Tag: dollsclothes

Stitches

Hello readers!

Let’s talk about stitches this evening, there are two kinds in tonight’s news headlines.

First, some of you have very kindly expressed an interest in whether I have at last had the stitches out of my face and got the bandage off, after last week’s cyst removal. The answer is yes, I have! I forgot to tell you about it due to getting so horribly drunk on Monday evening. I went and had the stitches out on Monday afternoon and now I have a scar. It is red and a bit lumpy but hey! at least it doesn’t look like the world’s largest zit trying to bulge its way forcibly out of my face, so I am relatively happy. I think my scar will be okay with a disguising layer of make-up on top, which is what my whole face needs in any case, so nothing new there, ha ha.

The other kind of stitches I want to talk about tonight involved getting my sewing machine out. I need to dispatch that doll to my niece Clara, and no mistake. I pulled out all the dolls clothes and found that all I needed to do was attach a strip of velcro to the green dress so I did that right away. Here is the doll with the four outfits I managed to make and the one (purple) outfit that the doll arrived in. I am going to post this off as soon as possible.

I find sewing a very strange hobby. Usually it goes like this: do a big lot of sewing, make fairly good progress, then find that things are going badly wrong. Needles are bending like plasticine. I am stalling the machine a lot. I have utterly broken and destroyed the needle threading mechanism. All three of these things happen, usually, and when I get to the last one I sadly put the cover back on the machine and put it away, because I have wrecked it. Then quite a lot of time goes by until I have a reason to get the machine out again, like tonight. I thought about sewing on the velcro strips by hand but I realised how much work that was going to be, so with great trepidation I got the sewing machine out. And strangely enough, it worked fine. The needle threader worked fine. Everything was fine.

I sewed on those velcro strips sharpish, before something could go wrong, let me tell you.

Because I am always full of big ideas, I hoped that I would make dozens of outfits for this doll, for every possible occasion, but in fact in the year I’ve been hanging on to it, I’ve only managed to make four things. So here is my plan. I am going to send this doll to my niece so she can at least play with it, and I am going to get another one for me. It can live at my house permanently, I can make clothes for it as and when and then dispatch the clothes to my niece as I happen to complete them. A good solution, no?

1 Sewing point.

Sewed on Sunday

Did some sewing yesterday, as planned, earning 1 Sewing point. Here is where I am up to with that pink outfit I was working on last time.

That kept me busy until well into the evening. I am such a beginner at sewing, I really need to work on building up my skills. I regularly stall the machine. By ‘stall’, I mean that when I am sewing there is a sudden mechanical snapping sound and the upper thread breaks. I then have to rethread the machine. Sometimes after that happens I also have difficulty getting the needle threading mechanism to work and in fact repeated failure to get it working again is normally what causes me to give up and put the machine away until next time. I don’t know why the machine stalls, I think sometimes it is because I am not moving the fabric through smartly enough; the machine keeps sewing on top of stitches it’s just made and gets all tangled up. All of that makes for very slow, untidy progress and requires a good amount of patience on my part.

Another thing that requires a lot of patience is the fact that I constantly make beginner’s mistakes like underestimating the amount of fabric I will need to do things. Eg, yesterday I needed some slightly wider bias tape to trim the bolero top so I laboriously made some and stitched it on, all around the neck and curvy hem. Then I realised that it was still far too narrow. I realised this because I had totally failed to capture the main fabric inside the bias tape as I sewed. It was a meatless sandwich. It looked all right until I looked at it a bit hard, and then it basically fell right off. Gah! Hours of work just fell off. So I had to go back to my fabric and make some even wider bias tape which as of now I have not attached to the top.

So, it was definitely two steps forward and one step back yesterday and all I can really say about that is that I will have to keep trying. It is the only way I am going to get better at it.

In other news,  it is a good job I did not plan to have a big Bank Holiday weekend of video gaming as my PC promptly died on Sunday morning and needs its power supply replacing. Today, I have failed to do any Chinese. I went for a run this morning and I must have pushed myself harder than usual because I’ve been exhausted ever since. Went for a two-hour nap this afternoon, after the PC repair guy left with an air of defeat, and I am still knackered. So I am going to give up now. It is past 8pm and I am not suddenly going to have a big burst of energy this late in the day, it is not meant to be, is it. Maybe we’ll do some Chinese tomorrow. I am reading knitting magazines and waiting for it to be time to go to bed.

Bias tape, 27 weeks in.

Hello readers!

I’m doing a bit of sewing this weekend (1 Sewing point), as that is one type of achievement that I would like to see making better progress, along with finance and friends. Here is my messy sewing table, in the midst of assembling another doll’s outfit.

This weekend I have learned to:

  • Make bias tape. (OMG, fiddly. I thought sewing was supposed to be quick.)
  • Do back-stitch at the beginning and end of seams. (Ha! I wonder how many other basic sewing techniques I am unaware of. I am glad I am learning all these things on doll’s clothes and not people clothes.)

I also discovered that my sewing machine has a thread cutter on its side. Well. Handy.

More pics coming soon, I hope to finish this outfit today but first I am going to have lunch. If any reader would like to know how to make bias tape, here is the super-helpful YouTube video that I used.

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I went out for a run yesterday, as planned. As I walked to the park, my legs felt slightly less concrete-y and a bit more optimistic, so I ambitiously forced myself through another Week 2 run (1 Health point). I say ‘run’, but in order to complete a Week 2 session, I have to slow down to a jogging pace that is easily outstripped by toddlers, of which there were plenty in the park. When I got home, I had a big headache and had to take some painkillers and go for a long nap. I later realised this is because I once again tensed up my shoulders and neck for the whole session, as though that would somehow help my legs work. I need to concentrate REALLY hard on not doing that, otherwise I’m going to feel ill and miserable every time I return from a run.

Two beautiful spring dresses, 19 weeks in

Hey everybody! I am having a delightfully productive time and have earned 1 Sewing point. I have made two gorgeous spring dresses for Clara’s doll.

I am gradually gaining competence with the sewing machine. This time around, on my third and fourth projects, I did not stall the machine, wonder if I’d broken it, have to rethread it 25 times, or look in the manual to wind the bobbin. I call that excellent progress even though my seams still look horrible and I am still not turning out anything a live person could wear.

Here’s the first dress, from one of my doll pattern books. Delightful. That fabric with the little birds is charming and the skirt really shows it off. C., it is one of the fabrics I bought when I was out with you.

As you can see, this dress has a full skirt with pleated trim, a pocket, two buttons, one front and one back, and a bow stitched to the chest.

Here’s the second dress. This is where I started getting really ambitious and improvising!! I loved the first dress so much, I wanted to make another, but I didn’t want them to be exactly the same. So I decided to make a front-opening frock with buttons down the front.

I cut out the skirt pieces as before but omitted the trim. I cut out the top pieces, adding a couple of inches in length, which seemed to somehow disappear later, and then I cut a neckline and extra-deep arm holes.

I sewed the top together and realised that I did not fancy trying to gather up the skirt to it, as the top part was short and billowy around the lower edge. So that’s when I whipped up a waistband and attached both pieces to it. Result.

Then I confronted the problem of the rest of the top being too short and tight overall. I added a crude pair of shoulder straps to add more armhole room and add overall length. Then I took my last few scraps of material – I got all this out of one fat quarter – and cut the two long bands you see running down the centre there, to add width.

Looking good! I will now add snap fasteners to the bands you see there, and then attach decorative buttons to the outside.

Fifteen weeks later: Shorts

I have finished the doll shorts, look. I am calling this outfit done and having 1 Sewing point even though it still needs a bit of lace trim sewing to the edge of the top.

I have such a lot to learn, still! The little bit of work you see above took most of Saturday afternoon. It took me ages just to find a way of threading the elastic through the slightly narrow casing (I trimmed the elastic in the end). At one point I seriously thought I’d broken my sewing machine. And I can see better ways of sewing the inside leg seams than the way I actually did it. So it is a steep learning curve, but also a lot of fun. I think this came out well in the end and I am going to keep practising with doll clothes until I can turn out garments that a human wouldn’t be ashamed to wear.

One thing I especially like about this top is that it is fully lined and all the seams are tidily on the inside. Also, I learned a lot about pattern cutting.

So that was Saturday’s point. I cannot lie about Friday: I didn’t earn any points at all. But we shall not give up, there are plenty more achievements to be had between now and the end of January.

Photos at last

Oh goody, I have found a way to make my computer speak to my camera. I thought all was lost for a while there. Now you can enjoy my slightly crappy photos. Below, the top and shorts combo I’m making for this doll. I now realise that I should have attached lace trim to the top before sewing on the press studs! Never mind, we will work around that. Also, I couldn’t quite understand the instructions for trimming the legs of the shorts, so I am doing my own thing.

Well, Happy Christmas. (Twelve weeks in!)

Bah humbug!! I did some sewing, earning 1 Sewing point! I made a top and have almost finished some matching shorts, for Clara’s doll. They are so cute, red and white polka dot. The sun was shining just now, and I took some pictures. Then my camera broke and now I can’t upload them. So that is very disappointing. I only just got my PC repaired, it was in hospital for two days earlier this week. I feel like the technology is conspiring against me.

Anyway, it’s Xmas so happy Xmas, or insert relevant occasion of your choice. Xmas is fairly compatible with knitting, and I hope to do some work on C’s socks.