Monday, 27 April 2015

20 minute sock wardrobe for a Lammily doll

As promised, here is the printable sheet to make up your doll's passport. 

Here are the component parts of mine sitting on my keyboard.

I glued the pages blank sides together to form a concertina of pages.

Then glued them inside the cover. I contemplated laminating the cover in a business card laminating envelope but decided against it.

And here is Matty holding her passport and eager to go travelling.
So now she needs some extra clothes and after seeing some terrific posts about making clothing from socks I decided to give it a try. I chose a few old socks of my daughter, from the odd socks bag to have my first attempts. I was quite pleased to have two paid of track pants, a skirt, a head scarf and a snug sleeveless top in less than 20 minutes.

 First up is a pair of track/sweat pants. The stripe is in the sock already. I cut off the toes and the heel of the sock which was a short women's anklet. Cut straight up the centre of the sock from toe end to where the heel began then sewed the heel gap closed and hemmed each leg then sewed the inside leg seam. It took me about 7-10 minutes for this first pair. The elastic of the sock was exactly right for the waistband.

 My biggest mess up with this first pair was cutting out the heel and not leaving a deep enough crotch so there was some extra stitching to make these sit right. I also hemmed the legs at different lengths by about half a cm but the stretch material allows for some tugging. Not bad for a first attempt.
Next I tried the sock top knickers. I simply cut away the rest of the sock from the ribbing making sure I left a long enough piece for the crotch of the knickers. Then I cut the legs at an angle, zig zag stitched around the legs then sewed the crotch seam. 2 minutes to undies/panties. 

 Next sock turned into a skirt. Cut, fold, hem and wear in under 2 minutes.

 and here she is in her new sock skirt with her shirt tucked in.
 shirt pulled out and over the waist band, view from behind.
 side view in the sock skirt.
 14 minutes and we have knickers, trackies and a skirt from three old socks.
 Then I put a stitch in the discarded toe and turned it into a head scarf in about 30 seconds and the second striped sock took much less time than the first to turn into a pair of warm sport pants.

 The main part of the white sock turned into a tube top for my Chrissy doll and a headband.

This is an old phone cover sock of my daughter's which has been gathering dust for almost a decade so I re-purposed it into a shiny tube dress/top for my Lammily doll. Simply unpicking the seam at the base and hemming it and there it is in under 2 minutes.

I also made a pair of knickers for my Chrissy doll out of a stocking sock which only needed leg holes cut and hemmed because of the shape but I haven't taken a photo yet. I am sure my end products will improve with practice but for now I am very happy with my 20 minute wardrobe.

Type "Making doll clothes from socks" into your favourite search engine and you will find many terrific tutorials and patterns online.

Happy making!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Lest We Forget

War is revolting in every way. The violence, bloodshed and horrific events of war that cloud our human history are things that many great and educated minds have discussed endlessly, great writers have written millions of words about it, artists depict it and politicians encourage it, but for me war is simply abhorrent.

That being said there is also an aspect of every great struggle that shows that as humans we have some saving graces. Courage in the face of adversity, strength of character, overcoming fear to carry on, helping others, doing what is deemed right no matter how difficult the journey, sacrifice for others and protecting something precious.  As precious as the freedom for me to sit here and write about it. As precious as the freedom for me to express my abhorrence and know that I can do so safely and comfortably without fear of some violent human intervention such as imprisonment, torture and death.

Commemorating the commitment made by military and support personnel who fought for those freedoms is the least I can do to show my gratitude for their sacrifices.

I read this morning about some students who spat on veterans and I thought about the irony in that. Those veterans fought to protect the rights of the students to protest, however ugly their choice of protest, those students were free to express their opinion because of the commitment made by those very veterans they spat on.  No one shot the students, no one imprisoned them and the students went away feeling smug satisfaction that they had made their point without looking over their shoulders to see if they were being tracked down.

A local woman complained about the quality of the trumpeter at the dawn service last year. The trumpeter was a very young boy from a local school who had been volunteered into playing. She lives in a country where she is free to complain without fear of physical violence for expressing her opinion, just as the boy who played was free to wake up from his snug warm bed and play in 4oC on unwarmed brass to show his respect and make his parents and friends proud of his achievement. It is because of the people who chose to go and protect those rights that we commemorate ANZAC. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
 Australians are not as gung ho patriotic as Americans and not as Monarchist as the Brits and in general we tend to laugh at the pomposity of authoritarian styles of politics. We tend to consider our own politicians a pack of galahs and although we hope they do a good job of the administrivia of running the country we also assume they will stuff up. Meeting a politician, even the prime minister is less of a pomp and circumstance for us than it seems to be for others around the world. They are just people. However underneath we have this sentimental patriotism that we will never really admit is there for fear of being seen as a wuss(and other euphemisms for weak) but we do get a tear in our eye for the 'digger'(trench digger of WW1) and the ANZACs, for the bravery of the blokes (and sheilas)behind the Eureka rebellion, for the Lone soldier, and Simpson's donkey, the smuggled dogs who saved soldiers with their keen hearing.  Sentimental realists I think. We know that war is bloody and ugly and an unfortunate consequence of shifting political alliances but we celebrate the positive and amazing sacrifice made by those who serve their country, this country and our close neighbours and friends in New Zealand. 

Australia is young on the global stage and our sense of who we are is still evolving and the ANZAC legend forms a strong foundation for what it means to be Australian.  
There are many good posts about the details of what it all means and what the history is, if you are interested just type ANZAC into your preferred search engine. Suffice it for me to say that today I will hold a minutes silence in respect for all those who died so I could sit here and type this blog post in comfort and safety. 

Anzac - ╦łanzak/noun
noun: Anzac; plural noun: Anzacs
  1. a soldier in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (1914–18).
    • informal
      a person from Australia or New Zealand, especially a member of the armed services.
      This was the formation in which Australian and New Zealand soldiers in Egypt were grouped before the landing on Gallipoli in April 1915. The acronym was first written as “A & NZ Army Corps”.
      Anzac Day – 25th April – is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Finding the right tools

 Julie Duffy at interviewed me about my journey as a writer ( see it here  Story a Day ) and it is always interesting to look back and think about the tools I have used to shift into my writing career. The Story a Day website is one of the many valuable resources available online to new and established writers. Julie's site contains prompts hints, tips, downloads and social connection. It also provides a forum with encouragement for regular writing practice.

 I studied professional and creative writing and editing at TAFE and university and learned how to research other people's writing and how to destruct oops deconstruct the writings of others in order to learn how to construct my own but it is the ongoing learning that has proven most valuable to me.

Every professional writer when asked what is the most valuable piece of advice they can give an up and coming writer says WRITE DAILY.  For me this has meant finding reasons to write and sites such as Story a Day provide ample opportunities to jog the creative juices.

With challenges and competitions by the thousands available at the click of a mouse there is no excuse for not writing. There are many websites offering daily, weekly and monthly challenges that can fit the lifestyles of anyone who really wants to get those stories out of their heads and onto the page.

Scrolling back through my own blog pages I find I have utilised a great number of opportunities made available through the generosity which is endemic in the writing community.

 This blog was my technological start with one post every year then every few months then every day at one time and now approximately weekly. I found the pace that works for me. Social media sites afforded me a world wide network of creatives and they are always sharing opportunities and from there I expanded to small press, competitions, ezines and challenges. I also joined face to face writing groups and have a circle of beta readers some I have met and some I never will. I have critique partners around the world.

If you really want to write then find the tools that work for you.

If I am making excuses then I don't really want it.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Adjusting patterns in everyday things

I am having a lovely time adjusting old patterns to fit various size dolls but I am also adjusting the patterns of my life. I have set myself a 90 day challenge to change some fundamental things such as my weight, water consumption, exercise and sleep patterns. I also want to write daily.  I drew up a calendar to mark my glasses of water and I aim for a minimum of six a day. It is important to take stock and reevaluate life on a regular basis. As I search for a new home closer to the city I have had to think about what I am leaving behind and what I am gaining in the move. I have some wonderful friends here in Warrnambool and I shall miss not being able to see them as often but then I have made wonderful friends everywhere I go and we keep in touch. The place I am aiming for is central to many other places so I feel it is a good choice for being able to stay close to others.
Adjusting patterns is about learning a new skill and giving me a creative outlet as more of my life is packed into boxes. My art supplies are out of reach now and there is not a spare surface big enough to put up a canvas or an easel so the sewing eases something inside me which needs feeding. I forget to eat when I am involved in creating and hours pass without me realising. It is lovely to be so immersed.
I do want to be more immersed in my writing however I need a place to hide in, a study or den or a writers cave with a super duper pair of sound block out ear muffs then I can not be disturbed by "What's for dinner Mum?" "Drive me some place Mum." "Mum can I have...where are my...could you do..." I wonder how many other writers manage to pour prose into their pages while being bombarded by vital demands to find socks for their offspring?
I vow from today on I will write 500 words a day no matter what! Should I capitalise that?
I VOW TO WRITE 500 WORDS A DAY NO MATTER WHAT! There I have shouted it in capitalisation.

So on to the actual pattern adjusting for actual doll clothes.

In a previous post I mentioned the pattern books from the 70s(and earlier) with pages of patterns that ranged in sizes. I suspected they would be perfect for a Lammily however my first experiement turned out to be way too small and fitted a Bratz instead.
 Here she is in her skinny trousers and lacy bra. This was the finished size from the smallest trouser pattern in the Enid G sewing book. I need to put a tiny bit of elastic in the waistband but otherwise they fit beautifully.

 The pattern pieces were photocopied and I made tissue paper copies. I have a whole ream of food wrap for souvlaki from back in my old catering days and I use that for all my pattern copies.

I tried the largest pattern(46"/117cm) in the book but it turned out to only be Barbie size so I whipped up a pair of shorts, a little halter top and a head scarf in the pink stretch gingham. In the Enid Gilchrist book, the smallest pattern(91cm/36') fitted the Bratz.
 Here is Barbie standing on her pattern copies and the back of the shorts show I miss hemmed the legs a little so one is slightly longer than the other. Ah the joys of learning from mistakes. So after this I measured up all the dolls carefully. Thighs, hips, waist, shoulder, arm length, leg length and every other length I would need to compare pattern sizes.

Measure twice cut once. A handy homily to avoid mishaps.
 Barbie in her complete outfit. The top is made on the same pattern as the bra with an added halter strap. I made the piece a little longer than the bra so I could turn up a hem. I finished with a small pink button with a star on it. The back has one hook to close it.  The shorts have darts in the front and do not need elastic in the waist.
Here are my Lammily doll feet next to the adjusted shorts pieces pinned to more of the stretch pink gingham. I cannot complete them today as my eyes have grown too weary to be able to thread the needle on the machine.

Here is the pattern for shorts for both Lammily and Barbie. I shall take a photo of my Lammily doll in her picnic outfit tomorrow.
and here are two basic dress patterns for a Lammily and a Barbie.
 This one should fit Barbie and other 11" fashion friends and will benefit from the darts to shape and style it. A4 sheet.

This one definitely fits a Lammily doll if it prints out A4. I have to tissue overlapping the printed page from the book. (photos of the yellow outfit in the previous post are from this pattern.)

just popping in the original page again (this size is too small for Lammily) so you can clearly see where lines need to go. This basic pattern will give you three different lengths for shirt sleeves, a blouse, three different neck shapes and matching collars, a jacket and a skirt as well as the dress.  It is an excellent starter for anyone just starting to learn how to make their doll clothes. Good luck. Hope these help.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Knickers for a Lammily doll and friends

First I have to tell you I am a self taught seamstress and my enthusiasm sometimes outstrips my skill base. I have been playing around with an old Enid Gilchrist pattern and adjusting it for my 18', 11" and Lammily dolls.

 This is the original Enid Gilchrist pattern for panties and a bra for teenage girls.  I scanned it and adjusted the settings and printed it out at 1/8th of an A4 sheet. 
I used a wide stretch lace to make the underwear and sat the waistline and top of each bra along the pretty edging.
 I think this should print out as A4 but the measurements are on it if it doesn't work for you. Feel free to print or copy these patterns.

The bra and panties are in three sizes for an 18", 11" and Lammily doll.
 A marvelous thing I discovered about the old Enid Gilchrist magazines I have is that the patterns in the actual pages are a perfect size for Lammily.  This basic pattern will give you a dress and jacket. Modernise the fabrics and there you have the beginning of a whole wardrobe. If you have some of these old magazines try printing some of the pages and cutting the pattern out.*They need adjusting, I will pop up the adjusted patterns when they are done. Some of the magazines contain separate pages for larger sizes this 86.5cm is the smallest. I will let you know what happens with the bigger sizes and if they fit Lammily. :)
 I have a whole folder full of these dating from the fifties through to the seventies which I inherited. They are musty and dusty and full of terrific ideas for doll clothes adapted from adult and children patterns.

I am going to attempt this pattern today and see how it goes.

As you can see the pattern prints directly from the magazine at just the right size for a Lammily doll. ****I was wrong about the shirt, it only fits Barbie so I will do some adjusting. I think some of the dress patterns will be okay though. It looked like it would work but it is too small. Back to the drawing board. :)
 Here is Miss Matty Lammily in her new stretch lace under garments.

This is my 18" Chrissy doll in her new undergarments in stretch lace.

 The back of Chrissy. I have yet to sew a fastener on her bra strap.
 Chrissy from the side in her boyleg lacy panties.
Matty, Chrissy and Barbie in their new undergarments. Barbie is not used to full briefs which are so unlike her usual high cut bikinis.

 Here is Matty with her new haircut.

I will put up adjusted patterns as I work them out. Hope this has been helpful for you.