Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Friday, June 23, 2017

Disney Animator Dolls and Their New Dresses!

Remember a few posts ago, when I said that I wanted to draft a pattern for these 16" Disney Animator cuties?  Well, I finally did!  Here's what I came up with:
Belle, Snow White, and Cinderella are all wearing the same basic dress, but with different embellishments made to the bodices and hem lines.
And here we have Boo and Rapunzel, modeling their versions of this dress:
Each dress has only three, basic pieces:  a bodice front, a bodice back, and a skirt.  A second bodice front and back are used as a lining.  Snow White and Rapunzel's dress do have one more pattern piece--a template for the scallop design that runs along the bottom of their skirts.  If you look closely, each scallop is adorned with a little bow.
I think Snow White's dress is my favorite.  I just love the colors, and the white scallop at the hemline tacked up with little, red bows.  So cute!  I also used vintage, rayon seam binding to add the band across her bodice top.  I think these colors compliment her complexion so nicely.
Sweet Belle in one of the simpler dresses--the bodice top and skirt hemline both feature contrasting fabric trimmed with rickrack.
Cinderella looking darling in a pretty blue which really brings out the color of her eyes.  It is trimmed with vintage lace across the bodice and hemline.
Spunky Boo from Monster's cute is she?!?  I wanted to make her dress look like it had a pinafore, so I sewed the purple polka dot contrast fabric onto the floral bodice fabric to make it look like a pinafore top.   I added a hem band from the floral fabric to the  purple dots to make it look like an apron skirt.  The "pinafore" edges are trimmed with rickrack.
Shhh...don't tell the others, but I do believe that Rapunzel is my favorite of the Disney Animators.  Her expression is just so pensive and endearing.  Her dress is identical to Snow White's in design, just with different fabrics.  It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the contrast pink fabric has shimmery, pink, polka dots against a pink background.  The yellow, floral fabric is one of my favorite, yellow prints in my stash.  So pretty and feminine. 
All of these dresses open completely down the back for ease in dressing.  They close with a narrow strip of hook and loop tape.
These dolls and their dresses are currently for sale on Ebay.  ( & ) I have them listed with a Buy it Now price, since summer sales are notoriously slow.  I'm hoping these little ladies find new homes soon, since my doll/sewing room has become overrun with all these waifs I bring home from the thrift stores!
These are really, very sweet dolls.  I think the Disney Animators did a wonderful job of capturing their personalities.  My only complaint with them is that their hair can become messy and matted VERY QUICKLY if not handled correctly.  Which is kind of sad, since these dolls are marketed for children, and we all know how much little girls like to brush their dolly's hair!  I so wish that Disney had used a better quality of hair for these dolls.  Every Rapunzel I have ever bought (and I've bought a lot of them) has taken me HOURS to detangle her hair.  Crazy!  But the end result is so pretty.  Speaking of end results, have you seen some of the repaints that artists are doing on these dolls?  Amazing!  Here are a few I pulled from Pinterest: 
Look on Pinterest or Google, and you will find many, many more of these dolls with repainted faces and even re-wigged.  The end results are nothing short of amazing.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dress for an Antique German Bisque Doll

A friend from my doll club recently asked me if I could dress her antique doll.  She is a sweet, dolly-face, German doll, simply marked "Made in Germany" and then the number 12.  She stands approximately 19" tall. 
This is what her dress originally looked like:
A sweet, toddler girl's dress made from a sheer cotton voile and trimmed with cotton lace.  The collar is not separate but rather the lace is sewed onto the fabric in a way to make it look like there is collar.  Clever!
I won't lie...I had a hard time cutting into this little dress.  It was so PERFECT!  No stains or didn't look like it had ever been worn.  Perhaps it had been sewn for a special occasion, or maybe it was only worn for Sundays?  I guess we'll never know.  However, it did make up into the sweetest little doll dress!
Once I drafted the bodice and sleeve patterns, it was fairly easy to put together.  I didn't have to hem or gather the skirt, since that had already been done.  The bodice is lined with a sheer, white voile, and the gathered sleeves were strategically cut from the dress so that I wouldn't have to hem them.
Close-up of the sleeve detail:
I decided to close the back with tiny snaps under decorative buttons.  The buttons are also antique...taken from an old slip.
I'm very happy with how this all turned out.  I'm always a little nervous when making that first snip into an old garment--making a wrong cut cannot be corrected!  Which is why I first always make a mock bodice from some old fabric, just to make sure everything fits well before cutting into the good stuff.
Not visible in the photos (because I totally forgot to take pictures!) is the adorable, full slip I made for this little lady from a pair of antique, lace-trimmed ladies bloomers.  I still need to make the doll a pair of bloomers as well, but I wanted to get her back to her owner with her new dress since she'd already been in my possession for a couple of months.  I will make sure to show a picture of those once I get them completed.
And the best part about this project?  I get to keep the leftover fabric from the dress to make something for one of MY dollies!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Busy Sewing and New Listings on Ebay!

I have been busy sewing for the past few days, and managed to crank out 14 new doll dresses!  Yes, FOURTEEN.  I don't know why I do this to myself.  But somehow, I figure if I'm going to be sewing some doll dresses, then I may as well cut out a few more and sew them assembly-line style.  This time, I even made coordinating, reversible headbands.
The four dolls above are my newest listings on Ebay, and are all so sweet!
First up, this Pottery Barn Doll by Gotz:
I think her name is Marianne.  Isn't she cute?  She is much more slender in her torso than the other dolls, so the little A-line dresses that the others are wearing were just too big for her.  So she got a sweet sundress that I originally made for American Girl dolls, but ended up being too tight for their bodies.  I actually made three of these sweet sundresses in different fabrics, and none ended up fitting the dolls I had them intended for.  Grrrrrr.  I hate it when that happens.  If I would have taken a moment to check the fit of the bodices, I could have avoided this scenario.  But whatever.  This dress looks sweet her, so it all worked out, I suppose.
The fabric is a light green with cherries sprinkled across it.  So cute.
She has long, silky, rooted hair.
Next up is this Precious Day Collection Doll, also by Gotz:
Such a sweet face
And she has the most lovely, rooted hair--thick and wavy!
Another Gotz...this time it's a harder-to-find Little Sister Doll, LILY:
Isn't her expression so serene and beautiful?  Sometimes this mold is referred to as the "Mona Lisa" face.  I can see why.
She has the loveliest, long blond wig
And last, but not least, is this American Girl of Today doll by Pleasant Company!  And yes, I found her at Goodwill a couple of months ago!  I almost passed out when I saw her in the toy aisle.  Goodwill usually pulls these dolls to sell on their online auction site, which is why you almost never find them in the stores.  But I think this one slipped by because she is not marked American Girl, but rather "Pleasant Company" on the back of her neck.   
She looks just like Samantha, I think.  She might have been number "16", but I'm not sure.
She's in beautiful condition
Her hair is dark brown and wavy, and a bit shorter than Samantha's.
Here she is in her original outfit, complete with tights, velvet flats, underwear, blouse and jumper.  Everything is tagged "Pleasant Company".  I've tried to find the name of this outfit, but haven't had any luck so far.  There is an American Girl of Today logo on the front of her velour jumper.  Does anybody happen to know anything about this outfit?
Four little cuties, all looking for a new home.  Honestly, I won't be sad if they don't sell, because then I can enjoy them for a bit longer!  However, my dolly population has become seriously out-of-control, so something has to give.  Here's a link to the auctions:
I will be listing many, more dolls over the next several weeks, so my sewing machine will be getting a good workout with all of the dresses I'll need to sew.  I just can't let a dolly go to a new home without a nice outfit, now can I?!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pixie Faire High-Waisted Jeans Pattern for 18" Dolls

As I was teaching my young sewing students today how to make jeans for their dolls, I realized that I hadn't yet posted about the jeans I had made!  There is a website, which offers a wonderful array of clothing patterns for several, different sizes of dolls, American Girl being the most popular.  If you get on their mailing list, every Friday they'll send you an offer to download one of their selected patterns for FREE.  What a deal!  Back in April, they offered this high-waisted jeans pattern which I had saved, but never made.  A few weeks back when my sewing students expressed an interest in making jeans for their dolls as their next project, I knew I had the perfect pattern:

Isn't it just the cutest?  I think the thing I liked the best was all the attention to detail.  I mean, they look just like the real thing, don't they?
So, after making a quick run to the fabric store for some denim fabric and a few hours of sewing time, this is how my first attempt came out:
The pockets are all functioning...even the little coin pocket!  A belt could actually fit through the belt loops if I had one, and the front fly opens and closes with a narrow strip of Velcro.
Cute back pockets
All in all, if you are wanting a pattern to make realistic looking jeans, I highly recommend this one!  Although it has a lot of pieces, it goes together fairly smoothly and easily.  There's a lot of top stitching, but that's what gives the jeans such a realistic look.  The pattern also suggests adding tiny beads or rhinestones which resemble studs to the places on the jeans where "real" jeans might have them to add to the realism, but since I didn't have any on hand, I left them off.
The only thing I did differently when having my students tackle this project was to widen each leg seam by 1/8" for a total of 1/2" more width per leg.  The legs on my doll's jeans turned out really skinny, and were a little bit of a struggle to pull on over her feet.  By adding the extra 1/2", the jeans my students made turned out much easier to pull on and looked just as nice.
Marie Grace was my model today.  She normally only dresses in period clothing, so she had a little bit of fun seeing how it felt to dress like a "modern" girl!  And running barefoot through the grass was a nice change from the lace-up boots from the 1800's she usually wears.
If you love to sew for your dolls, do take a moment to check out Pixie Faire's website.  Besides clothing patterns, they also offer footwear and accessory patterns, sewing notions, and even dolls.  All of their patterns are instantly downloadable, which means you can start your project just as soon as you pay for it!
Next up for our sewing class:
McCalls 7268 Tent and Sleeping Bag for 18" dolls 
I've already picked out fabric from my stash that will work, and only need to make a trip to Home Depot for the window screen and dowels.  Looks like a fun project.  Stay tuned!