Tuesday, March 31, 2015

31 Days Straight Art Day 28: March 28, 2015

Hello everyone!

I spent the day with my local dolly friends. It was pretty pleasant to do something else other than being crammed up at home like I always am.

The girls took me to Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA. It is a very nice Japanese garden. I am not sure if this one is bigger than the one in Golden Gate Park by San Francisco but it was nice nevertheless. Apparently you can rent it out to parties and weddings. It is definitely a big enough venue for that!

My friends all took 1 doll each. I took Darline my Unoa Sist to take some pictures.

Bigger sizes are available on my flickr.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures of Darline!

Monday, March 30, 2015

31 Days Straight Art Day 27: March 27, 2015

I didn't feel like sewing today.

I worked on my yard instead. I think I pointed out that I pretty much grow everything organically, so pest control can be quite hard.

Here are some of my ripe berries in my yard. Tasty no?

... and here is what happens when you try to pick them up to eat. Most of them are spared from the hungry snails but then you get that one with the giant hole in it and that would make any grower (organic or not) very anxious and annoyed. I spent this good amount of time growing these babies. I don't want them to eat it! Ahhhh!

31 Days Straight Art Day 26: March 26, 2015

(catching up to all the blog entries is hard but I did do art this whole time!)

So after making this t-shirt I made another pattern, this time more form fitting:

I am on a roll, even if it is small!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

31 Days Straight Art Day 25 & WIP Wednesday: March 25, 2015


So my plans for a kitsuke might be put on hold for now.

I got a commission to work on. My friend and I are working on a trade. I need face ups for my girls and she needs clothes for her Unoss, so that is fair I think. Since I didn't have my super sharp scissors until this afternoon I didn't really get a chance to work on it until before dinner.

So... let's get to work! She wanted a cardigan, a t-shirt, pair of jeans, and a pair of tights. Ok sounds fair. Let's go! Bebe will be our model of this fashion journey. She can't wait to get clothes on personally so I will make a few for her too.

Once you memorize how to make something it is easy to just replicate them again. The problem of course is the pattern. If the pattern doesn't fit no matter how many times you make something it just doesn't work.

... and here is how the shirt has started. As you can see there are some fitting issues but that would be no problem to fix the next day when there is more light and less chores for me to do. The actual sewing is easy. Actually this took a few minutes to make a shell.

The hard part is to make the pattern in the first place. I started off with a pattern already in place with a general measurement and then went to work grading, cutting, and then sewing this piece. Notice I did not put the t-shirt collar on nor I did much topstitching. Those are finishing touches to the piece when it is done. Since this is a test piece to just figure out the fit I don't do that much effort in making it look nice. That will be done when the shirt fits and the pattern hangs right. Decorative stitching is always nice of course but you don't start doing that until after you are done figuring out the main garment construction. This piece is also not serged. It is simply a shell made with the correct material to see how the garment drapes.

A t-shirt is simple of course until you have to start from scratch measurements. More photos will come tomorrow!

31 Days Straight Art Day 24: March 24, 2015

Hi again,

So still sick here but definitely recovered a lot.

I took in my sewing scissors into the shop, so I spent the day trying to make coordinates and plans for my sewing.

Here is one coordinate I was thinking of for a kitsuke for my Unoa Zero that I have been working on all month:

I am trying to come up with what accessories she should have and what not, but I think this is a good start for someone that has no scissors. =_=

31 Days Straight Art Day 21 - 23: March 21 - 23, 2015

Hello everyone,

So I just spent most of the time in bed. I got some awful cold that just weigh me down the past few days.

The only thing to report is that I knitted more pink blanket.

Otherwise, I was sick in bed the whole time. It sucks.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

31 Day Straight Art Day 20: March 20, 2015

Hello everyone!

I posted the last post I made on one of my doll groups on Facebook to show that you shouldn't be afraid to repair your dolls. I got some interesting responses, all positive. Thank you! :)

Unfortunately I caught the husband's cold, so I spent more time dressing my Ange instead of things that I have laying around. She remind me how come I have Betty Candy. These are all my Unoa Sist's clothes I made over the years. I designed everything BUT the Mio top.

Ange wearing a Korean style/70s inspired dress

Ange wearing a Mio top and a pair of pinstripe jeans I designed.

Ange wearing a sweater dress

Ange wearing a sweatshirt dress with real working zippers

After this exercise this girl is telling me that I need to design her something white, pink, and lacy. I told her, "I need to finish my big girls' clothes first. Sorry. You will have to wait for your turn."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

31 Days Straight Art Day 17 - 19: March 17 - 19, 2015

Hello everyone!

This is probably one of the few posts that are going to be grouped together, just because the art days were so intense I pretty much fell asleep afterwards.

So Tuesday... I spent time with my high school friend. We had dim sum with her family and then went shopping. That part was fun.

I also spent a lot of time photographing the broken piece of my Unoa Elder Ange. Sigh... It is so sad.

I unstrung my Ange as soon as possible. She is supposed to have the big bust. I was so sad that her bust broke but sometimes things just happen and then you just need to fix it, because hell when would you see another Unoa Elder fairy skin large bust plate again? So... I spent Tuesday talking to friends and mod artists to see how should we go around to fixing this awful crack.

... and Wednesday we fixed her!

On Wednesday I went to my friend Ann, Leslie, and Alexia's house. They are all roommates and they are all doll lovers with over 100+ dolls in their house. Ann mainly mods dolls while Leslie and Alexia makes clothes. Ann helped me fix Ange's broken chest piece. She also reinforced both of the chest pieces. Of course... can't do anything about it at this point. It had to dry

... and dry it did! Today I examined the pieces that were done.

The crack healed ok. Yay!

... but the head piece no longer fits into the hole! This is how much apoxie sculpt that was inside. I had to use sandpaper and dremel to reshape what was added on inside so I can fit the head back on.

... and here is as close to the head as I can make it. Ironically (or not) Chibi Unoa heads fit Unoa Elder heads and so forth, so I guess *if* you want to switch plates you can.

This is the repair from the side after I took the dremel and sandpaper to...

... and here is what it looks like from the front!

Whew! This is done over the span of 3 days! Hooray for me! I really should go back to sewing. I tried to put clothes on her but her character is very girly with pink, white, and lace. That part will work itself out later. I need to go get shoes for her. That part would be hard.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

31 Days Straight Art Day 16: March 16, 2015

Hello everyone!

So it is Monday once again. Whew! Another week ahead!

I spent the day more on taking photos. Photography is art too right?

So... today I chased down the mailman for this package. It is my new Unoa Elder Ange in fairy skin! She is absolutely adorable! The bad part about her is that her big chest has a huge crack on her chest :'( With friends I am sure she can be fixed.

For now she gets to get the small chest piece.

... and here is almost 10 years of collecting at work. This is my Unoa girl collection. I have one of each body type designed by Mr. Araki Gentaro here displayed. It started out with my Unoa sist and then worked its way to the rest of the collection, the last one being my Unoa Elder Ange. I am very happy about my display here. Even though they are all screaming at me to make stuff for them I will get there one day at a time.

I really should get to bed now. It is late and I think I am getting sick :(

Sunday, March 15, 2015

31 Days Straight Art Day 15: March 15, 2015

Hi again,

Today is such a nice day that I went out to the yard to work! That still counts as art right?

So here I have a strawberry patch. I grew it in memory of my favorite guinea lap pig who loved to eat strawberries. My piggy is so to speak the guardian of this patch. Normally during the winter the rain would come down and get the plants all soaking wet so that they CAN grow as much as they do. Unfortunately CA is in a freaking drought that has no end to it that I have seen, and all the plants are completely confused. The strawberries actually have been blooming since January. The weather was colder then. The flowers didn't really turn into berries. Now that it is around mid 70s*F (23-24*C) around here the flowers are turning into fruit. Unfortunately strawberries are very water intensive plants so I have to start watering them every other day so supplement the lack of rain.

I also grow mint, oregano, lemons, and blackberries, although we are rethinking about what to grow now that it has been officially spring since mid February. I will have to take pictures tomorrow when things are as not as dark outside. Where I live do have water rationing but it is not very strictly enforced yet. However, I am not going to purposefully take in plants that are very water intensive unless it is more strawberries.

As for dolly art stuff? I am going to grade/translate this Unoa Zero bustier pattern and see where it goes. Hopefully I will have something done this week about it because I *really* need clothes for my girls. At the moment I put the hat in the back burner until I feel up to it again.

Hopefully next week is more productive.

31 Days Straight Art Day 14: March 14, 2015

Happy Pi day everyone!

So pi day was a lazy day for me. I pretty much kinda sat around and knitted the whole time.

What am I knitting? A giant pink cameo blanket! It started out as a small side project that had grown to epic proportions! It is nowhere near done and I usually knit it only when I feel like it because it is so heavy on the arms to lift this thing up. There is nowhere really to set this down either. It is just a huge thing you have to hold around. At least it is getting done but not much else is done. Bleh.

31 Days Straight Art Day 13: March 13, 2015

Happy Friday the 13th! Haha...

... and of course because it is Friday the 13th it either means luck is with you or luck is not. As far as the day went it was great. The hubby took me to a lunch and then movie date. At the art part not so much.

I think the only thing I got done is cutting up and sorting these patterns into envelopes. Oh well. You win some you lose some.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

31 Days Straight Art Day 12: March 12, 2015 & Thursday Tools

Hello again,

So I finally scanned my Unoa Freak 3 that I got since like... months ago. I thought I scanned it in but I didn't. Oh well.

I am very happy with that book though because they have TONS of patterns, especially for Unoa Zero. The previous Unoa Freak did only have 1 pattern for Unoa Zero and it wasn't very nice. I spent a good afternoon hacking at all the patterns I wanna sew and indeed I will sew them when I get them all sorted, categorized, and seam allowances fixed.

I want that mini beret damn it! I went straight back for that damn hat. Wish me luck hand sewing these pieces this time!


So what is this week's Thursday tools?

Actually it is a very simple yet effective one. So I got here a quilting foot. This is the default foot I would use on my sewing machine. I actually don't like the default foot on my sewing machine but I will use it if I have to.

Why is this my favorite sewing foot?

Because the foot's sides are 1/4" (6mm). If you put the fabric right up to the foot and leave the sewing machine's needle position to default you can sew 1/4" consistently. This is why quilters use that foot and that is why I use that foot. The normal human seam allowance that is standard is 5/8". I would only have that much of a seam allowance if I am sewing for myself, but for a doll from 1/6 scale to 1/3 scale 1/4" is good enough.

In many Japanese books the general seam allowance is 5mm for doll sewing. Now sewing machines that sew metric *does* have a 5mm foot but my machine is made for the US market so it has 1/4" instead. Some patterns even have you go to 1/8" (3mm) for the seam allowance and that is just too small for me unless I am making panties or something that requires a much more narrow seam allowance. I would trace the patterns and just add or subtract the seam allowance to where I want so I can use that quilting foot. I am a stickler that way. Believe me, 1mm can go a long way to screw up your sewing when sewing tiny things, so if you are sewing for the dollies and planning on using that foot don't forget to add it on your pattern! It takes time but it is better to get things perfect than ripping your hair out.

What about sewing for (insert fabric type here)? In my experience it doesn't matter what kind of fabric I am sewing: stretch, denim, etc... There are special feet for special jobs don't get me wrong like the ruffler foot I featured here last week, zipper foot, button foot, and so forth. As long as you have the correct needle for the job and the fabric is carefully controlled this foot would work just fine for normal fabric seam sewing. This only applies if you are just sewing pieces of fabric together, NOT for special work. When in doubt, turn to your machine manufacturer.

So there you go. Something dead simple but effective when sewing dolly clothes. Tools don't need to be all fancy all the time. You just need the right one to work.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

31 Days Straight Art Day 11: March 11, 2015 & WIP Wednesday

Hello again,

Back to business again. I am happy with myself because my face is no longer such a giant puffy mess and I can do a lot more work than I thought. I was cooking, cleaning, prepping, scanning, and in general getting things done!

So here is my WIP Wednesday that is tearing my hair out:

Note to all who wants to sew tiny things with velvet: Just sew it with your hands!!!

I just made a complete mess out of my beautiful sewing machine trying to sew my tiny little beret on my sewing machine. Experts did say BASTE the stitches in for easier handling, use tiny needles to sew it, and prepare for the mess. NO! For the tiny stuff that I do just hand sew it yourself. You will save your heartache later.

Don't repeat this mess!!!

... and the rewards are very, very small. I can safely say I got myself a beret made out of micro velvet. Unfortunately, let's just say that it didn't make any difference to me whether to sew the beret with your hands or sew it with the sewing machine. The sewing machine kinda ate it and spit it back out.

I will sew my lining with the sewing machine but that is it!

The day is not over yet, but I am going to put that tiny beret down and walk away for a little while I recover. Seriously this is not cool.

31 Days Straight Art Day 10: March 10, 2015

Hello again,

LOL I wrote the whole post with photos but forgot to press the publish button. not smart.

From yesterday:

I managed to do more work than yesterday, but it is not exactly how I want.

I was reading up on how to make a bra (once again), but then a little hat popped up in front of me.

Part of my design with all my clothes involved a tiny little beret. Well... I did not like the one I made so I have to once again design one on my own from scratch. I just seem to like doing that do I? I just can't get professional patterns that would agree with me, so once again I looked at the hat and start from scratch. This little hat I made was my first prototype that did not sit well with me. I think I took that hat apart so many times that the seams were fraying badly.

... and I like the hat better! This is a mock up I made today. I saw the patterns of a French beret online and made a mini version according to that. I like it better a lot better but then I have to face: the fashion fabric of choice.

What I have here is a piece of 100% polyester micro velvet and a 100% polyester satin lining for said hat. It is beautiful. It is expensive, and it is soft to the touch. I am making this with as thin and as small of a pile as I can get. Velvet fabric is nice but it has its problems.

1) The fabric is thick. Sewing machines generally don't like thick fabric.

2) There is a definite nap, meaning there is a direction of the fabric that you have to cut with.

3) It is usually dry clean only. DO NOT IRON IT or you will regret it!

Unfortunately all I did was more prep work. After I made the hat and the quick mock up with muslin I have to preshrink this velvet. I took the iron on polyester setting and just carefully steam it. I can see the fabric shrink immediately! After I finished it had to dry, so I hang it over a chair to dry. The directions did say do not fold the fabric, so I am just draping it over a chair so it doesn't get wrinkles.

Now waiting for it to dry. Meanwhile I am going back to my book. I hope I can get this going soon!

Monday, March 9, 2015

31 Straight Day Art Day 9: March 9, 2015

Made it to Monday yay!

Remember the pics I posted for what I am planning to do? Well let's go do it! So... how, especially since I am not feeling well?

So I am doing the bra and panty set first since I did not scan the Unoa Zero pattern in yet. Since this is a pattern for Unoa Second I have to grade the patterns, which I did on my computer using Photoshop. You never need to have Photoshop, especially now they changed program to a subscription. It is just nice to work with.

After computer grading that is when you cut it out, measure the graded pattern on your doll, and then see if it works out.

... and the facts of life is: It never does. Sometimes I thank god that I have all these books. It is nice to have a reference. So... now that I look at my Unoa Zero's giant boobies I might just have to make that bra from scratch. OMG... The last time I did that I did not end up with a successful bra. I am hoping with my fingers crossed that I will get it this time. Bra making is actually an art form that I never mastered, and I applaud people who can do so. Since I can't do that much with my allergies I might have time to once again reread this book. Lee-An Burgess is one of the best bra makers out there so I am happy to be able to summon her book on a whim.

I guess I am spending a week making lingerie. I love that stuff but it is hard to get right.

31 Days Straight Art Day 8: March 8, 2015

I spent Sunday mostly recovering from my medications. If you are asthmatic you would know that taking inhaler puffs, while it helps you breathe, is NOT helpful in every other aspect of your day. I ended up passing out for a good majority of the time which I could have used to make art. In fact I am still blacking out now. I am not happy.

The only thing I can safely say planned on what to do next.

I think everyone has their spontaneous bursts of art, but in the clothing world you can have the spontaneous moment of art for the initial planning of the outfit BUT it takes a lot of coordination, planning, sketching, measuring, and tears to make that spontaneous burst of idea come to life.

... and you start off with an idea. These photos are from my Unoa Freak books. I love Atri's work. If you haven't seen them I got a link to them on the side. Since Didi and Fifi needs clothes this is where I would start off. The great thing about sewing is by the time you are done sewing even if you start off with a pattern it will be vastly different than the one on the photo, guaranteed.

Crossing my fingers that they will work out.

Today's work will be featured on another entry.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

31 Days Straight Art Day 7: March 7, 2015

Hello everyone,

Today is so tiring. I didn't sleep last night and then spent all day today running errands like washing the cars, buying groceries, working in my garden, etc... Bad Betty. I wore myself out.

Alas... if I do talk about art today I would talk about my muses: my ball joint doll collection. Truth to be hold, my dolls have names, personalities, and sometimes jobs but they have no storyline behind them. There are only 2 dolls I own that has an actual storyline and purpose, but they are not here yet, so talking about them now would not do anything. Maybe that is why I like to just go with the flow and let the dolls define themselves.

Click for a bigger photo

So... I guess I will start with my Unoa girls, which at the moment I primarily work with. The largest Unoa dolls I own are Didi and Fifi. Didi is an Unoa Zero Marion from 2010 and Fifi is an Unoa Zero Latea from the same release. I got Didi first and then Fifi second. They are first and foremost good friends that shares everything. I never have dolls that conflict with each other yet but my friends have. They are also around the same age group (around mid-late 20s). Didi is more sophisticated and modern while Fifi is more carefree and whimsical.

Unfortunately until recently they didn't get much attention because I was not living in a situation where I can take them out as freely as I wanted to. Now that the situation has changed I am definitely taking advantage of it now. These cutie pies are now one of the main focus points of clothing because let's face it... Unoa Zeroes are an odd size and shape. They are more similar to SD16 except they have no heeled feet, so they can't just wear SD shoes unless they are for flat feet, and 7.5cm long. Besides, I make doll clothes, so I should actually take the time to clothe them properly (and work on bigger size clothes for a change.)

If you are a fan of my flickr you would know my usual doll of choice: Darline my Unoa Sist 1.5. Darline is my very first ball joint doll so I learned a lot from her. I got her back in 2006, when Unoas are relatively rare. Now they are less rare but I will never sell Darline no matter what! Darline (and a pair of boobs) were for the longest time is my only sewing buddy. I have other dolls but I mainly sew for her. She has a lot of things I made over the years. It is a very loving situation. Darline likes everything I do even when I suck at sewing and can't even sew her a t-shirt or undies. My sewing/knitting skills had changed but my love for her didn't.

Well that is all the time I have for now talking about my girls. Hopefully I will not be so tired/busy tomorrow to make art instead of talking about it.