Thursday, 5 July 2018

Shweshwe outfit for Lindiwe

A few weeks after the Sasha Celebration Weekend I was asked if I would make a shweshwe outfit similar to the one I had donated to the raffle, as a special commission for a doll who was having a complete makeover.  The doll was an early dark skinned Caleb who had suffered an unfortunate haircut so was being completely re-rooted as a girl and eyes repainted.

The re-rooting was done by Pam and the long black hair braided in 204 tiny plaits (3 plugs of hair to each plait) by Janet, who also repainted the doll's eyes.

I sent Janet some photos of all my shweshwe fabric pieces in various colour combinations with plain fabrics.  Laying out and playing with my various fat quarters of the different colours and patterns was fun.  I had a strong feeling that Janet would choose the combination she did, which was 2 shweshwe patterns (green/yellow/black swirls and brown with yellow/orange spot patterns) and 3 plain fabrics (mid green, brown and yellow).  All the previous versions of the dress I've sewn have only had 2 plain colours not 3. We discussed what I would do with this combination and as a result, the skirt of the sundress was lengthened to encompass plain bands of colours between the 2 different patterns.

Once I had nearly finished the outfit and was making the tassels, I thought about making a pair of sandals on the chance that I would manage to make my first pair of shoes for a Sasha doll, and secondly that Janet might like them.  I adapted the sandals pattern in the Sasha Dolls Clothing book as I was making the shoes in fabric not leather and wanted to use a different type of fastening - braided cords rather than straps and loop buckles.  These were inspired partly by my younger daughter making friendship bracelets from wool for a forthcoming Girl Guiding trip.  I wanted to use the colours of the tassels on the brettels of the sundress in the braids.  I wove the sandal braids using a kumihimo loom made of corrugated cardboard.

The kumihimo braiding nearly completed, using 2 different greens, 2 different yellows and brown (7 threads altogether)
The front strap of the sandals was stitched to a piece of felt, followed by the heal strap (which was doubled over fabric to make a loop for threading the braided ankle strap).  The front braids were stitched to the front strap of fabric and the underside of the felt.  Then I glued together two pieces of thick stiff leather for each sole which I had cut out before gluing.  While they were drying, I glued the fabric shoe inner onto the felt to hide the stitching and give the inside of the sandals some pattern.  Then I glued the soles onto the underside of the felt and fabric straps.  Once they were completely dry, I ironed the heal straps forwards so they would stand upright.  The braided ties were threaded through the loop of heal fabric and tied in a bow. I stamped the bottoms of the soles 'DollMum' with letter punches.

Completed shweshwe fabric sandals with kumihimo braids and leather soles

The leather soles before I name stamped them

The sandals and underpants

The sandals with their soles name stamped

Fortunately Janet liked the sandals so they were added to the commission and posted with the outfit after Florence modelled it for her alongside Melanie wearing the original shweshwe sundress I had sewn a few months ago when I made the Studio size version of the dress for Dorisanne's Emmalee Rose.

Florence and Melanie in the shweshwe sundresses, Florence wearing Janet's special commission

The hat is double sided, with different fabrics on each side

Back view of the dress, hat and sandals

Hat, underpants and sandals

The complete outfit with the matching sandals, front view of the dress

The complete outfit with the matching sandals, back view of the dress, with the other side of the hat

The following are Janet's photos of Lindiwe, with her wonderful braids and eye painting, wearing her new shweshwe outfit.

side view of Lindiwe wearing her new dress and sandals

Lindiwe in her new dress, sandals and hat

Showing off her sandals

Lindiwe holding her hat
A late 1940s sundress pattern which was originally created in blue gingham with yellow trim for a Swiss designed Sasha Studio doll has proved remarkably versatile - it works well with African print fabrics in combination with plain fabrics. It also looks good with more subtle colours and patterns and in Christmas colours and prints. Below is a line up of all the versions I've made so far.

Melanie wearing the 16" doll sized outfit and her shoes from Dorisanne alongside the 20" doll sized outfit for Emmalee Rose. 

The day before the SCW my Florence modelled the Raffle outfit I made while Melanie wore the dress I had previously made to match the 20" Studio doll outfit for Emmalee Rose

At the 2018 SCW: Melanie in her shweshwe outfit, Laura's studio doll Sela in her sundress and hat I'd made as a prototype, Laura's Jackie in her new raffle outfit and baby Nina playing with her abacus

Louisa, my toddler, wearing her version of the dress for Christmas
Florence wearing the dress for Janet's doll, with Melanie in her own dress. The same plain green fabric was used in both dresses.
As a bonus of this commission I've made my first pair of sandals for a Sasha doll (the most time consuming part was making the braids).  I have other ideas of how to fasten the ankle strap, making it shorter than using a bow to tie it.  Janet fastened the bow around the back of the ankle which looks neat, I had fastened it at the front when Florence modelled the outfit. So maybe when I can find the time for some more shoe making I'll experiment with my ideas and see what happens.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Fanfare band on tour

Animal's agent was hard at work arranging a tour of the Red Carpet Fanfare Band and clinched a booking at the home of the world famous Henry Holiday who sadly had been unable to attend the Sasha Celebration Weekend 2 weeks earlier.

Henry, Everlee and Maddison had seen the photos of the Red Carpet occupants and would not rest until the band came their way.

Henry (electric guitar), Everlee (violin) and Maddison (flute) along with visiting, laid back guitarist Gilly wanted to join the England based members of the original band (Reuben and Edmund) - the band was sadly lacking its classiest original member Janet who had returned to the USA for her solo flute tour.

Everlee, Maddison, Reuben, Animal (Edmund), Henry and Gilly make music in the Red Carpet Fanfare Band

Everlee and Maddison with violin and flute

Henry and Gilly played guitar

Animal's enthusiasm knew no bounds - more instruments to drown out with his drumming!

Henry and Gilly the guest guitarists would not be outdone by a noisy, enthusiastic toddler drummer

In the audience were toddlers Louisa and Bonnie (in her SCW raffle outfit, brought as a gift), Laura and Trendon Elliott along with Ella and Meredith.

Louisa, Bonnie, Laura, Trendon Elliott, Ella and Meredith listened in surprise

Laura, Trendon Elliott, Ella and Meredith leaned forward to listen

The band made lots of noise tuning up and after a couple of false starts soon made some recognisable music, punctuated frequently by Animal crashing cymbal, banging drums and rattling his chain.  The audience listened in amazement at what could be achieved with enthusiasm, listening to each other, some lessons and a short rehearsal.

The Red Carpet Fanfare Band on tour with their fans
The Sasha audience and extended Red Carpet Fanfare Band would like to encourage their friends everywhere to learn a musical instrument as there is so much fun to be had from making music together.

Sasha Celebration Weekend 2018 - Part 5

After the SCW Oscar awards in which those of us who had run a craft workshop were given our own mini teddy, we chatted some more at the dinner table and my girl did another fishtail plait for her own doll Laura.  Trendon Elliott and Laura had come to dinner in their best music themed clothes (made by Lorraine who could not be with us at the SCW unfortunately and who would have joined our music trio playing her clarinet).

Trendon Elliot with my craft workshop thank you gift bear and Laura at dinner

Laura's fishtail plait

Emma and her young daughter invited a few of us back to her room for more socialising, so we joined Emma, her girl, Alison and Jocelyn for some late night chatting. My girl re-plaited the fishtail plait for Jocelyn's doll.

Chatting in Emma's room after completing the fishtail plait for Jocelyn's doll Ella

Enjoying a good Sasha chat

Happy with Ella's restyled hair

Closeup of Ella's fishtail plait (photo Alan Hinchcliffe)

It had been such a long, fun, busy day but that didn't stop us talking until late.  On Sunday morning Laura and baby Theo took Animal's SCW Oscar to breakfast so that immediately after breakfast we could photograph the Fanfare band with the award before packing up the band until their next appearance.  Many of the Red Carpet dolls had left the carpet when we arrived, it was sad to see the display denuded of many of its finely dressed occupants.

Laura and Theo with Animal's SCW Oscar

The Fanfare Band with SCW Oscar
All my other photos of the Fanfare band have not shown what was written on the labels for each doll, so I photographed them to show.

Louise Armstrong with his trumpet from High Society - in tribute to the great jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong providing a fanfare fore the red carpet entrants!

'Animal' from The Muppets - a toddler is never far from being an enthusiastic, dangerous, untamed … music maker - give him a set of drums with a crashing cymbal and he is happy!

Janet - a classy lady plays her flute in the band - providing the melodies and trills to accompany the entry of the red carpet Sasha and Gregor beauties!

Janet and her flute

Janet the very classy lady in the Fanfare band

Alan took a group photo of most of the SCW people at 9.30 am, some had already left to catch trains or planes, some were loading their cars but we had all three children in the photo.

Most of the 2018 SCW attendees
Alan had his photo booth for those of us who wanted our dolls photographed in front of a scenic backdrop before we left.

Reuben as Louis Armstrong (photo Alan Hinchcliffe)

Louis Armstrong and his trumpet (photo Alan Hinchcliffe)

Animal and his SCW Oscar (photo Alan Hinchcliffe)

Closeup of 'Animal' (photo Alan Hinchcliffe)

Animal in the street (photo Alan Hinchcliffe)
And so it was time to say goodbye to everyone at the 2018 SCW, it went far too fast!  I would like to thank Janet and Tricia for another triumph of organisation, exercise in patience, great ideas brilliantly realised and positive encouragement - their work made the weekend memorable for all of us.

Now I need to work out what the wooden craft will be next time...

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Sasha Celebration Weekend 2018 - Part 4

We had enjoyed our dinner and Dee's talk about Gotz eyes at the Sasha Celebration Weekend.  Then came the Awards ceremony for the Red Carpet entrants. So much effort had gone into the making of the amazing costumes and many people had filled in the voting slips during the day for the various categories.  Some categories had more entrants than others and some entries didn't have obvious categories so people had voted for their favourites in the nearest category.

Janet and Tricia announced the award winners (the SCW Oscars) as follows:

Best Musical - Moulin Rouge (Pearl D)

Moulin Rouge - Best Musical

Best Screenplay - The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Pearl D)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Best Screenplay

Closer view of the Rocky Horror pair

Pearl collects one of her two SCW Oscars

Best Soundtrack - Animal and the Muppet Band (DollMum's daughter)

Best Soundtrack - Animal and the Muppet Band

Receiving her SCW Oscar for Animal!

"I would like to thank my mum"

Best Newcomer in a Starring Role - Anne of Green Gables (Leni S)

Best Newcomer in a Starring Role - Anne of Green Gables in her pale green dress and straw hat

Receiving her SCW Oscar for Anne of Green Gables

Best Foreign Picture - Amelie (Diane D)

Best Foreign Picture - Amelie with her bobbed hair and beautiful dress (left)

Holding her SCW Oscar aloft for Amelie

Best Costume Design - Lady Gaga Paparazzi (Jonny H)

Best Costume Design - Lady Gaga Paparazzi (photo Alan Hinchcliffe)

Lady Gaga Paparazzi (photo Alan Hinchcliffe)

My photo of Lady Gaga Paparazzi with Wednesday Addams in front of her!

Jonny with his SCW Oscar for the absolutely inspired Lady Gaga costume

Best Supporting Actor - Ben Cross (Laura H)

Best Supporting Actor - Ben Cross in his Olympic outfit

Going to receive her SCW Oscar for her Oympic athlete

Best Supporting Actress - Wednesday Addams (Jane S)

Best Supporting Actress - Wednesday Addams (photo Alan Hinchcliffe)

Jane with her SCW Oscar for Wednesday's role

Best Actor - Charlie Chaplin (Alison B)

Best Actor - Charlie Chaplin (photo Alan Hinchcliffe)

Receiving her SCW Oscar for Charlie the best actor in the Red Carpet display

Best Actress - Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina (Karin F - costume made by Vicky)

Best Actress - Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina on the Red Carpet

Karin receiving her SCW Oscar and saying the award really belongs to Vicky who made Audrey Hepburn's outfit
Best Picture - Sound of Music (Janet and Mary R)

Best Picture - Sound of Music

Maria and the Von Trapp children in their play clothes (each outfit was different and matched the film outfits beautifully)

Tricia presents the SCW Oscars for Best Picture to Mary and Janet

Mary and Janet with their SCW Oscars for Best Picture
All my other Red Carpet photos:

Red Carpet L-R: Rocky Horror, Madame Butterfly, Moulin Rouge, Audrey as Sabrina, Charlie Chaplin

Red Carpet L-R: Charlie Chaplin, Amelie, Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, Pixie Lott, Whoopie Goldberg

More of the Red Carpet entrants

Red Carpet Entrants including 'The Secret Garden' (Mary, Colin and Dicken)

The Red Carpet beginning including Dorothy and Toto, Shakira and Angelina Jolie (with Lady Gaga behind them)

At the other end of the Red Carpet

Between the Fanfare band and the edge of the Red Carpet
'The Secret Garden'

Madame Butterfly


Bewitched (Elizabeth Montgomery)

Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) and Richard Burton

Press photographer

Elke dressing up in her mum's clothes to go on the Red Carpet

My Fair Lady
There is one more post about the 2018 Sasha Celebration to follow.