Medium 11.5″ doll Tea Gowns

Medium Doll Tea gowns

Tea Gowns are now up for 11.5″ Medium Fashion Dolls!

This is a bit of an off choice, but I wanted to get this style out because the vintagizing tutorial in it on tea dyeing will be extremely useful to some doll patterns on the ‘soon’ list for this size, like Hippie and Mori.  You can easily do either of those patterns without tea dyeing, but knowing how to do it and having the option will make those patterns more fun when their time comes 🙂

(Pssst… 10 days left for the Kimono contest)

PS Pattern: Antique Tea Gowns

Petite Slimline Tea Gowns

This week’s pattern is Antique Tea Gowns

One of the things I like so much about historical fashions is that it’s pretty hilarious at times.  Tea Gowns were influenced by Asian/Arabian fashions at the time, styles which did not go well with the S-curve silhouette.  A lady wouldn’t leave the home without a corset (the HORROR) so despite being called ‘tea gowns’ they weren’t really made to go out to have tea at a friend’s house in.  They were essentially housedresses, to be worn in the privacy of your own home around close friends and family.

And this made a lot of people super, super mad.  Tea dresses were responsible for the erosion of traditional values.  Really.  Because if you let women go around their own homes wearing clothes that they didn’t need someone else to put them in/take them out of, who knows what kind of sinful things they might get up to. 


But maybe it isn’t quite so ridiculous?  Clothes you can put on/take off yourself are a kind of independence, something we don’t even think about now.  Imagine needing to have someone else to get your clothes on/off every time you needed to change (for women of means, changing clothes could happen up to 5 times a day!)  Now imagine that after spending most of your life living like that, you suddenly can dress yourself.

This is also the same era of suffragettes (women who wanted to be able to vote), which women in the US didn’t get until 1920.  Let that sink in!  1920!  We haven’t been allowed the rights of full citizens for 100 years yet. 

And what happened after 1920?  Flapper style!  Forget corsets.  Not only can you dress yourself, you can show KNEES.  And SHOULDERS.  IN PUBLIC.  OMG. 

It wasn’t until flapper fashion that tea gowns went out of style, because they weren’t needed as a non-corset alternative anymore.  House dresses and bathrobes became the less formal thing you wore at home over the years.  The legacy of tea gowns and all their ruffly, lacy style went on to influence country western fashion, hippie & boho fashion, and now has hit Japan with mori fashion.  If there is a frock associated with ‘free spirits’ this pretty much it.

Anyway, back to my pattern:  This sort of style is usually most coveted when it looks a bit vintage-y vs freshly made.  You want something that looks like you pulled it out of a linen chest: slightly mellowed, and worn in.  A fresh tea gown is like a fresh pair of jeans, so this pattern also walks you through how to give clothes an instant patina of age by dipping them in some tea. 

Tea staining is a common technique for making things look older than they are, and not just clothes.  You brew extra strong tea, dip in what you want to dye, and you’re done.  You don’t even need to let it soak!  It’s wicked easy and produces pretty cool results:

Tea dyeing

This pattern has been chosen because it works so nicely with tea dyeing, but you can do it to pretty much any outfit you want to antiquify.  It’s like adding a sepia filter to a photograph to give it the vintage look.  This method works with patterns and colors too, but it’s easiest to see the difference with white, which is why I made both of the demo dresses pretty plainly.

Curvy 1/3 BJD Kimono

Curvy 1/3 Kimono

Kimono for 1/3 dolls is now available!

(In what should be a surprise to absolutely no one)

Ok, this week’s pattern is Kimono for curvy 1/3 dolls like Smart Doll, Dollfie Dream, and those more mature proportioned 1/3 BJDs like Fairyland’s F60 and Volks SDGR.   After all that fabric shopping I did, I ended up using the only uncut 1-yard of kimono fabric I got back in like 2006.  Why didn’t I just use that to begin with?  Er.  It isn’t really that color.  It’s a blue-green-cream pattern with pink flowers that doesn’t really suit any of the 1/3 dolls I have.  Thus the color swapping on the demo dolls to make it match them ^^; 

Mirai (red) wears the kimono curvy style.  She is padded out slightly, but the obi is fit to the underbust/top of the hips instead of bust/full hips.  This gives her the busty, curve-hugging look of some anime girls in kimono.  I thought it was important to be able to achieve that look because it’s about 50-50 curvy/classic when an anime girl sports a kimono and a lot of these dolls are anime styled.

Melty (purple) wears the kimono classic style.  She is shorter, so the kimono is folded around the waist the same way a kimono would be shortened on a human, and padded out a little more so that the obi makes a smooth line from bust to hip.  This is a traditional fit, and despite being every bit as busty as Mirai under that fabric, she achieves the slender, graceful classic kimono  silhouette.  

The difference comes to how you dress them, and don’t worry, the pattern comes with illustrated instructions on how to get just the right fit for either style on your doll along with regular sewing instructions!

I’m very proud of this one!  Any curvy girl will tell you how hard it is for the busty to pull off styles designed for straight silhouettes, and these dolls can’t be squished down with a sports bra or kimono bra like a human girl would to don a kimono!  It has hidden darts to help the fabric lie smoothly over the bust without interrupting the print, tailoring through the back and sides so that when the obi is put on, the fabric doesn’t bunch up.  Some things are removed, other things added.  It’s a great example of dolly sewing, in which a finished look is achieved by different means due to dolly proportions and miniaturization 🙂



April theme & bonus contest!

April challenge/contest!

Why am I suddenly kimono crazy with the recent wa-loli patterns and going to a kimono shop in NYC? 

‘cuz I’m going to Japan!  I’ve got a whole folder of doll-and-fabric shopping tips set up and I’m super, super excited. 

So help me get even more excited with this month’s challenge: Kimono!

If you post an outfit you made using a pattern from the shop in the Facebook group this month, there will be the standard pattern-winning-raffle but ALSO the kimono I like the most will win the maker my personal fabric shopping service while I’m in Tokyo and Kyoto.  I like to tailor my prizes to something that will be useful to the prize winner, so depending on the doll size preference the prize will be fat quarters or yards (about the same amount of fabric in total either way) in the color/style preference of the winner (traditional, kawaii prints, etc).  The only thing the winner will have to pay for is shipping the fabric to her/im after I get back to the US!

And remember–there are LOTS of different kind of kimono, and you don’t have to go traditional!  You can make a lolita style frilly kimono with the wa-loli pattern or make a steampunky kimono using unusual fabrics and decoration.  As long as it’s recognizably some kind of kimono, it counts!  So have fun, and I look forward to seeing every single entry 🙂 


Kimono-fabric hunting NYC trip!

Easter is a big family holiday, but for some reason when it coincides with April Fools, my family is less than insistent that I show up.  I kind of have a reputation. 

For maybe the same reason, my husband has started taking up the habit of keeping me away from home and anywhere I might have been able to set up shenanigans ahead of time on 4/1.  I’m fine with that.  I like travel, and IMO it just makes shenanigans more challenging and rewarding if you have to make one work on the go! 

This past weekend, we went to NYC.  I live about 2 hours from NYC in no traffic, but I never casually go there.  If I get my timing right, I can get there in a do-able 3.5 hours, and if not, it’s more like 5.  Traffic time is never easy time. So I don’t go to NYC unless I can think of a damn good reason involving something that makes that kind of time commitment and an overnight stay worthwhile!  And I totally, totally did:

Kimono House in Manhattan

This is Kimono House, an actual kimono store in the US! Woah.  I honestly never even looked to see if there was one, because I assumed no.  Some reviews have them only selling kimono, some reviews have them selling kimono and kimono fabric. Continue reading