in.

The blurb on the back of the box.



And here she is! Her hair is so silky, I loves stroking it. It feels like it is a nice quality and will not tangle easily. I will be sewing her a new skirt, LOL. 


I didn't realize she came with this little purse thing. It was behind her in the box. If this is why the street clothes dolls are two dollars more than the ballet dolls, it is so not worth it. It looks cheap and easy to lose,


Here she is with two American Girl doll minis. Kirsten is one of the oldest AG minis with inset eyes. Cecile is the style of mini doll that came next, with cloth body and painted eyes. I do not yet have one of the newest style mini with a plastic body.

Tama and Cecile are the same height. Mini Kirsten is smaller.

Tama looks good with the more expensive AG minis. Her limbs are looser, but none of these dolls can stand on her own, so I can't see that it matters much.

Her arms are also longer, but it doesn't look awkward or disproportionate. It might be a problem with sharing clothes.



In this picture with their tops off, you can see the biggest difference- the way their heads are connected. Mini Kirsten has a nearly invisible seam at the neck. Cecile has a more raised seam at the neck. Tama has the most raised seam at the neck. I looked at the dolls in the store and tried to pick out one with a less prominent neck seam, but there was not much variation.
However, her sweater does a great job of hiding this when it is on. Not all of the Lori doll clothes do as good a job of hiding that annoying neck seam. This is my biggest peeve with these dolls.

The Lori dolls are really a great deal for the money.

The Lori dolls also do an outstanding job with the accessories. There are extra outfits, a car, a dollhouse and a ballet studio. This really makes them stand out.

I think that the Lori dolls are actually offering solid competition for the American Girl mini dolls, especially at the much lower prices. It will be interesting to see if American Girl decides to respond by expanding their options for the minis.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Practicing Face Ups

I am dabbling in the world of BJDs.

 BJDs, short for ball jointed dolls, are dolls made out of resin and strung with elastic. The BJDs are designed for a lot of customization. You can paint them any way you want, design their clothes, or change their faces and wigs. They typically come with blank faces unless you pay to have their faces painted by the maker.

The art of painting the faces of BJDs is called the face up.

One of my first BJDs I bought at at least third hand. She had been owned by several different people, and came with heavy black paint all over her face. I knew she was made by the Momocolor company, but it took me a while to realize she had the Emily face mold. For a while I thought she had the Lucy face mold, and, prompted by an association of ideas decided that her character would be Lucy of Narnia. So her name is Lucy, but her face mold is Emily.

Lucy was the first face up that I did, and in fact I bought her for that purpose. On her first face up, I liked her eyebrows, but I felt that I could improve on her lips, among other things. Her first face up, to me, looked sullen, more like Mary from The Secret Garden than Lucy of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.





This was her first face up. Definitely room for improvement.


Another picture of the original face up.



And here is her new face up. I think it is a big improvement. It really changed her facial expression. Instead of sullen, she looks surprised. 

Ironically, the one thing that I like least about this face up is what I liked best about her last one- her eyebrows. I think they are too high up.

I will be redoing her face up eventually in the future. I am enjoying this face up and marveling at how it alters the whole look of the doll.

We also tightened her elastic, so now she stands and poses much better.


I made her dress myself. It is from the Contrast Pleat dress from Jen Wrenne. I just had to make the bodice longer, otherwise it was a perfect fit.

It is definitely interesting how BJDs allow you to experiment with a doll. However, if you just want a pretty doll that doesn't need a lot of tinkering, these dolls are not it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Keeper's Dolly Duds Simplicity 1179 Coat: Pattern Review

Fall is in the air! I just finished another pattern from Keeper's Dolly Duds Simplicity 1179 pattern.

This time I made the coat!

It is definitely getting chillier, and dolls need to stay warm too.


Kit is the model today because her short hair lets you see the collar of the coat.

I am actually not totally sure what kind of fabric I used for the outer part of the coat. I think it's probably fleece. I got it from a free pile of scraps at my work, so the price was right, and it looked appropriate for a coat. I added interfacing to the back of it, which was probably not necessary. I used cotton for the lining.

This pattern was quite easy to follow and make. I didn't even read the directions all the way through. 
Have I mentioned how much I hate reading directions for sewing? A lot.

I changed the pattern a bit, as usual. In this case, I omitted a short pleated skirt which was meant to be added below the section of the coat that you see pictured. I did not think that the fleece was going to hold a pleat. The coat looks long enough to me as is.


Here is the lining. The dark blue pieces that you see were meant to be in the same fabric as the outside of the coat. I didn't follow directions because I thought it would add too much bulk to the coat.


Here is the coat from the back.

I sewed all the braid on by hand while watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries on Netflix. I love that show. The books by Kerry Greenwood are even better.


And here is another view of the finished coat! I really like it. It is both warm and gorgeous. Several of  my coworkers want one in their size and I am completely in agreement.

This coat is also going to be added to the wardrobe of my friend's daughter's Rebecca. That's one lucky doll!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Thimbles and Acorns' Chemise a la Reine: Pattern Review

Today's blog post is brought to you by Marie Antoinette and Elisabeth Vigee Lebrun.

No, seriously.



I became obsessed with the idea of reproducing one of Marie Antoinette's most famous, or infamous gowns, the Chemise a la Reine. This dress was designed by Marie Antoinette's dressmaker, Rose Bertin. It appealed to Marie Antoinette, who was unhappy with the deep formality of the French court. She was painted wearing the dress by Elisabeth Vigee Lebrun.



This dress caused a huge scandal when it was exhibited in the Salon. People thought that the queen had been painted in her underwear. It broke all off the conventions for portraying a French monarch. Vigee Lebrun withdrew the painting from the Salon and replaced it with a more conventional portrait of the queen.

I was inspired in my project by the Thimbles and Acorns Chemise a la Reine pattern.

However, when I downloaded the pattern, I wasn't entirely satisfied with it for my project.  Vigee Lebrun's portrait of Marie Antoinette does not show a split skirt with a colored petticoat underneath, as the pattern has.

Furthermore, the pattern has the dress tie shut in the front. This is historically accurate for some chemise a la reine gowns, but I wasn't convinced that it was accurate for Marie Antoinette's gown. I wanted the gown to close in the back with velcro so a seven year old could take it on and off easily. I also wanted to sew the sash on so it can't get lost, which would not be possible with a  gown that closed in the front.

So I used the Thimbles and Acorn pattern as a base, and changed the pattern so that it could close in the back.

I also altered the sleeves to look more like the portrait.


For the sash, I actually used two ribbons. I found a gold, see through ribbon, which was similar to what Marie Antoinette wore, but it didn't provide much color at the waist. So I used a solid gold ribbon around the waist of the gown, and sewed the see-through ribbon over it, with extra at the back so it can be tied into a bow.


I am really pleased with the finished dress. It is beautiful.



For anyone interested, some of the sources I consulted in making this dress include Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber and Mode Historique.

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