Thursday, April 23, 2015

More Upcycles From the Sewing Machine

Greetings and Salutations Doll Friends!!

Have some more upcycled doll clothes made and figured I'd show them to you. I am determined to convince you that you can make some for your own doll. I don't love the idea of upcycling for only budgetary concerns, although making a doll dress (or three) for less than a $1 is always a thrill! I love the idea of upcycling because it takes something that might otherwise be thrown into the bin (and in turn, into a landfill. Did you know there are people who throw away their perfectly-fine-but-no-longer-cared-for clothes? *gasp* Such a foriegn concept to me. I digress) and makes it into something not only useful, but, in all likelyhood if you give it to the right little girl, something that will become a cherished keepsake. Or, at the very least, to give some little girl fun as she expands her Dolly Wardrobe. 

Here are Electra and Sasha wearing a couple of the latest. Electra is wearing the colorful printed sun dress and Sasha is wearing the skirt that I made recently.(The shirt she is wearing is AG brand)  Or rather, that I upcycled lately. 'Made' is a pretty relative term in this instance! Saying I made it like saying I 'cooked' when I opened a box of Hamburger Helper. Again, I digress. Seriously though, it's like the 'fast food' of sewing. 

Here are Rose and Taylor in a couple of skirts I made out of one child sized skirt. I love when I am able to get two items out of same source item. Then they can wear 'twin' outfits or I can have an extra to gift to my daughters best friend or whatever... In this instance, there was only enough for one skirt to fit the 'larger torso' dolls and one to fit the 'slim line' dolls but I actually like that because body types differ in the real world too and so why not in the Doll House?

The process I used to make them is becoming a bit of a 'formula'. First you measure item on doll. In this case, the source item was a little mini skirt made for a 3month old. What???! Kind of odd, I thought, to have a mini skirt for a tiny baby but... Glad to find it because it makes a perfectly scaled doll skirt! 

You can find the procedure I followed to make the skirt here. Because apparently I got going on that doll skirt and didnt' think to stop and take photos. 

This source item was kind of an odd one. It was skirt made, presumably, for a baby. I forgot to take a photo of it before I took the elastic out and cut off the first section I was going to use for the doll dress but as you can see it was a LOT of fabric for a baby skirt. It was too much and so the elastic waist band was awkward looking and I could tell that it'd been made and then never worn, so it was basicaly a brand new, nearly made, set of dresses for dolls for me. All I needed to do was cut it in thirds, restring the elastic through the already existing space for elastic, insert it and sew a seam down the side. Then I just added a button for embellishment and ribbon for the neck tie. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. I like the idea of having salvaged the project of some well meaning baby clothes maker too. Win win!

Here is the original item in the pink skirts. I loved the color and the waist band (makes doll skirt nearly all by itself) and knew the 'cake' print was way too large in scale for the dolls so I decided to just cut as much of the fabric as possible below the 'cake', leaving some of the 'cake' as hem allowance because it would sewn into the hem and you'd not be able to see it anyway and it'd make the skirts as long as possible.

I am not really sure of the size of the source item? It's foriegn....? Here is the tag. I am guessing a size three or four but I am not positive.

Here is me measuring the source item on a doll. I think one of the most important steps in the upcycling process, when you're making doll clothes that is, is the draping and fitting before you even make the first cut! So, take the time to try it on the doll, it's worth it. 

I realized that I'd probably be able to get a skirt out of the other portion of the skirt if I was very careful and not wast a bit of the skirt....

The first thing I did was cut off the part I wasn't going to use. I highly recommend using a ruler and a pencil to mark the lines you'll want to cut. It's really hard to eyeball it! Measure and make lines because cutting is forever! Here is skirt, all pinned and ready to be hemmed. 

All hemmed. 

To get both skirts, I needed it all so I made the sewing lines right next to each other, see above. The seam on far left is the seam for first skirt, then I zigzag it so it won't unravel, I leave a space to cut them apart and then another zig zag seam to keep second skirt from unraveling and then the second skirts seam. Make sense? 

That being done, I cut them apart, put them right side out and done!

Here they are with some of the dolls in the animal print dresses I made here.

Here we have another victem... Ahem, I mean, source item. This time it's a really exotic printed ladies skirt with a waistband. I loved the print and I thought the bottom portion screamed sundress. 

So I set to work... Cut off the top part. 

'Hemmed' the top, allowing enough room for an elastic band to fit. 

Insterted band, sewed a seam down the edge, added button embellishment and neck ribbons and done!

Only I wasn't too fond of how it looked. It seemed too loose to me. A bit like a muumuu I guess, but just not what I was envisioning when I started making it. 

See, so loose! So I posted a photo on a Facebook Doll Group and voiced my dissatisfaction and someone suggested a belt.

So later in the day, I tried a belt on it. I liked it so well I just snapped a photo to upload immediately. I think it looks so much more cute with the belt! A few people said they liked the looser look so, I guess it's all a matter of taste.

That's it for now Doll Friends! See you next time!!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Upcycled lately

Greetings and Salutations Doll Friends!

More Upcycled Doll Clothes are making their way off the sewing machine! I am accumulating quite the collection of 'slim line' dolls and wanted to make a couple of sleeve dresses for them. I had these two amazing animal print, pink trimmed dresses I'd gotten last year at a garage sale for 50c each. (I love garage sales like that! "All clothes 50c!" I look at everything!! I digress!) Aren't they cute! You can probably almost see the doll clothes in them right now, can't you?

The dresses were in sizes 12months and girls size 6. I bought them from a family who had two little girls of those ages and they must've been photo dresses or something. Either way, they are enough to make several dresses and skirts etc for the dolls!

I started by making 'sleeve dresses' out of the sleeves of the 12month sized dress. This is probably going to be one of the only times I'll be able to get away with it but I didn't sew them at all. The fabric seems to have very little 'fray' factor and I knew I had very little length to use in the first place and so... I left them unfinished on top. So, easy peasy lemon squeezy! No sew dresses!

I still had a lot of dress left! So... How to make over the rest...?

I started by cutting off the top, right under the sleeves of the dress. Wanted to get as much fabric as I could out of it because I wanted to make a doll skirt. When I measured the 'skirt' of the dress around an 18" doll (My TollyTot Rose is my fit model) I realized, if I followed nearly the same procedure as I did here. 

I started by 'hemming' the top of the skirt part. I didn't want to leave it unfinished if I had enough fabric for a hem. 

Then, wanting to optimize the amount of fabric I had, I zipped two seams down the middle, leaving a small space in between the seams to be able to cut them apart. 

And that's it folks. Four dresses. Took me about a half an hour. Not bad. I had planned on putting shoulder straps on them but after trying them on the dolls, I think they fit snugly enough to be 'strapless' dresses. I love them!

Then another dress in my 'project bag' looked like a good candidate to make a few things from. 

I got so enthusiastic in my sewing that I forgot to photo most of it. You can see that I made a couple of 'sleeve dresses' from the sleeves. Then I made a place for elastic on the 'skirt' of the rest of the dress and made a skirt for 18" dolls. I like how they came out as well. 

This isn't really an upcycle project per se' but I will add it here because it's relevant to inexpensive doll clothes options! I found this cute little doll dress at a garage sale. I thought it would make a perfect 'top' for my Heart for Heart dolls. I was right about the size of it but it was impossible to put on them because of the way it was designed. It must've been made for a soft bodied baby doll or something because the opening for the doll was very small and unforgiving. Couldn't get it on the doll without serious risk of breaking the arms off! Um, no. Still... I owned it already (it only cost me 25c out of a mixed box of dolly items all at same prices) and I knew it would work if I could just change the way it was put on...

I had nothing to loose so I took out the seam from the opening to the hem. 

With a seam ripper. I guess all those seams I had to rip out as a child when I learned how to sew taught me something after all, huh? Whodathunk?

So I got it open. Next I wanted to finish off the edges so it wouldn't fray out. It was such a tiny bit of sewing that I just decided to do it by hand. 

I know *gasp* hand sewing! I actually used to sew by hand almost exclusively when I made fabric dolls and doll clothing. I was always a bit 'afraid' of machine sewing. Imagine? I got over it, obviously!

So here it is, all hemmed up so it won't fray out.

And I was right, it is the cutest top with the little white pants! Very cute!

That's it for now Doll Friends!
See you next time!

Just Pretend Dolls Join the Doll House!

Greetings and Salutations Doll Friends!

Well... I think I need intervention. Or to remove the eBay app from my phone. Or both. So... Let me explain!! I have been on eBay for many many years, both as a seller and as a buyer. I've learned a few tricks of finding things you want for cheap, even now after everyone else knows about eBay. I'd spill all my tricks here but they'd sound like tech talk and I am not a tech blog by any stretch of the imagination! Suffice to say I know how to tweak the search engines like a pro. I will let you in on a little secret about eBay. Or maybe it's not a secret but not a lot people think about it. As a seller on eBay, one really bad decisions you can make is to put your item up for an auction and have the last day of the auction be on a major holiday. Never do that if you want the maximum bids for your items people! Surprisingly enough, even in today's society, many people don't shop on eBay as much on major holidays like Easter and Christmas. So... As you may imagine, there is less bidding competition for good items on that day. 

I've not really had any major holidays pass by since the doll bug has bit me again and so... Being me, I couldn't help myself to just go peek and see what might be out there with regards to my most desired doll types. What do I find but... A person who is obviously selling off their their entire doll collection. What a collection it was too! They had an American Girl lot, a Heidi Ott lot and several other types but the type she had the most of were "Just Pretend" dolls. I've wanted one ever since I found out they existed on one of my favorite blogs. Here is an amazing review of them, all their varieties here. This blog may be my undoing because there are so many awesome dolls and naturally I wouldn't mind having one (or two...) of all of them in the Doll House! Is that wrong?

So I picked my two favorites and bid on my most favorite one, the one in the red candy striped outfit. Her auction ended before the other one and so I figured I'd bid on her and if I got outbid, I'd just bid on the other one. At the time all these amazing dolls were all bid free and only about 12 hours out from ending! Unheard of, these are rare! Especially for what the beginning bid prices were! So anyway, fast forward about six hours and sure enough, I was outbid. Undaunted, I went for the long haired beauty above. I was high bidder and was so excited that I was going to win her in all likelihood because it was about a half hour out from the end of auction and I was still high bidder. Which could mean nothing but... Then!! I got a notice "You've Won!" on the other auction. WHAT??! I was really feeling selfish and self-indulgent for buying one but went ahead because these beauties usually go for as much as four times my high bid was. I'd 'lost' the auction, I'd let it go! How did that happen!? I was so upset cause I knew I'd probably get both and so I went down and told my husband "I don't know what happened!!? I'd lost the auction!! Now I'll get both and I already felt like I'd spent too much" Then he gets this big sheepish grin on his face and said "Why didn't you think I'd try and get the one you wanted most for you at the last minute?" So he had bid a bit higher than I had and won! As you can tell, I also won the other auction. I feel very spoiled but... I LOVE THEM!

I broke with my recent 'standards' of only photographing dolls 'in the doll house' as much as possible. I was so excited when I got them in the mail I had to photo them immediately!! Aren't they gorgeous!?

I know she was my 'second pick' but I love love love her! Their hair is amazing!! They are very well made, can stand well on their own and are going to be great friends to all the other dolls in the Doll House!

Their hair needed a bit of brushing when they arrived. Their clothing was great, I think the green dress was home-made but she came with white shoes and the little red and white striped dress is adorable and so well made! The red striped one is my first doll with a short hairstyle and I adore it! Such a cute bob!

So here they are, all changed into fresh dresses and with their faces washed and hair combed. They are so lovely!

With some of the gang!

They have similar body types to the Heart For Heart and other 'slim line' dolls. 

Well, that's it for this time Doll Friends! See you soon!

Photo Outtakes! Bloopers! Hahaha!