Archive for August, 2007

We just came back from a week in Las Vegas, attending a conference (the husband) and shopping (me).  I drove all over town hunting in antique shops and thrift shops for old knitting pamphlets and vintage patterns.  I managed to buy quite a few at about $1 each. 





It was very hot in Las Vegas, and I found the most comfortable outfit for driving around and shopping to be an old denim jumper with pockets pulled on over one of my standard kimono-sleeve T-shirts, add a pair of flipflops, and I was good to go.  I was so pleased with the comfort of the jumper, which I had never worn much after I made it, that I remembered that I had one cut out and ready to sew in the storage box, where it has been ignored for about 3 years.  I got it out today and will sew it up.

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Doll Days


For many years, I used to make dolls and sell them.  After about 15 years of it, I completely burned out and haven’t made one since.  I had a bunch of my own patterns that I had designed, and I let one of my daughters use them to make and sell dolls while she was in high school.  I did save a few of my dolls that were my favorites.


This is what the little girls called ‘The Golden Doll’ and one of my daughters had dibs on it.   I am supposed to make a matching silver one for the other daughter, but am waiting for the urge to strike.  So far I have been waiting 10 years.   This doll is about 13 inches tall with features hand painted by me using acrylic craft paints.


The feet were made with an overlay of black fabric and were cut in the shape of a boot with a heel, though you can’t see a side view in this picture.  I notice that everyone who looks at one of my dolls always flips up the skirt to see the underclothes so here is a picture:


I printed the designs on with a rubber stamp that I carved, using gold acrylic paint.  I used to love to make the underclothes with lots of design detail like tucks, and lace.


Here is a back view of the head.  I would braid a long length of yarn and sew it to the head in the same general way that braided rugs are made.  The curls were crocheted.

I only made relatively small dolls, since the worst part of the whole procedure was stuffing them.  The formulation of the batting used to be excellent, very fluffy and resilient, and it made stuffing not so difficult, but toward the end of my dollmaking career, the consistency changed .  I just could not get the new type of stuff to work right, and it became a big pain to stuff the dolls correctly.  I haven’t tried out batting in a decade so should see if they have some good stuff out there now.

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Mid August

Here is the dressform, all finished.  I stuffed it with shredded newspapers, covering myself and a perfectly good pair of rubber gloves with black ink, and making a very heavy dressform.  I am pleased with it, and it measures nearly exactly right.  Now I just have to use it.  At the very least, it will give me something to model completed garments on.  I also need to name it.  Since the most famous dressform I know of is Madame-the-bust in the Moffett books,  I guess I will name it Madame Merp for reasons obvious to my daughter.  So here is Madame Merp wearing the navy blue T-shirt I finished recently.   The shirt is from an old Butterick pattern that I fussed with until it looked Ok on me.  I changed the neckline to a bound edge because I really like the way it looks.   I have made about a dozen and a half of these shirts for a work-related reason.  There was a creepy guy at my office who looked down ladies’ shirts and viewed disgusting internet sites on his computer.  Why he wasn’t hustled out of employment I will never know, as his proclivities were widely known.  Anyhow, I liked to wear these t-shirts under all my shirts to obstruct the view, so to speak. 





This last photo is of Butterick 2305, a lucky thrift-store find.  For 25 cents I got an old shirt pattern that is just my husband’s size.  He likes his shirts to be 100% cotton, so I should sew him some.  I like the collar with the stand and the full button front

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All Taped Up

Haven’t sewn a stitch in a few weeks, but we have been trying to make a dressform.  I need one for my daughter so that she doesn’t have to keep stopping by on her way home from work to try on stuff.  After Sunday dinner I got her to slip into an old T-shirt of her father’s and I taped her up.  Around about the third layer of tape she started muttering “I am sooo going to do this to you…” or something of the revenge sort.  But it turned out pretty well and I am about half done stuffing it.  Here is a picture of it sitting half stuffed in the stroller waiting for more newspapers to shred to stuff it with.  I need a little more tape to finish off the arms and bottom too.


Other than wrestling with miles of tape and shredding paper, I have been to the Peddler’s Faire in Martinez last Saturday.  I found some old patterns and a great little pamphlet printed in 1943 on decorating your home that has lovely colored drawn illustrations.


This is Butterick 5814 in Size 10.  A classic fitted girl’s dress with collar and pocket.


I had never seen this one before, a wrap-around dress that buttons at the waist and has a circular skirt.  It reminds me of the reprinted Butterick Retro wrap dress.


This baby layette looks like it is from the late 30’s or early 40’s.  There is no date on the envelope. 


I love this one.  It has great pockets and extended shoulders.  The pattern was complete and I got it for only $3!

Now that I remember, I did do some sewing last week, but since it was only repairing the hem on a dishtowel, it was not too exciting.

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