Sunday, 5 April 2015

Handcrafts, Lammily and moving house

The past few months have been filled with house hunting and house packing. I am surrounded by half filled boxes and stacks of bags filled with books. My art has taken a back seat and my writing is limping along. I haven't been involved in any challenges and I am feeling unbalanced without the creativity. So today I decided to make some clothes for one of the dolls I purchased last year through a kick starter campaign. I named the doll Matty short for Matilda. I have a lot of patterns for 11" (28cm) fashion dolls, some of which date back to the middle ages um I mean middle of the 20th century.
 Crochet patterns and knitting patterns for Barbie and Skipper

 Hats and bags to knit
and a whole swag of patterns from this magazine, plus I have purchased packets of patterns for a long time.

The issue is that my new doll Matty, is a Lammily doll and her measurements are very different from the usual fashion doll. She is more realistic in proportions than her Mattel et al cousins.
This is a photo of the original idea prototype of the Lammily doll. Considering the amazing response to the crowd funding of the developers, Lammily was a long overdue shift in the way dolls are developed.
This is not a Barbie bash, I happen to own more than 40 Barbies and clothes, horses, houses and cars and I own Bratz and Kelly dolls and He men and Ken's. I inherited them as my kids grew out of them. I have always enjoyed Barbie dolls and I have enjoyed collecting patterns and making clothes but I also worry that we bombard our children with warped images. My sister thinks I take after an Aunt who has a doll museum. I digress, dolls are a subject with a myriad of stories to discuss but today I made clothes for Matty. I am a self taught seamstress having deliberately failed the subject back in the old days I had to learn it all by myself and thank goodness for the internet. I am learning to adjust Barbie patterns for Matty (Lammily). I attempted to make underwear in stretch fabric which my sewing machine decided to eat, chew up and spit out.
Here is my disastrous sports bra. It was not long enough and my zig zag stitch was all wrong and the panties were completely destroyed but I was happy I managed to get the width correct and I am going to try again.

I did manage to create an after five cocktail dress in purple stretch with sequins and made a matching shawl. I found it a bit snug to tug up over her hips which felt very human and I will need to adjust the shape of the pattern for next time but overall I was very happy with the outfit.

 So here she is with just the dress. I need to purchase buttons to match and I am hoping to make some matching shoes. I found some terrific tutorials online and I am going to try it once I have finally moved house and have an art and sewing space set up again.
 This is the back of the dress with cross over straps.
 The shawl looped over one arm.
 And here is Matty with her shawl tugged up around her head.
The dress and shawl on their own below look good. I am quite pleased and the handcrafting made me feel very peaceful (except when the sewing machine chewed up the knickers).
I have purchased a couple of pair of Ken doll shoes online and will redecorate them to make them more suitable to Matty's clothing. The Ken doll feet are more the size of the Lammily doll.

Pinterest is a marvellous repository of links to patterns and tutorials and I am enjoying looking through them.

I joined several enthusiast and hand craft groups online who have a Lammily focus. Until I can unpack my art things, this doll is going to keep me sane I think. Make art daily!

Speaking of warped images, I quite enjoyed discovering the lady in Tasmania who cleans off the makeup of preloved dolls and repaints their faces.  or  and I took a leaf out of this woman's book and repainted my Lammily doll's eyes so they are green and tomorrow I am going to bleach her hair in lighter streaks so she is more sun kissed Australian. I might have to try a few times to get it right and I smudged the green so I will start again. (I do have a spare stock standard doll still in a sealed box.) I also like that I could purchase sheets of pimples, stretch marks, scars and tattoos for the doll except the postage from the US is more than the product so I wont be doing that but it makes me smile to think I could. When the boys were young they had Barbies and they painted them, cut their hair off, put pins in them and would shoot at each other with the Judith Pregnant doll's baby and spring loaded platform abdomen, so those Barbies had scars and piercings and tattoos back in the 80s.

There are dolls available that are not fashion dolls but they are specialist, action figures usually or are very expensive. This guy has some great pictures of some

I think Lammily fits a niche that needed filling and I hope to see a whole lot more variety in toys again.