Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Dress for J-Doll Sewing Project

I just tackled a new sewing project, a dress for my J-Dolls. The pattern I used is made for Pullips, but of course, they have the same body as J-Dolls. The pattern I used is available here. I was never into the 90s grunge scene, but the pieces look cute, and the clothes simple to make. Well, about as simple as sewing for this size doll is! I did end up hand-sewing quite a lot of this. Finishing the edges to prevent fraying was problematic. I ended up finishing some of the smaller edges in an overcast stitch, done by hand, and the longer edges were gone over with a zigzag stitch before they were turned up and hemmed. Also, I discovered that these tiny pieces were easier to manipulate once I sprayed them with starch, and didn't start to unravel just from being handled. They also didn't get sucked into the sewing machine as easily. I've used starch before during the brief period when I tried heirloom sewing, and I'm glad it occurred to me to try it here.

I only have two pictures, and not too great ones at that. But I wanted to get this post up, and I'm trying to juggle my time between sewing, blogging, photographing, keeping up on other people's blogs, plus all the day-to-day tasks I have to do. I'm sure I will take better pictures at another time. Also, my model Holly's hair is a mess.



Despite not being entirely satisfied with how the inside looks, it appears just fine on the outside. I lengthened the skirt by half an inch. Next time I might juggle with the pattern a little bit more. Still, I'm actually happy enough with how this turned out that I'm sharing it on my blog, so that's an accomplishment!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Cinderella Dolls and New Cinderellas at Target

Not only has the new live-action Cinderella movie produced new dolls in the likenesses (more or less) of the actors, Cinderella and Prince Charming dolls were also featured on an endcap at Target recently. I'll show you those pictures, but first I thought this would be a good time to put up pictures of my own Cinderella and Prince Charming dolls.


This may be the first Disney Cinderella doll Mattel ever made. I'm going to guess this dolly is about twenty years old, give or take a few years.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Sophie Shows Off Her Dress

I don't like beer in any color, nor corned beef, but I am 1/4 Irish, although I know very little about that branch of the family. There are lots of Irish folk in greater Cleveland, with at least three Irish dance schools, and a parade every year. Sophie looks ready to march in the parade, wearing the new dress I made for her.


Here the sunlight was bouncing off of the metal circle around my camera lens.

Hold that pose!


Friday, March 13, 2015

Where I Keep My Doll Accessories

D7ana encouraged me to share my pictures of where I keep my little doll treasures, after she showed us where she keeps some of her doll bits and bobs. I ended up really enjoying taking these pictures, as I realized how blessed I am with the extras I have for my doll residents. I'll start with the biggest piece of storage furniture, a dresser. When we bought a second-hand bedroom set for Daughter Number 2, the Dancer, we had an "extra" dresser, that now stores my clothes. My personal dresser with the mirror became a place to display and store dolls; sometime I will show the top of the dresser.

Top drawer:
Extra clothes for my 16" doll world, plus accessories
A box with compartments containing important stuff like shoes, purses and jewelry
Middle drawer:
Extra Barbie clothes, extra Cissy clothes, and a few things for my 18" Miss America dolls
 Bottom drawer:
I have more space in this drawer than I remembered. Barbie hats, Stacie size doll stands, We Three Friends
I also have some similar Sterilite boxes stored under the overhang of our platform bed. But that's not very picture-worthy.

One of my oldest places to store things is a small, basic plastic three-drawer unit. It is useful for storage; what is an issue is finding the flat space to keep it.


Barbie size shoes
Baby items and toys for babies in the Barbie universe
Kelly dolls, and Barbie's baby sister Krissy. I didn't want her in the higher drawer all alone. :-(
Last in the Barbie storage category is a large compartmentalized case. Again, this is a great place to store things, but I like to leave it flat, and it's too tall to slide under most furniture, and too big to use up that oh so elusive flat space. It also sticks out too much to put it under the platform bed. I struggle with where to keep it.

If Barbie gets hungry or needs a glass of wine, she knows where to go
For the 16" dolls, I also have a wardrobe case. It was made for the vinyl Josephine doll series produced by the Franklin Mint. I got it straight from the Franklin Mint, and I'm glad I did, as FM wardrobe cases run a lot on the secondary market. It's holding one Josephine doll that's not on display, plus a dress, a couple of hats, and some FM accessories.


Since I like having my dolls displayed in dioramas with furniture and props, I've tried to stock up on doll sized armoires for their display bedrooms, and I want them to actually store clothes and things like hats and shoes. I have almost all the armoires/wardrobes that I need; now I need to invest in hangers. Here's one example: a plastic wardrobe from the 8" Madeline doll line, produced by Eden and based on the children's books by Ludwig Bemelmans. Extra Madeline outfits came with hangers, but I don't have any extra clothes at the moment for these girls! However, I do have their hats and some gloves, socks, and shoes.


For my American Girl Samantha, I have a human-sized (on the small side) cedar chest for her clothes, dishes, extra shoes and stockings, etc. The chest itself is not very elaborately built, and probably cost less originally than Josephine's wardrobe case. But it does give Samantha's things a lovely cedar scent.


If you have the dolly money and a little bit of time, sometimes it's good just to scroll through interesting doll categories on eBay and see what you come up with. It's how I found that dresser for my Mary Englebreit dolls (which does store things like Ann's glasses), and also how I found this last piece, which stores jewelry for my 21" Cissy dolls, and other little items (Coca-Cola Cissy comes with a Coke bottle, for example.) This furniture item stands about 21" tall and has a real glass mirror, and two drawers lined with velvet. It was bought from a seller right here in the greater Cleveland area and the seller allowed Mr. BTEG to pick it up. Not only did it save me a lot on shipping, but it was a relief to the seller not to have to worry about packing it up safely enough for the mail. I vaguely remember it being made for some sort of doll club gathering, and it was made by someone who lived at the time only about 10 miles from my current home, going by the writing on the bottom of the chest. But there's so little information that I haven't been able to track down any other furniture this person might have made. Too bad, as this is beautifully made, like a human sized piece of furniture quality.

The main thing you can see in the mirror is my bookcase, with my dolly Christmas tree on top

My family will tell you that I adore buying all sorts of things to use for storage, from rolling carts to little plastic boxes like what you see above. Someday I'd love to go on a shopping spree in a Container Store. I'm always looking to store the maximum amount in a minimum space. Unless I bought another rolling cart (that I don't have floor space for) and filled it with trays for things like my Barbie shoes, Kelly dolls, etc., I think my storage system is about as good as could be, except I ought to get some of my doll clothes out of the plastic storage. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little tour. Do you have any clever storage tricks?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Tonner 10" Ann Estelle and Sophie

I was inspired by Lisa at Once Upon a Doll Collection to show you my two 10" dolls that are part of Tonner's Mary Englebreit collection. I have an Ann Estelle very similar to hers, except mine has straight legs. I also have a Sophie. Both dolls have strung arms and legs, which don't bend. Tonner eventually gave the ME dolls bending legs, and now his 10" Patsy dolls have bending arms as well. For a short period of time there was an opportunity to obtain a no-headed very articulated body from a 10" doll enthusiast. I believe Tonner also offered headless bodies briefly, with bending arms and legs. I was interested, until I read that the older Ann Estelle dolls, that I have, required some extra work on the neck knob first. I didn't trust myself to accomplish that correctly, as a complete newbie to Frankendollying, so my girls still have their original bodies.

This post will mostly feature Ann Estelle. You will see more of Sophie when I present the St. Patrick's Day dress that I made for her. Ann comes with a high-quality pair of glasses, as per the Mary Englebreit drawings, but I doubt my Ann will wear them much. I have to wear glasses and dislike doing so, so my dollies won't have to either.


I love Ann's eyes
Ann came in her original box and with her glasses, but otherwise nude. I got a great deal on her from The Doll Page's Show and Sell Site (RIP.) She is temporarily borrowing Sophie's romper that she arrived in, as a Sophie Basic.


I have two knitted cardigans that I bought off eBay. This is one is turquoise, the other is pink. I hope to be able to do this kind of knitting myself, with practice. The lighting in the second picture is terrible, but you can see the neat, even and tiny stitches.



Speaking of eBay, at one point many years ago, there was a seller who painted small wooden dressers in a Mary Englebreit style, and I snagged one. As you can see, the black and white stripes match those on Ann's romper. All the drawers open, and are untreated inside.


Here Ann is with her friend Sophie, whom I bought many years ago. I'd love to get more friends for her and Ann, but despite Tonner offering many dolls since the ME ones who share a body type, the ME dolls still command high secondary prices, so it will require some saving to add more to my collection. Of course, I waited a very long time until I found the deal on Ann, so I can be patient.