Monday, October 15, 2012

And then there were two.

On Saturday I went to my neighbor's house to drop off the newly restored doll. The kids were excited to see the changes in her! The oldest girl said to me "Wait here, I have something to show you." She went off and came back a few minutes later with another doll, the sister doll from 30+ years ago. She held her doll up next to the one I had just restored and said "wow, look at the difference!" I couldn't possibly leave her there, looking like that so I offered to fix up her doll too, as an early birthday gift.
They also sent along with me an old hat that goes with the first doll I restored. I told them I could fix the hole in it. The little girl said "my doll doesn't have her hat anymore, but it's ok because she has this ribbon. The "ribbon" was a frayed scrap of fabric. What a sweetheart.

Her hair is in similar condition as the first doll. It's mostly one long strand but there isn't quite as much yarn on this one. Still reusable.

Her nightgown needed some repairs too. 

I guess I forgot to take pictures of the old mob cap while I was repairing it. It was double layered and as I was taking it apart to mend the hole I decided it was fate that it could to be made into two hats for the two sister dolls. As luck would have it, I had removed a small section of the first nightgown to eliminate a rust stained piece. That scrap was enough to patch both pieces of the hat that had a large hole in the edge. Deal sealed for two hats. I lined them with white quilting cotton and used the original red ribbons on them. One ribbon from this nightgown and one from the original hat.

After. Looking pretty as a picture. I just love making old loved dolls look fabulous again. I gave her a bath and repaired her nightgown. The elastic was gone from one sleeve cuff and there were a few holes to mend. She also had a hole in her leg that needed mending. Fresh ribbons in her hair and on her nightgown finish her restoration.

 She's ready to go home, with a matching hat for her sister.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Last week of our farm share for the season, and a little lady visits.

On Tuesday my last week of farm share was delivered. I share it with neighbors and they are kind enough to sort and deliver to me. This week my neighbor also brought over this little lady in hopes I could fix her up. Her grandma had made the doll for her sister 30+ years ago and she'd been left at the family home with a lot of other childhood toys. The sister asked for this doll specifically out of everything and my neighbor thought she would have said no if she'd seen her in the condition she was in. I was happy to fix her up, she's a charming doll.

This is how she came to me. The long strand of yarn hair gave me hope that I could restore her with what was left of her original hair. I think it is some kind of mohair, definitely worth saving.

The hair was very tangled, but as luck would have it the big tangle was one long piece! Perfect for cutting lengths for a wig. It took me a couple of hours to carefully untangle, so SO worth it. I like to keep things original whenever possible. I undid the braided section that was safety pinned onto her head and separated and divided everything into 2 even sets for ponytails.

I reserved one section for making a base for the wig. I crocheted a long chain and pinned and hand stitched it into place on her head.

Then I put the lengths of hair into the base to make her wig. There was *just* enough to give her adequate coverage. I would have preferred a little more hair, but she was able to keep her original hair and that's pretty good! She's feeling quite a bit better by now! She had a bath too.

Here she is all finished! I cleaned her nightgown, it had yellowed a lot with age. I also removed the bottom ruffle and hemmed both edges neatly after removing a rust stained section. I hand ruffled it back on and anchored the snaps on the back closures. She was a very fun project!

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Restoration projects

It was about this time last year that I bought an ebay MyTwinn doll to restore. Must be something about Fall that makes this the right time for TLC dolls. This year my patients have been Cabbage Patch Kids. I've done a few lately but I wish I had taken more pictures, especially "before" pictures of Curley.

Curley was desperately in need of restoration. She is a vintage Coleco CPK. My friend asked me to fix her up for her daughter. Curley needed just about everything done. Filthy doesn't even begin to describe the doll. I like filthy dolls though, the change in them is very rewarding. She had paint on her face and legs. Lots of ground in dirt and stains in the vinyl of her face and the fabric body. She needed her legs and feet resculpted. Her hair was very matted and pilled. She was a big project, but lots of fun.

I took this picture of her legs after she had been cleaned and after I had started resculping her legs. She only had 1 knee when she came to me, but I stopped after I sculpted the other knee and took a picture before continuing. There was some damage to one foot where someone had tried to repair her toes in the past.

This is after I resculpted her legs. I am very pleased with these feet!

All of Curley, looking happy and clean.

I spent hours on her hair, separating the individual strands from the matted clumps and clipping the fuzzies from the length of each loop and individual ponytail hairs. I also lightly reblushed her cheeks. Love those violet eyes!

I found this little guy in a bin at Goodwill. I paid $4 for him which is entirely too much considering his condition, but the money goes to charity so I didn't mind. He's a first edition 1983 doll which is lovely, but even more important is that he is a AA fuzzy haired guy. That makes him a little bit hard to find, so I thought he would be worth restoring and perhaps experimenting on. His face was deeply scratched and there was some kind of lipstick or pink grease all over his face. His outfit wasn't very attractive either. I don't think it was an official CPK outfit so it got redonated.

I bought some very fine sand paper called Micro Mesh from the local Lee Valley store. I used this to sand, and sand, and sand and sand etc.. the scratches on his cheeks and nose. Very slowly they were minimized. Some were very deep, but they aren't as noticeable now. I had a vintage CPK boy's romper but it was missing the shirt so I made a replacement for him. I found him a pair of shoes at the flea market and now he is much improved. I still need socks for him, but that can wait.


I love the reactions from my family when a TLC doll comes into the house, mostly because I know I can fix them. They are often very dirty and gross looking and my husband responds accordingly. I can't even describe, it's just an "ewwww" kind of a face. Until last week, Curley had been the grossest doll to arrive here, and look how nicely she cleaned up! When this little baby was dropped off last weekend I took it out of the bag and my six year old got this disgusted look on his face. He was caught by surprise, not expecting anything like this. He started backing up looking quite horrified. "Oaaugh! WHAT IS that?!" he said.  "It's a Cabbage Patch kid, a preemie" I said. This one needed more than a bath. Major surgery was in order.

Baby's hands had been sucked on by the owner when she was little. I could see where repairs had been done in the past. At one point someone used fishing line to fix the hands because it's so water resistant. Both thumbs had holes in them and the hands were in really awful shape. This one takes the cake for being the most in need of help so far.

My camera didn't really capture how dirty this poor baby is here.

I gave the baby two baths in the sink. The first time got a lot of dirt off.

Once I had made a plan for the hand restoration I had to remove the arms and the hand stitching. I gave her another bath to get the hands as clean as I could. It's much more effective when taken apart.
I pressed the arms flat, inside out and restitched making them jsut a tiny bit smaller in the hand area so I could minimize the worn fabric and get rid of the big holes in the thumbs. I took this picture after I had removed the bad parts. There is still some wear present, but it's a huge improvement.
One she was stuffed again I had to resculpt the bum.
and resculpt the arms. Hard to believe these are the same hands!
Left arm, before and after.

 Right arm, before and after.

 I still have a couple of small repairs to make to the gown but I will post After pictures of the whole baby soon.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A little muslin

I've got some doll size ballet leotards to make this weekend. They are each a bit different and I will have to draft a pattern for 3 of them. I started this evening with a pattern for one of them and it will be a start for another. I used some swim suit fabric that I have in abundance, I like it when a muslin can be useful. I am quite happy with how this came out, hopefully my friend likes it too!

The back has a very low scoop. The ballet version will have criss cross light blue elastic trim on the lower back.

We are also crafting a butterfly here. We found a "mourning cloak" (at least that's what we think it is) caterpillar on the way home from school. The boys and I set up a nice habitat in a giant mason jar. Lo and behold, this morning the caterpillar had assumed the "J" position. In about 2 weeks we will have a butterfly to release at the beach.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A purple generi-dress.

I got this beautiful My Twinn doll for Christmas. She is an Audrey, and she needed a summer dress. Being a My Twinn doll she expected a certain type of dress. I frequently see Twinns in this style of dress. I think it suits her and she fits in well among other Twinns in the world.

My Twinns have an armature inside that makes them posable. Their elbows don't bend because their vinyl goes up to about where their bicep would be, but their shoulders and upper arms can move.  This is where the cloth body and the armature begins. Most summer dresses for these dolls have longer than usual short sleeves, I guess to cover the transition from vinyl to cloth. I wanted this dress to just barely cover the join, as I like a short sleeve dress to have short sleeves. I'm not a fan of those really long "short sleeves."

I love this doll's wig. It's very high quality, thick and soft. 

Thanks for looking!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Sundress, Unicorn tears and a bunny

My older boy is very popular among girls, even girls at schools he no longer attends. Last week he got another birthday party invite from a former classmate. Thank goodness for the Oliver+S Popover Sundress  pattern. It makes such a cute little dress and is a nice gift. It's so cute in fact, that my younger son took one look at the dress and admitted that he wanted to try it on. I let him, but he's tiny and it was too big. He still loved it though, so I'm plotting how to make him a tunic or something he could actually wear for the summer.

This is one of three t-shirts I made for Inky. I procrastinated for a full year before finally making them. The fabric I was sent was paper thin, actually thinner than paper, very stretchy and very picky to sew.  I am glad to have finished these shirts. I was joking around before I started them that it had taken a year to teach myself to cry Unicorn tears in order to conjure the magic that I needed to get the job done. Once I got started it wasn't quite so difficult, but I am still glad they are finished. Davina is modeling in the picture, please pardon her half done fishtail braids 'do. Thank you Colette, for being so patient :)

This is our bunny, Nutters. He is wild but he lives in our backyard. I call him Nutters because he is fearless. He's set up a little nest right beside our swingset, and he's not scared of the kids, the lawnmower or anything. I was cutting the grass again today and he just hopped off the grass and watched me mow from the garden. There is a neighborhood cat who has about a 3 bunny/week habit so I hope Nutters is smart enough to be scared of him.

Have a great weekend and a lovely Mother's day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cardigan and underwear set for Inky

I was sent some really nice yarn to knit a cardigan for Inky last fall. I had been writing a  raglan sleeve cardigan pattern for dolls at the time so it worked out well. This is the finished result, I just happened to have the perfect colored tiny buttons.

Davina is modeling today.

This is a little underwear set. I was sent three pair of new Gymboree unders to make into a raglan sleeve boyshorts set. Voila! The back of the shirt closes with snaps. I used a scrap from an outgrown Gymboree shirt from my kids for the white on the shirt to make up the full front piece. The unders just weren't big enough to get lots of large pieces out of. Upcycling can be like a puzzle. Trying to get the most mileage out of whatever shapes are available, and then make it look like it's designed that way. The back of the shirt is solid pink. Davina had been sitting in this set for a couple days so the fronts of the boyshorts are creased, oops!

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Last minute birthday gift, and a matchy matchy for Molly.

Last week my son was invited to a birthday party. We got the invite after school on Wednesday and the party was on Saturday. I bought some fabric on Thursday and made the dress on Friday. Molly begged me for a dress too, claiming that I never sew anything for her. O rly?

This is for Luan, my older son's friend. It was so sweet of her to invite him. He changed to a different school on the fall but she still asks about him frequently. My younger son still goes to the same school she does, so I see her and her mom quite a bit.

A quick popover sundress

And one for Molly.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Club Nintendo meets Vera Bradley

A few years ago my husband bought me a nice little Vera Bradley purse. I love it, well I loved it. It became very worn but I wasn't able to find the same style to replace it with. It's just the right size and the pockets are just so etc. It hit me the other day that I would like to replicate that purse and incorporate the Club Nintendo bag that I got with some coins. It was a decent basic bag but it always felt so...flimsy. I looked at it more like fabric for harvesting. I carefully took apart my worn out Vera Bradley purse and made a pattern from it. I dug through my fabric stash and found some bits that would coordinate decently with the Nintendo bag. And.. voila! I have a new one of a kind purse. I still need to bind the seam allowances in the interior but it's fit for sharing pictures as is. I can't even count how many layers there are in the seams inside this purse. I had to quilt three layers of different fabrics together to make the sturdiness, just as Vera Bradley purses are made. 1 layer each of canvas, flannel and twill. This was not a project for wimps. I couldn't have done it without my trusty vintage Singer.

This is the original bag. It looks decent in the picture, but trust me, it's all frayed and there are holes in it.

This was the Club Nintendo bag. I got it from doing reviews on games and stuff that we had purchased, it's like a little reward. It's a very simple bag. It had no shape and was awkward to carry. It was destined to be upcycled.

Here is a glimpse of the carnage. When I sew, nothing else gets done in the house. Ask my kids. :) Ask my husband. :) Luckily none of them complain if the dishes pile up or we go out for dinner because nobody wants to eat the sewing I've been busy working on instead of cooking.

And here's my new purse! I reused the cord from the inside of the original cording, I made the red cording out of twill. I also reused the strap hardware, so I have a nice adjustable strap like on the original. I also reused the stiff rectable of cardboard for the liner in the bottom so the bag holds it's shape. The only thing I purchased for making this was the $1.50 zipper.

It was difficult to get right up close to the cording through all those heavy layers. I may go back in and snug it up in a few places, but I figured this was suitable enough for pictures.

The back. I really like the little side pockets. I never really used them much, but they give the purse a finished look.

The inside has one side with pockets. My 3DS fits in one, and my phone fits in the other large one with room for a pen and bus tickets in the middle one. The bottom of the purse is large and flat, it can hold a lot of stuff, but the top of it is only as wide as the zipper so it's not bulky to carry at all. Oh look, I have Streetpass, :)

Just one more picture of one of the side pockets. 

Thanks for looking! I will have some doll stuff to show you soon. I hope you all have a good weekend and a Happy Easter!
P.S. my 6 year old confided in me the other day. He said "Mom, I know the Easter bunny isn't real. I know it's just a person dressed up in a bunny costume because bunnies can't carry baskets of eggs. That's silly."