Knitting Patterns by Lyndell

Design-Your-Own Dress Recipe - free download now
Gumnut Hat in HandSpun for Blythe Dolls - free download now

Who? What? eh?

This is the blog of a constant crafter - a 'showcase' for some of the things I make, some hints for crafting & recylcing - lots of photos and some words. I hope it will inspire.
Please Note: all photos are Copyright.

My Blythe Dolls have their own blog where they are showing lots of photos from our holiday in France - it is here.


Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween

The Blythe dolls are having a great Halloween with lots of dressing up.  

I organised a Halloween / Back-to-School (USA)) swap with fellow Blythe doll people on Ravelry - love doing swaps of clothing for Blythes, it is really inspirational seeing what everyone creates.

Goodness Gwacious!
My swap partner was extremely generous 
- sending a box full of spooky lollies and fun stuff.  
The Dolls were quite overwhelmed.









Audrey 'claimed' this cute Sheep outfit (love those textured stitches)


Lillian always looks rather elegant in black - a lovely dress and hat and 




YEA!   bat-wings!










I made my partner only 1 costume and that does make me feel a bit mean but it was elaborate and took quite a bit of making.

This outfit is based on a couple of costumes from the Emerald City scene of the musical Wicked.  I missed out on sewing costumes for Wicked and took this swap as an opportunity to make something (in small scale) that otherwise I might never get the to sew. 
 
Bought the glasses and shoes - made the dress, hat, tights & gloves.  Lots of ribbons & loads of fun.  Audrey is doing the modelling here but the doll who is now wearing the outfit is a CanCan Cat and she has bright blue hair - which looks perfect with this costume.

I did make the doll's person a mini lion ... just because.  


From a Mochimochi pattern.
 
 



I think I caught some sort of must-make-dolly-costumes virus. The WPWD's people had a photo competition, and the theme was Orange.  

So I got busy ...
And made a pumpkin costume - mostly felt fabric with some green ribbon left over from the other costume.


Audrey got a little worried when I asked her to pose in front of the cook-book open at ...


Pumpkin Soup !!!

You can see all the fantastic entries for this competition here.

Meanwhile I'd been busy knitting a Morticia Adams style dress for Lillian.  The girdle and under-flounce are actually purple (my camera doesn't like purple) and the dress is adapted from my "recipe" (available for free at the top of the page).



Lillian asked for a nice dramatic cape to go with her dress.  Full circle with purple lining and a nice big hood ... so she can be romantic & mysterious.








Little Bird wanted an costume too ... just like Lillian's



Bird likes her long black dress - it makes her feel quite Grown'd Up.

"It has a long bus out the back"  {I think she means the train!}

Wait for Us Lillian



Well the dolls got to show off their outfits at the WPWDs Halloween meet.  This was just wonderful fun - I got to meet some people who are just as crazy about their dolls as I am!  And there were so many gorgeous dolls!!




 Some of the wonderfully costumed dollies ....   I loved the I Dream of Genie outfit
Isn't she gorgeous!

Audrey met another Simply Chocolate - Evie was wearing a lovely witch costume and she had brought her cat.  Audrey and Evie had a lovely time.


The meeting was on the Central Coast, past the Hawkesbury River - I took the train there and took some photos out of the window on the way.  The train-line goes really close to the river.

The Hawkesbury is quite shallow in many places and there are oyster leases.




Bird enjoyed looking out the window!
The colours of the Australian bush  -  those olive greens.  The very green tree in the bottom RH corner is a non-native, such a contrast!



Happy Halloween Everyone

Friday, 28 October 2011

Lillian's New Body - Plastic Surgery Drama

This post needs one of those trashy magazine covers -
Blythe dolls get customised quite a lot - and there are people who are very skillful at it, making quite beautiful dolls that sell for quite a lot of money.  I'm not one of those people -  I'm very timid about the whole idea of tampering with a doll; especially a doll I'm very fond of - I might wreck her!!

But Lillian had a neck problem and her head was getting quite wobbly.  She'd fallen off the desk where she lives a couple of times and when we were in France, she fell off a statue.

Little chips had come off her head where it meets the neck.












If you look closely at this photo of the back of her head you'll see the letters ADG - Lillian is an ADG Lounging Lovely.  There are 3 companies associated with Blythe dolls:
  • Kenner - they made the original dolls, for 1 year only 1972
  • Takara have made Neo Blythes in her many different varieties since 2001
  • Ashton Drake Galleries (ADG) made Blythes from 2004 to 2007 - replicas of the original Kenners and slightly cheaper than the Takara dolls.      
Blythopia gives a listing of all the different Blythe Dolls.

Well, back to Lillian's neck problem - to fix it I knew I would have to open her head which got me thinking about giving Lillian a whole new body.  ADG dolls don't have bending limbs whereas most Takaras have 3click bending legs, I'd also seen customised dolls with extremely flexible bodies (ball jointed).  All quite tempting and very confusing so I consulted the folks on the We Play with Dolls  Forum - had a couple of recommendations for the Licca body - and found out that those wonderful ball jointed bodies have problems supporting the (rather enormous) weight of a Blythe head.  Licca is another doll made by Takara - they have a similar body to Blythe but a more normal sized head.

So I bought a Licca doll and took her head off  (cackles in evil-witch fashion)!!!

The legs bend without clicks and the arms are very flexible.
BUT the feet are a lot larger than Blythes' and the chest cleavage is quite strange (this photo doesn't really show this but that cleavage went right up to the collar-bones!)


So I started on the feet - carving with the blades of some sharp little scissors, then sandpapering, then using very fine glass-paper (240) for smoothing off.  It took ages (partly because I really didn't know what I was doing and was quite timid) but I managed to achieve a much nicer and smaller foot.

original foot on the Left - new on the right





original foot on the Left - new on the right
the soles - new foot on the left
The Licca foot was rather unformed but there were slight indentations for the toes which I wanted to keep and I managed to narrow the foot without losing any!   Only needed to reduce the width a little.  I shortened the foot at the heel and made it nicely rounded.  I carved an instep - and I think this really makes the foot look more 'real'.  Also thinned the ankle a little and sandpapered the moulding 'seams' on the leg.
Made the foot shorter by carving down the heel
After checking that even the smallest of the Blythe dolls' shoes fitted that new foot I had to work on the second one and make it match!

Once the Licca had Cinderella feet I took the sandpaper to the torso - lowering that cleavage, reducing the chest under the arms, reducing the 'step' / bump where the shoulder meets the arm and taking off 'seams'.

New cleavage and shoulder on the right reduced



Chest reduced under the arm






I reduced the chest because the Licca body has very slightly different vital stats to the Blythe including a larger bust measurement.   I'd like Lillian to be able to wear all her clothes and the Licca did curve outwards slightly under the arms (chicken wings on a doll?) 

Having perfected the new Licca body it was time to address the problem that started me on this whole process!  And Lillian's wobbly neck problem was not due to the body - it was actually in her head (oh dear!)  How to fix those chipped bits??   As Lillian is an ADG, to get inside her head (oh dear again!) to open her head fully, I would have to scalp her first ... remove the whole of the top of her head.    Far too too scary.  

If I couldn't get into the head and somehow mend those chipped off parts, perhaps I could pad-out the new neck.  

With something soft, squishy and preferably not visible.  Something like a transparent rubber-band.  think think think  

Those things are certainly NOT invisible when used for the intended purpose - my daughter calls them "sticky tapes".  However, they were just what I needed for Lillian.  Cut enough to go round the neck 1.5 times and (after testing) I used a tiny amount of 450 glue to keep it in place.

Now to do the BODY SWITCH

I studied the only YouTube I could find and it seemed really easy to switch bodies - it wasn't.  The head screws were very tight - hubby darling came to my rescue there and the old body came out OK but the new one didn't go in with ease.

With those screws out but the scalp still on I could only open the head a very little bit.  AND
If you scroll back up to the beheading photo you'll see the Licca neck knob thing is quite long and conical with a narrow groove between it and the neck part - in this photo Lillian's old ADG body is on the left - that knob thing is short and the groove is wide.  The Licca body is on the right with bra strap padding in place and I've started work on the knob - chopped it with a hack-saw blade then sanded it down.
I've lost my head - Why so have I
And sanded it a bit more.  Then I took to the groove with that hack-saw blade until it was wide enough that it fitted and we could close up the head.    Actually there is still a small gap - I should get back in there and hacksaw a little bit more!   Maybe later - I found the whole body switch operation rather traumatic!

Meanwhile, Lillian (and myself) have recovered from the surgery and we are very happy with the new bending limbs and steady head.



Audrey has been a really good friend, she helped nurse Lillian through her convalescence and then took her out dancing to celebrate her New Body.
Oh - almost forgot!  Both girls also have new 'ring pulls'.   The Blythe doll ring pull is a bit iconic - but I'm not fond of it and thought I'd give my dollies things that expressed their personalities a bit better.

Actually I spent ages in the bead shop trying to choose - Lillian got elegant silvered shapes and Audrey an Art Deco dangle bead in her favourite light blue / aqua colour (thought it does not go with those orange tights !!)



Friday, 21 October 2011

What I bought at the Vintage Market

Last weekend I went to the "Love Vintage" market - great fun.  Managed to avoid buying clothes - honestly I have too many already!  Saw some gorgeous hats and, if I get the time (my constant caveat) I might copy a couple of them for my Blythe Dolls.

So what DID I buy?  Rather a crazy collection of things really:  I nearly always buy old sewing and knitting patterns - this time was no exception...

Australian & UK Knitting Patterns rarely have copyright or other dates but "What to Knit for Baby" is probably from the 1920's and some of the patterns are hilarious - drawers, gaiters!  some are a worry - "Knitted Stays" !!!  though the photo shows a short sleeveless vest / singlet with long ribbon ties to go about the baby's tummy - hopefully not tight.

Child torture via knitting did not cease and possibly never will.  Take a closer look at the lad on the back of the Lincoln pattern - this dates from the late 40's or early 50's.  The whole outfit is knitted - shirt, shorts with belt and the tie with a panda on it!  

What a dapper young gentleman!





 

Now some would consider this a form of torture -






An industrial strength girdle, in great condition, probably never worn.






Here is the tag - made me laugh - "Camp"  ??!


However, I think Berlei may have made this girdle under license as Camp was an American Company, they developed that style of fan-lacing.  
The fan lacing does make this girdle relatively quick to put on - loosen the lacing, wrap it round and do up all those hooks on the side front.  Then pull on those wide tapes, trying not to think of parachutists and their rip-cords - check that you can still breathe - and tighten a little bit more!  

This girdle might have been sold as a surgical support - though I've nick-named it the "Diet-No-More".

  
Buns of steel (quite literally as the boning is made of steel) without setting foot inside a Gym - bonus!   And yes - you can sit down while wearing this thing but slouching is an impossibility. 



One more detail - look at those lovely suspenders.  Big, strong and functional.  And now for one of my rants:
I am not a fan of the naked leg (too much hard work) I love fancy and colourful stockings / tights / panty-hose.  I would prefer to wear stockings as too many layers of man-made fabrics around the nether-regions are unhealthy but there we are faced with a very old problem - how to keep stockings up.  Garters cause broken veins, the modern 'stay-up' stockings are a complete misnomer, so the best solution is the suspender but modern suspenders are poorly made - the metal clasps bend, the plastic buttons fold and pull through.  Underwear manufacturers - please make suspenders like you used to - please pretty please.    End of rant.


Now for some lovely little things that I bought despite the need to mend them.  And these photos show them straight out of the bag - not mended, not washed, not ironed.  When I've done all of that (if/when I get the time) I'll post some 'after' pictures.

A little lace boudoir cap - there is a rip in the lace on the other side and the ribbon needs replacement.

And (what I consider to be quite a 'find') this silk & lace dickie front or false blouse - American reference books call them Chemisettes and I've knitting patterns from the 1940s & 50s where they get called a Vestee.
Cooler and more economical than a full blouse but you cannot take off your jacket!  But people didn't back then.  This one dates from the 19teens - it's about 100yrs old; pretty lace but no collar, it has a soft 'pouter pigeon' or 'S-bend' silhouette.

 
 With many old clothes you can have fun unraveling their history.  I think the cotton waistband is a replacement and there were rather badly done adjustments to make the dickie front even smaller - funny little darts and shoulder seams.  
These blue marks seem to be dressmakers' chalk - wonder if they'll wash out!
 Will I wear these things you ask?  that girdle, lace cap, lace dickie front - 
why yes, why not?  I'll wear them.