On dolls and scales and magazines….

One of the focuses of my business is dollhouse miniatures… to answer the questions on scale.

1″ or 1/12 scale is the most common with tons of Yahoogroups for it and other online forums including Small Stuff Digest which is where I got my start… large international list for nothing but miniatures (not just 1″ scale though)

1/2″ or 1/24 scale is smaller and has gained popularity in the last couple of years. The reason for this is the 1″ scale people are running out of space for minis! This is a niche market that has a growing base. I’m not saying 1″ scale is on it’s way out just that 1/2″ is growing in popularity due to the main body of crafters being retired or *my* elders (I’m not yet 40) and on space and money budgets that are shrinking.

1/4 scale is also popular but I’m not up on it much but I can say it is extremely tiny … if you’ve ever seen the original 80’s Poly Pockets those come close to the correct scale or a Z scale train is right. This is a dollhouse scale for inside a 1″ scale dollhouse!

On the larger end of the scale is 1/6 scale which is Barbie and the number of adult collectors wishing there were more things for her that weren’t Barbie Pink has a huge base.

Then there is the Tonner and larger 15-18″ fashion dolls that would dearly love more items including houses and such for their dolls.

As for places to learn about miniatures or dolls….. There are many doll magazines:

  • Doll Magazine
  • American Miniaturist
  • Doll Crafter
  • Miniature Collector
  • Dolls
  • Doll Costuming

and a whole host of other magazines that deal with various subjects within the doll or miniature world.

I’ve been into dolls since 1988 when my mom started her doll business. I have been seriously into collector dolls and miniatures for about the last 8 years.

I should also add in something about reborn dolls, re-painted dolls and art dolls… there are lots of those out there too.Those who redo, repaint or sculpt their own dolls that need and use props… you might just have a niche in one of these categories.

New Doll….

PatternsI am incredibly excited… for the first time in over a year I bought myself a new doll. Having a red headed Gene standing here in her undies staring at me is slowly motivating me to dig out my closets again and play with patterns & fabric and slowly start putting things back online. My Advanced Discourse class is inspiring me to write again and I am updating all my blogs and may even tackle updating some small portions of my website as time allows.

Hopefully soon… very soon I’ll have a new outfit to show off… if not for a doll then for myself as I am really itching to sew and craft once more.

Tips & Tricks

Hints Tips & Tricks

Cutting:

Cut out paper patterns with white space and use scotch tape to hold the pieces down. Then use a rotary cutter to cut each piece on the single layer of fabric. This requires a little more work for reversing pieces and cutting enough of each piece but the accuracy of the rotary cutter is worth it for the effects for sewing.

Marking:

Use a pin to mark dart tips & ends and then use a water, air or chalk marker to mark where the pins are so that if the pins fall out before you can match them you still have the markings.

Construction:

Baste darts or any seam where the fabric might slip with simple pinning. Basting saves needles and your machine along with producing better results with seams. It allows you to ‘see’ the design come together and try it up to the doll for fitting and any adjustments you deem necessary. If the fabric is very fragile basting instead of pinning will leave fewer pin marks, which on some fabrics can be hard to get out.

As I learn more I’ll post further ideas and suggestions for sewing. I am by no means a beginner but I’ve just never really thought about writing out all my ideas and things I’ve discovered over the years.

New Patterns and New Lessons

As I work here in my little studio I’ve discovered a few things…. testing in ‘real fabric’ vs muslin is an OK thing to do at least for larger dolls. My reasoning behind this is that if a pattern doesn’t turn out just right for say Kitty the same pattern with minor modifications manages nicely to fit a smaller doll like Brenda Starr. Besides that the ‘goofs’ are perfect to give to my daughter to play with as she doesn’t mind imperfections in my work that usually go with a first run through a pattern as I draft and redraft and sew and re-sew a project.

It’s funny I start with a design for one doll and eventually I have the same design or a variation of it for 2 or more others as well. I just love designing and sewing for my dolls.

New Years Goals… notice not resolutions?

I plan on updating and posting to this site far more often especially on days when things are going right… on days when things go wrong I’ll probably post that to my Lessons Learned in Business blog (removed). In fact I plan on having several blogs about projects, different dolls and things learned about them like Ken… I have an old Ken (duplicate of one I had as a child), a newer Ken (again a duplicate of the Ken I had as a teen) and then there’s the Jude Deveraux Ken I just recently bought…there’s a lot of differences in the bodies… wouldn’t think it since hey it’s Ken and he’s not the big seller Barbie is! But hey I’ve got to learn about dolls by playing… errr working with them if I’m going to draft and dress them.

Anyway, my current goals now are to teach the 101 Mini Drafting class in early January. Teach 102 after the move (from an apt to hopefully a house at the end of January) in late February. Then start development and testing of my 103, 104, and 105 classes for March, April & May thus giving me time to develop part if not all of the 200, 201 and 202 classes for summer. Now with my brother getting married in June, my sister Graduating High School in June and my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary also in June the likelihood of my actually teaching in June is next to nill at this point so I’m looking at having the 200 series start in July.

Also on the drafting table for me is the various patterns for my column in Dolls Magazine. The first one is out and was a Fantasy dress & cloak pattern in 1” scale. The next….well it has a theme of “romance” and I already mentioned one of the dolls I did a pattern for earlier so I won’t spoil the surprise yet. I have more patterns for a baby and another lady along with a child that I’ll be doing which will take me all the way to the summer issue. Therefore, it’s one of the more important things to get accomplished.

Just that short list is a lot to get done by June so as I finish I’ll update. Keep an eye out!

Dolls I *swear* I didn’t want….

brenda-wedding-gown-bWell it’s been a while.. last post I tried the blogger ate and I didn’t have time to put it back up again so I had to go a while w/o posting here. It’s been a busy time in the last few months…. I now do a regular pattern for Doll Magazine. The first of which is already out and the second is in progress along with enough to go through to next summer.

Today is my daughter’s 5th birthday and I thought I’d write about some of it… recently she’s been a pain… stole one of her unwrapped presents which happened to be a Nellie mini American Girl… 3 days before her birthday… consequently it’s now one of an ever growing list of Christmas items. Her grandmother in Oregon sent her a package which I opened to find some nicely wrapped presents… again stashed them and found them opened but at least it was done today… it was a combo of her and her brother snitching them as I had them up and know it had to be a cooperative effort. Too late to re-wrap them so we found them and to my semi-dismay she had been sent a Bratz doll… now I’ve seen them in the stores and I’m not fond of the big head and long legged nearly body less doll.. I’m a “doll should look like a doll” or a “real person” with ‘correct’ proportions… I don’t generally like stylized human figures… I drove my illustration teachers batty with that but that’s another story.

Anyway, I *swore* at one time that*I* would never buy a Bratz doll…. well upon looking at the doll further and then giving in because of a dismayed looking doll nutty 5 yr old who thought I might return the doll in favor of a different doll… I have kind of fallen for the Bratz dolls… to the point where I took a shoebox and instantly created a bed so that Sera would go to bed tonight! I’ve also like a nut told her I’d get Mrs. Claus aka me to make a ‘fancy’ dress for Jade (said Bratz doll). This is on top of Dolls Magazine patterns and other patterns and projects for other dolls not to mention the usual Christmas outfits I make for her and her brother!

I try not to spoil the kids generally and this time of year is when I do spoil them a bit. So I guess I’ll just be extra busy sewing in the coming days… like a nut I also volunteer at school and have offered to do more work in the classroom since the teacher has a cast on his foot!

I’ll manage to get most of what I’m planning done but some of the other things are going to have to wait LOL…. my kids are important to me and Mrs. Claus is going to be busy into the wee hours of the morning later this month I have a feeling.

Well time to turn off the computer and sewing machine and get some rest!

Fun Fun Fun….

tiny-kitty-red tiny-kitty-red-petticoatWell it’s been a few weeks since I last posted and I’ve had nothing but fun. I started out by doing a custom pattern for Tiny Kitty, which turned out beautifully and actually ended up with 3 views to the pattern- plain, slight petticoat and poufy princess petticoat. I now have a fascination for double circle skirt patterns due to how much fullness can be put into the skirt and how well it all drapes but how little bulk is at the waist!

I have so much fascination in fact that I also did 3 other dresses with the same style skirt. One is a halter style top for my Beauty B Dollfie and the other 2 are strapless dresses for the Beauty B and also my Super Size Barbie.

I had so much fun with these larger dolls that I’ve recently become hooked on the 16″ fashion dolls as well. Brenda Starr arrived just today and already she has a bodice pattern I’ll be testing tonight!

In addition to the new patterns and new dolls, I’ve been busy developing 2 more classes that are running in mid October this year. Stylization 102 which is the next level of the Mini Drafting 101, which ran in August, and Cresindel a healer who likes to adventure as well! She has 2 interchangeable costumes and is only 4 1/2″ tall!

Beyond that even I have been in the process of developing a Pattern Club…. not sure how it’ll work out but if anyone has ideas on how to run it drop me a note! I’m also thinking of offering a larger doll special edition 102 with the patterns used being pre made basic blocks so that the basics of stylization can be learned without having to learn drafting first! I recommend learning drafting first but I think there might be a few who would like to get to the fun part faster and Stylizations are certainly fun! Both things are still in the idea phase so all input is welcome!

Well time to feed my children so I’ll end now.

Newly aquired items for the week … so far

dollfie-halter-dress-2 elegant-2Well I’ve gotten my Dollfie… I adore her! I also decided to join in on Dana of Miniature Art ‘s online class for Madeline through Mini Doll U later in August.

It has also been determined that my Pattern Drafting for Ladies 101 class is not going to be repeated for the rest of the year. This is due to this fall and early winter where I’ll be very busy moving and with holiday work and have decided that I can only handle so much solo.

However the 102 Stylizations Class will be going on in late Sept!

The larger doll classes are ongoing and 102 Stylizations for Larger Dolls will start also in late Sept or early Oct!

I’ll have another class for a lady dwarf that is in the planning stages and looks like it will be going on sometime in October!

I’m hoping to hear back on the purchase of a Ginny soon and look forward to hopefully adding her to my collection. I also have a friend on another list who is looking to make space in her house and has some dolls to send me… I seem to be a doll magnet this month… Dollfies, Tika, porcelain mini dolls and some surprise dolls!
Keep an eye out for more info on new patterns as I am nearly done with a couple more designs for Tiny Betsy who is so easy to sew for while sewing for my children this summer! I am now behind on my incentive sewing for my daughter… I trade chores and good behavior for doll clothes… man does this work well! I owe her about 6 outfits now. I should also have patterns for Tika, Dollfie (gee she needs a name badly) and any other dolls that I don’t already have pages up for!

 

New ideas

Well I have many new ideas and a couple new dolls I’m currently going to be playing with. I bought Tika a Flava who has an unusual body. I knew humans had fit problems but this doll definitely has them. She bends and moves just under the bust making her great for poses that are different from standard Barbies but she also has an “S” curve torso that gives her a long side and a short side along with a high hip and a low hip that are drastically different. Bearing that in mind I plan to use her as a guinea pig in my Pattern Drafting for Lady Dolls 101 class shortly when I start the lessons over in a couple weeks. As for styles for this doll I’m thinking a lot of asymmetrical items might be what she needs or some nice tummy show off items … crop tops and hiphuggers…. perhaps a hip hugging skirt that flares at the bottom about knee length out of a mock denim (there’s a fat quarter blue that looks a lot like denim that would be perfect!) I’m also thinking a crop top peasant blouse in possibly the light blue silk I found at the thrift shop the other day (silk scarf that was tossed in as part of a $5 bag sale that still has a new sticker on it priced at $8!) When she’s done she will have patterns and such on the Flavas page.

My next doll is a Dollfie from the company Volks which is based in Japan. The Dollfies are articulated in more places than most of your average dolls and are based on anime style people who usually have bright color hair with big cartoon-ish eyes. These dolls however, have the ability to use acrylic eyes similar to those used for larger porcelain dolls which is what I opted for along with a honey gold wig. I’m not sure yet what styles this doll will want.. I like to let the dolls set what they will wear… they give me the inspiration to design and draft for them.

The last is another Dollfie but this time he is a buff man… but the poor guy has to go headless until I can order his head and eyes from Japan since the US distributor for these dolls didn’t have any in stock. I’m turning this doll into the comic book version of Wolverine for a friend to give as a gift.. but I have from now till Christmas to play with the doll and make stuff for him… IF I end up liking drafting and sewing for him, he’s going to end up with a lot of goodies…provided I can find time for it all!

Other ideas include the development of special items for donation to various groups for prizes or to conventions. I am also in the planning stages of my next book on Computer Pattern Drafting for dolls and minis… not sure if that is the final title or if it’s going to be 2 books or what yet. I have also in development, special design classes… but I can’t say more on either the computer drafting or the special design classes yet as I need to do some serious work on both projects before I can tell anyone else more!

OK it’s late and I want to do some other things tonight before bed so I’ll end this here.