With the New Year came my first trip into Tokyo for Fukubukuro!
The concept is simple: With the New Year stores put together items from the store into bags you can’t see into. The idea is that the contents of the bag are “worth” (priced individually) more than what you’ll pay for the bag. Generally you’ll have an idea of what sort of items will be in the bag but not exactly WHICH items.
I’m not a huge fan BUT Dollyterria had USED DOLL WIG BAGS. So for 4,000 yen I knew I’d be getting 6 wigs of X size. I love the random game of “what do I have and how will that inform what I make next…”
That’s 5 wigs, you say.
There’s another, but she’s already on a doll.
There’s more than just wigs, you say.
Of course I bought a naked doll in a baggie. I’m me.
There’s a body! You say.
Of course. sometimes you need another body for the naked dolls at home. They demand sacrifices.
I love the wigs… but now I also had this lovely doll who I decided NOT to rewig or change her face on. I figured out who she was. Zuora, a Pullip from 2006.
She looks like she knows how to have a great time. Alas, her outfit was missing in action.
I fixed up a damaged dress I had in my used stash. I repaired split seams and added black lace and ribbon accents.
I also took a cape I’d made previously (using a pattern from a book about sewing for dolls with felt but rendered in a suede.
Those buttons actually button and unbutton through tiny button holes. INSANE.
And I made it.
INSANE. So tiny.
I ordered a book with patterns I thought might suit her better. “Classical Style” by Dolly Dolly. I have many Dolly Dolly books about doll patterns. The felt book was a used find at a book-off. I scour used book stores for their Doll magazines (which include patterns) and the doll-specific sewing books. Not rare to find, which shows you how doll-focused some percentage of Japan is.
I often just jump to whatever pattern I want to make and just do that. It can be frustrating because my sewing skill set is more HUMAN SIZED, interior decor, and hand detailing. Sewing doll clothing is a skill that takes practice. The seam allowance (space between the needle/sewing line and the edge of the fabric) is often 5mm or less. That means very little room for error and ….your sewing machine bobin hole wants to eat your fabric.
The more fabric you join together the bulkier an outfit is. This matters very little when you’re 164cm tall but very much when you are 22cm.
There are ways you construct doll clothing that you’d never use in human clothing .
I have a friend I’ve been sending some of the latest tiny outfit photos to. He replies with emojis indicating that this is something the would NOT want to try and make. He’s a third generation bespoke suit tailor in Ginza.
I decided to use these books the way many of them are intended…working my way through the order of projects as written so that I’m doing the easier skill-building ones first with step by step photos before I tackle the harder ones. It would also allow me to blog.
And…this was the wrong book to start that idea with. Everything is lined. That means that every garment has any raw seams hidden between the outer fabric and lining fabric. This increases the bulk but makes for a more stable end product.
That wouldn’t be bad in and of itself but these are FRILLY FROCKS with lots of gathers.
Patterns have SO much gathering of fabric going on that sometimes I found that I’d make it once and then alter the pattern slightly to reduce bulk (but still finishing seams properly)
Like this insane all-in-one bloomer set. I’m using scraps so I am making some outfits I’m not sure I’ll ever have a use for. This is my second, altered, version.
This is the book version:
Below you can see how much bulk is created when you have lined and gathered bloomers attached to heavily gathered skirt (with two layers of fabric) and an extra gathered waist ruffle) …and that’s before you sandwich it between the layers of the top.
going in order as written I have completed the following, including the above.
From left to right:
Undarted lined dress. Two tops (one with making ribbon bows for extra frill). Dress lined dress with darts. Ribbon bustle and hip ruffles for apron or hip bustles.
And it inspired me to take a break from this SO RUFFLED book, as it’s not my general aesthetic, and work my way through a simpler Dolly Dolly book I’ve used before but haven’t done everything from (show below)
This is going much smoother with less swearing. I’ll be writing it about it, and showing more of what gems these books are, next time.