Monday, December 29, 2014

Tinsel Town: Quick & Easy Party Gear

With Christmas over, all my dolls have now set their sights on the big New Year's party they plan each year. This year, the demand for party clothes is greater than usual, due to the increase in the male population. And though I've made quite a few clothes over the past two years, I have accumulated even more dolls (as you noticed in the previous post)! So many dolls, so few party clothes...what's a doll mom to do!!!??!! The answer lies under your Christmas tree.

Wait... Don't be so quick to toss out that tinsel! Okay, so this is NOT a "real dress." But you can make it real by making a sheath dress then hand sewing the mini silver garland to it. But for this exercise, and given the lack of time to deliver, I chose to simply wrap my garland tightly around the doll. Since there is a core of thin wire, the garland will stay in place. About 18-inches is enough to make this look. When you are finished, simply tuck the end in and scrunch up the dress. Voila!

Wired ribbon is a doll's best friend. I decided to make this a real dress and constructed it by wrapping one strip of ribbon at a time then cutting it on the side, where I planned the opening.

For the first one, I pinched darts in under each bust.

Pin each strip closed. Especially around the midsection, pinch or press the ribbon into the body. Don't hesitate to crisscross the ribbon. In any case, there are no mistakes. In silver glitter, all is GOOD!!!

Continue until you have the desired length. When you have finished adjust the strips then hand stitch each row to the one underneath. Trim the edges at the side so that they are even. I folded the edges under for a clean finish. You can use Velcro or hooks and eyes to close the dress. You don't need much, just enough to hold the dress closed. I've added a box just in front of the closure.

Wire ribbon is a lot of fun and doesn't require much know-how. Here is a ribbon dress I've featured before. It consists of vertical strips over the body held in place with a simple well as a horizontal strip scrunched and added around the shoulders. In the first image, it's a perfectly beautiful dress. But you can scrunch it and move it into all kinds of interesting shapes....and without any knowledge of construction or sewing techniques!!!

One last thing....the dolls will need New Year's headbands.

I made these out of oven baked clay, but you can use a soft wire to achieve the same thing. After rolling the clay into a thin line, I use a small stick to help shape the numbers. Bake, then paint or add glitter. Attach to a pipe cleaner that's long enough to fit around the doll's head. Attach the numbers to the pipe cleaner by winding them with thin wire.
Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist
We're also on Pinterest:

All images and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2014.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!!!!

This is the time of year when the dolls take over the house. Here they occupy the piano in the living room.
On behalf of all the guys and girls here at Fashion Doll Stylist, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Inasmuch as there are people from all four corners of the globe stopping by from time to time, I know some of you do not celebrate this holiday. But as anyone who does celebrate it can testify, Christmas is not just a religious holiday, it also signifies a time when we like to extend wishes for peace, love, generosity and happiness.
My dolls have taken over my room. Here they are posing around the tree on my left night stand.
While others have claimed my chest of drawers.
 And still others now reside on the left night stand. Yes, I had to get a second tree to keep them happy.
They are now on my dresser drawers.

As well as atop the chest of drawers in the guest room.
There's even a Christmas wedding party atop the buffet cabinet in the dining room! But, my oh my, look who arrived in time for the holidays!!!! His name is Lamar.
Hey handsome, I've been looking for you for quite some time. Welcome!!!!!
Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist
We're also on Pinterest:

Monday, December 22, 2014

All the gift (wrapping) fit to print

So, you think you've got everything under control. Perhaps you've finished your holiday shopping and the gifts are under the tree. But wait.....something's missing! Your dolls are pointing to that empty space under their tree.....that is, if you even thought to get them their own tree!!! (This one measures 18-inches (46cm) and is covered in mini ornaments and vintage costume jewelry.)

In the time since I began this blog, I've learned a lot from my dolly friends. For starters, making an outfit for dolly isn't enough. She needs the rest of the bells and whistles to complete her look. The devil is in the details! I know you've got plenty to do right now, but take a few moments to finish your holiday decorating with the help of a few simple and easy....."printables."

There are numerous websites where you can find just about anything you need to make all sorts of shopping bags and boxes. Here, I've listed my favorites.

You don't need to find and wrap boxes when you can download free Christmas bags and three shapes and sizes of boxes from Jennifer's Free Dollhouse Printables which you will find by clicking here.
All you need to do is to download, print, cut, fold and glue the tabs together. You can use a mini rose to top them off, or curling ribbon for a fast and festive look.

But if you have a specific idea as to what you want on your bags and boxes or perhaps you want to create your own packing, head over to Small Stuff's PrintMini which you will find by clicking here. There is a wealth of templates for boxes of varying sizes and functions. A bit of around with the scale and print a rough draft before you make your final print. You can find logos online to import into your bag or box. For best results, print on Bristol. I used my fat tapestry needled threaded with 1/8-inch (2mm) ribbon that I punched through top of the bag and knotted on either side. And....don't forget to stuff with tissue paper! But if you don't have the time to do this, or you're simply all thumbs when it comes to Photoshop, you can find (free) designer shopping bags at Tiny Frock Shop which you will find by clicking here.

But there are other ways to get the look. Think about using match boxes, tiny wooden or clay cubes or small ring/earring boxes. Wrap with a bit of paper and tie a bow around it.
You can even use cello-wrapped candy then add a bit of curled ribbon. If the ribbon is too wide, cut it in two, lengthwise. There are even mini Christmas tree ornaments in the shape of wrapped packages you can add to the pile.
And just in case, any of your crowd are planning to take a trip somewhere during the holidays, be sure they have their passports, currency, and airline tickets in hand. Small stuff's PrintMini has dollsized Euros, (US) passports, and US and Canadian Dollar bills in 1/6 scale. She might need something to read, so a magazine or two is sure to be useful. And don't able to get off the ground, she needs an airline ticket and perhaps a travel guide, which you will find at by clicking here. I've put all of these lines on my Fabulous Faves page so you can refer to them later on.
Ahhhhh....NOW you're ready for the holidays!!!!!
Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist
We're also on Pinterest:
You'll also find us every Tuesday night (9-10pm Eastern Time) on Tonnerdoll's #dollchat

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fancy Feet

Okay, this is what you've been waiting for!!!! This is a post that started in Paris and took me to a place far beyond my comfort zone. I am not a cobbler and frankly, I had to look at a lot of men's feet to get some ideas for this project. My recent purchases of FR Homme dolls necessitated this project. Like many of you, I rarely buy dolls brand new because of the cost factor. After acquiring Xavier, a nude, second-hand FR Homme doll, I was thrilled!  You can count on me to make clothes for him but then I had a real problem! He had no shoes!!!

The FR Homme dolls have bigger feet than those of Ken which meant there would be no sharing amongst the "men" in the house. I returned to Ebay to shop for shoes. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the prices of those FR Homme shoes. OMG!!! Sticker shock!!! I was quite anxious to put gorgeous Xavier to work, but did not feel like ordering then waiting for shoes from China (less expensive--but still). And, this being winter, I couldn't get away with sandals. After MUCH experimentation, (and a few tears) I've come up with a basic shoe which is fairly simple to make and can be modified to create a number of styles. And yes, you can also use this tutorial to make Ken shoes, as well.

Sock It To Me!
After crudely making the first pair of shoes for the quilted jacket project, I realized there was something missing. My guy needed socks. The FR Homme dolls all wear socks with their shoes! I cut off a small piece of my panty hose measuring 2-3/4 inches long (70mm) (or shorter for ankle length socks) by about 2 inches wide. Drape over the foot and leg, then stretch as you pin around the form.

Near the toe, there will be a wedge which you will trim away. Mark your pins before removing them and create your pattern.

Sew the seam, then turn inside out.

No Biz Like Shoe Biz!
Let's start with the easy part: sandals. All shoes begin with tracing the foot to create the sole. Depending on the type of shoe you want, you should extend the toe. For sandals, I add another 1/8-inch but for an enclosed shoe, I've added a full 1/4 inch because it has to accommodate the doll wearing socks.
The simple sandal is very easy. Take your sole shape, trace onto a piece of non-woven material then cut.
For my orange and black sandals, I took a rectangular scrap of leather, glued each side to the underside of the "upper sole." Then, I mounted this to the (lower) sole cut from a thicker leather scrap and added a heel cut from the same leather.
Variation: I added a heel to the back of the sandal. This is a dome shaped piece of leather. Again attach to the bottom of the upper sole then add the lower sole and heel.
The FR Homme has separated toes which made me anxious to make flip-flops for him. Here, I've used ultra-suede for the upper sole and cut then strips to go over the top of the foot.
 Again, for the sandal, I extend the length of the sole by 1/8 inch. I cut the upper sole out of my material. I created the lower sole and its heel out of a scrap of thick leather. You can also use rubber or create the sole out of oven-bake or air dried clay. Set aside. Place the doll's foot on top of the upper sole and place a pin in the space between the toes. Mark.

 I cut thin (1/16 inch) strips out of my ultra-suede. Using a very large needle (for sewing carpets) I thread one end of this strip through the eye of the needle. Pull to the other side. Remove needle. Thread the other side through the needle an push through the same hole. Pull to the under side to create a loop.
Now thread a longer strip through the loop. Again, thread the end of the strip through the needle then poke through the upper sole on the side of the foot, about 7/8-inch (23mm) down from the toe look. push through the bottom of the sole. Repeat on the other side.
Adjust the flip flops to the foot. Clip the excess and glue in place. Glue on the lower sole with its heel.
Now for a "real" shoe! The one I made for the quilted jacket project was cut from the same fabric. Personally, I was amazed at its outcome. The pattern is quite simple, consisting of the sole and heel, the top (vamp), the upper sole and the side/back panel.

1- Cut shape (out of cardboard) for the upper sole. The toe has been extended by 1/4 inch (7mm). I've also cut a lower sole out of thicker leather or rubber. The lower third part of the sole is traced off to create the heel.
2-The "vamp" or the top of the shoe is a dome shape measuring about 1-3/4 inch (35mm) long by 1/3/8 inch (37mm) wide.
3-The Side/Back piece I've cut in one piece. It measures 5/8 inch (18mm) long by 2-5/8 inch (68mm) wide. Round off the upper edges.

Putting it together is simple. HOWEVER...clip notches into the seam allowance that folds under the upper sole. AND...don't use craft glue. Instead, use a contact glue (rubber cement or neoprene). This is a glue whereby you glue each of the two edges. Allow to dry somewhat, then put the two edges together. Believe me, using the wrong type of glue or omitting the notches will make this project FAIL!
For the shoe that laces together, begin by attaching the top to the sole first. Next, attach the side/back. In this instance, you will NOT glue the side to the front. The sides are left open. I used carpet thread for shoe laces. Thread the big needle with the carpet thread and pull through each side "flap." Tie the thread into a bow. Cut away the excess.
For a "pull-on" or loafer type shoe, the procedure is the same only the side and back are attached and the doll slips into the shoe. You can add tassels, stickers or other detailing to make this shoe more special.
Making it is identical to the first shoe. Note how I've cut my notches into the vamp. Note how I've applied the glue to both sets of edges.
Use a little sandpaper to smooth out the edges of the soles. Also, sometimes the glue can make things messy. So I use a bit of acrylic pant to "clean" things up.

One Last Thing....
After using fabric, I immediately turned to leather without a lot of success. This is because I was using the wrong type of glue and the fact I was not cutting in enough notches. I then moved to vinyl which I found was easier to manipulate. I was quite happy with the result, but decided to attempt leather once more, this time with much success. This is to say, it doesn't matter what you use.
Once you get the knack of making prince charming's foot gear, you might want to create a "last." Traditionally, made in wood, I've made mine out of oven-back clay. This mimics the silhouette of the shoe and you build your creation over it.

The foot is essentially a triangular shape. I took a smooth ball of clay, shaped it into a triangle then tried to match it up with the doll's foot to get the same volume. I also use the sole to ensure it will be long enough for the shoe. When your last looks about right, pop it into the oven to harden. You can always sand it down if it's too big somewhere. I then build my shoe around it. The last was so easy to work with (without having to turn poor Xavier upside down and on his side), I've decided to make a second one for the other foot and use the pair instead of relying on the doll's feet. You can also make several lasts, each one with a different shoe or toe style. For example, instead of this rounded shaped shoe, you can create another with a squared toe, then drape your pattern around it.
Once again, here are the steps for this very basic shoe:
1) Make your sole by tracing off the foot, then adding allowance beyond the toe to accommodate the foot with the sock.
2) Cut out your pattern pieces and be sure to clip lots of notches around the edges that will fold under the sole. Apply a contact glue to those edges as well as those of the underside of the upper sole. Wait 10 minutes.
3) Starting with the back/side piece, fold the edges to the underside of the upper sole. Press.
4) For the loafer/slip-on shoe, put a spot of glue on the topside edges of the back/side piece (red marks). Attach the top to the upper sole. Place a spot of glue on the underside edges of the top piece. Press the front to the side. For the shoe with laces, omit this step.
5) Apply a layer of glue to the underside of the upper sole.
6) Also apply glue to the top of the under sole. Wait 10 minutes. Attached to the top.
7) Apply glue to the heel area of the underside of the lower sole as well as to the heel. Wait a few minutes. Press together.
8) Use a bit of acrylic paint to "clean up" any mess left by the glue.

Here are all the patterns I used, together. (My graph paper is using a 1/4" grid.)

All images and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2014. Please do not reproduce without permission. Thank you.

Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist
We're also on Pinterest:
And, you'll catch me on Tonnerdoll's #Dollchat each Tuesday 9pm (EST).