Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Goals!

I already made my 2012 sewing goals list over at my main blog, but I thought I'd pull out the doll-related items here. . .

2012 Doll Goals

New Body for Fanny
New Wig for Fanny
First Outfit for Fanny

And with regards to that last item. . . OMG seriously, she is still sitting here in her chair with not a stitch of clothing on! I made her a chemise, so I should at least put that on. . . But I confess I lost motivation to sew for her after I decided that I didn't like her body (especially that she's stuck in one position, which is neither standing up nor sitting down, but rather, something awkward in between), and then on top of that, the sawdust settled and now she's floppy. And I decided I didn't like her wig style either. So. . .

I have grand plans to make up my own body pattern, and have found some nice faux leather that I'm going to try and use for the body, and that is step one. Then, I've purchased some lovely mohair for my next wig-making attempt (which I think will go well now that I have a better idea of how much hair to put in it). And then, I hope I will again feel inspired to sew for her!

Other things that may get done in 2012 include a new 18th century ensemble for Charlotte (already patterened) or any of her other works-in-progress, and/or attire for the china heads, but I'm not making them true goals for the year, as I want to focus on Fanny.

Also, there is the slight possibility that I may try my hand at making my own porcelain doll. I've been reading a lot about it, and it's starting to seem like it's something I could do, which either means I could do it, or it means I'm getting another crazy over-the-top idea in my head, LOL! We'll see. . .

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pink Depression Glass

I have accidentally begun collecting pink depression glass for my dolls, apparently. . . Because earlier this year, I found this lovely pitcher and glass set while on one of our ever-increasing antiquing sprees:

And then just a few weeks before Christmas, I was out and about again, and found this cute punch bowl and glass set at another antiques store:

Both of these sets are approximately 1/3 scale – maybe even a tiny bit smaller – which makes them work for my AG crew, but also perhaps a larger FFD, (and how I would love a larger FFD!) I don’t know how many more pink depression glass dishes I’m going to be able to find, but you can be sure I’ll be keeping my eyes open for that, now that I have these two little sets!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Adventures in Wig-Making

So this evening, I had my first adventure in wig-making (not counting the ridiculously brief attempt at ventilating a wig one hair at a time, which is madness that even I find too tedious to pursue!) and it was not too bad! I really think the only major problem is that I used too much hair. . .

Side & back views:

And when not in a ponytail. . .

Eek! Yes, too much hair for sure! LOL!

Also, I was using hair pilfered from a cheap Halloween costume wig. In the next go around, I'll use a much nicer-quality synthetic hair. But, the important thing is, this is going to work, and I'm going to be able to make a fabulous wig for Fanny. This is awesome because I have had zero motivation to work on anything for Fanny. In fact, I found myself feeling totally blase about her all-together, and wishing I could find a different doll. I made myself analyze what was bothering me about her, and decided it was the wig. It's a lovely quality, but the style is not at all what I wanted. I rarely see French Fashion Dolls with wigs as insanely puffy and curly as hers was. If curled, it seems that they are curled into a specific style, and not just unruly curls all over, if that makes any sense. Or, maybe I only remember those sorts of wigs because I like them better. ;) At any rate, even though this wig wasn't perfect, when I put it on Fanny, I instantly felt better about her. She looks pretty, and more authentic.

Meanwhile, Fanny thinks it's ridiculous that I'm making improved wigs for her, when she is still nude. Apparently, six months of sitting there with nothing on is unacceptable in her eyes. She wonders why I don't at least let her wear the chemise I made her, and come to think of it, I wonder that too!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A New Chair & Doll Madness

I went antiquing over the weekend and scored a cute little chair which I'm pretty sure is not too old, but is about the right size for Fanny. . .

I tried Fanny in it for size, and it's a little bit off, but once she is clothed, I think it will suffice.

Speaking of clothing Fanny. . .

So, I'm having a bit of a flopping problem with Fanny. . .


I apparently didn't stuff her body firmly enough (or perhaps should have stuffed her part way and left her hanging for a while, for everything to settle, before finishing stuffing), combined with constantly trying to make her sit (which she can't do because her thighs are massive and do not budge). I've been so disappointed with her body (and starting to not like her wig too much either) that I haven't felt very inspired to do much of anything with her. What I really need to do is draft my own body pattern from scratch, because I dislike this one, and can not seem to find one that I do like! It's just going to be a crazy amount of work and I never seem to feel inspired to do it. . .

I think I'm beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with the doll madness around here!

Here is the crew that is currently waiting on all sorts of clothing, and two bodies, and four names:


(And, I haven't talked about that 2nd doll in from the left yet. . . I actually got her a while ago, but haven't got around to posting about her. . . I'll give her a post of her own some other time. . .)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kirsten's Skating Scarf

I finally finished Kirsten's knock-off Ice Skating scarf the other day!

I was so happy with how it turned out, that I thought I would like to share the pattern with other AG-loving knitters! So, it can be found as a free Ravelry download here. . .

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Another new doll!

My name is Jenni and I am a dollaholic. Seriously! I had no intention of purchasing a new doll any time soon, and yet somehow, I did. ;)

Since finding that china-head doll at Brimfield, I've done a lot more looking at china-head dolls, and my absolute favorites are the ones that look 1840s-1850s, with brown/black hair that goes into a bun at the back. Of course, they're always ridiculously expensive. . . But I got lucky and found exactly what I wanted (well, assuming she's a reproduction based on the price) for a great price on eBay!

I just think her face is so lovely!

The hair I've been dreaming of!

She came fully clothed, and while I'm going to make her a more period-correct dress (and probably some accessories too) it was sort of a relief that she has her underpinnings sorted out, because I'm getting overwhelmed with nude dolls around me!

Her feet are so tiny!

I just love her. She's awesome. Can't wait to make things for her! But poor Fanny has only a partial underpinnings set, and no dress, so new unnamed doll has to wait!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The FFD gets a name, and a couple of shop reviews. . .

The other result of my weekend at Brimfield is that my reproduction FFD has a name! It really had nothing to do with Brimfield, unless you consider that two days of walking so much, surviving on junk food, and having a ginormous sinus headache may have caused my mental state to reduce to the point at which everything becomes hilarious. . . And it was at this point when I remembered randomly that her behind was so sizeable, and began laughing all over again, and then and there realized that she should absolutely be named Fanny! Ah, how I crack me up. . . ;)

Speaking of Fanny. . . I thought I’d take a few moments to review a couple of shops I ordered things for Fanny from. . .

First, Dollspart. The most important thing I ordered there was her wig, which is their “Sheryl” wig. It is mohair, and just absolutely lovely and so soft! The only thing was, it just was a lot of curls, and they were just a little bit more independently minded than I was aiming for. . .

I had really hoped for something that was more controlled and gave a very 1870s look, so I grabbed a couple of tiny bobby pins, and was very easily able to make it look more like what I had in mind. . .

I’m really happy with it now!

Also, while I’m talking about Dollspart, I want to mention that their customer service folks are some of the nicest I’ve ever interacted with!

Dollspart: A+

Next, Antina’s Doll Supply on eBay. I stumbled onto this shop while looking for a stand, and ended up ordering a few extra things as well!

First, the stand. It is supposed to fit a 14”-16” doll, but I think there’s no way it will work for my 15” doll. The bit that should be at her waist is much too high, and therefore it will only work as long as the doll is not dressed. I have some ideas on how to modify this stand to work, so stay tuned. . .

Next, the footwear. I ordered size 6 boots and size 5 shoes, both of which should be right around 2”, and were. I think they’re pretty standard antique-esque doll shoes, but they do look a little larger-scale on the doll, simply because they are tall, and not as fitted to the leg as antique boots were made to be. (Sorry, I was too lazy to button all the buttons on the boot as they were quite hard to fasten and I wasn’t leaving them on at the moment!)

The shoes were a disappointment. The style is super cute, and I liked them way better than the boots, but I ordered size 9, which is supposed to be 1 3/4”, but it was not. They were only 1 5/8” long, making them a bit too short for Fanny to squeeze her feet into them – especially since they have a pointed toe. Since it would cost me $7.75 for the shipping on one single pair of shoes, I am not planning to try a different size. :(

Finally, the earrings. I had this idea that I could use these eye pin things I had to make earrings, and I stumbled on to these and thought, that’s exactly what I was thinking! Except I figured it would be cheaper and less of a hassle to just buy them rather then make them, so I bought her four pairs, (rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and plain gold).

Here, Fanny models the “diamonds” for you:

I am very happy with the earrings! I think they’re really cute, and they fit perfectly.

So overall, I think they have decent products, and at great prices. However, the shipping is really high if you are just buying one item, and the measurements of things may be off, so there’s a little risk there.

Antina’s Doll Supply: B+

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New dolls and a doll show review. . .

I went to the Brimfield antiques show over the weekend, and came home with a larger doll family than I went away with!

I told myself I had no desire for this sort of doll, but when I saw her, I thought she was so pretty, and at $15, I could hardly leave her behind!

I know she’s a repro straight off the bat because of her eyelashes. You never see lashes on this sort of a doll, and even if you did, I suspect they would be across the entire eye, and very fine and delicate.

I can’t figure out what era she is supposed to be a reproduction of, however. She’s got elaborate hair so I thought maybe 1870s? I need to do more research, so I can choose a style of clothing that is right for her.

I also found I could not resist this tiny doll head!

And when I say “tiny,” I really do mean tiny!

My thought process behind this purchase was, Charlotte is so jealous of the time I spend on other dolls, what she needs is a doll of her own! (The title for my blog really does seem accurate right about now, does it not?) ;)

Sadly, I did not get to admire any French Fashion Dolls at Brimfield. I think those dolls are just so valuable, that they never seem to show up at regular, general antique shops/shows. In fact, the only place I’ve seen them was a “Doll, Teddy, & Toy” show I went to back in March. It’s held at the Dedham Holiday Inn, and seems to take place twice a year (March and October).

Pros of the show:

Enough gorgeous, rare, spectacular dolls and accessories to put a doll fanatic like me in to cardiac arrest!!! I can stress the eye candy factor enough. There were so many French Fashion Dolls, that I contemplated selling a kidney so I could take one home! There were many other dolls as well, and all kinds of excellent clothing, accessories – you name it! Both antique, and nicely made reproductions. And it wasn’t all $1000 items either, because I saw some boxes of Monique wigs at great discounts, and things like that. And, the folks at the admission desk outside the show were super nice and made us feel quite welcome.

Cons of the show:

The room is super small, so the fact that it’s so tightly packed with booths and people, while giving a great variety of beautiful things to look at (and buy, if you have the funds!), it also means it’s a bit of a challenge to navigate. A claustrophobic person would not enjoy it so much! The worst of it was the dealers themselves, who were clearly excited to be reuniting with their doll pals, (and understandably so!), but unfortunately, when they are blocking the entrance to their booths so they can be nearer in order to chat with one another, it makes it a bit harder for the customers to make their way in to their booth, or even past it to another!

Also, I hate to say it, but some of these dealers were not nice people. I had some good chats with a couple of nice folks, but there were multiple dealers where I walked to their booth, gave a friendly smile and complimented their excellent collection of things for sale, and in return, got an icey scowl. I know not what I did to tick off so many total strangers, but they clearly wished I would die and immediate and horrible death. Maybe they sensed that I only had like $40 with me, and clearly should be therefore treated like dirt. It was really disappointing because I was hoping to get to chat dolls with like-minded folks.


I think it’s worth it, if you love antique dolls – even if you aren’t planning to spend. Just be prepared mentally to deal with the tight, small room, and don’t expect all the dealers to be friendly. Oh, and bring a coupon plus $6 for admission. Coupons can be printed here - although it looks like they aren’t quite ready to download and print just yet. (And if $6 seems high to window shop, consider it the equivalent of paying admission at a museum!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My first French fashion lady!

Well, I now have my first completed reproduction French fashion doll!

She was an adventure, from start to finish. Particularly obnoxious was setting in the gussets. Especially the knees, as they were so small! I am convinced there has to be a better way to do it, and I am on a mission to try things until I figure it out. I am also on a mission to create a fabulous doll body pattern, because I was unhappy with a bunch of things about this one. (The gussets, for example, are way too large for the openings!)

Stuffing was also an adventure, because first of all, it's not a matter of just dumping in the stuffing and saying "voila!" It's a lot more time-consuming, because you need to work with small amounts of stuffing so you can really pack it in as you go, so you don't have bulges and/or pockets of air. So I spent quite a bit of time, and when I had stuffed all the way to the waist, I decided to start over because the ankles weren't quite firm enough. All in all I think I spent 2+ hours on this step of the project!

At first I thought she was going to be quite flexible. . .

Okay, I knew she wasn't going to be as flexible as that, but this was during the first stuffing and I was in a good mood and being silly. ;)

I did, however, think she was going to be able to really bend at the joints where there are gussets. Turns out she can bend a bit in the knee, but the gussets at the back end are barely functional. Again, I need to do some trial and error and figure out how to fix the pattern!

I found it kind of strange how the doll will not lay flat. This is her "natural" position. She is rigor mortis doll!

Also, she really can't sit up. I have the same problem with Charlotte, coincidentally, where she wants to lay backwards. I have lazy dolls, who just want to lounge about instead of sitting pretty with nice posture!

This doll, I can force into a sitting position, but as you can see, it puts stress on the body. And, I think if I tried to shove her into a chair like this, she would just pop out. Clearly, this doll will need to be stored on a stand, and so I have ordered one.

Another figure "flaw" is that she has absolutely no bust. I know these dolls weren't busty, but one generally sees a wee bit of a roundness. This total flatness is going to make it challenging to make pretty lady costumes for her. I think I may have to give her a little padding to stuff in her corset before I get into making dresses! (Also note the pose in this picture. Again, rigor mortis dolly! Not only can she not sit down properly, but she can't stand up straight either!)

Also. . . There is a reason I could not stop humming Sir Mix-A-Lot while I stuffed a certain aspect of her body! ;)

The finished body!

Only not really, because I realized her arms were too long. The overall length was okay, but look back at that picture, and notice her elbow location. . . Yup, too long! I think actually the real problem is that the bisque part of her arms are too short for her, but of course I can't really adjust them, so I went with shortening the upper arms to try to move the elbows somewhat higher up. And after that, plus a day of Glenn driving me to the auto supply store and then the hardware store, he helped me attach the head to the shoulder plate, and voila!

Overall, I am happy with her, as far as the results I obtained with what I had to work with. I still do have issues with the body pattern, as mentioned, and her arms are too short, as also mentioned. I think I want a different wig because this one isn't quite what I had in mind. . . But then again, I can't find a wig that matches what's in my mind! And the biggest issue of all is that she is much smaller than I wanted. I wanted a doll that was about 20" tall, maybe 18" at the shortest, and she is only 15". But since I simply can not find a doll, or doll head/shoulders, that will yield a doll any taller than this, I am making the best of what I have. On the plus side, while she can not share any of the furniture/accessories I have for my other dolls, she can make use of a few accessories I purchased that ended up being too small for Charlotte, so that is pretty cool. . .

I have found a mould that will create a 20" doll in the end - and she would be beautiful - my dream doll! But that's a story for another day. . . A day in which I find a kiln and learn to make things of porcelain! ;) In the meantime, I am just going to have to adjust myself to working on an even smaller scale than I have been used to!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Doll!

So the big doll-related news around here is that: I'm in the process of aquiring a new one! I say "in the process of" because, like was the case with Charlotte, this new lady is in pieces. And lady, she is! She's a reproduction French Fashion Doll. If you're not sure what a French Fashion Doll is, check out some of the lovely ladies over at the Carmel Doll Shop. When I see those dolls, something inside me just explodes. WANT!!!!! However, my budget does not allow, LOL! So, I started hunting for reproductions. I found them to be terribly expensive as well, so I started hunting for just a head, figuring I could always make the body myself.

At long last, I found one!

She came with other parts, and I think I'll use all but the legs.

According to her markings, she is a repro of a Gaultier "4" head. (Still not sure if the number refers to a style, size, or what!) I figured out that she is a Byron mold, (available here), which was really helpful because I was having a hard time making solid decisions about what size things should be for her. For example, I spent forever deciding the body size, but once I found this, I knew she was meant to be 15" tall, and so was able to choose the correct body size accordingly. I was so excited that within 10 minutes of opening the box containing her head, I was already starting a mock-up of the body!

I have some mysteries I have to figure out about this sort of doll. For instance, how do I join the head to the socket so that it is securely connected, but can still swivel? And how will I secure the cork pate that I am about to go order? And once I figure all this out, I think I'd like to make a nice, concise, "pull together your own French Fashion Doll" guide for new folks like me, because there are SO many web sites out there, and it can really just be SO hard to find answers to your questions! And I'd like to think that I've helped others fall as far down the rabbit hole into doll madness as I have. ;)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Doll Family

So the real reason for the new blog is that I'm starting to get into a whole new sort of dolls, and I'm finding new blogs here on blogspot that I'm following, but yet I also have doll friends on LJ, so. . . Now I'll crosspost to the two. Feel free to visit my LJ doll blog to see past entries. But, the basic overview is. . .

I've loved dolls, sewing, and fashion history pretty much all my life, and I like to combine all these interests in having my little doll family that all wear historic clothing.

First, there's the AG crew:

From left to right, and top row to bottom, Ruthie, Mia, Emma, Elizabeth, Felicity, Samantha, Kirsten, Coconut, and Licorice. Of these, the only one that you may go "who?" about is Emma, and she is actually one of the "just like you" dolls (or whatver the heck they're calling them now). Emma fills my need for a Regency era doll. I think of her as c. 1814. All my American Girl dolls dress only in the era they represent, because I'm a little OCD like that. ;)

Next up is my BJD, Charlotte:

She is a Volks F08 (old F05) head on a B&G type 1 body. I am alarmed to find that I don't have a recent "portrait" of her, but rather, just pictures of sewing projects. The horror! I guess I need to have a little photo session with her soon! Anyway. She dresses mostly in 18th century and Regency, but has also been known to do a little 1860s-70s, and even has a 1950s dress (thanks to my fling with taking swing dancing lessons).

There are other dolls lurking in my house that I don't sew for (yet) so I'll just leave the list at this and at to it as I see fit. ;)

Saturday, March 12, 2011