Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sewing for the J-Doll

While looking around for possible sewing patterns for the J-Doll, I found this one for Blythe. Since everybody was home today because of the cold weather, I decided it was a great time to putz around with it. It's modified from a Skipper pattern, and at least some Skipper clothes work with J-Dolls. I learned a lot from this dress, but it's not really wearable, so I didn't make an effort to take fantastic pictures. But this is how it turned out:


The biggest issue is that it doesn't close completely in the back. J-Dolls seem to have bigger hips than Blythe, and I also had problems dealing with the seam allowances. They were slightly smaller than 1/4", which is about as narrow a seam allowance as my machine works best with. Still, J-Dolls bigger hips were probably the main issue. Which means she probably wouldn't rock the A-line dress like Blythe does, anyway. Oh well. Overall, it was a great learning experience, and an enjoyable way to spend a cold winter afternoon. Next time I hope to make something she can really wear.

Oh, and this is the new J-Doll I got for Christmas! Her review will probably be the next thing coming up here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tonner 16" Vintage Basic Doll

At last, the Vintage Basic doll from Tonner's Re-Imagination line has arrived, and I have added one to my collection! After playing with J-Dolls for so long, poor Daphne felt big and also not very flexible. Yes, she really doesn't have the range of motion that a lot of doll collectors seem to be currently looking for, but she's going to be great in my own collection. My J-Dolls and my Tonners fill two completely different niches in my doll world. But it certainly was different to hold this new Tonner doll after so much time with a smaller, lighter doll. Time was when the Tonner 16" dolls were the centerpiece of my collection. Maybe I'm getting back to them.

So let's get to the pictures! There's only one photo with any kind of doll nudity. There are so many Tonner dolls with this body type out there, that I was more interested in giving you the details of this doll's face and clothing. If you have any questions, please ask!

So when you open up the box and pull the tissue back, this is what you see. She is being held in with the cardboard inserts and the foam pieces.


Pull those out, and the doll is free! She had a net over her head, which is hard to see in these pictures, and plastic around her hands.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Calico Critter's Britney's Ballet Recital

Although neither of my daughters collects dolls as I do, my youngest still does appreciate little sets that go with some of the toys she has received over the years. One of her most cherished toy sets is her Calico Critters collection. She has a house, a family, some furniture and a Christmas set. When I wandered into a small store that carries Calico Critters and saw this set, I knew I had to get it for my daughter. Her Calico Critters family is the Cottontail Rabbit family (because she loves bunnies) and as I mentioned previously she loves her ballet classes. Which is why her name on my blog is the Dancer. This was one of her Christmas presents.

Anyway, back to this set. It is called Britney's Ballet Recital.


Although the box tells you to create your very own story, the story that I found online with this set says that Britney has been practicing hard for a year for the big recital. (Presumably she used the mirror and the barre in her practice.) Now that the day is coming up, she can't decide what dress to wear!


The dresses are identical, except for color, but of course color is very important! The Dancer has kept her bunny in the original dress, and Britney is currently posing on the Dancer's desk, since her other Calico Critters items are packed away.

The main problem I have with this set is that the barre is just not the right proportion to our bunny ballerina. Surprisingly, it's far too tall, instead of being too short. There's also the fact that Britney's paws won't really hold the barre, but that's not a big issue for me. If the barre was the right height, she could just rest her paw on the top anyway.

Imagine how funny a rabbits big hind paws would look in pointe shoes!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Thoughts on American Girl Isabelle

Honestly, I think the ballet idea for Girl of the Year is great. My youngest daughter studies several kinds of dance, but a lot of what she does is helped by a good foundation in ballet. She's been studying ballet the longest, and she's been doing pointe for almost a year now as well. She also does conditioning work once a week and has even started using Pilates bands like Isabelle does, although my daughter uses them with her legs, not her arms. If my daughter was younger, she would probably want all or most of this set. Sadly for me, my daughter still cherishes her dolls, but has outgrown wanting to own any more, or collect more pieces.

The one thing that I dislike the most about Isabelle's collection is the name of her dance academy on her exercise mat, her barre, and even her sewing cupboard. Is that strange? To me, that ties all these pieces to Isabelle's story, instead of being something that a girl (or adult) can relate to a story of her own making.

I'm not sure why people can't picture Isabelle the doll using her ballet barre. She is pictured in a pose with one leg up on the front page of the AG website, as one of the rotating pictures. She could also do tendu, and kicks, and rond de jambe, and possibly even grand port de bras a la ronde. To me, the bigger problem is that she can't point her toes, more than that she has no elbow or knee joints. There are times when my daughter's arms and legs are very stiff, but those toes had better be pointed!