Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sewing the large vest

I started sewing the vest for Brother Dreary. The picture below shows how to sew the card-woven bands together. The thread goes from left to right and back between the threads of the first and second card, always going forward and never going over the edges of the bands.

The two bands in the part where the lapel was going to be caused a bit of a problem. As the lapels are turned, the side where the edges of the band are visible needs to be changed at a point where the change will remain invisible. I started from the upper edge with edges of the band on the outside, sewed a little bit to make it easier to turn the lapel, and checked where the change should be made.

The next picture makes things a bit clearer. The point of change mentioned above is visible on the side that will be the inside of the vest and under the lapel on the outside. This way, everything that is visible stays neat. The inside of the vest and the parts under the lapels won't show, so they don't matter.

I also had to try making socks for the Baha Cat, although I had already deemed the idea mad. It wasn't easy, but I managed to do it. Of course this is just the first one, I still need to make the other.

As you can see, the sock doesn't have a proper heel. I just made the decreases on one side only to give it this wedge shape.

Related earlier posts:
Brother Dreary project
Socks and the beginning of the vest
Parts of the vest
Baha Cat's vest and stuff for Brother Dreary

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baha Cat's vest and stuff for Brother Dreary

As I was planning the Baha Cat's vest, I realized that I needed narrower band for the pieces that go up to the shoulder height. So I made yet another band with just enough length for the two narrow pieces you can see in the picture below.

Then I sewed the pieces together and made the back piece from wool fabric. I treated the edges of the fabric with Fray Stay, although the fabric does not fray easily. I just wanted to be sure the edges will stay neat. Before sewing the back and front pieces together, I pressed the front pieces.

The picture below shows the finished vest. The buttons are fake and the front closes with two tiny snaps.

Brother Dreary's sweater has progressed a bit. This is the point where the front and back pieces separate and where the opening in the back piece starts. I'm not sure how big armholes are needed to be able to get the sweater on the doll, but I guess I'll find out sooner or later.

I got the socks finished on Saturday. Here are views from different sides.

Related earlier posts:
Brother Dreary project
Socks and the beginning of the vest
Parts of the vest

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Parts of the vest

I made the first band too short, so I had to make another one to get enough material for the vest. When the bands were ready, it was time to measure and cut the needed pieces. First, I measured the required length and applied Fray Stay to the uncut band (on both sides of the place where it was to be cut). When the band was dry again, I cut the band in the middle of the treated parts. In the picture below, you can see two parts of a band treated with Fray Stay. The places where it was later cut are marked with black lines.

The parts where the direction of turning the cards was changed (to remove twist in the threads) cannot be used for something like this. Because of that, it is a good idea to plan beforehand and place the reversals so that you can cut the band there. All it requires is that you know the lengths of the required pieces and measure the band as you proceed.

For example, I needed one 6 cm piece, one 12 cm piece and two 10 cm pieces for one side of the vest front. I started by making the 12 cm piece turning the cards forward, then I made a little over 20 cm turning the cards backward (removing the twist created earlier and adding some new in different direction), and then 6 cm turning forward (again removing some twist). Even using this method, I had to open the far end of the setup once to remove twist.

I used Fray Stay for this as it is much better for the purpose than Fray Stop. Fray Stop is really glue and looks and behaves a lot like PVA glue. It's thick and remains visible, unless you dilute it heavily with water. Fray Stay is a bit thicker than water, but still leaves an even surface and is almost invisible when it's dry. (Fray Check looks similar to Fray Stay, clear liquid in a bottle with fine tip.)

The picture below shows all the pieces of the vest front, except the collar pieces, which I haven't cut yet. These need to be hand sewn together and pressed. I'm planning to practice that with the leftover pieces of the band, which I'm going to use to make a vest for the Baha Cat. I want everything I make for Brother Dreary to be as perfect as possible, so I'll try stuff in a smaller scale with the Baha Cat and it may end up having the same kind of costume.

The mail delivered today my order from Little Trimmings. Unfortunately, the buckles I ordered were much too small for this purpose, but they are still very nice and I can use them for some other doll's shoes. Here they are shown with a buckle that's too big. I really need to find something in between these sizes.

I had much better luck with buttons. The ones on the left are those I ordered earlier and plan to use for the vest (the yellow ones). The gold colored are from Little Trimmings and they are perfect for the jacket.

I also ordered some fabrics and simple white buttons for Brother Dreary's shirt. There are enough buttons for two shirts as I ordered two sets of 10 buttons, so I'm planning to make a shirt using that tartan patterned fabric. I still need to find suitable white fabric for the shirt to go with the folk costume. I'm not striving for strict accuracy, but I still prefer using fabric that has the right kind of look and feel.

Related earlier posts:
Brother Dreary project
Socks and the beginning of the vest

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Socks and the beginning of the vest

I have only knitted one pair of socks before this, about 30 years ago at school. Those took a long time and I was never tempted to try to knit another pair. However, as I am making a sweater for Brother Dreary, I thought I could try socks as well. I searched for instructions for regular size socks and then scaled them down. The first sock has progressed this far:

The heel doesn't look very pretty, but the shape is correct. The rest should be easy, just a bit more as it is and then decreasing steadily. The part I don't like much is that I need to make the other sock as well, although it will be a lot easier as I wrote down how I made this one.

I also started making the vest for the folk costume. The first thing to do was to set up the threads for card weaving.

The next picture shows the pattern more clearly. The problem is, I'm not sure the pattern I made is correct. I saw a picture in a book at the library and this is what the pattern looked to me, but it was very small and I can't be sure I got it right. However, it is good enough for the first version. I may end up making a better vest later as I am not quite happy with the shade of brown I'm using. It should be darker, I think, but as I got this shade now, I thought I might as well use it.

The thread turned out to be excellent for card weaving, much better than ordinary sewing thread. I think I'll order more of it, if I decide to order a better shade for the vest. I might do that as there's quite enough of the red thread for making another vest.

Here is the chart for the setup. I used alternating threading as I thought that would be best for this pattern.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Classroom desks and chairs

I realized I hadn't added these here. I needed a classroom setup for my photo story, so I had to make some desks and chairs. The table tops are made of pieces of cork left over from other projects and the vertical parts are made of wooden cigarette holders.

Here are the unfinished desks and chairs:

The wooden cigarette holders belonged to my uncle and my father saved them for me when cleaning the house after my uncle passed away.

Here are the finished pieces in the classroom set, which is just a temporary one, set up inside a painted plastic container.

Friday, October 8, 2010

More iron-on transfers

As I still had a lot of small pictures printed on an iron-on transfer sheet, I decided to make some doll clothes using them. The best way to iron a picture on the fabric is to cut the piece first, because then it is easy to get the placement right. Here is a small top with a picture ironed on.

Here is a shirt with the picture ironed on and some of the seams sewn. This is for a Monster High doll and the pattern is included in the full set.

Here are the dolls wearing their new clothes. The pattern for Nikki's dress is available on my web site.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Another sweater

I also got thinner yarn from the crafts fair, so I was able to knit a better version of the Jussipaita. The first version of this pattern was for a 1/6 scale doll (see the earlier blog post), but this yarn was much more in scale.

The yarn is 70% wool, 30% silk, and meant for 1.5-2 mm knitting needles. I used 1.6 mm needles. I knitted all three parts as a tube all the way to the red upper part as the pattern was much easier to knit that way. The back has an opening, which closes with a wooden button.

Top for Baha Cat

The fabric with cartoon cats required careful examination to find just the right spot for cutting a sleeveless shirt for the Baha Cat.

The top is fully lined and the same pattern can be used as the upper part of a dress. The pattern is available on my web site.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New dresses

My purchases from the crafts fair last weekend included some really nice fabrics.

Of course I had to try them right away. The first thing I made was a dress for Nikki. You can find the pattern here.

The most challenging part for making clothes for Nikki is her tail. Here is a back view to show how I solved the problem in this dress.

Next, I made a dress for Daisy Slae (Living Dead Doll). This is a fully lined A-line dress with an open back closed with snaps. The pattern can be found here.

As I was cutting the fabric for the dress the first time, I made a mistake. Fortunately, I did not need to discard that piece as, after a little modification, it was fine for a Baha Cat's dress. So, the two now have almost identical dresses (the Baha Cat's dress is not lined and it has side seams).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Clothes for Monster High dolls

I have made some clothes for the Monster High dolls and, as I was making them, I also made the patterns for them. The piece of clothing that proved to be most difficult was the jacket. The leftmost one in the picture below is the prototype, which provided the basic pattern for modification. The rest are shown in chronological order. You may not notice any major differences between the different versions, but that is because the problem was getting the back of the jacket right. As I made the different versions of the jacket, I also made matching bottoms, mainly skirts, but the fourth picture shows the first version of trousers. I also tried different ways of closing the jacket. The one in the third picture actually has working buttons, although the button holes were a major challenge. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Brother Dreary project

I haven't started this project yet, but I have been planning it. I got the doll this week. Here are photos of him in the original outfit.

I will dress the doll in traditional Southern Osthrobotnian clothes. I'll probably start with a better version of the Jussi sweater as I got the yarns for it.

The needle size is 2 mm and the grey yarn is for 2.5 and red for 2.5-3, but that shouldn't be a problem. The main thing is that the colors are just right.

The larger project is the men's folk costume for Southern Osthrobotnia (Härmä-Isokyrö). It consists of trousers, shirt, vest, jacket, hat, shoes, belt and knives. For copyright reasons, I cannot add a picture of the costume in this blog post, but you can find it here.

I've already got the belt as I bought a leather choker with metal parts similar to those used in the belt. It only needs a buckle, which I'll probably need to make myself once I find a good enough picture that shows what it should be like.

The most problematic part is the vest as it has proven impossible to find fabric with suitable pattern. I've decided to try card weaving as that is what I know best. The result should look good enough. The yarns I got for this are cotton and I'm not quite sure about the colors, but the book I found says that the shades used varied a good deal, so I guess these are fine. After all, I'm not going for historical accuracy, just the right kind of look.

The book also mentioned that in earlier times, the vest had similar front and back as it could be worn without a jacket, but later the jacket became so integral part of the outfit that the back of the vest could be made from different fabric. That should make things a lot easier as I only need card-woven bands for the front and can use fabric with one color for the back.

The doll will also need new shoes for the outfit. The original ones look like this.

Even if you ignore the fact that these are plastic, the design is too modern. I'm planning on making leather shoes with buckles. I already found a pair of buckles, but they are a bit too large. I'll try to find better suited ones, but if I cannot, these will do.

The book I found for reference in the library is this.

The book includes drawings of the trousers and shirt. Those are the parts of the outfit that are very hard to see in photos as the photos usually show the entire outfit with jacket and vest on.