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Sunday, 30 May 2010

Welcome, and sewing for the girls

Blog silence recently has once again occured due to my headlong, busy life.  However despite my silence, two more people have decided to follow my blog:

Puppenstubennostalgie is German and has a great mini blog at which is well worth visiting.

Altafulla has three blogs, the one being of the most interest to miniaturists is she blogs in Catalan and English.

Welcome to my blog.

I have been busy sewing this week, but not for miniatures.  For once I've actually made some clothes for my two daughters.  In the sales just after Christmas, I found a pattern and some lovely material in John Lewis.  I've finally made the time to make up the summer dress for my 6 year old girl.  It is from a Simplicity Lizzie McGuire pattern, 4721.  The material is 'city girl holiday by Kitty Yoshida' and was gorgeous to sew (no snagging or slipping).  A few weeks ago my elder girl spotted some batik material in John Lewis and decided she wanted it made into a skirt, so she poured over the pattern books and chose Simplicity 2620, skirt view D.  I also finally succumbed to a pattern I've had my eye on for a while, Simplicity 18" doll clothing 4364.

First I made up the dress, it took about 2 and half evenings.  My little girl is small for her age, so I had to adjust the bodice, and therefore the skirt had to be gathered a bit under the arms to fit the bodice.

Then I made up the skirt.  This took 2 evenings.  Then, crazy me, I started cutting out pattern pieces and material for the doll dress at 11 pm on Friday night, and just kept on sewing.  What possessed me I do not know, I had a DVD on which I've seen before (The Greatest Show on Earth - old fashioned, certainly not politically correct by modern standards, but a good story) and didn't want to stop that or the sewing.  I finally went to bed at 2.30 am then was woken at 6.30 am by my bright eyed youngster!  I spend part of the morning finishing off the dress for Samanta the Gotz doll and my little girl was thrilled.

I haven't yet photographed the skirt, but will do soon.  In the meantime, enjoy these photos of Samantha in her little dress, and the summer dress for my daughter.
Samantha in her new summer dress, and the child's dress
I used flash for this photo - it shows up the printed gold in the fabric
(click on the photo for a closer view)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Aussie girls discover percussion

Just before Easter I made play clothes for Belle and Matilda.  This followed their quick Easter dresses.  The play clothes were from slightly adapted Joan Hind patterns from her book 'sew the contemporary wardrobe for 18" dolls', adapted because the Aussie girls are a little bigger around the waist than most 18" dolls and their legs are a little chunkier.  My elder girl had requested dungarees for Matilda so I used the top half of the denim jumper dress and the capri trousers pattern joined together to create the dungarees.  I made the capri trousers for Belle, and the tank top.  Both outfits were quite quick to sew (took a couple of evenings all told) so were ready for Easter when the girls got them instead of Easter eggs (they had plenty of eggs from other people, including an egg hunt at church and at a National Trust property) along with the trainers I had found on ebay.  But apart from that gymnastics photo of my younger daughter teaching the dolls the 'bridge' I've not had time to photograph them in their new outfits.
Belle and Matilda in their denim play clothes
(not a good photo, taken as it was getting dark outside,
and I didn't get the exposure right)

Today they discovered the drum kit.  This mini kit was given to my younger daughter for Christmas 2 or 3 years ago when she was very little.  I think her Godmother was trying to convert her to be a percussionist as she has had several other rattles & shakers from her too.  The kit is now actually a little small for her, but Belle and Matilda didn't mind it being a bit too big for them!
Look Matilda, I'm drumming

Oh wow, I want to play too

See Belle, I've got a shaker

Hey, I'm getting good at this drumming

Monday, 3 May 2010

Dancing on Ice - live tour

I wasn't satisfied with Peter's silver Ice skating shirt.  The colour just somehow didn't seem to suit him.  When I made the Golden skating dress in time for the final of the 2010 'Dancing on Ice' show on TV, I realised that I had made Peter's shirt silver because his skates were silver (Gotz don't make Black skates and didn't sell the white skates separately in 2009).  I had obtained some American Girl 2010 white skates via ebay which have gold laces and these went beautifully with the Golden dress that Anna has been wearing for over a month! 

As a huge family treat I booked tickets for us to see the live tour of 'Dancing on Ice' at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (not cheap).  I realised 3 days ago that my little one would want to take a doll in a skating outfit to the show, then decided that Peter should have a matching outfit because the premise for 'Dancing on Ice' is couples skating together.  But I didn't have enough of the gold material to make a complete outfit.  Plenty of the lovely lacey material that forms Anna's skirt, but only enough of the gold to make a top.  So I went to John Lewis on Saturday morning in the hope that they would have more, but it had been a remnant from the end of a roll that they have not repeated.  However I did find some lovely black stretch shiny jersey with golden sparkles and this matched the tones and shade of the gold material beautifully.  Luckily this roll was on a half price offer, and as I bought only half a metre (more than enough) it was very cheap.

I used the tights pattern I had used previously for his black skating leggings and sewed the toes so that the leggings wouldn't ride up his legs.  It was really quick to sew - from cutting to finish was less than an hour.  I had been looking at photos of Torvill and Dean and realised that their famous 'Mack and Mabel' outfits were all gold.  Christopher Dean wore a smart shapely breasted jacket and a white shirt underneath with a gold bow tie.  I decided that I liked the strong V shape but that a full jacket would take too much time (and material) to make, so a smart waistcoat would do the trick.  I adapted an existing pattern for a V necked tshirt from Joan Hinds into a shorter waistcoat (the tshirt was quite long) and then decided that the lacey material would make perfect sleeves.  The waistcoat was lined with the gold material (I cut the pattern pieces twice, then sewed 2 fronts to a back twice over, then sewed the two matching pieces round most of the edges and folded the right way out.  I had also set the sleeves into the sleeve edges, and it all worked out well.  Once the waistcoat jacket was stitched I sewed two sets of clear plastic press studs at the front and stitched on the sequins to match the golden dress.  This top took the evening to make (while we watched a DVD - one I had seen before so I had half an eye on the screen) and I'm really pleased with how effectively it has turned out.  Peter borrowed Harriet's American Girl white skates to match his new outfit.

I took photos last night, but of course the flash over emphasises the sparkly material.  Sunday morning, my little girl rearranged them in a 'skating pose' and I took more photos.

Peter and Anna in their golden outfits

 Striking a pose

Close up of Peter's sequins

Sunday evening my girls took Anna and Peter to the NEC for the live show.  One or two other little girls spotted the dolls and looked interested.  Our tiered seats were way back near one of the trailing spotlights, but despite being some distance from the skaters we had a good view of the show which was absolutely brilliant.  It was great to see Torvill and Dean 'live' at last (not just live through a TV screen) and the TV studio rink was replaced with ice size two thirds bigger, which was a challenge for the weaker celebrities, but made space for a spectacular show.  The costumes were great, the concept for the professional skater sections of the show was imaginative, and seeing Jayne and Chris doing their flying version of the Bolero with two long strips of purple cloth was breathtaking and just a bit scary - they flew quite high - so impressive.  Taking photos wasn't easy, I didn't use flash during the show, and beforehand I experimented a bit to try and get the dolls in the foreground with the 'Dancing on Ice' set in the background, but the photos are not good, and the dolls were not posed well.  I didn't have the courage to take them down closer to the ice for a photo at the end and it was late for the girls with over an hour's journey to get home.
Anna and Peter at 'Dancing on Ice', taken without flash

Anna and Peter at 'Dancing on Ice', taken with backlight flash