Friday, December 31, 2010

Dolls! Reproduction Ponytail Barbie Gets A Dress

I bought my reproduction Ponytail Swirl Barbie doll without an outfit, and as I had made a new costume for my 1950's doll, I thought Barbie deserved one too. I had been getting a lot of those sideways looks from Barbie lately, so I thought I had better get moving. So much for sewing for myself.

I used this pattern which is a copy of one from the late 1950's or early 1960's:

I made the bodice according to the pattern using the contrast fabric, but it frayed like mad around the armholes, so I made it up again without the contrast. I lined it using white muslin and made up a belt in the same spot fabric.

Pattern Review

The dress I made for my 1950's doll was huge in the bodice area, however the bodice on this one was too small around the waist. From the pattern covers, they both look as though they were made for the same doll. The skirt was a little too full, so I would advise on taking out some of the width so that it is easier to attach to the bodice piece.

Not in the pattern, but to me a necessity for the 1950's gal, is a tulle petticoat, which I made as a separate garment:

A big thank you to the expert doll maker Elaine over at McNally School blog for signing up as a Follower to my blog. Her dolls are amazing and inspire me to make some more. Make sure you go and have a look at her beautiful dolls. It is great to make a connection with someone so far away over a shared interest.

It is a boiling hot day here in Melbourne (40 degrees has been promised), so I am going to spend some time today selecting fabrics to make up 2 very simple cloth dolls. I would like to make one look old, so I am going to try tea dyeing the body and clothing fabric. I have not done this before, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out. The second doll I would like to make a lot brighter and modern, and maybe use some gorgeous wool felt I have. Actually, I might make both look old. I will have to play around with my extensive craft fabric stash, and see what I come up with!

I really should be making Burda jacket 7814 for myself, but I really feel like creating a doll so I will do that next.

Happy New Year to all,


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dolls! Finished Dress & Capelet for my 1950's Doll

All finished!

I used this pattern, which I think is from the early 1960's, or late 1950's.

The pattern called for 1/4 inch seams, and I lined the bodice in the lightest cotton polyester fabric I could find. I washed all fabrics to ensure that any chemicals used in the dyeing and finishing process were removed as I did not want them to leach into the doll. Washing the fabrics also made them sit better on the doll, which is just under 11 inches tall.

Taking measurements
Cutting out the bodice lining
Shaping the bodice on my dressmaker's ham.

I lined the capelet.
Jaunty little capelet
The Pattern Review.

Barry Sturgill wrote an article in Haute Doll magazine (Vol 7 (1) February 2010) reviewing some vintage patterns made for dolls in the 1960's. It's an interesting article, so track it down if you can. The author writes that a few of these patterns were drafted way too big. He suspects this is because Mums and kids were able to sew and dress the dolls if the clothes were a lot bigger, but this sizing issue is not acceptable to the modern collector seeking to replace a missing outfit for a vintage doll. Simplicity rates highly for good designs and fit. From my experience, I think that you need to test the fit of the patterns first.

Here is a picture of my reproduction vintage pony tail Barbie wearing the dress. While it fits her better in the length of the bodice, it is still way too big. The pattern did come with a belt, but I did not make this as I did not want the dress to be too tight on my vintage 1950's doll as I wanted to preserve the original underwear.

Gaping bodice
My reproduction vintage ponytail Barbie requires an outfit, because she will have to give this one back to the 1950's doll. I will do a post on her new outfit at a later date.

Best wishes for the holiday season to one and all, and thankyou to all those people who have visited my Blog in 2010!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dolls! Mary Poppins Show and Doll.

Recently I posted about my Mary Poppins cloth doll that I had when I was two years old. I was on a nostalgia trip as I was going to see the show in November. Well I am pleased to report that it was wonderful. We got the understudy Mary Poppins, Sarah Bakker who I think was practically perfect. In fact I think she was perfect.

The program cover was lovely:
The show program

I loved the costumes and sets, and the colours of both were dazzling. I was particularly taken with some of the chorus members outfits in Mrs Corry's shop. They still had the bustle which was in fashion in the late 1800's, and not in the time when Mary Poppins was set, but it worked so well. I was trying to see the details of these costumes, and could make out wonderful piecing work on some which looked like patchwork. They had used fabrics of different prints and textures and it all went together very well. I would love to see how they designed these costumes and have a look at the detail up close.

And to top it off, they were selling Mary Poppins dolls at the show, and of course I had to get one to put with my old Mary Poppins cloth doll.

I love the box design which copies the detail from the set for the children's bedroom. 

Bag and umbrella

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Look Jacket 6619, Finished At Last!

Hi all, I would like to announce that I have finished my New Look Jacket 6619:

Button and loop closure

I think I will give myself a cheer for making it to the finishing line, because there were times when I thought it was not going to work out. I was doing a technique which was new to me, which was altering the front bust measurement. I used the technique in Jackets for Real People by Alto, Neall and Palmer. I experienced major procrastination because I was learning something new. I kept putting it off as I thought if I made a mistake, then all my efforts were for nothing. For this reason, I used a very cheap fabric so that I didn't mess up a good piece. I also did a rough calico to work out some of the fitting issues, and I am glad that I did.

I like the jacket, and here it is with the top I made for Lisa's wedding:


I think I will make up this jacket pattern again with a different front closure variation in the watercolour fabric.

Before I embark on this second jacket though, I am going to sew up the outfit for my 1950's doll. I have been doing some research, and have decided on this fabric combination and dress with matching capelet:

Here is a clearer view of the pattern:

I am doing the sleeveless dress on the bottom right. Don't you love those cute fashions! I will keep you all updated of my progress with this tiny project.

Finally, I would like to thank the talented and prolific blogger Tany for becoming my first Google Follower! She is the writer of 2 blogs and makes the most amazing clothes, so go and have a look at her site. As a 'new kid' in the world of blogs, I was so excited to get my first Follower. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

The One Shoulder Evening Dress

Some of you may recall my recent post about sewing an outfit for my 1950's doll. The one shouldered number on the left really caught my fancy. Imagine my surprise when I spied a similar design (without the puffy skirt) in the latest catalogue from Burda patterns:

Burda 7474

Just shows these designs keep coming back into the fashion cycle every so often. What better way to show of an alluring shoulder?

I am feeling better so I was able to sew in the linings and start on the hems on my New Look jacket on the weekend. It is inching towards completion!

If you have tried to leave a comment in the past and been unable to, that is because I had that function switched off by mistake. I have set it so that you can leave a comment now, so please do.

Until next time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dolls! A Cloth Doll Called Bernadette

Hi all. I have not been well the last week, so there has been no sewing done at all. To give you something to look at until I finish the New Look jacket, here are some photos of a cloth doll I made about 3 years ago. The doll is from a design by Miriam Gourley. I will give you some more details about how I made her and where I got the pattern from at a later date. Email me or leave a comment if you cannot wait until then.

Matching jacket with hand beading

Australian mohair used for her hair

Boots painted with craft paint

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Look Jacket 6619 : Are We There Yet?

For those of you who thought my New Look Jacket project had been pushed to the back of the sewing room again, here are some pictures of my progress to date. I have finished the outer jacket and only have the sleeves to put in to the lining. Something went wrong with the length of the front lining piece, so I will have to take the bust darts out to regain the correct length. New Look only gave an extra pattern piece for the lining, so maybe the mistake is theirs.

I had to replace the first lot of lining I cut out as I got baby oil on it and it would not wash out. I had been experimenting using it to re-condition frizzy barbie doll hair earlier in the day, and some of it was still on my hands. It is hard stuff to get off. I already had the green lining, so I did not have to rush out and buy any more. I think it is only bemsilk, and the quality is nothing like Sunsilky antistatic lining. Now I know why I pay more to use Sunsilky.
Button loop

Attached sleeve band cut on bias

Finally, getting off the topic of sewing, here is a bucket of the roses that I rushed out and picked before the heavy rains started here in Melbourne on Friday night:

And this is my cat Bootsie. I am sure he is a Manga cat, look at those beautiful big eyes he has! 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Painting : 1950's & 1960's Frocks Fever

Well it is all things 1950's and 1960's here on Lizzie's Arty Crafty this week. Today, I did some sketches which are my interpretation of some 1950's and 1960's dresses. These sketches are inspired by the photographs in The Golden Age of Couture : Paris & London 1947 to 57 edited by Claire Wilcox and The 1960's : Fashions of a Decade by Yvonne Connikie.

First up is a silk dress by Cardin from the book of 1960's fashions. The author does not say when it was made. It reminds me of a dress my Mum had when I was a kid. I will have to ask Mum if she can remember when she wore that dress.

Next up, I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw this 2 page spread in The Golden Age of Couture on a doll with the splendid name of Miss Virginia Lachasse. Unfortunately, the book does not say how high she is. My sketch below does not do it justice (my version makes her look rather cross, however the real doll does have a serious expression), or show the extensive wardrobe that was created for her in 1954, which included gold leather sandals and her own mink coat. For those vintage doll fanatics out there, if you can find this book and look on page 108, you will see her in all her glory. If you live in the United Kingdom, apparently she was recently donated to the Museum of Costume in Bath. You can also see her on the Victoria & Albert Museum website. Oh my!

Here is another 1954 beauty which shows how a lean straight up and down silhouette was also fashionable then. It is a suit by Balenciaga. That hat the model is wearing was actually white in the photograph and has what looks like a black pom pom on the end. I love it!

Finally, my last sketch is of a model wearing a tulle evening dress, leaning on a couch. This is not a very clear drawing, but it does give an indication of how full those skirts were, and how heavy they must have been.

Just a final word on the comments function on my blog. I think it has been switched off, which meant no-one has been able to leave a comment. I think I have it working now and I would love you to leave a comment or just say hi, so please do. Sensible comments of course! LOL!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Spring!

It's spring at the moment, look at my lovely roses. The only one I know the name of is the apricot one which is called Just Joey.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dolls! Sewing for 1950's & 1960's Dolls.

I am not so sure that the skirt on my Glamour Doll is authentic; it could just be a recently made skirt for a Barbie. So what better excuse to go hunting for an authentic pattern to make up an outfit for her! A search of Amazon revealed these 2 books. I bought the second one which is by Rosemarie Ionker as it has the patterns to sew the clothes. I would love to buy the first one too, but it is very expensive having 3 hobbies! Perhaps that one will have to wait for a while.

Image taken from

Image taken from

Back cover

Here is an example of a copy of an original pattern on Ebay to make clothes for 11.5 inch dolls which I am also considering buying. I adore that one shoulder number, but I am not sure if that is a 1950's style; looks like I might have to do more research. I think that I enjoy the research that goes with collecting vintage dolls as much as I do the collection itself.

Amazon also has a couple of sellers who have Vogue patterns which are reproductions of the designs of the 1950's to 1970's that could also work. They are quite expensive though, so the best way to do it is to find a basic pattern and adapt it and I am hoping the book I have bought will allow me to do that.

I don't really like sewing such tiny clothes, but I think it will make the doll look so much better. I made a replacement outfit recently for one of my Peggy Nesbit dolls, which is only about 6 inches high. That was a trying experience, but it came out alright in the end.

Perhaps I will do a book review for the Ionker book, if anyone is interested.
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