Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane...

I've had my old Barbie dolls from when I was little packed away for so long that I forgot what I had saved. When I say "Barbie dolls", I mean Barbie, Skipper and Francie. Francie was my favorite and she was the one that I did most of my designing for. I think that I thought that some day if I had a daughter she could play with them. Then I began to think that they actually might be worth something, and I've even considered trying to sell some of them someday and so I put off letting my daughter play with them....

Well, the other day I dragged them out and let her play with them with the idea that she can play with them only when we can do it together. It was a real walk down memory lane!!!! I must have saved everything that I ever had for the dolls. I am amazed at how well the clothes and accessories used to be made. Now, I am risking giving away my my age, and it is a little scary to think that the toys I played with as a kid are now considered "antiques" (yikes!), but these doll clothes were made in the late 60's and early 70's! I even had a Twiggy doll! For those of you too young to know who Twiggy was, she was a famous British model and she was very MOD!

So, as I looked inside of boxes and boxes of stuff, and I found two shoe boxes filled with doll clothes that I made and designed all those years ago! I also found two patterns (that you see below) that got me started. When I looked inside the envelopes, I was in for an even greater surprise... I kept the patterns that I designed and created, complete with my very youthful cursive hand writing!

Please indulge me as I take this memory trip...

This is the pattern that I used the most: like I said, Francie was my favorite doll! She was Barbie's younger sister or cousin (I can't remember) so she wasn't as, shall I say, well endowed as Barbie. These patterns also fit Twiggy.

I made a few things for Skipper, but not as much and I didn't do as much designing for her either.

Here is the stash of patterns I designed, actually this is only a partial showing. As you can see, I used whatever paper I could get my hands on:  lined paper, tracing paper, plain white paper. I had to chuckle at the notes I wrote on the skirt pattern you see at the bottom right. It is for a 5 gored skirt, I have grain lines for plaid (on the diagonal) and straight for solid and print. At the hem, I have a note that says, "hem according to desire". When did I ever talk like that???

So, thank you in advance for letting me share this with you...

The navy hat and matching dress are made from a bonded fabric... perfect for those of us who don't like to hem! I avoided hemming then, and I still do! That's why I like working with recycling clothes and using existing hems! I noticed that almost all of the clothes I made back then weren't ever completely finished; they were left unhemmed, had no closures, had unfinished edges and I mostly used straight pins for closures. Basically, I was in too much of a rush to get my ideas out to actually finish anything!
The strapless eyelet top was my attempt to use the existing scallop edge of one eyelet lace for the bust line with added side darts. I did not, however allow for seam allowance and the back edges are unfinished and it doesn't even actually close in the back! I actually like the idea... hmmm, I just might be inspired by my past self!
The red gored skirt is made from the pattern I talked about above.

I remember that this is the first time my mom taught me how to do beading on a garment. She showed me how to draw a pattern on tissue paper, pin it to the garment, and sew the beads on right through the paper. Later the tissue is pulled off. As you can see, I got bored with this project and was on to another idea before I finished. I did, however make a matching purse for this!

For this outfit I used the rain coat pattern from McCall's which I lined and designed a hat to match, the rest are my own design. There's that 5 gore skirt again! I must have liked that blouse.. I made several versions of it! 

I think this must have been a very early design... it looks rather crude.

Hat, dress and bag are all my design. I cut out some of the flowers from the dress print and glued them to the hat.

I think that this was one of my later designs...judging from the amount of detail in this.

This is a maxi dress, made from the McCall's pattern.

This is a quilted satin robe, my design. It is lined. I think that I had some trouble working with this fabric; you can see the fraying at the gathers.

I remember designing the top skirt to match a skirt that my mom made for me! It was really a kind of  short made full to look like a skirt and had panels on the front and back to complete the illusion of a skirt.

The scarf is an early knitting project. The bag is made from bonded fabric and beaded handle. And a shift dress.

The Maxi dress is from the McCall's pattern, but the headband is my design. They are made in Dotted Swiss. 

Both the hat and dress are from the McCall's pattern. I loved that bonded fabric! No need to finish edges!

I can't say what I was going for here with this top (or was it a jacket or a dress?)... perhaps this was a lesson learned on making sure to allow enough for seam allowance and facings!

The coat is another version of the rain coat... Coat and boots are McCall's. The rest are my design.

A beach towel, pillow and beach cover up made from a wash cloth.

I also made clothes for a 16" doll that I had. Here are two dresses and a scarf  that I had made for that doll.

I even tried to design some shoes for the 16" doll. This is what they looked like. The sole and heel are made from cardboard.
So I hope I didn't bore you too much with my nostalgia... thanks for humoring me!

Creatively yours,

Friday, June 1, 2012

Easy Sundress and Shawl

This sundress and crochet shawl were SO easy to make...
each piece was made in only two steps. Both were made from thrift shop finds and cost less than $1.00 each!

This is the Infant top I started with in size 3-6 months. The straps were already adjustable so no need to do anything with them! The body length from top of neck ruffle to bottom of hem ruffle was 7 3/4". Don't be afraid to use a large print for your doll's dress- it can look very modern, but do choose a print in colors that look more grown up!
STEP #1) Pin a small tuck at each shoulder strap front and back (4 tucks in all) I did about 1/4" deep tucks, but adjust to fit doll.
STEP#2) Hand sew with matching thread along tucks in just the gathered area and let the tuck open up for the skirt area.

That's it! No hemming. No sewing side seams. You're done!

And now for the shawl...
This is a crocheted doily that measured 14 1/2" wide and cost 99 cents.
STEP#1) I first decided on a neck opening width (between 4"- 4 1/2") and noticed I could cut out the center section so that what remained had an opening of 4 3/8". I carefully used a seam ripper and cut only the center section making sure NOT to cut any of the threads of the piece I needed for the shawl! Weave any loose threads back into the shawl.
STEP#2) To add interest, and to allow adjusting the neckline, I added a matching tie that I wove through the holes, that were already part of the crochet, using a large needle. I used a cotton tape yarn that looks like a ribbon, you can also use a ribbon or yarn, and it can match or be contrast. I started with a piece 40" long and trimmed as needed.

Done! No sewing! No crocheting! Just a little cutting!
Hmm... This could make a cute skirt, too, just pull the tie a little tighter!

So that's it for the quickest outfit I have ever made!

Creatively Yours,