raccoons_rags: (Rachel)
( Sep. 1st, 2012 08:54 pm)

Due to the pressure of the Atos medical assessment, I've been a tad poorly and neglectful of my blog, but it went as okay as I'd dared hope, so the worst is over.  Unless I get put back in the WRA group. ARGH.Then I'll have a fight on my hands.... but enough of that.  Doll stuff.  Much more therapeutic.

I've recently had my first fat quarter bundle from Sponflower, and I'm delighted. This will make four lovely dresses for whatever lucky dolly I'm in the mood to sew for.  I'm hoping my Luts Kid Delf Apple will arrive soon, it's been almost seven weeks. She's going to get spoiled rotten.

This fabric is available HERE.  (Shameless sales pitch)

The four-quarter yard of voile:

Pixel by Pixel:

Forest Floor:

Collage Ditzy:

Paisley Script:

I clearly have lots of sewing to do.


Just some shots of a recently completed Ellowyne outfit.  The corset is in marble-dyed fabric, and the skirt in a bleached-out fabric - all done by myself.  It's soft and pretty in sorbet colours, and I also made the little flower trims.  I do love this corset pattern, it was so worth all the effort of designing my own pattern.

I'm loving the gathered frayed strip of fabric around the base of the corset.  It's a bit awkward to sew neatly, but it looks great.   I've allso developed the new way of buttoning up the armlets, with a crocheted strip of buttonholes, rather than sewing each buttonhole individually.  It's not only a little quicker, but looks pretty and adds a bit more interest.  The armlets are also hand-embroidered with feather stitch in my own hand-dyed variegated floss.

The back:  Five snaps covered over with hotfix nailheads in a brushed metal finish.  I did attempt an experimental closure on the back, similar to that on the armlets, but wasn't happy and had to unpick the whole thing TWICE, before resorting to my tried and tested snaps.   I can do the eyelets like most people who make corsets seem to do, but for ease of dressing and undressing the doll, you can't beat snaps, and I think the nailheads look really nice.

The skirt has a shaped, dropped waistband.

And hand-crocheted flowers in a commercially dyed variegated yarn - which just happens to fit the colour scheme perfectly.  I also have tried to keep this outfit "shabby" with the frayed trim on the corset, and the strands of thread hanging from each flower.  Most of my sewing is very pristine and neatly hemmed. I'm really enjoying fraying things and deliberately making them look a little weathered.

All done :)   Another one ready to list on Etsy when I can face the potential trip to the Post office.


raccoons_rags: (Non-doll related)
( Aug. 24th, 2012 08:12 pm)

Well, I've had a dreadful week, where I had to leave the house 3 times, which for an anxiety ridden agoraphobic is exhausting.  Then today (Friday) I had my medical assessment for my benefits.  I was terrified and so ill with all the worry and waiting for this to come that I literally fell apart.  So one of my housemates, who's also my official carere had to speak up for me and help me out.

Thankfully, the Atos Doctor was incredibly courteous and considerate.  I've heard nightmare stories about these doctors from the DWP, but this one not only listened, but was actually able to offer help and advice.  So now the week is over, I can collapsible into a heap and go wibble for a few days.

Honestly, I got so stressed I'm now physically ill. I'll probably sleep for a week.

But on a nicer note, I looked at an old journal entry showing pictures of my little cosy room, in which I sleep and sew, and decided that I may tidy up a bit and take another set of photos.  Just for posterity.

I've sewed too, but I'll post those pics in another entry.


raccoons_rags: (machine sewing)
( Aug. 12th, 2012 05:09 pm)

FINALLY I've used my sewing machine.   Long story, but basically I'm terrified of them, and opt for hand sewing due to greater control and in some cases better quality.

But for this latest skirt, I used the machine for the long straight side seams, and for the top stitching around the lower edge of the top tiers, and for the hems.  The gathered parts and the waistband I did by hand, because hand gathering is more easy to control.

I've been looking at better machines with things like gathering feet, and 7-piece feed dogs.  I've found a computerised machine I like with a few extra stitches and lots of things I've always wanted in a sewing machine.  But to justify spending £300+ I decided I really needed to get to grips with my mini, which is brand new.

I quite enjoyed it, but it would be nice to have variable speed, adjustable stitch width and the greater control that the 7=-piece dogs would giv me.

Also, the skirt turned out great in the non-crinkled fabric!  So yay.  I had a good day today for the first time in a week.


I'm kind of trying to build up several doll outfits over the next few months, with vague notions of selling them for the Christmas season.  But I might just list them before then, it depends on how I'm feeling because trips to the Post Office are REALLY stressful for an agoraphobic!   I'm loathe to mention the C word in August - but I actually saw a Christmas TV ad last week! Holy cow, can't we just sit and enjoy the Olympics without that kind of input?

But I digress.  Here's the finished purple outfit.  I'm delighted with the way I managed to shape the skirt, it looks fab in crinkle fabric, and I'm going to try one is soft un-crinkled cotton lawn next.  Just to see if it looks right.  

With this one, I'm very happy with my new method of making buttonhole loops for the armlets.  It saves my poor fingers and looks lovely, but it's a trade secret! 

Due to my lack of funds, 'm trying to find creative ways to trim things, so for this I crocheted little flowers and sewed beads into the centres.

For fastenings, I've started to finish  my sewn-in snaps with nailheads, just to hide the stitches and give it a more polished finish. these are silvertone satin finish, and I love them.

I put a wig on my poor little scalped Ell (Although I'm fond of her with her stubble, it looks kinda punk) so she looks pretty in the new frock.

And here's the overall look:

Lastly,  detail of the armlet fastenings. I do love detached sleeves with an outfit, it gives scope for more than one look.

I'm starting another one now, and I'm trying to use my sewing machine for the first time.  the fabric takes so long to cut and edge with fray check, that it's a scary prospect!


I have major stress lately with the benefits office, and an impending medical assessment, which is terrifying me so badly, I'm having PTSD style nightmares and disturbed sleep.  But I'm still sewing when I'm calm enough, it still helps me relax a bit.   I have two new outfits, the blue one in the last post, and a purple version.   I'm running out of steam with my blog a bit, and even Flickr. 

But once everything is sorted out, hopefully for the better, I should be able to enjoy my my busy virtual life a bit more.

Here's a pretty picture for today.   The almost-complete purple corset.


I've been pretty unwell lately, with the massive stress of the dreaded Atos medical assessment looming, but I've have managed to sew to calm my nerves a bit.  It's so therapeutic, (unless I have the shakes) I don't know what I'd do without it.

Any old hoo, I finished the corset and skirt set with some detached frilled sleeves, and some shabby roses handmade from the same fabric as the corset. 

Corset with sleeves and shabby rose decor:

The rose details on the double-layered skirt:

and the whole outfit complete. The back looks good too, because I covered over the snaps with silver plated nailheads, then forgot to photograph them. I'll do it some other time.

And now I've started on a purple version.  this one will be pretty much the same, but I added a little lace to the skirt layers and will probably use crochet flowers to embellish. Those little fabric roses are lovely, but a real pain to make.

Here's the skirt all done, again perfected first, so the corset itself will fit nicely over the top. 

Not only will I use my Spoonflower fabric for the corset, but the skirt fabric is one from my own hand dyed stash batch.  I love the colour.


(( From part 1 ))

Once I was happy with the porototype garment, and had made a few tweaks on my paper pattern, I cut out the fabric and the lining.  the outer fabric is my own Spoonflower design, Shabby Paisley in blue.  The lining in an off-white cotton lawn.

I had to take a photo of my hand-done topstitching to illustrate that hand sewing is not a poor relative to machine sewing. Quite the opposite. If you stop to think that so many beautiful gowns in the past, before sewing machines were invented, were all sewn by hand - and they were so heavy, the quality of sewing had to be good and strong!

This is how good hand stitching can be.  With practice, it is as neat and strong as machine stitching:

By the way, the faint purple lines you can see on the top stitching in all these pictures, is vanishing ink. I use it to make sure my seams are perfect, and I could wet the garment to make it disappear, or if not, it will vanish completely in a few days to a week.

Here's the sewn corset from the back, I need to add snaps. The next one I make may well have eyelets, but I'm not sure. I find it hard to get eyelets neat. They seem to pull the fabric tight, so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.

Perfect fit over the custom-made skirt. Yay.

I reshaped the front, after I'd done the prototype, and am very happy with that delicate shape, and the way it fits over the bust.

So now I feel I should decorate it.  I did a search in Flickr for doll corsets, and some amazing, exquisite items came up, all decorated with lace, embroidery, lacings, and trim.  But I'm so happy with the simplicity of this, the perfect cut, and the style, that it seems a bit of a shame to decorate it.  I fall down a bit on decoration,  I don't have much cash for lots of fancy trimmings, so I tend to concentrate my efforts on a perfect fit and excellent sewing. It seems a lot of people expect to pay less for simple garments though, so I never get what my garments are really worth when I sell them.


Well, the sketch book project is coming along, but there aren't many dolls in it, just my painty scrawlings, and I have to admit I'm not enjoying it. Although I did need a break from sewing, and have now found something that piques my interest.  I've been very quiet on here and on my Flickr,  but still have things for sale if you want to check out my Ebay and Etsy links in the bar to the right.

I've wanted to make a corset for ages.  I have a basic one I adapted from a bought pattern, but I don't like it because it doesn't have that lovely "V" shaped front panel that I like so much.  I once made a Pippa corset by wrapping paper around the doll, cutting it up and using that as my pattern, so I did something similar with my Ellowyne Wilde.

I do know Martha Boers has used this technique to awesome effect, so I tied it again myself.  Doing it on a large doll is a bit more scary though!

First I wrapped Ell up in common old loo-roll, then applied small bits of masking tape over the tissue to form the right shape, basically sculpting the corset on the doll.  I made it loose, and I like a corset over a long skirt, so the last few days have been spent making the skirt with a slightly dropped waist and getting that right.  I'll post some pictures of that soon-ish.

That done, I marked out where I wanted the seams in vanishing ink first, because it's easy to remove ones mistakes, then I used sharpie. (DON'T get sharpie on your doll like I did.  Ugh.  It's there forever now, thank the lord it wasn't one of my Iple dolls.  I would have cried)

It's all a bit ugly and messy, but the basic seams were drawn on. I only really needed to do one half of the corset here, seeing as the pattern pieces bar the centre will be flipped over for the opposite panel.

Then I cut down the centre of the back very carefully, using fine scissors.  You need to remember to add extra seam allowance to the centre back, some for the actual seams, some for the overlap, unless you want to make a lace-up closure, which I do, just not yet.

The sculpted corset.

Then I cut the pattern apart using the marked seams as cutting lines, and draw around each piece to make the pattern.   I got too into this to remember to take pictures.  But here's my prototype garment:

It's a perfect fit at the back and front,  and almost perfect at the sides.  I've tweaked it a bit, nipped in the offending sides, and altered the décolletage a little.   Now I'll cut the pieces from good fabric, and the same with some lining, and make another.  I hope it goes okay!


(( Part 2 ))


I don't have an artwork icon, so here's Giz, snoozing.

Well, I think I need a bijou break-ette from sewing, so I'm applying myself to The Sketch Book Project 2013.

I managed to complete the 2012 project (here's my page for that) which is awesome because I'm terrible at finishing art projects, let alone whole sketch books. I have dozens of them with like one or two pages filled.

Anyway, I've also started a Flickr group for this, seeing as there doesn't seem to be an existing group for it.

Being so into my sewing, I've hardly touched this sketch book, so I think I need to get something done. I have until the end of January to post it, I think, but that's no excuse for procrastination, January will be on top of me before I can say bah humbug. Trufax.

This is a doll blog, not an art blog, but I'd like to post my progress here, because it helps me to stick with things. So I might try to make it somewhat doll-themed. I've done a halfhearted sketch in Gimp for it, and I daubed some neon paint over the cover and a couple of the pages today. Colour often gets me going, it's a massive boon if one suffers from THE FEAR of that blank white page.

I went for neon pink and orange, with a hint of white:

I just love neon acrylics :3 I added some neon yellow to a couple of the inner pages, and photographed the book so you can see the Gimp sketch I printed out and stuck in.

I don't think I have the perseverance to fill it with doll drawings, but I'll try to keep it fairly dollish.


raccoons_rags: (Rachel)
( Jul. 19th, 2012 11:20 pm)

I just ordered a new BJD. :D   It's a Luts Kid Delf,  the sculpt is Apple, who's a boy, but I've got the girl body, and ordered a custom faceup for her.  She's also in the new Special Real Brown skin. Scrummy.

She's a complete custom, so I've no actual picture to show,  but here's the sculpt with the default face up.  this photo is the property of the Luts website, and I'm making no profit in using it.

ADORABLE. I hope the custom face up is good.

So yes, I now have to bounce off the walls for a month until I can afford the next two dolls I want.  This one will take about 2 months to be made and delivered too.  I'll post about the next two as and when.  I’m saving my pennies HARD.


....Now has more fabric for sale:)

My swatches arrived today, all in one go, so they're all proofed and approved, and now available.

The shabby chic paisley print came out well, I like the washed-out faded look, and the mottled background.

Purple paisley on Kona cotton:

And red paisley on cotton silk:

And an odd one that I designed in my early Spoonflower days "Glass Door".  A friend on Flickr quite liked it, so I took advantage of the cheap June swatches to proof it.  Everyone who sees it likes it, it's not one of my favourites, but it takes all sorts.

Then there's the Steampunk collection, which I love.  I want to make full-skirted doll dresses from it, in cotton voile, and sweaters for boy dolls.

And as an update on my last blog entry. The purple skirt I started turned out wrong, poorly fitting, and just crap.  So I binned it in a fit of pique.

We shall never speak of it again.


raccoons_rags: (Default)
( Jul. 13th, 2012 11:07 pm)

I was having quite a slow day today, the household being slightly stressful and all, so I've started on a fairly simple skirt for Rachel, to match one of the leotards.  I picked a reddish purple jersey knit, which I think is either 100% cotton, or cotton and viscose.  It tones quite nicely with some of the purples in the print on the leotard.

It has a nice heavy feel to it, so drapes nicely.  I'll make up a prototype skirt, and if it works, I might decorate it.

apart from this, all I did today was sit and stress, until I started looking at Luts Kid Delfs.  These are so cute, and more of a normal body size than the Iple dolls.   I love Iples, I really do, but I'm wondering if I should get a thinner bodied MSD so I can make outfits that will fit more dolls, and hence open up my sales possibilities a bit.

At present, the KDF's are winning.   I mean these aren't the only dolls I can ever buy, like EVER, right?  I can carry on saving up and maybe buy more around Christmas, or next year.   My credit card will be maxed out though, once I've bought the second two dolls I've planned to get.  However, Luts KDF are much less expensive than many other brands, and now they have light brown skin too.

I'll save a bit more and think about it. It's not like I can rush into a purchase until I have the funds.


raccoons_rags: (Rachel)
( Jul. 12th, 2012 11:05 pm)

So yes, I've done my third Spoonflower leotard. The design is "Cool Garden", again by art_is_us, who has plenty of lovely designs I'd love to buy, and in fact have.  I ordered the same design in a smaller scale to make a nice floaty skirt to go with the leotard.

......  Now it's just a case of waiting for WEEKS while SF print it up and ship it from the USA.  I wish they had a European outlet.

Here it is. I'm delighted with the way the pattern falls, particularly those little daisies in the design.  Yes. This time it was careful pattern cutting that got the flowers where I wanted them, rather than fluke.

Is it me or does it look particularly nice with the blonde wig?

Anyway, here are the sisters in their matching wigs.  Maisie thinks the leotard is very pretty and where's hers please?


Puir wee thing has been sat sitting on my shelf for a while, clinging to her panda and looking neglected.  But today a new wig arrived for her.  I liked the blonde one, but I really think brown looks so much better on her.  It looks warmer somehow and matches the colour of her brows better.

She's a very melancholy little one, is Maisie. It's a good job she has happy humbug to cheer her up.

As an afterthought, and because the standard MSD size wigs of 7-8 all seem too big for my JID's, I tried the old blonde wig on Rachel.   Whoa!  Not only did it fit perfectly (it's only a 6-7) but Rachel is a bit of a blonde bombshell in this. She looks very sultry and seductive as a platinum blonde.  I really like the look.

In fact I liked it so much I took lots of pictures, but won't post them ALL here. Just a couple.  I cropped out the ponytail in the picture, which looks even nicer:

I think I'ma gonna go get her some more light blonde wigs :)  Or possibly even make some.