Saturday, July 20, 2013

WIP

Hello everyone!

It has been a while since I updated, but I have not stopped doing fashion stuff.

In fact, I really need to keep posting updates, as there are so many things happening, and they are fun.

Nothing is fun about my current employment though. It had turned into a 8-4:30 position Monday - Friday. I am not a morning person, so adjusting to this schedule is very, very hard for me. However, that means I have nights and weekends, which is definitely a very rare thing indeed for my industry.

But because my work has a uniform, that means no room to do anything fun other than changing my hair color, so... I am slowly changing my long, black hair into something different. This is what it looks like so far.



I feel like a doll now too! LOL...

... and because I am kind of stuck working at a job with a uniform, I am slowly working on building a new wardrobe from many different kinds of patterns. I love custom clothes and it is hard for me to find anything that fits just right at the stores, so custom making clothes it is.

This is a sweater that I am working on, soon to be sweater dress getting ready for upcoming (or already here) cold weather:



This is the first thing I knitted for myself in quite some time. I am happy to have a chance to knit at all! Work usually wipe me out. There will be lots of different road trips I will be on and knitting is something I can do while in the car.



I also got some books for inspiration/works for later. I am starting to get into the lolita style. I think it is so cute, but a lot of things out there will never fit my body. When I saw these books I was super excited... until I saw that the "large" size is 88cm (34.6"). I am sorry boys and girls but in the US that is about a small in junior stores. I think it will be fun to have some of these clothes for my wardrobe (and later dolly wardrobes), but I gotta figure out how to make it fit me first. I am researching on how to alter these patterns to fit me before even having the paper drafted. It is challenging but I think I can do it.

I think this is enough of an update for now. Betty is still making eye candy. I had just slowed down quite a bit. Boo!

Friday, June 14, 2013

YKK Zipper #3 comparisions on dolls

Hello everyone!

Once again I have found a new job. That usually means I disappear for a while until I get used to it before I can craft again.

But before I do that, I have gotten some zippers to test out my theories.

Now zippers are a tricky business for doll clothing designers. I found that out the hard way. There are many places that sell doll zippers, BUT they usually have pictures of just zippers and not on a doll's hand or anything (except the ones on ebay), which makes the whole buying experience rather difficult, especially since doll zippers are not something that they carry online. There are Barbie clothes that have wonderfully small zippers, but where would you even begin to find such a thing?

Well throughout the travels of the Internet I found the main manufacturer of zippers YKK. They are the largest zipper manufacturer in the world AND many different vendors carry them. For an experiment, I ordered size #3, which is for small things and dresses, and here are my results:



This is the YKK #3 zipper on an Unoss hand. Unosses are 60cm tall (1/3 scale) so I thought it is a good experience just to see what they look like on Bebe. It looks just fine on her.



On Unoa (or 1/4 scale) it is a bit bigger on them. There are styles that have bigger zippers and it would work for that, but for delicate work I would prefer the invisible ones more, at least for this size.



The last one is there because I got curious: What would a standard Barbie doll (or in this case my Unoa lite) be like with this zipper? I think it is way too big.

So why bring up zippers at all here? Attaching zippers in itself not hard. There are many guides on the Internet that will show you, but all you need if you sew by hand a needle and thread, with a sewing machine a zipper foot (better if it is invisible), and if you don't want to sew at all, how about fusible tape and an iron? See? It is not that hard.

So here we have it: my review on the YKK size #3 zipper for 1/3, 1/4, and 1/6 scale dolls. I hope this guide will help people who want to add zippers to clothes with this particular size zippers. :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Design preparations

Hello everyone!

The weather is heating up and so is my work! I have to talk to many different people this week about various things. It wears me out I swear!


So I am working on the little details that matters the most for finished products. I have a lot of fabrics with many different colors and they need zippers, so I ordered a sample card for the fabric matching. I found out that the common zippers that we have YKK is made in the US! Pretty cool huh?


I got the Swarovski Crystal card as well. I love Swaroski crystals and it will help me later with design details later for accessories and what not.

I also got more muslin. I ran out while doing lots of prototypes. Sometimes it is the basics that you need, not necessarily all the sample cards and what not.

That is all for now. Hopefully I have some eye candy made for later. It is taking longer than I expected but like all candy you have to do it just right or it won't work.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dyeing cloth

Hello everyone!

It has been a while since I posted here. I have been busy experimenting. One of them is dyeing cloth.

Sometimes life is funny and throws curve balls at you (or in my case, too many lemons.) I went to my favorite store and got some more fabric for a line of what I think is a must in any dolly wardrobe. More on that later. I got white, which is wonderful but then I ended up washing it with red, and it got stuck with pink.

Frustrated at how quickly this particular fabric took to any color (and resistance to have it removed) I just decided that hey... I can just dye this fabric to another color: black! That was the thought anyway.

So... I got 2 packages of Ritz powder dye. There are many ways to dye fabric, but since I have the stand up washing machine I decided to dye it over the kitchen sink which is made out of stainless steel.



It started off as this. The hottest water tap is only 115*F, which was just lukewarm at most. You need HOT water to dye cloth, so I had to boil some water and pour that on. I think it was around 140*F if you want to be technical.



... and then it turns to this once I mix the hot dye into the water and mix it up. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble as the witches would say. I stirred this mess until I am pretty much tired of this mess, around 30 minutes.



As you can see it didn't take in the dye much. It looks more like dark blue in this shot.



... but when you wash it, it looks like oatmeal gray! Ignore the spot that looks like it is pink in the middle. The dye was even throughout.



This is a comparison between the dark gray I brought in the store (on the right) and the newly dyed gray (on the left). I like it. It will be used up that is for sure. I don't like collecting things and leaving it to the dust. I will use it somewhere. Just you wait!

But... I know a lot of you would say: Why didn't it turn black?

My answer to this question is: because this cloth is not made out of cotton. It is a poly blend with rayon, so it didn't take to the store bought dye. I am sure if I really want to there are ways to dye this kind of fabric at home but at this point I am just happy the color is nice enough. I hope there are more white fabric to be had though. I like white too.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fair isle knitting

Hello everyone!

So I have been working on my knitting again. There are a bunch of things to celebrate so I did not spend much time sewing, although when the winds die down I will definitely do it again because there is a dolly meet and all the new girls are here at last! ^.^ Trust me... this actually took all the time that I did not blog to do it.

This is my first hand at trying fair isle knitting. I love it so far and will do more in the future. After spending a month learning how to hold the yarn I can either do it with one hand or both hands. I don't seem to have a problem getting it all tangled up like what I hear people say, but that is just my luck I think.

Of course... instead of having me write a long tirade about it, how about some images instead since I got Photoshop C6 Extended? Expensive but worth it... :X



First started off with yarn sampling...



... then the yarn shopping :P I am always a sucker for buying yarn. Trust me on this one. I think all knitters get super excited when they go shopping for yarn.



I then first knit a swatch, then a "blank" so I can figure out how a project will look in the future. I might like it, I might not. These turn out to be ok on fingerweight yarn. Probably will knit with that weight for my Unoss in the future.



After finding the right needle and yarn, just cast on with the plans in mind and knit and knit!. This part always take the longest.



This is the first one that I had made! I hope to make more different varieties in the future! Who knows... if I knit them fast enough it might become a staple in the future if I can knit them fast enough. I have more colors to experiment too, so I will definitely get going on that. ;)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Muslin work: A reflection

Hello everyone!

So I briefly talked about how I am doing muslin work on my last blog post.

What is muslin work? It is about making the pattern come to life, so to speak, on muslin, which is 100% cotton. Before you sew on fashion fabric my teacher often said in class that you should make 1 (or several) muslin copies to check to see if everything fits the way you want. Muslin is a pretty cheap material to buy, fashion fabric not so much. You can do all the adjusting you want here and no one would be wiser before you sew on the final fabric.

Here is a good example of why I should have made a muslin before I sew:



So... here is a pair of jeans I made as a prototype just yesterday. I followed a pattern to the latter too and it didn't work out somehow. Yes the legs fit all right BUT look at the waistline! Besides the fact that I did NOT add a snap or a hook/eye on the back the waist is too high for my liking and the fit is just terrible when I put in something for it! If this is in a store (unless it is designed to be high waisted jeans) I would not touch this pair of pants with a 10 foot pole even though I like the fabric. (Ya I am my own worst critic...)

Plan B: So... instead of doing this again every pattern I work with from now on will have detailed muslins made with notes so I know what changes to make here and there before I cut and sew the clothes up for the final stage. I do have a sleuth of dollies and they all need clothes to wear. -_- This would also give me an expectation of what the final products should look like and how to best assemble the garment for the future.



Muslin work is simple: It started out as any other sewing project. You alter your pattern to the best of abilities with paper, then cut the muslin, sew it up, and then look at your work at the fit.

Here is a good sewing tip: If you want your work to look neat, iron everything! If I didn't get much else from my teacher it is this: every time before you cut, after you cut, every time you sew a seam, iron it! Your projects will thank you later.



Here is the first one I made. The pattern here called for me to have the closing on the back BUT since I did not like it I put it in the front. That requires some knowledge of pattern work and some play.



... and here is the back. I really like it. Now that I can see it on the picture the stitching can use some work but when you sew you have to realize when you sew through thick parts of fabric some machine skipping can occur. You just need to be aware of it and fix it when you see it.





... and here is how it fits on my Unoa girl. It is much nicer than the first pair isn't it? I took these pictures in a hurry just to see the fit after making it. I think after a few fixes (I do see add ons despite my best attempts here) I will attempt again in denim and eventually will have a skirt ready for mass production. ^.^

In Betty Candy the eventual goal is setting up my own shop to sell my designs as well as having open studio days where you can come visit my little world and see what I do for yourself. As you can see here it takes a few tries to make something into reality and "ready to wear". I like to be able to document just what goes on in the background before or after the fact. I like transparency when I make my art and I hope you the viewer likes the transparency too.

Good sewing reference books

Hello everyone!

Sometimes the best reference books are your textbooks!

Now I haven't really mentioned much about my textbooks for my classes because I hardly take any classes on my own other than a few classes here and there, but I spent a few weeks preparing for my midterm (which is now over whew!) I have other books in my library (I like books) but this is really the best book out there for sewing reference.



The Reader's Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing is really good. It has good illustrations and instructions on how to do sewing based on projects that you would want to do. It is also good because it shows you what project the book decided to print out and you can buy them (or in my case, scan the preview patterns for patterns later.)



For my other reference book I have DK's Complete Book of Sewing in my library before. It is a good book, but in a different way. It is a more hands on on techniques out there instead of project based and then show techniques. It is a good book but for a different reason.

I hope this will help any future sewers with these 2 books as starting points. Sometimes when you are stuck or need inspiration reference books is usually where I go look.

I am going to do a bunch of muslin work now. Sometimes you just need to make a bunch of muslins in order to make a final project. I will tell you more about muslin work later when I am done with some.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The basic button up shirt

Hello everyone!

Sewing is limited this week because oh man I worked 6 days last week, and none of it was fun. It was in fact kind of sucky. Then I found another pile of UFOs during the week and here is one of them finished (at least in the machine):



Ahhh the classic long sleeved button up shirt. Everyone has at least 1. They can be very fancy, full of tucks and pleats and flares and fitted, short or long, long sleeved or short sleeved, and so forth. I guess I am just trying to get the hang of sewing these unfinished shirts so that I can see what they look like when they are done. When they are fully finished they will have these cute little buttons on them and close with snaps. Squee they will be so cute!



They can also make good pj shirts, like Betty demonstrates here. With different types of fabrics and a lot of play button up shirts will become a staple in any dolly's closet! I will have to play with Unoa size first.

In the meantime, I will go rest my head. My head is killing me the past few weeks, after Christmas really. I got food poisoning/stomach flu and then the sinus headaches came and came and no relief in sight. I already made an appointment with my doctors so they can see what is going on, but for now ugh. I just want this to end already!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

UFOs and their lessons

Hello everyone!

Winter break = finishing UFOs.

What are UFOs? Well in the art world UFOs = UnFinished Projects, and well I got TONS of them over the years from random ideas and what not!



What I used to do is sew dolly kimonos mostly by hand and some machine. I went back to that pile after hearing many different advices from my teacher and the aids because I think the dolls should be wearing them, not leaving them in a pile. My first finished UFO project of the year DOES fit and looks ok on my Unoa sist, but laying flat I would call it a disaster.

Just because you know new tricks that does not mean that you will not encounter many, many more tricks to learn. Just ask me and my book. Now I am looking at my book to avoid the awful collar and remember to make all the different "undergarments" on the dolls themselves.

Anyway, I got work to do. Hooray for weekends and my free time!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dolly Introduction #1: the Betty Doll (Part of Blythe 365: Blythe a Day)

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!



Now that I got the sewing going it is finally time to start introducing all the dollies that are in Betty Candy. Now my husband thinks a doll is a doll and does not/should not have personalities, but I beg to differ.



The first, of course, is the Betty doll herself.



Betty is a 3rd Anniversary Blythe doll. She is not an Asian Butterfly with her hair cut into a bob. She is not a re-rooted girl with the same hair color and eye chips as Art Attack. She is the real thing. How can you tell? Well the stock 3rd Anniversary girl Art Attack has her nails painted pink and her ears pierced. In fact, she comes with a whole treasure trove of earrings and a lots of accessories, so she is well prepared. She also has the Art Attack screen saver disk, which I have in the house somewhere. I got her in Christmas 2005 actually, so that makes her around 7 years old if you count the times.



What is Betty like? She is pretty much me without the allergies. She is a realistic but cynical doctor who enjoys her job, but wishes she has more time for all the other things she is interested in. She is a dreamer who likes to cook and bake but finds herself eating out at some restaurant every night because of her schedule. So... she knows about food and knows about science but she also likes to keep her job clothes and her regular clothes separate. Her job keeps her in some kind of lab coat and clothes to meet up with patients, clients, and other people and she gets really, really sick of it. Even though she has lots of money, she is interested in collecting teddy bears, dolls, books, clothes, and jewelry. Being the only girl for a long time, the Betty doll does not like to share. Her wardrobe is separate from all the other dolly wardrobe. She has her own house and style and lives accordingly.

Does the Betty doll herself have a boyfriend or a husband? No, but she has many admirers and dates and kind of likes it that way, at least for now.

Does the Betty doll really reflect who I really am? Yes and no. If I am not allergic to so many man made chemicals, I would actually be a doctor instead of an artist/cook. I got her right as I started developing all these allergies and can no longer continue my studies, which is heartbreaking to me.

The rest, well I will leave it up to you as a reader to decide.

_______________________________________

So... there we have it: the Betty doll and introducing my first project of the year: 365 pictures of my Blythes. If you manage to not get bored halfway through the Betty doll's introduction: Don't worry, I have more dolls than Betty. Betty is spunky though so she will show up probably the most. I also love sewing for Blythes as well as Momokos and Unoas. It is a challenge in its own way.

Anyway, thanks for reading so far. Happy New Year to all and hope that we will have a wonderful year of growth together.