Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Re-root: Kyla

Thanks to Uncle John and his camera, I have another re-root to share!

This is Kyla, named after Kyla Pratt, one of my favorite voice actors. I bought her with her twin sister (still unnamed) off of eBay a few months ago, as an early holiday present to myself. She's a reproduction of the My Black Barbie doll from 1979.

She's modeling another of my favorite dresses, once again made out of Idea Store fabric. I love this fabric. The maroon matches her makeup perfectly, and it's more modern than most of the prints in my collection. Not a flower or a strawberry in sight!

Kyla is also wearing a necklace I made out of colored copper wire and seed beads. If I remember correctly, the purple wire was 20 gauge, and the black wire was 26 -- that's about the finest gauge I'll work with. The seed beads were around a size 15, but I can't be sure, because they were another Idea Store find. Possibly vintage, and quite tiny!

I wanted to do something a little different for Kyla's hair, so I gave her some red highlights on one side. Another difference is that I used the lock and loop method! I used to be exclusively a hand-knot gal, but now I alternate between the two, depending on what needs to be done.

I gave her very long hair, and I do not plan to bring scissors anywhere near it. I love the way it looks in the high ponytail, and I'm not someone who cares whether her doll's hair looks realistic. Besides, after a few years of short hair, I figured she needed a change.

Kyla lives in the Black and Red Room, i.e. the topmost shelf of my former book case, with her sister and several other dolls. She sits on a doll bed with a crazy quilt that I made in shades of, you guessed it, black and red. We have a running joke in my house that dolls can only enter the room if their clothing matches the decor, or if they are shirtless Ken dolls. I'm pretty sure it was Kyla who added the last part.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with her sister's hair. I'm leaning towards a copper color, but I reserve the right to change my mind at any time. With at least a dozen dolls whose hair color I have already chosen, I'll have plenty of time to think it over!

I'm so glad I could show Kyla off, and I can't wait to share another re-root. I may or may not ask Uncle John to take another doll photo next, since I also have a pair of ostriches who would love to be in the spotlight. One of them has a new... accessory... to show off. Let's just say, it keeps my simple boy from hurting himself.

Much love,

Sarah J Sequins

(And dolls)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Re-root: Timberly

Last year was a pretty productive one for me in terms of dolly things. I made at least 50 doll dresses in this style, added as many members to my doll family, made 10 doll quilts, furnished about 10 doll rooms, and did a surprising number of re-roots.

I first started re-rooting and customizing dolls in 2000, after reading the book Fashion Doll Makeovers by Jim Faraone, but I hadn't done any in several years because of the lack of quality doll hair. Then I was inspired by two things. The first was A Doll Affinity, run by the very talented Cat. Her work is amazing! The next was Restore Doll, which offers gorgeous saran doll hair in every color imaginable. I ended up doing 20 re-roots... and counting.

Thanks to Uncle John and his camera, I'm going to share one of my recent re-roots today. One of my favorites, actually. This is Timberly, named after a character in one of my favorite 90's cartoons. She's modeling a skirt and sweater I made, some little hair clips from Meijer, and a Mattel necklace.

When I bought Timberly off of Ebay, she had black hair in a cute curly ponytail. Unfortunately, her head was also full of glue, which was seeping into her hair (thank you very much, Mattel). Since there doesn't seem to be a way to remove the glue by itself, it was re-root time.

In the end, I'm glad I gave her new hair. I like the brown with the caramel highlights, and I am absolutely in love with the micro-braids. I love the look, I love the feel, and I love styling them in different ways. Timberly is pretty happy with them, too.

To finish the braids, I tied each one into a knot. I didn't trim the tails off of the knots because I liked the way they looked all together, but I've trimmed them on other dolls, and it looks nice like this, too -- like a bunch of tiny tassels. I'm going to experiment with really long tails, too. Maybe with shorter braids?

Here's a closeup view of the back. Each braid is about three hair plugs thick.

Here's a closer side view. Did I mention how much I love those little clips?

Timberly isn't the first doll of mine to get tiny little braids, but she's definitely the first to get a whole head full of them. She won't be the last. I'm micro-braiding the hair of Mia, one of my Idea Store dolls, and also re-rooting a Salvation Army Barbie, Veronika, with bright red braids. After that, I'd love to do one with beads (a size 6 or 8 seed bead would be perfect). I have as many ideas as I have dolls.

Can't wait to show off more re-roots! And more doll clothing, too.

Much love,

Sarah J Sequins

(And dolls)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

More simple doll dresses

Over a month later, and I still haven't made progress towards getting a camera. I've been distracted by several things, including doll pants (yes, more doll pants!) and dog-sitting. I just got home from a 17 day sitting job with the world's sweetest old baby boy, and when I wasn't snuggling him, I was using my sewing machine in the basement of his house. Mia, one of my latest rescue dolls, tagged along to be my model.

(And so did Domingo Flamingo. He took one look at the hot pink sequin fabric I'd bought and demanded that I make him a scarf. I still have not done this, and I can feel little black birdy eyes on me as I type.)

Luckily, I still have some doll photos in my archives, and I thought I'd share more of these today. Here are a few of my girls wearing some of the earliest versions of the elastic waist skirt-turned-dress.

From left to right, here are Lila, Rachel, Mona, Elisa and Jenna. Each dress is made of cotton quilting fabric that I purchased from The Idea Store, my local creative reuse center. Also featured are Idea Store ribbons and lace, and even though you can't see it, the elastic is secondhand, too. This is how I'm able to buy so much fabric without going broke!

Here are Jenna and Rachel, posing for a closeup (Rachel mostly wanted to show off her cute short hair). Right after this photo was taken, I decided that the daisy dress needed a little something extra, so I hand-sewed some black sequins to the bottom. This also covered up the shoddy job I did attaching the lace. I don't have any formal training in sewing, and I'm learning all the time. Slowly.

At this point I've made enough of these dresses to realize that they look best when they're shorter and when the strip of fabric is wider. The narrower the elastic casing, the cleaner the look, and a loop turner is the perfect tool for getting the elastic through when safety pins are just too big. The back seam needs to be pressed, and I use something called a ham to make the job easier. The name always makes me laugh.

I still need to work on the construction a little. If I can keep it from getting too bulky, I'd like to do the back seam as a French seam instead of a pinked edge. And I really, really need to practice the technique that Uncle John taught me to make those impossibly tiny hems, because mine are anything but.

That said, I like this style because it's so easy; all the sewing is in straight lines! If you can make an elastic-waist skirt, you can make this dress. It can also be made into a one or two-sleeved dress or shirt with just a few little modifications. I plan to make more of these now that I'm home, since I have pounds and pounds of fabric waiting to be used. Peasant tops will go really well with all those pants.

That's all for now! Stay tuned for more pretty gals and sewing experiments. And... anything else I have in my photo archives.

Much Love,

Sarah J Sequins

And dolls

(And Mingo, who still wants that scarf.)