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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.

 

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!

Beauty-ful Belle-gowns

Aaaaand it's up!

This week’s pattern is Beauty-ful Belle-gowns because I was getting requests for this pattern or asks about how to make this kind of dress  about every other day ^^; 

This pattern introduces vertical gathering.  This is a technique that pulls a much longer skirt up to make that floaty, ruffly style.   It is also a very versatile technique!  I had to rush my parrot to the vet just after I started this pattern (she’s fine now) so I didn’t have time to make a bunch of different gowns to show of the different ways you can use it.  The fun part about this style is that you don’t need to cut different pattern options to get different results: depending on how much you gather the fabric along each gathering line, you can have a dress that has ruffles all the way down like this, or is gathered up high in the front or side with the rest long to have an elegant cut-away to the underskirt. 

You can check it out in the shop now 😉

Sewing for DC Super Hero Girls

Sewing pattern for DC Super Hero Girls

I had no idea what was up with the DC Super Hero Girls last year.  After an amazing start where all the dolls were immediately snatched off of shelves (and often sold on Ebay for extreme amounts) when they were released at the beginning of the year, they kind of… disappeared.  No new lines or accessories or anything even through the holidays and the stores that had them in stock just kind of shuffled them around to any unused shelf space.   But then just after the holiday season, new stuff started hitting the shelves and a lot of stores now have dedicated “DC Super Hero Girls” space again!  Some new dollies on the horizon, too! 

…but no clothing packs 🙁 Boo!  Instead, most of the new dolls have molded on clothes. Which… is OK, I guess.  Since every year there are fewer and fewer fashion packs for even lines like Barbie, I guess having molded on clothes is a better outcome than a kiddo losing her doll’s clothes and having to fight crime in the buff. 

It isn’t ideal, though: every comic book fan knows that the heroes (and villains) have to have civilian clothes to wear over their super hero costumes, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to keep their secret identities!  Even the molded-costume dollies still need civilian disguises!  So that’s where this fashion pack comes in 😀

Any PS Sized pattern fits if you enlarge it to 125%, but I decided to do a Basics pattern set for them so that people new to doll sewing don’t have to fiddle with resizing.  I also tweaked it a bit: simplified a couple of things and added some more options that aren’t in the regular PS Basics.  Check it out now in the shop

 

New service in the shop: Printing!

Pattern Printing Service now on Etsy

I’m happy to say I now offer Print Services in the shop!

For MOST people, it’s infinitely easier and faster to download and print at home. Some people don’t have easy access to a printer, and don’t live somewhere it’s easy to get to a print shop. For those people, they’d have to order printing services online to be mailed to them anyway. What an (expensive) hassle!

I’ve also been getting more and more questions about resizing–like enlarging a PS pattern 125% to make clothes for DC Super Hero Girls, for example.  I can give as much tech support as I can, but everyone’s printer is different & every program you can print from also has its own defaults and templates.  A royal headache for people who don’t (or can’t figure out) those options. 

So over the weekend I went to a local print shop and got some options.  Prints will all be in B&W because printing is .10 for B&W and .50 for color and if it’s mixed they go by the higher rate. More to print on legal sized pages.  Plus Etsy fees (around .40) and transaction fees (around .50) and gas, I should be just about breaking even on the printing part.

Let’s hope this works out well!  I hope this removes a lot of headaches for people 🙂