Thursday, July 29, 2021

 July 29, 2021

 Things are catching up a bit around here, but not so you could really tell.  It has been a lot of work, but I am still working on the dining room table.  I don't know if I am blaming the slowness of my purging and organizing, or if I just like working downstairs where there is more life and sunlight.  Perhaps a bit of both.  

I would be remiss before going forward on my projects if I didn’t talk a little about my Ultimate Fashion Doll.  I had named her Molly after my grandmother Mary Lee.  All her life her nickname was Molly, and we the grandchildren were born, we called her Grandmolly.   Family quirks.  As many use French girl’s names for their French Fashion, my doll had arrived in the USA and Mary became Molly, and that was it. 

I had Molly for quite some years, she’s been in pictures on the blog with her cousin Emilie Claire.  One of her dresses was featured here in 2009,  I think.  


Molly had been corresponding with her friend Simone and planned a trip to visit and be pictured together and going to tea.  On her way to Simone, her “carriage turned over” causing great damage.  (That’s my story and I am sticking to it.) Nevertheless, Molly could not be saved.  She broke her noggin and her life as we knew it was expunged.  No more Molly. 


May I interject here, in spite of the levity which I write, I was devastated.  My friend, Gillian, was quite dejected and did not want to give me the bad news.  I was literally sick to my stomach, and for a little white depressed about the whole thing.  Gillian was to photograph our “girls” together and then take my doll to an Alice Leverett workshop she was attending to deliver her to Alice for a little tightening and refurbishment.  The doll would be returned as Gillian got home.    

The stars did not align.  We set upon the process of making a claim for the doll.  I had paid for an additional $1000.00 of insurance.  After about 6 weeks, the claim was denied at the post office.  I had according to instructions provided proof of value by suing several sold auctions in lieu of an original receipt.  But they wanted the original.  Alice worked diligently to get the original receipt, as I had lost or misplaced mine, I mean three moves since the purchase of the doll, and she produced one for me and even set aside a replacement head at the same time.  It took 3 months to file a claim, have the claim turned down, and then fight for it.  Finally, 6 months later, I was rewarded with about $695.00 on a thousand-dollar claim.  But we were allowed to salvage the body, so all was not lost.  Later, I received devastating news.  The replacement head was broken in a small household accident and the doll was not to be produced any longer.  I had a body and no head!  

I explored the idea of joining Emilie Claire's head to Molly's body.  Emilie's body was not well done (I made her).  But Gillian had other ideas.  Her friend Lynn would make me a new doll head. The next hurdle, she only had a head for a doll face that was not a particular favorite of mine.  More months passed while I pouted and thought.  I was convinced to examine it first and make a decision when I had compared the heads.  So this is what I did.    

What I received was a beautiful face on a Smiling Bru reproduction head.  Emilie’s head was a bit too large for the doll, so I grudgingly place the Smiling Bru on the UFD body.  May I say, after 2 years of hedging and grumbling and fighting it, yea, two years, I now have a new and favorite doll.  It was as if it was meant to be.  I have considered naming her Eugenie after the French Empress, Napoleon III’s wife, or name her after the two ladies whose patience and persistence to replace the lost Molly. She remains nameless today, three years later.   One day I will settle the doll name issue. 

Until then I thought would introduce you to my newly refurbished French Fashion Ultimate Fashion Doll, body by Alice Leverett, head by Lynn S.  (I did not ask permission to reveal her name.) But kudos to Lynn and Gillian.  Thank you. She is just so beautiful.  

More about her burgeoning wardrobe as we go along.  

I am having fun!  

Kathi

Thursday, May 20, 2021

 

May 20

For three years we have been in a state of disorganization and remodeling.  If anyone has moved and lived in the house during remodeling, you understand completely the stress and discombobulation that I describe. 

The house is nearly complete.  There are some smaller projects that need doing but for now, we are taking a building break.  Once the upstairs was “finished” I started opening boxes and putting things away.  Apparently, I need to purge some more.  I am so overwhelmed with the organizing at this point. 

I have followed along with Cas Aarsen of Clutterbug.  https://clutterbug.me/get-started

Purchasing her book has allowed me to read slower and digest her advice.  I have been an organizer from childhood practically and am trying desperately to drop excessive habits.  I am Cricket in her test, with some crossover bits of a ladybug.   I am trying desperately to be a patient Cricket, waiting for perfection by first macro-organizing.  Apparently, according to Cas and I identify with what she is suggesting, I am an overthinker and an over organizer…for now.  This process is difficult for me.  She has in her blog and videos suggested that I first MACRO organize.  In the middle of this wonderful exercise of using a big bin and putting everything in it for this one subject, for example, sewing machine accouterments.  , I find I am putting smaller boxes in that big box that is supposed to be for general organizing.  Stopping that micro-organizing is a bit of a challenge.  I sort into different categories.  Don’t let me get started on miniatures, paleez!    

When I first moved from the “big house “I downsized by half.  The first decision was to define what I actually wanted to do in hobbies as it was apparent, I was not going to continue down the road of doing everything I pleased.  (Anyone who is into doll making or costuming knows it is hard to give it all up as we use all those skills in this one pursuit.)  I pared down ruthlessly.  Not quite enough, though.  Getting my 30’ X 15’ hobby room to a 12’ X 12’ room was excruciating.  I wound up using a wall in the garage as well. 

Not long after that endeavor, we moved again.  The space is similar, but the rooms organized a different way.  Here we go again! I still have too much. 

Am working on divesting myself of dolls, miniatures, fabrics, tools, excess projects, it is a chore.  So, my friends, I have been overwhelmed with sorting, purging, donating, trashing (why did I save that piece of paper or that inch of fabric?  And no, it cannot become an inchie art piece!) 

Upstairs in this “new to us” home, there are three rooms.  One is a nice guestroom for us, the second is a similar in size third bedroom.  This to be my sewing room as it has a large picture window.  And finally, the bonus at the top of the stairs is a closet built into the rafters and finished off.  This is my stock room.  Well, it will be when I finish as right now the whole house feels like my stockroom. 

The bedroom is a sorting and stacking station for each “leg” of the organizing.  The stockroom is still sort of a hide it space, and I am working on it, box at a time.  I have a large organizing chest from a Paula Deen furniture collection, and now 6 Alex cabinets.  The taller 9 drawer ones.  They are currently in a state of reorganization, too.  The hope is when I am finished and labeled, that the cabinets will all be straightened out and everything centered, and pretty.  (I want pretty so badly!)

                This is the stacked-up guest room.  Thankfully, we have no visitors at this time.  

The Sewing or display room is being sorted more and more.  It is beginning to look like a real workroom and will have a pretty display on the bookshelves and the cabinet.  Another Paula Deen furniture piece called "The Bag Lady."
                        This will be a nice display and sewing machine corner when completed.  
                                        Currently in a holding pattern.  But a good workplace.  
    It's a start!  I hope this will be pretty, too.  I need to have some skilled doll ladies help me with the                                                                                 display.  

Frankly, the overwhelm has frozen me from doing the things I love.  I have pulled three unfinished projects and taken them downstairs.  Removed from the mess upstairs, I am working on those projects.  The break is greatly needed. 

And if you are unaware of Cas and the Clutterbug theories, you can click on the link above and watch her show Hot Mess House, https://www.hgtv.com/shows/hot-mess-house.  Or stream on Discovery Plus. 

The book I purchased was this one.  (no affiliate sponsor) The Clutter Connection.  

Can be found wherever you find your books.  

Have Fun! 

Kathi

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Art Deco Project " The Moon Gate" Room

 

January 27, 2021

I don’t even know where to begin!  November for the last report and I was doing so well up until then.

Let’s see, as far as I can tell everyone is blaming Covid-19 for their failures and short galls, so why shouldn’t I join the crowd?  Except that wasn’t it.  Quite frankly, my deadlines caught up with me and I had to let something go.  It takes a long time to write a blog. 

I have created a new project for the MDL group on IO groups.  https://groups.io/g/minidollLIST

And it has taken me longer than I thought to finish creating some kits and writing documents.  The real class starts on the first of February, but I think I am going to get a head start today and tomorrow on it. 

The one thing Covid did was throw a lot of hitches into my get-along for sure.  Delays on supplies and sourcing, errors and restarts, scheduling the month that we cover everything for the project, and the list continues. 

Today I am sharing a couple of pictures of the project with you.  If you want to participate, the “class” is FREE.  You need to join the IO group noted above, however.  And you do need to buy the wonderful “moon” wall insert to make the statement.  All the items can be purchased here, and the directions will be in the group.  A PDF you can download.  See more here: https://www.minikitz.com/ZenStoreP1/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=343

I know this is short, but I am rushed, nothing is changed, but I am catching up.  

Just create and have fun!

Kathi

View of the room from an angle

View of the room from the "Moon Gate" side.

View of the room directly from the front. 


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Bridal Challenge - The Dress and Veil

 

Wow, this was challenging!  There were several iterations for the bodice, first in paper, then muslin, and then muslin again.  I should have made a fourth, but I was too lazy.  After the third, I marked a place to make an adjustment on the pattern and then went with it.  According to Mr. Burbidge’s article in Doll Reader, his reproduction dress was of bridal satin of silk/rayon in antique ivory.  The bodice had two layers of lining, one of organdy and one of cotton gauze. 

 

For my doll, I had selected silk/satin or charmeuse.  Charmeuse is not a particularly easy fabric with which to work.  I also selected beaded and sequined netting as I did not really want to do all the beading and embroidery of the original dress or the reproduction dress. Once I had all the pattern pieces for the bodice and skirt drafted and ready to cut, I started second-guessing all my decisions.  Yes, ALL of them!  I was afraid the silk for the slip would tear, I was afraid I couldn’t do the sewing on the charmeuse as it is a tricky fabric, and I didn’t know if the beaded net would be too much and look all wrong.  I was at a dead stop.  

Two weeks had passed since I wrote the above paragraph. Here is where I am, I used the charmeuse, yes, I did.  I would not suggest it unless one has superior sewing skills.  I am not that person, but I had to soldier on.  I went back to the article to see what Mr. Burgess used and decided to ADD the extra layer of cotton for the bodice.  I thought the scale of it would not work, but even in a smaller doll, this is a good idea, using Swiss Batiste, Silk organdy, and silk charmeuse.  The pieces were basted together and treated each as one section of the bodice then sewn together on the machine. 

 



I made the skirt in three pieces as well only joining them at the end at the waistline. 

 

The veil is lace with attached silk netting.  It, too, will be, or maybe embellished with beads, sequins, and crystals.


Today, as of this writing.  I have not yet completed this dress.  It has lain packed away for a few years. The truth is that Mr. Burbidge has died but was able to send him pictures of the dress this far.   I have lost all verve for this project.  However, the train is completed as a separate piece, if I pick it up again, will be attached via hooks and loops at the center back.  And then all that is left is beading, sequins, crystals, and whatever else I want to make it fussier and a real wedding dress. 

 

Remember my doll is a doll of the period of the late 1800s, so it is out of context in this 20th century dress.  But the project was fun, and I was thrilled to be able to work with my sewing idol.  He was one of the highlights of my sewing career. 

 

A special note.  I may be off the blog for a few weeks as I complete two projects, impossibly with the same deadline. I appreciate your patience.  Hope and joy to all.  Happy Thanksgiving to you, too. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Bridal Challenge - The Undergarments

 

While working on a smaller scale a few changes of fabrics must be thought out.  After many substitutions of the fabrics and trims, I ordered what I needed from Michelle Mahler of The Doll Artist's Workshop.  (www.minidolls.com)


The Panties

I chose to make a basic set of panties in a French nickers style.  Considering the hose and garters I had to have room for the stand that is fitted into the doll at the crotch area.  So, each item had to be loose or well be non-existent for that accommodation.  Beginning with the panties I chose Thai silk.  The silk was challenging, and if you try this size, some charmeuse would be pretty, too.  The nickers are French seamed at the center front, center back, and crotch.  The top of the pant gathered with lingerie elastic for simplicity.  The leg openings edged with vintage lace. 

Hose and Garter

 What a dilemma!  I wanted to make pantyhose as I thought they were the contemporary fashion thing to do.  But I decided I would make some thigh-high patterned hose.  This fabric came from a pair of personal knee highs I had saved for the purpose.   (I also made a pair of knitted silk fabric, not having the skills to knit and/or crochet a pair.)  The garter, made of ruched blue silk ribbon is not pictured.  (Not unpacked or photographed at this writing.)

 

I must digress as I want to know if princes pull up the skirts of their princesses grab garters to fling to their groomsmen?  Is this a tacky tradition?  Who started it?  I’ve been married for 48 years and we have one of those crazy pictures, too!  No need to share.  But I wonder, we never see the reception parties. 

Shoes

The shoes in the photo are borrowed from another gown.  I have not yet, after all these years, made a pair for this project.  




   

 Slip

With the slip, there were many adjustments to be made.  though drafting the pattern for this sized doll, I had also considered also the breadth and fit of the bodice area.  My doll is 1/3rd the size of Mr. Burbidge's mannequin and scale wise she has less bosom and more "cheek".  Based on the original design, drawings, and article, I chose again to use Thai silk for the slip. I started with a more antique ivory color, almost ecru, but changed at the last minute for an ivory color.  The coloring was better for the dol porcelain.  The draft of the slip bodice went well, but during fitting, I found it was better to remove an entire panel.  I removed the side back.  

The trimming used on the top and bottom of the slip bodice is lace edging to lessen the bulk a lining or bias trim would cause.  The pressed seams are all facing to the back, topstitched, and trimmed.  This creates a boned effect and for firmness and reduce any bulk multiple layers might create.  I did also use some small plastic strips for “boning” and hold the slip bodice firm and up.  The under slip and over-slip were treated the same, raw edges trimmed with lace, folded toward the right side, stitched.  One and a quarter-inch lace was ruffled and sewn to the bottom of both slips.  As the slip is ivory and the lace is white, not a usual pair up for me, I added a white and ivory “buds-n-bows” silk ribbon trim to the top slip over the ruffle.  A little more handwork and three snaps later, voila! 




What would I do differently?  Perhaps use Swiss cotton for the slip, and darts in her tap panties with a back opening.  The elastic in the waistband creates bulk I had not thought about in advance when drafting the slip bodice.  Ah, don’t you love 20/20 hindsight? 

Have Fun!

Kathi