Monday, July 14, 2014

Blythe vintage hanky dress

Preparing to sew the dress
I've admired the stunning Blythe couture creations by Frédérique on Flickr for some time, and recently she just shared a free tutorial for a vintage hanky dress for Blythe. I finally finished my own version.
There are so many gorgeous details in the pattern, little techniques you can learn and the finishing is perfect. I think I may even like the petticoat the best, it's so frilly and adds a lovely volume to the skirt.

It took a long time to make this, I found the hanky fabric to be very delicate and hard to sew with my machine, so I did a lot of hand sewing. I tried using a nice new sharp and thin needle, but at times it just mashed the fabric down into the feed dogs. One trick was to start sewing a bit farther from the edge, then hand sewing the first part to tidy it up. In the end the results were worth it to me, and a few days while I had a headache it was nice to have some quiet sewing to do while sitting around.
You can find the pattern and, even better, a full photo step-by-step on how to sew each step here. Many thanks to Frédérique for sharing her talent and gorgeous pattern!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Little coat

This is the next Blythe that will be getting some custom work when I get the chance. In the meantime, I've finally perfected my coat pattern. It's hard to get the fit right when it's so small. It started out as a Japanese Blythe sewing book pattern, and I was amazed that they expected me to add a pocket flap and piping at the collar, sleeve cuffs and waistline. Very fiddly work but it is very charming.

Once I tried the book pattern version, I made my own version with a longer bodice, shorter, gathered skirt and two pocket flaps. This one turned out well, but it's a little bit snug without much room for another top underneath. I also made my pattern with a full lining so there was no worrying about fraying.

You'd think that all this would be painstaking enough, but once I finished and added buttons on top with snap closures underneath, I didn't like how bulky it was. So I added handsewn button holes. It's a little fussy to get on, but I love how it looks! Worth the trouble? I don't know, I don't know why I get obsessed about making little things like this, but I do, so I've just decided to accept it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Going Blythe

This is my first Blythe and my first custom. I didn't mean to get into Blythe, but it happened and now I'm hooked! My favourite part of course is sewing and knitting the little outfits, so more on that later but in the meantime I wanted to mention how I did the custom face.

Here's the "before" picture:
The first thing I did was add sleepy eyes. There are lots of tutorials online, but what many of them don't mention is that if you leave her sleeping too long - like overnight I guess? - the mechanism may warp and in my case the cord no longer worked to switch the eye colours.

So since I had to replace that, I was going to open her up anyway and it seemed like a good time to make some more changes. The face is sand-matted, then the eyes were boggled and gaze corrected, the easiest changes because all you do is shave off a wee bit of plastic and she looks up instead of down, and the lids don't show when her eyes are open. Again, lots of tutorials online so I won't describe that part anymore.

I did the carving with some wooden handled tools I already had for making linocuts one thousand years ago in art class.

The next thing I did wrong was when I used the hot glue method of removing the eye chips. Call me old-fashioned but I'm not that keen on the orange and pink eyes. So the part that went wrong is that I was too speedy with the glue stick and it actually melted the eye chip a bit. I guess you should just take a moment after you heat the stick before applying it. Anyway what I discovered is that you can use those nail buffer pads (which I used to sand matte the face) to smooth out the chip, then buff it back to a shine. Phew!

Lastly I didn't want to use the spray matte/fixative so I just applied the colour with chalk pastels and a Q-tip and I guess at some point it might wear off. But I found if you rub it in, it seems to almost stain into the plastic and seems quite durable.

Here's the "after" face:
The adorable beret is a free pattern from Maggie Baird called Écolière Beret (on Ravelry). It's really such a nice and simple pattern. I designed and knit the cardigan myself, the pattern needs some adjustment but it was fun to knit something on 0000 knitting needles. The dress, which you can't really see, is from a Japanese Blythe sewing book but I'll show more of those later.

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