costuming, craft, sewing, tutorial, Uncategorized

Stuffed Animal Renewal.

I didn’t just have conjunctivitis, I also had a sinus infection. It took me DOWN.

Also, it’s made a lot of detail work I could be doing impossible. When I tilt my head down to focus on what my hands are doing I feel all the weight of the crap in my sinuses and it hurts.

I haven’t had much energy while getting well but I’m NOT GOOD at not doing anything, or doing next to nothing. I get a little stir-crazy.  I’ve spent a lot of time in bed so I’ve mustered the ability to do laundry, make my bedroom feel clean..and renew an old stuffed animal.

I’ve written about my history with Ralph here before. Because I’d found him left behind at a campsite, I’ve never known him in pristine condition….but I figured he could look better.


I decided first to restuff him. I opened him up at side seams, removed the existing filler, stuffed him with polyester filling, and restitched him. His body was filled with foam chunks, I’m glad I did this before those started to chemically break down into dust. His limbs were filled with cotton-like batting. The final photo is after this process. Ralph is sitting a little prouder.

Then a made a paste of baking soda, dawn dish washing soap, and a little water. I took a toothbrush and started scrubbing his fur.


Then, when I’d scrubbed as much as I could like that I took a spray bottle of vinegar, spritzed him bit by bit and removed the fizzing/past residue with a clean towel.


To get rid of the rest of the moister/oil/grime I put him in a plastic bag, poured about a cup of baking soda in, and shook until he had a nice crust.


I let him air dry a few hours.

Then came the dusty task of rubbing/cracking him down with towels first and toothbrushes second to get all that baking soda out. I suggest doing that over a bathtub because there will be baking soda everywhere.

Along with the toothbrush I used a pet brush to make the fur fluffier again.


No, I don’t have a pet with fur who needs this. It’s for doll wigs/ stuffed animals/and re-rooting with yarn.

Fluffier Ralph! He still has a bit of baking soda to work out of his fur here.


I also used some high-grit sanding paper (1000/6000/8000/10,000) to buff some deep scratches out of his eyes.

And, in my final act, I’m stitching new fabric on top of his old ear-lining… because that fabric is sad.

I have one more ear to go but Ralph is already looking much better.


New Year, New Ear, New Me!

Doll, pullip, tutorial

Replacing broken knee joint


While cleaning up my craft room (as part of a Mom/Craftmas is coming I’m also tackling “to do” unfinished work.

This might be my inability to avoid distraction or it might legit be reducing my clutter/ getting things prepared so that craft work can begin whenever I’m ready.

Dal surgery:

A baggie Dal I picked up recently experienced a broken knee joint when I tried to put her in her bunny outfit.

The knee joint broke off inside the thigh….wedging itself there and in the shin.

Upon further inspection i realized that this rescue Dal has forearms and shins a pinker color than her body…so she’s not new to surgery.

I had an extra knee joint from rebodying the footless Monomono/Bedhead Dal, but first I needed to remove the joint.

I took my dremel tool and carefully drilled a hole into the broken off joint. Then I screwed a smallish screw partway into that hole. I used my leather man tool to then pull the screw and joint out.

I repeated the action to the other half of the broken joint.

Then I used my extra joint to thread everything back into place.

Surgery finished, broken parts disposed of, doll ready for future modifications!

craft, Disney, Doll, pullip, tutorial, Uncategorized

Sadness stands

My Sadness has tiny little feet. She falls over easily.


100¥ shop time!

I bought cork coasters, a set of adhesive felt squares and (not shown) a wooden dowel.


I then glued two coasters together and drilled a hole slightly narrower than the wooden dowel. You could easily cut a hole with an X-acto razor. The reason I made it slightly narrower is that cork compresses and crumbles a little bit.

Then, after cutting the dowel, I glued it firmly into the hole.

A few layers of acrylic paint later, I tested it and then adhered a felt bottom to it.


The pole slides up under her sweater, giving her a tripod of stability.


Her toes are up in this picture but that’s easily adjusted.

I could have added a strap under her sweater to more firmly tether her to the base but I haven’t needed it. There was a small earthquake this morning and she was fine.


Concerned, but stable.

I’ve also realized that her shoulder are too sloped to give her a tote bag but I will eventually turn her “Long Term Memory Retrieval” book into something more existentialist and display it on her stand.

I did the same thing with three cork coasters AND a wooden 100¥ coaster. Of course with wood you need to drill a hole the same diameter as your dowel.


I painted the wooden stand and drilled a hole into the dowel. This allowed me to make a “belly chain” for my bellydancer. The scale of the chain is a little thick but it’s what I had on-hand. It has a necklace closure so I can open the chain as needed.

The cork coaster got a ribbon and snap tether…and some dodgy 100¥ ribbon for decoration.



Not bad, three stands for about 400-500¥ total…with leftovers for more.

craft, Disney, Doll, sewing, Uncategorized

Moana Wrap Dress Tutorial

I’m taking my Sunday to make a free tutorial. Why am I working for free? I’ve benefited from SO many online free tutorials that I’d like to give back.

Please don’t hesitate to give me feedback on what needs to be tweeked…or show me pictures if you use this.

Disclaimer: No one wants to read a story before a tutorial, they want to get the info, so my struggles will not be documented but know THEY EXISTED.


Disney’s Animator’s Collection Moana has a different body size from the other Animator’s collection dolls. She’s wider in the tummy and chest. This is adorable but  renders closely fitted dresses the other dolls wear too small. That’s why I made this. Her size shouldn’t limit play.

Here are links to PDF’s I made with the bare bones pattern. Let me know if there are issues with my links or PDF’s. I don’t have a printer at home.

The seam allowance is 1cm. I use centimeters in this tutorial because I live in Japan and it’s what I use everyday.

The pattern shows the front panels of the wrap dress and the back. Not pictured is the skirt because you’ll just be cutting a rectangle 62cm wide and 13cm long.

Let’s get started

Top: I’m using the red polka dot fabric for the outer fabric and the light blue for the lining. You don’t need to use a different colored fabric for the lining.

The reason I line these is because it will protect the raw seams. These dolls are for kids and kids are dirty. The things they play with need to be washable.



Cut a rectangle 62cm wide and 13cm long.

I didn’t have fabric long enough so I added some to the right hand side with a french seam. Realistic tutorial.  If you’re adding 20cm or less to get the 62cm length, the seam will be hidden by the wrap.


Before you start sewing

When was the last time you changed you machine’s needle? If you can’t remember, do it now. Needles wear out quickly. It’s a good to get in the habit of changing them each time you start on a project.



Have you read through this WHOLE thing first? Free tutorials don’t always flow well or give you the information when YOU need it. This one, for example, doesn’t even tackle the notions you’ll use until the very end…because I illustrate three different ways to finish the dress.

If you use the last method “Out of Order Mixed Method” you’ll want to read it before you start putting everything together. I’ll put a OOMM* astrix where it might be helpful

OK! Constructing the Top

Join the front of the wrap top to the back at the shoulders.


Press those seams with an iron. Then, open them and press them open.


Snip the edges to reduce bulk.

Multiple layers of cotton fabric on a human body is negligible but on a doll they quickly add to bulk.


Now to stitch the lining to the outer fabric.

Put the right sides of the fabric together and pin or clip to hold in place.

OOMM* if planning to use OOMM, insert your ribbons between the fabric before stitching.


Sew the neckline AND around the arm holes.


Liberally snip away triangles before turning it right side out. I could have done more triangles.


Now turn the top right side out by pulling the wrap/front through the shoulder openings and out the back.


I’m using a special tool to hook the fabric and pull it through. This isn’t essential but makes life easier.


Turned right-side out BEFORE pressing.

Get your iron and press that out.


Now it’s time to join under the  arm holes.


use your iron to get inside the lower part of the arm holes where you’re going to join them together and press those seams open. Then, pin the lining to lining and the main fabric to main fabric (right sides together) as seen below.


And sew.

img_4953Once you’ve stitched under both arm holes press those seams open.


Snip to reduce bulk.


Now press your lovely top and cheer for yourself.


Mid-Project Check-in


If you’re feeling hungry or tired and are trying to work through it as not to lose your sewing mojo. STOP. Eat or rest or whatever. If you’re tired or hungry you’re going to make mistakes. THEN return to your project. I did. That’s why you get that picture. Spring is coming!

Skirt Construction.

Fold the edges the fabric in 5mm and press. Fold in 5mm again and press again. Stitch this hem in place.

On the bottom long edge of the skirt fold 1cm and press. Fold in another 1cm and press. Stitch this hem in place.

img_4978After hemming your skirt should be 60cm wide. With a fabric pen or fabric chalk, you’re going to mark the edge you’ll gather. Mark at 22cm and 38cm. This means your 60cm length will be visually divided into a 22cm section, a 16 cm section and another 22cm section. 22+16+22=60cm

These marks will help us line up the skirt with the side seams when gathering to help keep gathers even.

First blurry picture. Sorry.


Maths: You can skip this if you don’t care where those numbers come from. If you plan to make a fuller skirt with a longer rectangle it’s worth reading.

The bottom edge of the top you assembled is 45cm long. First wrap section 16.5cm, back, 12cm, second wrap section 16.5=45cm. 16.5+12+16.5= 45cm

We’re taking a 60cm long fabric and will gather it until it’s 45cm. ( 60 divided by 40 is aprox 1.35. 60cm is aprox 135% the size of 45cm.  6

Because we want to try to evenly distribute the gathers it helps to mark the skirt fabric where it will join the seams on the top.

16.5x1.35=22.275 (we’ll round that to 22cm) 12 x 1.35=16.2 (we round that to 16) and check the math 22+16+22=60cm.

If you want a fuller skirt, say 70cm after hemming. 70 divided by 45 is aprox. 1.55. Multiply 16.5 and 12 by that 1.55…double check…and that’s where you’ll mark.

Maths over

To gather the skirt we need to sew two seams along the top edge of the skirt, closer to the edge than 1cm (our seam allowance). Keep the seams wide (3 or 4 stitch setting), don’t back stitch and don’t cross the seams.


We’ll be machine joining the to the outer-shell of the wrap top, NOT the lining…but first, gathering.

If you’ve never gathered using this method, enjoy a youtube tutorial.

I’ve used a red thread in the bobbin and a black thread on top to make it easier to see. If you do this, make sure your different colored threads are the same thread weight/thickness.

You’ll  be pulling at the bobbin threads (the threads on the underside) to gather the fabric.


You’ll hold the fabric in one hand and pull the bobbin threads with the other. There’s a lot of moving the gathers with your fingers so they are evenly distributed. You do this at both edges of the fabric.

Use the marks on the skirt and the seams of the  wrap top to make sure the gathers are evenly spread along the skirt.


All pinned! Now sew the skirt to the outer fabric (right sides together).

I prefer not to sew over pins, to reduce the chance of my machine needle breaking. Instead I stitch slowly and remove the pins right before they’re about to go under the presser foot.


Blurry picture. Sorry! The skirt is now joined to the outer shell of the top. Press so the raw edges are pointing up.


Now turn the edges of the lining under, pin, and whip-stitch it by hand. Turn your piece over from time to time to make sure your stitches don’t show from the outside. Steam or press when finished to smooth out wrinkles on the outside.


We are so close to being finished!

Now let’s tackle how to close the wrap dress on your doll.

How to close the dress, 3 methods.

Top Stitched Ribbon Method.

I’m trying to keep >me< out of my tutorial…but this fabric is a shout out to Ebony. I didn’t have any more skeleton/spooky fabric in doll scale so I couldn’t have Moana being a  toddler POC goth (a group seriously under-represented in visuals) so I made her Rockability instead.

This ties at the side. I wish it tied in back. I’ll give measurements for both a side tie and back tie.

Both use 1 meter of ribbon.

SIDE TIE (pictured): 42 cm ribbon. Start stitching after 18cm (the tie part)  from the edge to a little more more than the center of the back to the edge of the “top” wrap (24cm stitched to dress).

Back Tie (not pictured): 52cm ribbon. Start stitching after 28cm (the tie part) to a little more more than the center of the back to the edge of the “top” wrap (24cm stitched to dress). 


SIDE TIE (pictured): Now take the 58cm ribbon. Tuck the end in and start stitching it from the other edge of the dress to 24cm. You should have 34cm to tie with.

Back Tie (not pictured): Now take the 48cm ribbon. Tuck the end in and start stitching it from the other edge of the dress to 24cm. You should have 24cm to tie with.


Last, use Velcro/Magic tape or a snap to keep the inner flap in place. Put the dress on the doll and mark where to attach with fabric pen/chalk.



Snaps or Velcro/Magic tape method.


This was my first draft of the pattern so the top fit is a little off.

This is the easiest version. Put the dress on the doll. Mark where notions should go with fabric pen/chalk.


These snaps are probably too small for little fingers. They are all I had on hand. You’ll know what your child can use.

Stitch notions on the inside to lining  and on the outside through the outer layer or both layers. You could also use a loop and button on the outside. Go crazy. It’s a FREE pattern.


Out of Order Mixed Method

This is a fuller skirt made from a 70cm long rectangle.

This method is out of order because I thought if it AFTER finishing the dress body. It would have been easier to do some of these steps while putting it together.

This method uses two 30cm long ribbons. I opened the seams at the edge of the wrap top, inserted the ribbons and stitched them in place.

I SHOULD have just stitched the ribbons in place when joining the lining to the outer fabric at the neckline and arm holes

In a perfect world I would have used light blue bobbin thread and red top thread to reduce stitch visibility.

Then I opened the seams under one arm and made a button hole. The button hole pictured is really rough. If I give this to anyone I’ll un-stitch and re-do this buttonhole.

But I think threading the ribbon through the button-hole might be too difficult for little kids. Use your common sense and what you know about your kid’s ability to manipulate objects. I’m a grown woman with good co-ordination and object permanence.


Then to wear it you just thread one ribbon through the button-hole and tie in back.


And that is THAT! GIPHY

craft, Disney, Mary Frances sewing, sewing, tutorial, Uncategorized

Obi Sash Tutorial.

Now we’re going to make an obi sash for the yukata.


  •  22cm x 12cm fabric for bow
  •  3cm x 6cm fabric for bow center
  • 32cm x 15cm fabric for body.
  • Fuseable batting 28cm x 5.5cm.


Obi Body

  • With a 2cm margin on the sides and a 4.5cm margin from the top and bottom, fuse batting to the inside of the sash.
  • Press one wide edge in 1cm.
  • Fold unpressed wide edge over batting.
  • Fold pressed wide edge over batting.
  • Whip stitch these folds together so there are no stitches showing on the other side.
  • At each end of the sash fold over the edge one cm
  • press
  • fold again
  • machine or handstitch in place.

Obi Bow

  • Fold longer bow fabric length wise, right sides of the fabric together, and stitch the leght 1cm from the edge.
  • Press seam open.
  • turn fabric right side out and press.


  • Fold the edges of the bow so they overlap slightly at the back.
  • Baste stitch them together.
  • Using strong thread, stitch the bow so the center draws together (not shown) into a bow-shape.
  • Take the smallest piece of fabric you have left, fold the edges back and use to secure the center of the bow (also…not shown. sorry)


Hand stitch bow to the obi.


  • Try the obi on and mark the overlap. I marked with pins and then used chalk.
  • At this point sew on the fasteners of your choice.

I did my first two obi with velcro/magic tape closures and this one with hooks and eyes.

I don’t like velcro much but figured it’s a solid choice for kids with still-wobbly hand-eye co-ordination. For very young kids I’d use velcro AND whip stitch the obi to the yukata so it acts as a complete garment (with no risk of loosing the sash) . If I do that I’d use a thread color I can somewhat see from the inside of the garment so the parent could always make it two garments later and have mix+matching choices yukata/obi choices.

As a bonus here are the other obi I made with commentary.

This was my first. I added the second layer of fabric  for decorative purposes after it was completed…which is why it’s a little wobbly. I could remove the bow, straighten the extra layer of fabric, and re-stitch the bow on… it but it doesn’t bother me that much when it’s on.

On the second I added stitched pleates before the fusable batting. It also has two small darts because the wider obi (6cm) wouldn’t lay flat on Snow’s tummy without them.

Huzzah! This completes my need to make a doll kimono after making the Mary Frances “Kimono” robe.

I’m not saying there won’t be other detours but it’s back to Mary Frances and the Thimble People after this.

craft, Disney, Doll, Mary Frances sewing, sewing, tutorial

Doll Kimono: take two!

Ok, here’s my second take on making the yukata/kimono. First version is here.

I smoothed out the curve on the first pattern I made. I also made the area where the front joins the back (a the shoulders) a little smaller by shaving .5cm off it.

I should have added a centimeter to the bottom of the back pattern (*making it 28 cm tall not 27cm) .  I also used a slightly different sleeve (bottom of the two) because I already had cut those sleeves and didn’t have more fabric.

one back, two front, two sleeve cut on a fold.


I sewed the front pieces to the back where the shoulders meet. I think I used a 1cm seam allowance.


Cut a little bit of the fabric away for the neck hole. After this photo I serged those edges.


I opened the pattern and joined the sleeves to the body.


I serged the sides and the opening.


Then I folded it, right sides of the fabric together, and stitched the seam from the armpit to the hem.


See what I mean about needing the back to be 1cm longer?


Blue is where I hand stitched to make sure the stitching on the side meets the sleeve stitch.

img_2103Starting the sleeve stitch first by hand. I’ve basted a fold where the wrist goes through.

img_2106Then I machine stitched along the edge from where my thumb to where my finger is.

I used a zig-zag stitch afterwards to finish the edges inside the sleeve. I forgot to take a picture of this step.


Turning everything right-side out. I’ll hand stitch the sleeve opening where the hand emerge later.


Front. I’ve hemmed the opening.

img_2113.jpgNeck sash; 5cm by 36.


Pressing the edges of the neck scarf inwards.


Matching up the midpoint of the neck scarf with the middle of the neck.


Pinning the neck scarf to the opening before stitching in place.

img_2123I had a train ride ahead of me so I hand stitched the neck sash to the body of the kimono.


I folded the neck sash in and stitched it into place.


I whip stitched the sleeve holes I’d previously basted. Then I removed the basting stitch.

I hemmed the whole thing. Pressed it. The usual.


It feels a little I should have added 2cm to the length of the back and 1cm to the front panels.

There you go. Take two.

Next up: Making the obi sash(es)

craft, Disney, Doll, Mary Frances sewing, sewing, tutorial

A very very loose play by play: Kimono

I hesitate to call this a tutorial because I’m still figuring out ways to make this. This is a a loose guide as to what I’m doing at best.

Disclaimer: I just realized that in most of the yellow yukata pictures in here I have the right side folded over the left. I should have taken the pictures with the left side folded over the right…right over left is only ok if you’re being buried. This will be rectified in the obi pictures.

After making the Mary Frances Kimono/Robe I set out to make a kimono/yukata for my doll. I actually have three in progress, each one trying a different attack. The one I’ll be showing is the third.

An actual kimono is very rectangular.  It’s literally ALL rectangles. The back is one rectangle, The front is the same rectangle slashed in half with an additional piece on each side.


This is part of the first in progress.


With a kimono/yukata you get wrapped tightly in undergarments until you’re cylinder-shaped. You can’t change a doll’s shape.  Disney Animator’s Dolls have round tummies and narrower shoulders. I merged the front pieces into two simple shapes (to eliminate that extra seam) and made them slightly narrower at the top.

The yukata I’ll show from now on is a mayb_ gift. My friend, Realafterglow, is in the country. She’s giving a relative (a niece I think) the Tiana doll. I decided to make a yukata in a yellow Japanese fabric similar to Tiana’s cooking dress color and I’ve found a darker frog-print fabric for an Obi belt. If Real Afterglow thinks her niece would enjoy it. It’s hers.

This is the rough pattern I made:



On the back I serged up the long sides. On the front I serged all the way up the sleeve sides and then up until the neck angle on the sides that fold over.

These kinds of directions are why I’m calling this a loose play-by-play.


I joined the front pieces to the back.


I cut a 1cm snip at each side of the neck along the seam. The neck hole shaping is the thing that is most vexxing.


Putting wrong sides of the fabric together I measured a 7cm sleeve hole, stitched from the sleevehole to the hem. Then I pressed the seam open

I then folded the  front panel inwards and stitched it.


I cut a neck sash 6cm by 36 cm. This was an good width when I worked with thicker fabric and had a slightly larger neck-hole….and too wide with thinner fabric.  I’d change to 5 by 36cm for thinner fabrics.

I folded the neck sash length-ways and pressed it. Then I folded all the edges inside 1cm and pressed again. It’s like making a piece of bias tape but it’s not cut on the bias. If you do want to cut on the bias you can and it will make things easier.

I marked the 18cm in (half way) and pinned the sash to the back of the neck hole (right sides together) I stitched the neck sash to the body starting from the center of the neck-hole each time.


Really hard to make out, I know.

Then I folded the neck sash over and whip-stitched it to the inside of the body.

I tried it on Snow.

Yup, the 6cm width is just slightly too tall for her neck. Because the fabric is thin it buckled and looked wrong. Instead of seam ripping and making it smaller I decided to fold over the collar and whip stitch it, making a double-collar look.

I made a sleeve pattern.

It does occur to me now that I could have attached the sleeves to the body at an earlier point and that might be easier. Too late.


Now to attach the sleeves.

I set the sleeves in. Sorry for not taking pictures of that…I may make a revised tutorial at some point. I also stitched the serged edge to the inside of the sleeve near the doll hand so her fingers wouldn’t forever be catching on the edge when the garment is put on.


Last, here she is with her hemmed and stitched kimono. At her feet is the fabric I’ll use for the obi/sash tomorrow.

Left goes over right.