Doll, pullip, Uncategorized

This doll has EVERYTHING

After a long delay I finished taking a used TaeYang and remaking it into Bill Hader’s SNL character Stefon.

Why? Because it brings me joy.

Here’s the before and after on the face.

I wrote about and photographed the process in more details here, February of 2020.

What you’re seeing above is:

  • removal of paint and wig
  • carving into and sanding the face to change the features/shapes
  • opening up the head and inserting new eye chips.
  • painting the face (actually drawing chalk pastels and watercolor pencils…I still differentiate dry and wet media work from when I was a drawing, not painting, major)
  • creating a custom wig cap and then making a wig out of brushed acrylic yarn
  • Sculpting some rings with apoxie sculpt.

Over winter break I was trying to rest my left hand, hoping that buddy-taping and resting my injured finger could heal every thing and I wouldn’t need surgery. Spoiler: it didn’t.

My plan was no knitting, limited sewing, no small dolls (that I’d have to hold in my left hand, only large enough dolls I could rest on a surface while working on….and I made Stefon his iconic shirt because most of that was painting with my dominant hand.

I already had stretch white fabric from making Powerpuff Girl tights. I found the right shade of green fabric in the form of a kid’s tank top at a used clothing shop for 100¥.

After sewing the shirt I used a combination of acrylic paints and ink to make a simplified version of the Ed Hardy shirt Stefon wears. I used a photo of the original shirt for reference. The SLN version has removed the Ed Hardy logo, so I didn’t include it either.

I dressed him in a pair of fake snakeskin pants I already had from another used doll. I may make costume acurate black cargo pants in the future. As the character is behind a desk you only get to see his legs in the wedding finale. I figure the difference between the sort of black pants Stefon WOULD wear and the actual pants he DID wear are inconsequential because most of us are filling in that information in our minds.

The final touch being getting him a pair of boots. I am not ready to start making tiny shoes and boots. I just am not.

And now I have the doll who has everything.

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craft, mental health, sewing, Uncategorized

Find the thread.

Fast forward eight months. That’s how long it’s been.

I’m now on ADHD medications.
The middle finger of my left hand has been bandaged in one form or another for two and half months as I recover from tearing part of a tendon. Typing isn’t a breeze.

If I try to catch you up any more I’ll get bogged down. I figure that the way to pick up the thread is to use my photos in my iphone. I’ll just search by month and figure out what needs to be shown that way.

2020 April and May were peak “at home” quarantine times for me with school closed and my daily life indoors

True, there’s a current state of emergency in effect for Tokyo and we’re having a huge spike and vaccines haven’t even started being distributed but now I’m expected to take the train into Tokyo mon-fri to teach two school’s worth of children each week ….let’s not unpack that yet.

I sewed those months. Oh boy did I sew. See the pattern below? McCall’s M6696. After some early tests to get the pattern fitting right I CRANKED out the dresses.

My stash didn’t have many fabrics in the quantity I needed (about 4 meters) so the fabrics were ones I found on Mercari and the fabric shop located near the dentist I saw 12 times between May-August. I figured if I had to go to the damned dentist that much I might as well make use of those trips to gather essentials like food and fabric.

You see that? The oranges? That’s the inside of the dress. all french seamed and everything. That’s due to this invaluable sew along youtube series about the pattern by Kittenish Behavior.

Ebony had also given me a few patterns earlier in the year including Simplicity 4077, so after bust adjustments I made three shirts for work.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. How about the McCall’s pattern variation with the slim skirt? I made it…in a fabric featuring apples and hedgehogs. See the fabric on the floor? You’ll see it again.

In July or August (Summer break after school started again) I found an awesome traditional styled Japanese fabric with hidden kitties. I also had some Japanese fabric I found too overwhelming once I sewed it so I over-dyed it a purple hue. Same pattern but now with band collars.

I also made myself this Vintage Simplicity from one of Ebony”s patterns. Unlike the button and go style of the McCall dress it isn’t suitable for work so I haven’t had the chance to wear it anywhere. I’ve worn the McCalls dresses SO MUCH for work it is insane. It has pockets, ya know.

It should be noted that the vast swinging between “I can sew everything I HAVE FOCUS” and “I cant focus on anything I’m going to do nothing” in March/April/May is what got me to get on ADHD medication.

And that is the start to returning to bloging…wonky finger be damned,

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barbie, blythe, craft, Doll, pullip, sewing, Uncategorized

Work the book: First Coordinates

Here I am working my way through a doll-clothing book from cover to cover.

The book is はじめてのドール•コーディネイト•レシピ  (First doll coordinates how-to) by Dolly Dolly books. ISBN978-4-7661-1982-4 (1,500¥ new)

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The projects are: a dress, medium length shorts, pleated skirt,blouse, tank top (for knits),  bloomers, socks (for knits), tote bag,  and  tailored jacket.

 

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Included with the book are all the patterns  in five different sizes and which model doll they were specifically designed for:

  • 11cm doll (Poochi Blythe)
  • 20cm doll (Odeko and Nikki ), 22cm (Blythe)
  • 27cm (momoko doll)
  • 42cm (Unoa Quluts Doll)

there are also specific charts for various dolls indicating which size of the pattern works best for them.

The one below is for Dal (Groove). It shows that she’ll wear the the dress in size 20cm but will need a 2cm adjustment. The waist for the 22cm skirt will be a bit to large and so on…

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The other dolls with specific charts like this: Licca, JENNY, Unoa Quluts Light, Tiny Betsy McCall, DAL, nano Haruka, and MISAKI.

The books are full of step by step guides like this. This one is for tracing patterns to fabric. This book takes the odd step of tracing the outline of a photocopyof the pattern and then cutting away the seam-allowance from that photocopy and trace again.

I do not have the time or the desire to waste paper like that. I’m tracing the patterns onto clear plastic, like that used for folders, to make a reusable pattern. I’m sketching  in the seam allowance lines in thin chalk after tracing the pattern onto the fabric.

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Here is another example of how detailed the instructions are. This shows the type of closure used on the dress (there are how-to on making the loops) and then covers how to assemble a variation of the dress top that includes darting.
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Projects finished so far:

The dress:

In my first version I added a twice folded hem to give the skirt more volume. The stitching isn’t perfect so if I have a doll for this I’ll add trim at the waste to hide that stitch line.

My second version, with the spooky bats, is much cleaner and better assembled.

Shorts:

These I felt I nailed on my first try. The Preppy shorts were made first. Then I shortened the length, made in denim, and added yellow-stitched details.

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Skirt:

The detail notes were correct, the waist is a bit large for a DAL or Picconeemo. If I do this regularly for DAL I’ll draft my own waistband.

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Shirt:

For the love of GOD is this difficult. It’s also a project I made before. I went straight to this pattern when I first bought the book for my Agretsuko Blythe could have a shirt two summers ago.

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This time I’ve made it twice so far, each version getting cleaner. 7a8aafa2-bc6b-438f-b8c4-769be7637ba0

With this I’ve achieved a looser collar. I know how to remedy this (where to fold so the collar “button” flaps overlap correctly) but I rather like it as-is on the tiny-print fabric version.

Tank top with trim:

I gotta be me. So far I have NOT yet made the tiny socks and bloomers. I might just make them from the same fabric for a comfy rocker pj outfit. I did most of this by hand instead of machine sew.

pssssstt. Making tiny socks scares me.

Tote Bag:

I didn’t have matching thread but I made it anyways. When I have matching thread I’ll finish the handles but it looks CUTE.

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So what do I have left? Socks….Bloomers and the dreaded:

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craft, Doll, pullip, sewing, Uncategorized

Lucky Bag Inspiration: Classical Style

With the New Year came my first trip into Tokyo for Fukubukuro!

LUCKY BAGS!

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…”

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This is the book version:

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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.

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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.

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Doll, pullip, Uncategorized

Caty is a doll.

Today is one of those days where I realize how much I haven’t posted.

I sat down to type up a post about a finished project I named Bi-Little Pony. The project involves a person serving as an inspiration who I have Dolled before so I went back to find those posts and found…only one post. I’d never posted the final product.

In May of 2018 I’d recently returned to Japan from a trip to America with some Barbie Made-to-move bodies in my luggage. The curvier MTM body inspired me to buy a used Byul doll I’d seen with matching skin tone.

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I had a model for the doll, my friend Caty. Caty is an amazing MUA on instagram. Go check her out NOW. Caty had done a look inspired by one of my dolls. I then decided to do a doll based on one of her looks.

I wrote upa whole post detailing how I put the Byul head on a MTM curvy body…but failed to follow up after that. The last time I featured her here she looked like this. She had a new body and a temporary outfit and wig but I hadn’t remade her face or found the right wig for her. There might be some more photos of her here and there in the blog, but if there are I haven’t properly tagged Byul.

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So, what has happened to Caty Byul since?

New face! This was the midway point.img_5778

Then I got her a new wig at Mandarake (I usually buy used wigs but Caty was sporting a her own wig in a color I wasn’t likely to find used quickly) and new eye chips by BeBeBlythe on Etsy. It was getting closer but she was still sitting around in a random outfit.

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I found a pattern for the Curvy Barbie Fasionistas by DGRequiem on Etsy and some suitably bright fabric. I swiped some insane stockings from my stash as well.

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And, as a final tribute I made her a simple felt beret…seen here with an almost matching fuzzy backpack.

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And that should catch me up on enough Caty-Inspired posts to start writing about..Bi-Little Pony

 

 

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costuming, sewing, Uncategorized

The dress with EVERYTHING.

My friend Ebony rocks. She really does. You should go check out the looks she serves up on Instagram. I’ll wait.

I can’t even tell you how essential she is to my life here.  Not since art school have I had someone in my neck of the woods who was not only an amazing friend but who also makes s stuff all the time. All. The. Time.

I can talk shop with and bounce inspiration back and forth with her. I’ve helped her stain her couch black so it’d be more goth. She’s my year-round source of Halloween baubles.

She has her own impressive fabric haul. From time to time she’s given me fabric she realizes will be put to use by me before she ever will use it. Like..three meters of this.

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Yeah. Take that in. Take it ALL in. That’s a lot of lot going on.

And for a year she’s been waiting to see what it will become.

well, you can’t get really complicated with a fabric like that so I turned to a simple pattern I’d modified until it fit. 2 or 3 years ago I made three dresses with variations based on  Vogue Patterns Misses Jacket Dresses-V8146

And this would be no exception! SIMPLE CLEAN LINES!

But I wasn’t going to do all the insane pattern matching of the Maiko/Geisha patterned dress just so I could have pockets. I made EXTERNAL POCKETS with APPLIQUE!

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I’ve had someone ask me if I made the dress and then ask me if I also made the appliques. I want to live in their world because it’s a world where ready-made appliques of octopuses drinking coffee and eating cheese MIGHT EXIST.

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I’ve since slightly darted the neckline so it doesn’t gape.

Lemme tell you, this is a dress that makes people smile.

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craft, sewing, Uncategorized

Never Ending Cat Skirt.

Cleaning and organizing my craft room always involves finishing some projects and alterations.

Tonight I added three more patches to the never-ending cat skirt.

About three years ago I bought a simple, white, eyelet skirt at the Gap, figuring it would be fine for work.

Then I realized it needed a little more length so I added more eyelet at the hem.

As soon as I wore it, some of the eyelet caught on a chair at school and ripped.

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Not being willing to admit that I’d made a bad purchase and that fast fashion sometimes is built to fall apart, I started patching it with appliques from my scrap bin. The tears almost always happen on the sides….from catching on various chairs.

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Today I added a jaguar, left over from my quilt backing, and two pairs of black and white cats on pink backgrounds.

It shouldn’t really work but it does. When I wear it I garner squeals of joy….and it’s not easy to be exceptionally adorable in Japan. The bar is high.

I think this has been in my to-fix pile for so long that I might not have worn it this school year. Tomorrow black tights, black sweater, never-ending cat skirt it is.

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craft, sewing

Capelette: I’m ready to be extra at your funeral.

Over a year ago I bought two kinds of fake fur when lining and updating my vintage coat.

Last summer, when making a Gothic Emily Doll for my friend Emily I saw a capelette pattern at Yuzawaya while I was trim shopping. It looked like it’d be a great way to use up my black fake fur.

It was the Japanese version of this pattern, just the three capelettes and none of the shrugs. It was cheap as well. I figured I could draft a pattern or just buy one and whip it together when I had time.

This month I stash-busted leftovers for finish it February.

I’m putting a hook and eye closure you can’t see for now, but when I find the right dramatic closure or vintage buttons I’ll use those instead.

Tada, I’m ready to be extra!

It’s not the most extra fake fur capelette I’ve ever made…I made this and a matching purse and gave it to a friend about 10 years ago.

But, I don’t think the black capelette needs eyes…yet.

And, having a wire pet brush (for doll hair) was really helpful in brushing the seams of this coat.

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costuming, craft, sewing, Uncategorized

Costume Finished!

I hope to get better photos at the show on Sunday but here we go!

RomaFest is this Sunday. I am having some strong imposter syndrome feelings but I know I love to dance.

I didn’t have time to make something from scratch nor the money to buy anything that would be of  the same quality as my handmade skirts.

And when I make skirts I generally make GIANT HUGE SKIRTS.

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So I took an existing skirt I’d bought used and changed it up instead. I also made it a narrower skirt, more like my favorite teacher Reyhan Tuzsuz would wear.

 

I think I invested about 20$ in trim for this project, which is cheap.

Final skirt and general outfit (sans accessories):

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I’d also literally made the vest top from pieced together fabric scraps from a too-small pair of fancy dance pants someone gave me for the fabric. I did that in 2017 here.

I’ve decided to give a body stocking a try. Not out of feeling insecure about my tummy but because Turkish Roma women who dance often do NOT show their stomachs and feel like that’s a better choice for me to make when participating in a festival about Roma music and dance.

If you’re wondering about Roma/Romani people and wonder why my dance costumes look like what you’d describe as “g*psy” costuming, here’s a fine start to why I don’t use that word and you probably shouldn’t either.

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craft, Doll, sewing

Diana Prince pt 2

I’m doing fairly well with the “finish it” goal of February and so-so on the frugal one.

Diana Prince, the groovy boutique owning super spy WW with no powers, is almost finished. Removed the Barbie lining of her jacket and I relined with leftover kimono silk from my own jacket re-lining project last year.

She still needs jewelry and boots, because this Diana Prince understands the essential nature of good accessories.

Alas it seems to be hard to get a good even white on her existing boots.

I may need to make her a pair. Making shoes/boots is probably in my future. The “Bratzilla” doll I remade has irregular sized feet (for a doll). Unlike the snap-off shoe-feet of Bratz, Brazilla have feet-feet…but larger than your average fashion doll.

Same for the DC Superhero girls dolls. I love the fact they have more realistically proportioned feet but am sad that this means a dearth of ready-to-wear shoes. These dolls can wear other doll’s clothing but it’s mighty hard for Wonder Woman to find civilian clothes that work with her red boots with WW gold accents. How’s she supposed to have a secret identity once she gets her super powers back?

Bruce Wayne doesn’t have to wear Batboots in the boardroom. It’d make things obvious.

Bruce Wayne, I imagine, has to be mighty good with makeup/concealer. That cowl doesn’t protect his whole face from bruises. Does he send Alfred to buy it? “It’s for Master Bruce’s….mistress”

That’s a montage I want. Superhero dudes learning bruise concealing makeup techniques.

And I want more doll shoes.

And if I want either of those things, I’ll need to pay someone or make them myself.

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