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New pattern! Salwar Kameez and Angarkha

Salwar & Angarkha pattern

This week’s pattern is Salwar Kameez and Angarkha.  This is kind of tricky because Salwar is also spelled Shalwar and Angarkha is also spelled Angrakha.  I went with the spelling that google auto corrected the alternate spelling to ^^; 

ANYHOO, if you’ve been following me even a little, you probably know that I’m as big a fan of sampling different cultures’ fashions as much as I am of sampling their cooking 🙂  And, while the saying ‘fashion is cyclical’ is true, fashion also diffuses across cultures just like any other idea (or recipe!).  Like tempura!  Most of us think of tempura as a totally Japanese thing, but until fairly recently it was considered foreign cooking (in Japan) because frying is a technique they imported from Euro cuisine.  And don’t get me started on tomatoes (a new world crop) in Italian cooking!  Tracing shapes and fabrics in sewing is like following ingredients in cooking: you’ll be surprised where the history takes you!

This fashion pack is to highlight some of the clothes from the Indian subcontinent.  With a lot of Asian cultures, you can trace back the national costumes to various periods in China’s history (ex. the Korean hanbok and Japanese kimono). Over time, they gradually diverge and become their own distinct thing.  Because of geography, the Indian subcontinent has not had as much cross-cultural contamination so it’s a little more unique.

Now, when you think about India, you’re probably imagining the sari. While the sari is pretty gorgeous, it’s more draped than tailored, which would make it very hard for most people to manage in miniature.  It also hasn’t really caught on, globally.  But there are other clothes that have!  India is HUGE, and even bigger before British colonialization subdivided the area.  There’s a ton local diversity.

The salwar suit originated as a unisex garment in the Punjabi region of India and is big in western India/Pakistan.  It consists of the salwar (bloomers) and kameez (tunic).  The traditional bloomers are tight at the ankle and loos around the hips, which doesn’t work so well for layering doll clothes.  Fortunately, most modern gals prefer churidar, which are like extra long skinny jeans that bunch up at the calves like leggings and work way better on dolls.  (Actually, most of the local girls I see wearing this *have* swapped out for spandex leggings or skinny jeans. )

Angarkha is more like a wrap dress.  You really should google image search it because it’s one of those fluttery things that you can’t quite do justice to in miniature.  The skirt is composed of a ton of sewn together darts instead of gathered fabric to make the skirt flow out, and is covered in ornate decoration.  SO pretty <3 Instead of in the west, you’ll find in more in the north: Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh (and, as it’s geographically closer, it’s a little more obviously related to Chinese fashion). 

So how do these fashions show up globally?  Easy!  Forget the fabric, and look at the basic structure: a tunic and leggings.  A wrap dress and leggings.  I’ve gotten tons of requests for these fashions over the past year, and I’ve seen them every time I go to the mall.  They’re made with different fabric combinations and called ‘boho chic’ but structurally, they’re pretty much the same thing.  Hippy/Boho fashion has been borrowing these styles since the 60s.  We’ve been wearing them and adapting them so long we forgot that they came from somewhere else, just like tempura and tomatoes!

/end fashion history lesson

A note for next week: I’m having the carpet replaced in my office, so everything has to go (and then everything has to be brought back and put away…) so I’ll be checking most of my emails and Etsy messages on my phone.  A pattern will be released like normal (I already finished it except for the written instructions!), I just will be a tad slower in responding to messages because I’ll be typing them on my phone. 

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

 

 

 

Basics Patterns for Curvy 1/3 dolls

I get lots of requests for 1/3 doll patterns, but I have mostly resisted: they’re so BIG!  I know this is the opposite reaction of most people.  They look at anything smaller and don’t want to sew for them because they’re so SMALL! 

But Klein lent me a bunch of her 1/3 dolls to do some research with and see just how feasible it would be to make a 1/3 pattern.  Just about everything I’d read online had made it seem pretty daunting.  At the bigger sizes, there’s so much more variation, it’s much harder to share clothes between dolls.  Or so I kept reading. 

This is one of the reasons I always do my own research!

60cm BJD doll comparison chart

So many naked dollies! With my handy tape measure and a note pad I took measurement after measurement. Sure, I could have just used the measurements off of websites (and I did for dolls I don’t have) but my experience has been that my measurements don’t always match the company measurements. Sometimes it’s close, and sometimes it’s so far I wonder where the heck they could have gotten their numbers! But doing the same measurements in the same places taken by the same person is the best way to get uniform measurements. And this is what I found:

Most dolls are within 1 cm of each other in all measurements that are important.

The biggest variation is leg length. That’s all.  That’s EASY! You just shorten a skirt or pair of pants more when you’re sewing for a shorter doll. I don’t think there’s anyone who can sew from a pattern who can’t do that. Next is bust, and that can be more tricky because some of these dolls come with alternate busts with each boob as big as their head. I can’t outfit those, but the standard and even slightly larger than standard bust sizes? Totally. I’m already doing that with the 1/4 dolls!

I checked the measurements from the ‘big’ companies that do resin like Volks, Luts, and Fairyland.  There seems to be two main categories of resin: adolescent shaped and curvy shaped. Volks SDGR and Dollfie Dreams are Curvy 1/3, while volks SD10 and SD13 are more in the adolescent shape.  Fairyland only does curvy.  Luts makes dozens of different bodies in this size, and generally older bodies are more adolescent shaped while newer bodies are curvy.

It seems like the original, adolescent SD size was the fashionable size when BJDs first started being made, but curvy doll shapes are more popular now.  Of the dolls I’ve gotten requests to make clothes for, ALL have been in the ‘curvy’ size, so that’s the size I’m going with!

Curvy 1/3 BJD Basics 1

Splitting up the Basics pattern into two was very popular in the 1/4 scale, so I did it again for 1/3 scale.  Basics 1 is a as-simple-as-possible pattern that you can sew a full outfit in 30 minutes or less, even if you do it by hand.  It’s great for people new to sewing, who don’t have a lot of time to sew, or just plain hate sewing (I get a surprising amount of requests from that last group!).  The shirt is made from 1 piece of fabric, and the jeans/shorts are made from 2.  It is easier than a sock sweater and looks WAY better!

Curvy 1/3 BJD Basics 2

Basics 2 is more similar to actual people clothes.  It’s still far from hard, but this pattern delights in details and variations so you can make a lot more different looks by swapping around pieces.  This is the pattern for you if you want your dolls to actually be able to put their hands in their pockets, or thread a belt through the belt loops. 

 

I know it was a long time coming, and I hope everyone who has been sending me requests for this size is happy their persistence finally paid off 😀  And remember, if you buy it this month you get a chance of winning free clothes from the patterns mailed to you!

New stuff!

I wanted to announce these at the beginning of the month, but for some reason no one believes anything when you post it on April 1st haha 🙂

Untitled
Remember Pattern Subscriptions? I’ve offered them in a couple of different sizes before, but for a while I’ve only had them in PS size. Since the beginning of 2017 I’ve pretty consistently released PS, Medium Girl Fashion Doll, and 1/4 Slim MSD/16″ Fashion Doll patterns at a rate of at least 1x month, so I feel pretty confident in offering these sizes as subscriptions now.

BUT WAIT THERE’s MORE! You can also get a pattern subscription with mail service. It’s more expensive because I have to go to the shop and get them printed out and then mail them individually as they’re released, which costs about 5.50/pattern (more than the cost of the actual pattern!) but for people who like the new print service and want a surprise coming in the mail every month, this should be fun 🙂

And then there’s this:

Free stuff every month!

As long as this doesn’t go horribly wrong, this will be a new monthly thing. I make a ton of doll clothes as I develop my patterns, and for the most part my dolls never use them again. So I figured, why not give them away?

Every pattern that has at least 1 week of release in a month (so April’s giveaway patterns will start with last week’s Pullip Pattern) will be included in that month. Then I do a drawing at the end of the month and the winner gets a free outfit mailed to her/him!
If you buy a pattern on the first day it’s released, you get 3 entries
If you buy a pattern within a week of it’s release, you get 2 entries
If you buy a pattern within that pattern’s giveaway month, you get 1 entry
If you are a pattern subscriber, you automatically get 3 entries for each pattern released in the size you are subscribed to!

Winners will pay for shipping. Partly because this could get expensive (esp. if there are a lot of international winners) and partly so that if someone doesn’t really want the outfit they won they will decline it and it will go to someone who does. If someone declines a pattern, I’ll give them a 10 entries to be used on any pattern/patterns of their choice in the next month’s drawing.

I hope this is going to be as much fun for all of you as I think it will be 🙂

Kimono for Slim MSD dolls

Kimono for Slim MSD/16" Western Fashion Dolls on Etsy Kimonos for the 1/4 dolls are good to go!

After last week’s release, I got a lot of questions and corrections suggestions about my kimono pattern…all before a single pattern was purchased and anyone had seen what was inside it!  So instead of talking about how awesome kimono are, I’m going to go into detail about how much of a nut I am:

I love kimono.   I loved the style ever since I was a little kid and my grandfather worked in Japan and came home with pictures and stories, before most of the world had no idea what “Anime” was besides stuff like Speed Racer and if you got your hands on some manga, best be learning Japanese because nobody translated that stuff.  I know.  I’m old.  

I read Memoirs of a Geisha (and the ‘corrected’ autobiography of the lady it was based on, Mineko Iwasaki’s Geisha of Gion) when they came out and while I can barely remember the love interest bits, I can still remember all of the details about putting on and wearing kimono.  You can find a billion things on the internet now about kimono and Japanese culture, but back in the 90s… not so much.  In college I took intensive Japanese and the cultural classes associated with that for my language requirement and a couple more besides.  I was either a credit or two short or just didn’t bother with having it added on as an official minor.   Local art museums get collections of kimono and other Japanese textiles in?  I go. 

When I started sewing for my dolls, I made kimono.  I didn’t like the fabrics I could find at fabric stores, so I went to Chinatown to see what I could find by way of imports (Chinatown in Boston is basically everything China/Japan/Korea/Malaysia etc), which was  in a neighborhood so bad I had to get buzzed in the fabric store as it’s kept locked even when it’s open.  See that blue dress?  Actual yukata fabric.   I wanted to do it properly so I imported a Japanese doll book on how to sew kimono for dolls, which included full dressing instructions right up to how to tie Obi.  

At this point, I diverged from authentic.  The problem with the Japanese book was that while the dolls in it were dressed in very authentic kimono, they looked awful.  They did not look like they were delicate saplings wearing beautiful works of art.  They looked like stuffed tubes.  That’s the problem with authentic: it doesn’t scale properly. So  I started experimenting until I got something that looked like it was supposed to, just smaller.

Whenever I do a cultural pattern, I research the hell out of it and try to make it as genuine as I can  because I read Geisha of Gion, and thought about how I’d feel if some foreigner came to interview me about my life as a renowned artist and wrote a book that made me look like a high end whore.  There is a difference between appreciation and appropriation of other cultures, and it mostly has to do with respect.  I have had a few nice messages from people who are happy they can now make clothes for their dolls that reflect their own heritage, so I’m pretty happy to keep on doing that.

SO!  In this pattern, you can find:

-Neckline adjustments so that if you have an especially busty doll, her boobs won’t be hanging out.
-Inward AND Outward opening sleeve options are included.  Inward is the way it’s been done for the last couple of hundred years, but if you look at clothes from the 1700s or so, back when Japanese court clothes were more similar to Chinese court clothes, sleeves opened outward.  A lot of modern harajuku modified kimono type fashions involve the outward opening sleeve, probably because it’s easier to show off things like trim and ruffle, and I’ve walked people through how to do this on previous kimono patterns when they asked.   Structurally, they’re the same it just comes down to where you hem vs seam so why not include both?
-Short and long sleeves, with descriptions of what kind of kimono needs what kind of sleeves if you’re not sure.
-Instructions on how to pad out your super curvy dolls to make the kimono drape authentically.  I am 100% not kidding about this.  If you’re curvy and try to wear a kimono in Japan, you are padded out until you have a smooth line from bust to hip if you’re too curvy.  Most dolls don’t need this, but some wasp-waisted gals like Fashion Royalty, or super busty dolls like Soul Kid Double and Fairyland Moe, do.  You can leave it off if you want your dolls to look more curvy, and that’s fine, but it’s in here because it’s authentic.
-LOTS OF OPTIONS!  The point of fashion is self expression.  All the details you need to make something traditional is in here, but that’s a choice no more or less valid than adding ruffles, giving it a short skirt, and/or using modern fabrics.

 

This entry was posted on March 24, 2017, in BJDs, Patterns.

11.5″ Fashion Doll Kimono

Medium 11.5" fashion doll Kimono

For those of you expecting a ballgowns type pattern this week… nope!  Ballgowns are BIG patterns and take a lot longer than regular patterns. Instead, I decided to usher in spring with kimono, invoking images of cherry blossoms and early spring flowers

…as I was forced to give up precious pattern time to go out and shovel snow after that damn storm this week.  This is the worst time of year: the time of year you’re just so done with winter, and you get occasional warm days and a couple of flowers starting to poke up through all the dead and you start to get your hopes up and then BAM! Blizzard, and more snowstorms yet to come 🙁 

Anyway, Spring is still coming, even if it is not here yet.  So why not get started with some lovely kimono for your dolls?  This pattern fits all the different new Barbie type bodies, and a few different variations so you can make festival-wear yukata and elegant formal furisode kimono too!