Saturday, July 19, 2014

My New Space

So, I'm finally settled in, and have even finished my first project in my new space! I'll share it with you as soon as I can get the weather to cooperate. In the meantime, I thought you might like a little tour around my new digs.
When I walk into my room, this is the sight that greets me first. My sewing table (which Mitch put together for me) is a hollow core door from Home Depot. I wrapped it with a few layers of wool, so that I can both press and cut here. It is held up with a couple of sawhorses that Mitch built to cutting height, so that I don't have to hunch over to work. Under the table, my thread and interfacing lives in the drawers on this side, and my yarn stash is on the other side. My dressform is near the window, where the light is best.
Opposite the windows is where all the action happens! My machines are all out and available and it is simple to switch between them in my rolling chair. Next to the machines is a bookcase with sewing books, magazines, small notions like bias tape and elastic, as well as the DVDs I like to watch as I work. Next to the bookcase is my pattern drawers. I'll probably get around to hanging that thread rack some time.
Across from the machines is my doll corner. Inside the white cabinet lives all my girls (and a couple of guys). The drawer and the two milk crates hold props and doll furniture for photos. Next to the doll cabinet are the file boxes that hold all of my pattern magazines. But what is through that door, you ask?
Yes, it is my fabric closet!! I'm so thrilled to have a nice walk-in closet to house my collection! This is the back wall of the closet, where most of the fabric is living. In the corner, behind the stool is rolls of fur, leather and tracing materials.
On the other wall of the closet is a smaller shelving unit for slippery knits like ITY, athletic knits and mesh. Barbie's fabric stash is in the upper back cubby. Other craft supplies, fiberfill and clothing for refashioning are all found in the hanging area.
I'm so happy with my new space! I know how fortunate I am to have a dedicated space that suits me so well. My sweet hubby has always made sure I had a place to sew, and I'm so grateful.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back in the Country: Backwoods Barbie

I actually made this outfit some time ago, but I never took pictures of it. It suits though that I waited until I was living more in the country to post it, since it's kind of a country girl look.
I started with some jeans shorts, using the pattern I used for the jeans in this post. I planned for these shorts to be worn by a doll with a Liv body, so I used my smallest version of the pattern, but neglected to account for the decreased stretch in this denim, so it doesn't fit Liv! Fortunately, the posable older style flat foot Barbie body has quite slim hips, so these fit Teresa very well.
To turn the jeans into cut-offs, I just cut the pattern piece short, and placed the hem line on the cut edge of the denim, which had already frayed just from handling.
The top is also from Simplicity 4702, with some slight alterations. The pattern instructs you to make a casing for the sleeves, but I just stitched on the elastic and turned it under. I used clear elastic to minimize bulk.
The neckline is supposed to be finished with a facing, with a bit of lace trim sandwiched in between the neckline and the facing. I skipped the lace altogether, and gathering the neckline into a facing seemed like an exercise in futility at this scale, so I just applied elastic in the neckline, just like the sleeves.
I added some elastic shirring under the bust for some shaping, and trimmed the empire line with polka dotted ribbon and a satin rosette.
I made a halfhearted effort to match the gingham at the side seams. It came close, so I'll take it. My walking foot doesn't like these teeny seam allowances, so I need to pin more. You can see the teeny rivets I included on the shorts. Teeny rivets (actually 2mm hotfix studs) make me happy.
She also got functional back pockets on her shorts. Her top closes in back with velcro. The gingham matches well back there!

Monday, July 14, 2014

A couple of Sweater Girls

During the long drive from Utah to Tennessee, I kept myself occupied by knitting teeny sweaters.
They're pretty quick and fun to knit, and I think they turned out really cute.
The pattern is from the website Sticka Till Barbie, which is a Swedish website that offers a huge (like over 1000 patterns) library of free knitting patterns for clothing and accessories to knit for Barbie, Bratz and a few other dolls. This pattern is a basic cap sleeve shell that is knit in the round, so there is no sewing and only two ends to work in.
The patterns are fairly simple, but they are translated from Swedish, and they assume a basic understanding of knitting, so I wouldn't say these would be an ideal beginner project unless you have an experienced knitter around to fill in the gaps.
The green sweater that Diva Midge is wearing was the first I knit. There isn't any gauge information provided, and since this is so small, I wouldn't have swatched anyway. The author provides a suggested needle size (2mm) which I used and a yarn suggestion, which I didn't. This sweater is knit from thrifted crochet cotton that looks to be size 20, but isn't labelled. This weight was absolutely perfect for this project. It fits Midge beautifully and the scale looks great.
So, my next attempt wasn't so great. I used a smaller yarn (size 10 crochet cotton) and unsurprisingly ended up with a smaller sweater. Oops. I guess Skipper gets this one...
Having learned my lesson with the white one I made a few alterations for the blue version. This is knit from self-striping sock yarn, so it is fingering weight. Since it's very close to the weight of the white crochet cotton, I decided to use that as a sort of gauge swatch, and added stitches based roughly on that. I ended up casting on 36 sts, instead of 32, and then casting off 4 sts for the armhole instead of two, and casting on 10 instead of 8 for the sleeve. It's amazing the difference 4 extra stitches makes. I also did a rib knit hem band on this sweater, instead of the garter stitch ridge called for in the pattern.
I'm pretty thrilled with how these turned out. I started another in a light worsted yarn, but managed to break one of my needles. Ooops. That's on hold until I can get a metal needle. I'm a tight knitter.