Monday, February 16, 2015

Disney Animator's Toddler Mulan: A No Good Very Bad Hair Day

I purchased Mulan from the Disney store recently. I could not resist that face! She is a part of the Disney Animator's collection of Princess toddler dolls. Mulan comes with her shiny princess "satin" outfit and a "plush" pet, her dog, Little Brother.
This is her photo from Disney's website and these braids, thick as they look,  are sparse compared with the marine- towing- rope- gauge braids my Mulan came with

 Like all the Disney toddler dolls, she is made of heavy high quality vinyl and has a somewhat woeful expression. Her hair is dense, rough and a one-dimensional, very dark black, it is very well rooted along her hair line and is rooted into a two-pony tail style with a clear part from her forehead to the nape of her neck. Her hair was originally in two very big, very thick braids--when I unbraided them--Whoa! I was a bit disappointed --her hair is WAY too thick and choppily cut-really no other style than the braids can really be achieved with this hair this way. Her hair is also absolutely shellacked with hair gel.
To me, hair is the most important feature on a doll. I cannot just leave the manufacturer's style--I want my dolls to look unique and change their hairstyle with their outfits. I need options-I need good hair!

 I decided to thin out this haystack of hair a bit and actually found my always-misplaced thinning shears and very slowly began to thin her hair out to try and achieve some semblance of actual hair a child or even a child yeti might have. You have to be careful with thinning shears--you can actually make a fuzzy hair situation worse with them. I kept them below her chin level to prevent flyaways and made sure my cuts did not create more choppiness by varying the angle I held them and where I made the cuts along the length.

 After washing the hair, the spit curl on her forehead and the ringlets by her ears went totally frizzy, but this was a smaller problem. I took out a lot of bulk--but the hair remained very bulky. I went from slowly thinning each small section around her head to just going nuts with the thinning shears--thinking: I am probably going to have to reroot her anyway. 

This playline Ariel toddler doll has some of the best manufacturer doll hair I have ever seen, Ariel has left my collection -she now brings her lovely smile and super brushable hair to a special needs PreK classroom.
I have other Disney dolls and their hair is lovely--Tangled, Princess and Me Cinderella and also my Goodwill find, playline Toddler Ariel whose hair was silky and gorgeous after a day at spa. 

 I ended up thinning the hair mountain again and again and again, trimming the length and then after a second wash and condition, rolling it in small perm rods-I had to do each half of her head separately--because there is still so much hair I ran out of perm rods--Did I say she has too much hair? : ) This did not work either as the curls just fell out. I did not boil perm as in my experience this type of hair does not hold up to heat.

So I decided she must have a reroot. It was quite easy to remove her body, with little effort I just popped out the ball joint from the neck. Now I thought --I will just warm up the head and pop out the other portion of the ball joint--LOL not happening--it was glued in and the material of this portion was so crumbly-like a stick of Juicy Fruit gum--I was finally able to pry it out without damaging the head with a large screwdriver-but the joint is mangled. I think I can rig something up with a plumbing ball joint to replace it....will share that when I get there.....

I have several skeins of saran hair in shades of brown left over from other projects and I think that will look great on her...

Have you had any experiences with Animator's series doll hair? I had Pocahontas on my want list, but now I don't want any more dark haired dolls from this current line, unless I am ready to reroot them or they are older issues with possibly better quality hair.

Bye for now --gotta go vacuum up doll hair :) Stay tuned for Mulan's reroot.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Doll Make Over: Vogue Brikette

I finished making-over my little Vogue Brikette.

Yes that is scotch tape-it was holding her hair on!
She was rerooted with Katsilk saran Black Orchid-- one large format and one small format skein. I replaced her sleep eyes too.
I made her outfit with a vintage 1970's Simplicity pattern 9698 for 15 1/2" Velvet dolls.

Well, I know I said I don't go in for the whole creepy Talky Tina thing (A Brikette was the doll in that Twilight Zone episode), but as soon as I turned my back on these two after placing them-- they clasped hands and did a Thelma and Louise right off the shelf taking my gorgeous Miss Kittycat with them-- smashing her to a zillion pieces :(

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Doll Make Over: Vogue Brikette

I bought a couple of Vogue Brikettes a while back they have been impatiently waiting for me to clean them up and dress them. 

I really have always loved Brikette's face --she's up to something! 

Brikette was actually the doll used in the famous Twilight Zone Talky Tina episode, I did not buy her for that reason, but in spite of it--I don't go in for the whole scary, creepy, this-doll-might-kill-me, thing. 

Brikette was made in 2 sizes: 22 inch and 16 inch. Both of mine are marked 1960. 
Early Morning Brikette Spa
All done-- she seemed to want something with that outstretched hand, so I gave her a penny, she is from I thought she might be able to get a piece of candy or two with it.

My big Brikette was unstrung so I had to figure out how to restring her--I need to get more info on this process because she is still very floppy. 
I had to make a waist support out of a wide strip of velcro to get her to be even half-way compliant while I cleaned and dressed her. 
Her hair was very nice and original I only needed to wash, condition and let her hair dry with a piece of fabric pressing down her bangs to make them lay flat. I made her a dress. She is a lot bigger than most of my dolls. I used a vintage Ideal Giggles doll pattern as a basis for the dress and then added length and also added elastic at the sleeve ends because she has really big hands and I did not want to make really wide sleeves on her dress.
The smaller Brikette was more of a challenge--she has chewed fingers and she had this hair and it looked cute and maybe fixable, but it was mohair--and I know that Brikette was made with Saran hair so I was very careful when I washed it--but this happened....

Yikes! That mohair was held onto her scalp with glue and scotch tape! So I am re-rooting her...
Will post her "After" photo soon!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sewing for Dolls: Crissy and Velvet

I have been sewing for my Ideal girls again...first a project pattern I was working on for a while, pants sets 70's style for the big girls. I am toying with the idea of offering some of my original patterns as PDFs in the new year. I decided to sew these with batik fabric--which I have never really liked, but I found some that were so pretty and with the right amount of solid and batik together I think they look groovy. Do you name your outfits? Is that weird? I do--helps me remember what it was when I look at the paper pattern pieces--plus it is fun :)
The pants are all done with the same (slightly modified) vintage Simplicity Crissy pattern, the tops are my own design-inspired by an outfit my sisters and I had as kids which we called our "Gold-digger" outfits --lol we had no idea what that meant. Anyway here are my Gold-digger looks.
Raven in Deep Ocean--this was the first attempt at the pattern--not my fave, though I like the pocket flaps sewn into the side seams like this.

Zoey in Sunburst --loving the collar on this one.

Annabelle in Shoreline--I wanted a more beach-y summery look so left off sleeves and  gave it a nice open neck line.

Cheryl in America--the pointed collar and tie is so 70's.

Marcia in Strawberry Sunday-this is the same as the Sunburst pattern--but I set the sash into the princess seams.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pretty Dolls: Fashion Friends

I am a huge fan of  the Fashion Friends Club dolls! I was very excited when Gretchen of Fashion Friends Club sent me some photos from her winter photoshoot of the girls and said I could post them here!

Faith, Annie and Patti--Ready for the Rains!
I love these dolls, I own Faith Flowers, Rose Ruffles, Annie Argyle and Patti Polkadots and I still want to buy the remaining ones to complete my collection.

Lots more photos and info on these girls after the jump...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tutorial: Finishing Neck and Armhole Edges on Doll Clothes

There are of course many ways to finish edges on doll clothes and I have tried them all. I was looking for a way to finish necks and armholes on sleeveless tops and dresses and I normally make a simple facing for the neck, but facings do not work too well on armhole edges.

Many commercial doll clothes patterns tell you to simply clip and turn the edges down and then top stitch them, but what if you do not want topstitching on your garment? Plus it is really tricky to get a neat professional looking edge this way--and then there's fraying.

Full photo tutorial after the jump

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sewing for Dolls: Quilt Inspired Doll Dresses for Crissy and Velvet

I finally made some more doll dresses. My girls are happy--these chicas were still wearing their Christmas Dresses. These fabrics I had actually bought for quilting, my new obsession, but I got to looking at them and thought they would make some sweet boutique dresses for the girls.
The end result, cute boutique dresses that only used 1 fat quarter each (mix and match). These are Ideal Velvet dolls I have customized now known as Mo and Lizzy L-R

Two more dresses. I sewed them all assembly line style.--There a few left to sew up. This is an customized Ideal Crissy, who I have named Cheryl and her friend, an original Ideal Cricket-her name is Cricket :)
Making a quilt has made me realize (already!) how to best conserve fabric and how to chain piece. Here I the fabrics I started with.

My idea for the dresses--simple faced square neck bodice with 3/4 sleeve so that both Crissy and Velvet size dolls could wear them, and a full skirt with ruffle.

To do this all assembly line style, I laid out my pieces and the cut this size block out of each of my fat quarters.

Here are all the blocks.

Then I cut the patterns out of each

Bodice fronts, backs, sleeves and facings all cut out.

This long piece is now cut straight across and becomes the skirt pattern piece.

Another photo of the cutting the skirt piece, that piece above the ruler went in my quilt scrap bag, so I will have a piece to quilt with afterall--I am loving using the rotary cuter or this--so easy!

I first sewed the bodices together at the shoulder--I just chain pieced one after the other--just like you do in quilting--so much faster--never thought of doing that before. I also chained pieced the sleeves all the hemming, everything I could.

Mixing and matching the pieces to make dresses was the fun part.