More Random Sewing Photos

Time for more snapshots of things I’ve sewn in the last 6 months!

A dirndl for Delaney:

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A 1920s dress for Odette. Ok and this was actually exciting because it’s the first time I’ve drafted my own pattern completely from scratch. I based it on a fashion plate and cut out paper towels and did a trial dress and everything. I should find the photos I took in progress and post those…  Anyway, it’s hard to tell from the photos, but it has a T-shape bodice that goes all the way to the hem and then the skirt is gathered around it.

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A 1950s shirtwaist dress for Maryellen… can’t remember if I’ve posted his before or not… Here she is when she and Sorah went home to Texas with me in July!IMG_2838

Is this new? I don’t remember… Parisa wearing a new blue dress when she went to the zoo with us. We really had a busy summer!IMG_2593

Ava wearing a pretty lace and flower dress I made this summer. Here she’s actually at the Baltimore Aquarium in Maryland. I took her with us only to discover they don’t allow strollers… so I had to carry her around in my arms the entire time. Oops!IMG_2414

A batik vest for Kestrel!IMG_1758

A fun summery skirt set for Kanani: IMG_2642

A pretty green dress for Jemma:

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A funky patriotic swimsuit… This is Nina wearing it… Nina with her old hair!7035FBD1-1311-45CA-B904-8DE3CDC776D7

Eirlys’s pretty green kirtle. I want to make her a peach or coral gown to wear over it.FDD14F62-98FE-403D-AA26-47D7BA286528

Kestrel in her bright blue dress: IMG_4983

Whew, ok. That was a lot and we still aren’t through everything. 🙂 Although without blogging, a lot of the things I’ve made have gone unphotographed. Criminal!

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Final Doll Group Photos

I don’t mean final ever but good god I am not doing this again until I have a house with a doll room and can make some proper risers and set up my lighting kit and do the whole thing in stages. Also because, to be honest, looking at my collection as a whole makes me both happy and guilty. I have SO MANY dolls, and it feels selfish when we’re saving for a house and have a kid and all that. Doll collecting is such a luxury and I’m grateful for the time and money I’ve been able to put into mine. I try not to let myself feel too guilty.

Ok, more than guilty, I feel tired and lazy. Taking aaaall the dolls out of the dollhouse and getting them aaaaall set up at varying heights and checking aaaaall their hair and skirts and then making sure they’re aaaaaall facing the camera and then putting them aaaaaaall away… it takes forever!  have so little time for this.

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So anyway, here they are:

IMG_1478Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is the most POORLY laid out photo of a doll collection that has ever existed. They are at all sorts of different, weird heights. The photo can’t be cropped so you can see my kid’s toys and dog toys to the side. There’s a shadow cast by me and a shadow cast by the window shade so the girls in the back are 7 miles away and blocked out by the light?

You know what? Too bad. 🙂 This is all I had time for and I’m not redoing it. Do you know what a time-consuming thing it was to even construct this awful photo? My photo teachers from college are turning over in their beds (not their graves! I’m not that old!)

So I was unhappy with the photo but not about to set them all up again to redo it. Instead, I decided a more manageable way to photograph my collection for now was in clusters. Ok, also I’m just a big nerd and I like categorizing things a LOT and I’ve made enough lists just writing out my dolls’ names in the past few weeks to look crazy, so this was an excuse to do something dorky.

Now, don’t be prepared to be amazed just because I decided to do smaller group photos. These photos are still TERRIBLE. But you try photographing a collection of like 34 dolls with a toddler who’s cutting his molars. It is not easy!

First, the fantasy girls: Kestrel, Evelyn, Delaney, Tinuviel, and Eirlys.

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Then the 18th century girls: Kaya, Felicity, Vivienne, and Rosie.IMG_1480

Now the photos get even worse than standing on a blue towel. The 19th century girls: Josefina, Jemima, Caroline, Kirsten, Addy, and Gracie. (First, did you know I was almost named Jemima? I’m disappointed. It’s cute. Second of all: YES, I am trying YET ANOTHER doll for former-Ellen-then-Deirdre-now-Grace.)IMG_1505

What’s that? You miss shadowy pictures? Ok here you go! 20th century girls: Samantha, Nellie, Rebecca, Odette, Kit (whose eyebrows get totally lost), Bea, Emily, Molly (who needs her bangs cut), Maryellen, Nina, Meldy, and Ivy (who refuses to look at the camera). Also my dog Watson’s face because he refused to move away.IMG_1527

And finally, the modern girls. I don’t think i was even trying at this point. It looks like someone sneaking a cell phone picture on a closed movie set. Uh well. Here’s ???, Parisa, Margo, Flora, Leyla, Lenore, Sorah, and Kanani. Top left girl needs a name. Kanani has dark hair since this picture was taken mere days ago. And Margo and Flora have both been contemplating some time travel lately, so we’ll see what happens with them. IMG_1531

Ok, whew. We can all agree those are terrible pictures but there’s the fam and let’s not do this ever again*.

*Ever being until we get our house like I’m dreaming of and I have a dedicated doll room because I’m an overgrown child who refuses to buy a house that doesn’t have enough space for a dedicated doll room. 

Pajama Party

I forgot to post this in January, but that’s the month each year I put my dolls in their PJs. For me, it’s because January is the worst month –the holidays are over, it’s cold and dark and snowy, and I’m always in a slump. This year wasn’t so bad, since my kid kept me hopping, but it still made me warm and snuggly to see everyone looking cozy in their jammies.

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Odette’s Marigold Petal Dress

I’ve been wavering on keeping Odette 1920s, only because I’m working on so many dolls at once that it’s a bit overwhelming and I inherently wind up feeling like I’m neglecting the girls who are still light on story and wardrobe. But I do want to give her the good college try, and if it just doesn’t stick I may nudge her up to the 1930s. I thought about turning her into Kit’s friend Jessamine but… my name is Jessa and I don’t want a doll with such a similar name. It’s also possible I’m just having a hard time really bonding with this doll…

Anyway, there aren’t a ton of 1920s patterns out there that aren’t just flapper dresses, which isn’t exactly little girl fashion (though I do love them and Odette has one!) But Hint of History, which also made a Regency pattern than I absolutely love, has a 1920s wedding dress and petal bridesmaid dress pattern that I wanted the moment I saw it. Despite buying so much fabric recently though, none of it felt quite right for this. I wanted a solid color, and am strangely short on solid colors (close the fabric website, Jessa!) so I pulled some very yellow fabric out of my old stash. It’s been sitting unused for years because it is so yellow.

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The pattern was very easy to follow. I seem to remember a couple small typos, which seem par for the course in doll patterns, frankly. The waistband at the end wound up a bit short and the whole thing fits just right so Odette will have to watch what she eats. But really, the only “difficult” part of the pattern was having the patience to cut out and sew stitch and then topstitch all those petals!

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Ok, I take it back, actually the hardest part was that stinking little flower! I’d never made one before, and I still feel like after redoing it a couple of times it’s loser than I’d like, despite pulling it together as well as I could. Eventually I’d like to make her a little hat out of the same yellow fabric and I’ll no doubt make another of those flowers on it, so probably it’s something you just get better at with practice.

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I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I’d like to do another one in maybe pink or purple, and I think it’d be a nice modern dress too if the petal layers were in contrasting fabrics. And that’s only half of the pattern! Though Odette won’t be getting married anytime soon, I’m planning to make her a fancy dress from the wedding gown pattern… once I’ve sewn through all* the fabric I already have. (*Ok, not all, but hopefully at least some?)

Carpatina Scenes

After buying the American Girl holiday party scene back in November, I am suddenly a huge fan of these backdrops. Kind of makes me regret selling the 2 Scenes & Settings I had, except they were taking up SO much space in my house. The AG cardboard backdrops are small, which means they also fold up smaller. Not as sturdy for play but perfect for backdrops.

I’d also noticed Carpatina released some of their own scenes for 18 dolls, though at a much higher cost. Still, I decided to take the plunge and ordered both of their listings.

The Summer Garden to Forest with grass floor was $40, more than TWICE what the usually-expensive American Girl pays. I was dubious that it could be worth that much… and I’m still not convinced, though I am very glad to have it. The scene is made of extremely heavy cardboard, much thickier and sturdier than the AG one. It also comes with a flimsy but usable piece of rough felty paper to use as a ground, which is a nice addition. My house is all hardwood and carpets which don’t make sense for an outdoor setting.

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I’m also not thrilled with the white tag in the corner. I get they want their branding, but would have been nice if it could have been a bit more subtle. That said, these are so nice, and I like that the details leave them pretty flexible to different dolls. The woods have a Kirsten vibe to me, and the garden could work for a lot but to me feels right for maybe Felicity or Caroline. The chickens make it a little less relevant for like, Samantha.

The Interior and Castle with Floor Scene was even more expensive at $48. The price difference is due to this one coming with a reversible heavy-cardboard floor.

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I do like the floor MUCH better and would have preferred to pay more for the grass to come glue on cardboard. Maybe I’ll even do that myself. The cardboard floor makes it easier to stand the dolls up. And the details of both scenes are just stunning. Exactly what I wanted for my dolls. I think the parlor is sort of my Rococo Rosie’s, and the palace balcony is Tinuviel’s. I really am in love with both of these rooms, and while the garden and forest to me felt very much like painted backgrounds, these feel a little more actual backgrounds –the kind where in close up photos you can’t necessarily tell if it’s real stuff or not.

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So, final score: I love these. They all fold up into one-panel width, and the floors fold in half, so they’re easy to store. They’re durable. I love the way they look. The price is high, especially because I do like the American Girl ones a lot, but I hae no regrets about buying these.

I also recently bought an indoor lighting kid (not just a lightbox) and it’s being used to take these photos on a rainy day. So hurray, my indoor photos are going to be a lot better now!

The Last New Girl For A While

On the 1st, I made another trek up to American Girl to check out the new Girl of the Year and pick up a few more things (Josefina’s feast day outfit, Kit’s onesie pajamas and lunch, and Julie’s NYE outfit for Ivy), as well as get Gabriela!

It actually wound up being a kind of weird trip. First, I was returning a Rebecca I’d bought a few days ago with the intention of customizing but then decided I’d rather have Gabriela. I had my receipt and everything, but the salesgirl (who I’ve definitely interacted with multiple times in the past) tried to talk me out of it! I mentioned there wasn’t anything wrong with the doll but that I’m not crazy about her hair and wanted to get Gabriela anyway, and she insisted Gabriela’s hair is way harder. No, it’s actually way easier. Then, when I was checking out, a very nice woman helped me but when I mentioned I wanted to exchange Gabriela’s book for another one I’d chosen, she carried my doll off to just bring me one of the ones they had already opened out of their boxes behind the counter. I had to ask her to please give me the doll I’d selected –SUPER awkward.

Anyway, despite these things, off I drove with my Gabriela, who lasted only a few minutes at home in her modern form before I changed her into this gorgeous outfit I bought from Pemberley Threads on etsy in preparation for this doll. I’m a big admirer of Pemberley Threads stuff and had debated this one for a while before decided it was worth it as a welcome home outfit for the new girl, and I don’t regret it! I’m quite happy with the quality of the whole adorable set and will definitely continue to watch this shop for more goodies I need to bring home.

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Because yes, I bought Gabriela to be my 1920s girl! I’m learning about the Harlem Renaissance at the moment so that I can figure out this girl’s place in it. I know nothing at all about her yet, and instead am just wildly jumping from idea to idea until I see where I settle (writing? music? theater?) Although this isn’t the hair style I’d originally planned for this doll to have, she’s a cutie and if I decide I don’t like it, I can alway rewig her. For now though, she’s perfect.

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I’m also relieved that the doll looks less like Melody than I’d feared. Her hair is a dark brown rather than black, which certainly helps to differentiate. She’s also not too similar to Cecile/Vivienne –the green eyes and different curl types and color go a long way. I’d say the girls look as dissimilar as some of the classic mold dolls with similar types of deviations. I do need to play with her hair a bit; some of the curls are tousled and I want to experiment with some styles. She’s got the same wig as Nina, but who knows, I may ultimately want to rewig Nina again anyway! These pictures are all of her fresh out of the box and not quite settled in yet.

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Wow, I’ve got some pretty girls. Also how great do these girls look in gold??

Oh, but you may be wondering, does she at least have a name yet?

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Yes! Meet Odette Evans. I’m still working through everything else, but I think she’s pretty stinking cute if you ask me. Welcome to the family, Odette, and I can’t wait to learn more about you and your period in history!