Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Advance 9938: Summer in the Sun for Barbie

A couple of weeks ago, my Mother in Law brought over a bag full of fabric. Mostly small pieces, and a lot of them small prints and solids! Just was Dr. Barbie ordered!
I had to start out with the fresh floral print. Large scale florals are big this spring, and I think Barbie (or Evanora in this case) wears it exceptionally well.
The pattern for this sundress is Advance 9938, a Barbie/Mattel licensed pattern from the 60s. I really like this pattern! I have made a couple of other pieces from it, and they all fit extremely well.
I made a few very minor changes. The pattern calls for straps, which I omitted. The fit is close enough that the dress stays up fine on its own. I also added some lace to the bodice and ribbon at the waistline. The pattern calls for a petticoat to be added under the skirt, but this cotton has plenty of body, so I skipped it.
In back, there are snap closures with decorative buttons or beads. With a design this fitted, I find snaps are more secure than velcro. There are two tiny snaps with green buttons to pick up the green in the print. I love the effect.
I really love this whole look. I totally sewed it on a whim, and I'm so glad I did. It's perfect for Evie!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter dress: Sequins and sparkle not optional

Dresses for Myra follow a fairly straightforward formula. Pink, sparkles, twirl. For Easter, we went with all of the above.
Myra was happy to supply the sass.
The pattern I chose was the Rosy Posy dress, #26 from the 03/2011 issue of Ottobre. I've sewn it for her before here and here, so I knew it was a winner.
It's a very basic style - simple bodice with a full, gathered skirt and puffed, elasticated sleeves. I puzzled over the hem, as this fabric didn't blind hem invisibly and ended up just narrow hemming by machine. It works.
I mostly chose the pattern for it's simplicity. The fabric is definitely the star here! It is an embroidered and sequinned poly taffeta from FabricMart. Frankly, I could have just made it into a big ole sack and Myra would have loved it. The SPARKLES!
I fully lined the dress with hot pink bridal satin from my stash. The bridal satin has a lot of body, which gives the skirt more fullness. It's also very soft.
I'm very pleased with my zipper insertion. The pattern calls for an invisible zip, which would have been a disaster in this sequinned, textured fabric. A lapped zipper was a better choice. I decided to try a technique I read about in Threads (issue #171) for inserting a lapped zipper with a lining using an industrial method. It worked and it looks gorgeous! I'm so pleased.
I really love the sweet sleeves on this pattern. They are gathered just in the cap, and then elastic gathers the hem. They're so pretty, but still darn easy to do.
Of course, the most important part is that Myra loves her dress. She wore it to church and then for hunting eggs. Despite being sparkly and flashy, it's still comfortable and, for Myra at least, practical. I think she might wear it every day.
And who would argue?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Raquelle gets ready for a day at the races!

FYI: This post contains pictures of a Barbie doll wearing lingerie. If you happen to have a curious child looking over your shoulder, and don't want to answer awkward questions, you may want to stop scrolling down when you get to the stars. She's not doing anything inappropriate, but she is scantily clad.
I know I said that the next dolls to get new clothes were going to be Dana or Katniss, but I'm still awaiting some accessories for Dana, and this dress just didn't suit Katniss. And I really wanted to make a cheerful Spring dress!
I really love the way the bodice wraps to form the halter on this pattern (Burda 6960). It reminds me so much of the Sewaholic Lonsdale. The Lonsdale isn't a dress that would work for me, but in keeping with my Barbie fantasy sewing, I thought it would be fun to make for my vinyl friend. I spiced up the bodice with a little brooch made of a scrap of the stretch lace I used on the skirt, and a few small pearls. It is hand stitched in place.
Once I finished the dress itself, it was a little meh. So I polled my online hive mind, and got some great ideas, many of which I incorporated into the finished look. I decided to pull out all the stops, and build an outfit that would work at the Opening Day of the Kentucky Derby, complete with over the top hat, teeny bag and a bit of bling. I thought it would be fun to do a little photostory of Raquelle getting ready for her day at the races.

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It's a beautiful day to Open the Kentucky Derby!
Raquelle has been looking forward to today for weeks, but boy. Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed!

Raquelle's bra and panties were designed and sewn by me out of scraps of stretch lace trim. All the stitching was done by hand, as my machine just wanted to eat these teeny bits of lace.

Here's my dress!! My seamstress worked on my outfit for weeks and I love it so much!

Raquelle's bra straps cross in the back. Since the lace is stretchy, no closure was needed. Her panties are a full coverage bikini that utilize the natural decorative edge of the lace as the waistband. The leg openings are unfinished.
Don't you love my dress? The matching belt makes the look.

Raquelle's belt is a length of ribbon, stitched to a jewelry ring. It closes in back with a snap.
And here's my hat! You have to have a fabulous hat at the Derby!

Raquelle's hat was self drafted. It's a basic bucket style with some lace trim and a very wide brim. I didn't interface the brim at all, as this fabric has some body, and I wanted to be able to shape the hat around her face.
Well, the dress went on perfectly! Now to see if I can manage this hat. My dressmaker had to fix it for me last time! I'm impossible with it.
Ok, almost ready! Now, where is that other shoe...
Ooops! I almost forgot my bag! Can't have that. My betting money is in here.

Raquelle's bag is two circles of fabric, stitched and turned. The "flap" is just the upper 1/3 of the circle, stitched down with a decorative pearl "closure". The strap is made from embroidery floss.
Does my hat look right? I sure hope so, because it's time to go! This is going to be so fun!