Category: Dolls & Dolls Houses

Hints and Tips When Knitting, Sewing or Crocheting Small Doll Clothes

I love making little clothes for my dolls.   Here are some hints and tips for knitting, sewing or crocheting petite clothing.

  • The dolls on the left are wearing clothes that fit them, but they are knitted in double knitting yarn (worsted weight), on standard 4mm needles. They were fast to knit but not really to scale- the stitches look far too big. The tiny doll on the right is wearing a sweater that is much nearer to the right scale. It was knitted in lace-weight yarn on 1.5mm needles.

 

 

 

 

Doll Sized Trick or Treat Bags Tutorial – Shriek Week

Today I released a new set of digital papers in my Etsy shop.  A pack of 24 Halloween themed digital papers.  They will be reduced in price for the duration of Shriek Week (until 18th October 2015).

I am going to use some of the papers to make cute little Trick or Treat bags for my 12″ dolls.

First I drew up a template of a trick or treat bag laid out flat.  I worked out the sizes by measuring against my doll.  This template will fit a 12″ doll such as a Barbie, Monster High, Blythe, Pullip and so on.  You could resize it to fit other dolls of course.

Here is a link to the Tin Teddy Trick or Treat Template.  There are two versions.

You could print onto card to make a sturdy template for creating multiple bags from your printed scrapbook papers.

But because I am going to use the digital papers, I will add the patterns in my graphics program before I print it out, this will save ink.

You can follow along to see how to do this.  You will need a graphics program that can use layers.  I am using Adobe Photoshop, but you could also use Adobe Photoshop Elements, Gimp (free), CorelDraw, Serif PhotoPlus (free version available), Adobe Illustrator etc.

Open the .PNG version of the template in your graphics program.  This is the version with transparency and is called TTTrickorTreatTrans.

TTLayersTT

TTLayersTrick

 

Choose the digital paper you want to use on your bag and drag it into your document.

Then drag its layer below the template one, so you can see the template with the design inside it.  You will probably need to resize the digital paper as the pattern will be too big.  I resized mine t0 60%.

Move the digital paper layer around so the images are nicely arranged on the front and back of the bag.

The result is below.

 

 

 

TTDroppedIn

Now open a new document the  size of the paper you are going to print onto. I am going to print onto thin white card.

Flatten the layers of the bag design you have made and drag it over into the new document.  You can then duplicate it as many times as you want on the page before printing it out.

If you want a variety of bags, just go back to your design and undo the flattening.  Now you can drag a new paper under the template.

I rotated some of mine so I could fit 6 bags onto one page.  If you set the layers to “Multiply” you can move the bags close to each other without any white overlapping.

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Once you have as many versions of the bag on your page as you require you can print them out.  I recommend saving the file first, just in case!

If you want to make more complex designs on your bags, here is a guide to which part of the template is which.  You can use this to plan what you are going to put on your bag, and to help you fold it up.

TrickorTreatBagtemplatekey

Assembling the bag is very easy.  Score and fold along all the lines.  I used a bone folder to make sure the creases were very crisp.  If you don’t have a bone folder then you can rub the crease with the back of a spoon instead.  On small projects this can make a big difference to the final look.

TTCutOutBags

 

Apply double-sided tape or tacky glue to the side flap then fold your bag and tuck it under the Back of the bag.  You could pop a paper clip on the top to hold it firmly whilst it glues.

Then apply glue to the bottom flap and tuck it up under the Back of the bag.

If your flaps don’t seem to fit very neatly, try cut a thin diagonal slither of the sides of them.

Finally, stick some baker’s twine, paper ribbon, twine, ribbon or thin strips of paper inside the front and back to make straps.

TTBagMaking

And your doll is all set to go get some candy!

TTTrickorTreatBags

You can of course decorate your trick or treat bags further.

This size of bag perfectly fits 12″ dolls but looks fine on a variety of other sizes too, such as the larger Tonner fashion dolls.  After all, trick or treat bags come in many sizes in real life!

Here are Robecca Steam and Clawdeen Wolf (Monster High dolls) setting off to go trick or treating – they didn’t even have to dress up!

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ASHalloweenPapers

Building a 1/24th Scale Dolls House Kit – Fantasy Villa Kit by Woodcraft – Part 1, Preparation

Tin Teddy Fantasy Villa

The Fantasy Villa kit by Woodcraft is a low cost, easy to assemble dolls house.  It is part of Woodcraft’s large range of model kits but being 1/24th scale (also known as half-scale) it can be used as a “proper” dolls house.

This kit is much cheaper than most dolls houses, which makes it ideal for a new miniaturist.  This low price does show itself in the wood quality though, plus the house is held together by a slot and peg system that does look a bit clumsy and “kid’s model kit” style.  I have assembled one of these kits before (about 15 years ago) and remember that there were a lot of gaps  and irregularities in the finished construction.

Therefore my challenge to myself this time is to assemble the kit and find ways to make the most of the design and end up with a decent little house.TTFantasyVillaInstructions

The kit consists of 11 plywood panels, each about 17″ by 11″ in size  These panels have multiple kit parts ready to be pushed out and assembled.  There are a LOT of parts.  The only instructions included are illustrations of the panels, showing the allocated part numbers, and a simple 7 point list of what to do.  You are supposed tTTFantasyVillao assemble it in numerical order, using the illustrations to know which part is which.  The instructions are included in English, German and French.

The tools I am using for the assembly are:

Craft knife – the parts are die cut and just need pushing out of the panels, but the  knife will be handy if any are not cleanly cut, or if I want to make changes
Sand paper – a medium and a finer grade for cleaning the edges of parts (the kit says it comes with some sandpaper, but it is a tiny, tiny piece, you will need more)
Needle files – for cleaning parts, especially in small areas
Wood glue – for gluing parts together (well doh)
Arcylic paint – I will paint some parts as I go along, for ease.  Acrylic craft paints are economical, cover well and ideal for this sort of project
Household emulsions – those little tester pots of household emulsion are great for dolls houses.  They come in a massive range of great colours, are low priced and easy to use

Because there are so many parts, and they are spread around the sheets, I started by lightly writing the part numbers on to the wooden parts, using the instruction sheet as a reference.  Some parts do not have a number – these are the trim and it will not be a problem to work out where they go at the end.  I used a pencil and kept the number very light, so I won’t have to waste a lot of time trying to remove it or paint over it later on.TTFantasyVillaClose TTFantasyVillaClose2

The big question now is what sort of style do I want this to be.  Victorian gothic?  Gingerbread cute?  Vintage or modern?

This dolls house is available from Amazon.  If you purchase from the link here I will get a small commission for sending a customer to Amazon.

Elegant couch – bargain of the day…

Just Lounging Around…

On Tuesdays there is what is usually referred to as ‘the junk market’ in my nearby town. This rather rude name is unfortunate, but there certainly is an odd selection of stalls.  I think it is officially called the ‘Tuesday Antiques Market’.

I had a look at the books stalls, I do like second hand books.  Then wandered around the few stalls with toys, always hopeful to find a nice doll 🙂

 

No dolls today, but I did find a very nice jewelry box in the shape of a rather elegant chaise longue.

I will probably re-upholster it, the fabric is faded and has a bit more bling than i would like.

It is not very old, and was probably mass-produced abroad.  It is wooden with little metal feet.  The covering is a silky pink fabric with very beaded and sequined net for the blingy bits.  The back is covered in a matching pink velour type fabric.

 

 

Here is my Takara Jenny doll lounging casually on the couch.  She is a similar size to a Barbie doll.  I look forward to dressing a few of my girls up in their finest and posing them for a few photos.  But I may wait until I re-cover the poor couch, it is a bit tatty in places

As it was only £2.50 I feel I got a nice little bargain for the day.  Plus I can store tiny accessories inside too!

 

Bootsale bargains – new dolls and a big house

Today I went to a car boot sale (and it didn’t rain!).  It turned out to be quite a big one and I enjoyed a good look around.

I managed to get a few bargains too.

Bratz Passion 4 Fashion House

The first one was this lovely big Bratz Passion 4 Fashion house.  It opens up to reveal two (thin) floors and has a dancefloor.  I like the external view and will be using it for an upcoming project.  Perfect 🙂

Although much of the decor is created with stickers, as is the usual situation for toy houses nowadays, it is still a very nice model with detailed doors and windows and a really attractive overall look.  It is very big when opened up and although the floor space upstairs is very narrow, you could easily lay a piece of card between the two sides to make a much larger floor space for photographing.

I am now considering whether to repaint it and customize it or just use it as it is.  I dare say I will have to do a few tweaks, that is how I am, hehe.

Bratz Boy

The boy Bratz doll was included with the house. I think he is a Cameron doll, I am still researching to see if I can find his exact name and series etc.
I didn’t have any Bratz boys before, so also happy to have an example for my little doll collection.   He has a funny little goatie and sticky up hair.  And very nice blue shoes.

I am not really a big fan of Bratz dolls, to be honest.  I think they have really weird faces and the way their feet comes off is quite gruesome.  I already had 3, all of who are gothy ones from the early series.  I had a friend who bought me them, saying they looked like me!  (they so do NOT, my feet don’t come off with my shoes for a start!).  They sit in a row on a bookcase, looking all black lipstick and big black boots.

Bratz Adventure Girlz Cloe

At the bootsale I spotted a Bratz Adventure Girlz Cloe, in unopened box.  She was super cheap so I felt that I could justify adding her to my family – after all she will be my first and only blonde Bratz.  Besides, I have quite a few girls who could fit her lovely clothes and accessories!
She will also be better as a model for any Bratz sized items I make as she is a lot less scary looking than the goth girls.  You will have noticed that I have kept all three of the goths though, despite my saying I am not a Bratz fan.  They are weird, but I have had them so long and am now fond of them.  I am such a softy.

Barbie Princess & Pauper King Dominick /Julian

Another boxed doll was the Barbie King Dominick/Julian version of  Ken.  I am also not a Barbie fan, lol.  I have two of Barbie’s friends (Teresa and Leia) in my little family, but not an actual ‘blonde, boobs and bland’ Barbie herself.  I have nothing really against them, just not a doll I want to get into collecting – there are far too many for a start.  But I did rather want a male Barbie because I have so few male dolls and also again for photo projects.
There were two different Kens on the same stall, both very reasonably priced and boxed.  This one had actual hairy-hair, not the plastic molded version, which swung me in His Royal Highness’s direction.

I have to admit I was a bit shocked when I read the blurb on the back with the story of Princess and the Pauper.  According to Mattel’s movie version of the famous fairy tale there is a Princess and a pauper (well doh!) who happen to be very similar looking.  The princess is destined to marry a King Dominick, but she is actually in love with her tutor, Julian.  For various reasons  the pauper girl ends up pretending to be the princess, and falls in love with King Dominick.  All ends happily ever after (of course) with the Princess marrying her tutor, Julian, and the pauper girl marrying the King.  All very nice you might think.. except…

In their wisdom, Mattel make two separate dolls for the Princess and the pauper girl, but just one to be both the King and the tutor!  So if a young lass wants to recreate the romantic joint wedding scene, she will need to either buy two of the male doll, or convert a standard Ken into one of the characters.  The King doll comes with both his own royal clothes, and crown, and  the tutors snazzy Knickerbocker suit.  At least the second lot of clothes will fit any Ken.  But still, it is not like Mattel to miss out on a selling opportunity and not just make both characters as separate dolls.

Anyway, I am quite pleased with my King Dominick/Julian doll.  I am sure my girls will all be hoping to get into some photoshoots with the handsome new addition.

Unknown Mattel Doll

The final doll was the Mattel brunette you see in the front of the photo.  I am not sure if she is one of the many Barbie/Barbie friends, or one of the equally ubiquitous Disney princess dolls.  As I don’t collect either Barbies or Disney dolls I am not familiar with her at all.  Again I will enjoy trying to identify her.

She was a 20p bargain.  Her body is sound, her knees still bend nicely, she even has her earrings.  Her only fault is her hair looks like a small family of squirrels has set up home in it.  But that is fine – I wanted a cheap doll to do  a customization idea I have had.  And that means that she will soon be getting a new head of hair anyway.

So all in all a good day out.  Four new dolls, a nice house and very little money spent – what more could one want, eh?

Tabitha gets a new dress

My pink-haired Basaak doll, Tabitha, arrived in a very ugly and badly made red dress, which I hated.

She has spent the last few months in various borrowed clothes, but I thought it would be nice for her to have her very own dress.

So here is the first thing sewn on my new SilverCrest sewing machine.

 

It is a very simple dress. The top is a simple bodice shape, cut out twice and stitched together.  This means the bodice is lined and all the edges are very tidy.  The skirt is just a rectangle with a gathered top, stitched to the bottom of the bodice.

I haven’t yet put any fasteners on the back, it will have a couple of press studs soon.

 

She is also wearing one of the little butterflies I found at my local supermarket… and blogged about.

 

Mattel Teen Trends dolls – a review

Earlier in the week I won two Mattel Teen Trends dolls on eBay – and they arrived today!

Mattel produced these dolls from 2005 until 2007.  There are four different girls available, plus a range of clothing and ‘Create a Closet’ sets  (hats, shoes and storage items).  The dolls and closet sets are still available new from both amazon.co.uk and amazon.com.

The dolls were in their original boxes, which are large and sturdy and double as closets for their clothes and accessories.

I have the blonde Gabby, who wears cream calf-length trousers, a pink sleeveless t-shirt and a (rather old-fashioned looking) tweeky jacket with lacy trims.  She is wearing black slip-on clog type shoes.

Kianna has long dark hair with light stripes in it.  She wears a pink t-shirt and a black tracksuit with pink trim.  She also has very nice puple lace-up boots.

The Doll’s Bodies

The dolls are 17 inches tall, so nearly half again the height of a Barbie, and just a little shorter than American Girl dolls.  They look to be mid-teen aged to me.  They have small breasts, flat feet and slight tummies which gives them a lovely realistic, youthful look compared to most fashion dolls.

They have 9 joints and an unusual amount of possible poses.  Her head can move from side to side, plus up and down and leaning to one side.

Her arms swivel up and down, they are strung with elastic and have quite a bit of sideways play, making dressing much easier.   The elbows are ball joints, so they can bend plus move from side to side and swivel.  There is no wrist joint, which is a bit of a shame.  The hands are quite large looking – I am tempted to paint their nails.

There is no waitst joint.  The hips have strung joints and can swivel and have a little side-to-side give.  Her knees are elasticated ball joints and can bend  and have quite a bit of sideways movement too.  Because of the elastication, they will only stay put to about 45 degrees of bend – the knees will bend right back (enough to kneel) but will spring open again once you let go.  The ankles are unjointed.  They have large, flat feet.

The Hair and Faces

I have seen a few mentions online that these dolls have problems with their hair.  Mine both have very thick, fine hair which is about waist length and with a slightly layered cut.  Kianna’s dark hair is beautifully soft and really nice to brush.  Gabby’s blonde locks have the usual ‘wirey’ feel that most fashion doll hairs seem to develop after a while – particularly at the bottom.  It does not feel any worse than the majority of Barbie dolls I have seen.  The fact the hair is so thick means it feels better quality than most fashion dolls.

Gabby’s face is, in my opinion, slightly nicer than her sister’s because Kianna has very large, dark lips – certainly remeniscent of Bratz dolls (and not a look I really like).   The eyes are nicely painted (Gabby’s blue, Kianna’s green) and do not have rooted eyelashes.  Their ears are pierced though both of mine have lost their earrings.

The Clothes

Although they are a similar height, the dolls’ clothing is far more modern and ‘teen’ than American Girl clothes.

The clothes are of a similar quality to other Mattel dolls, though the larger scale means stitching and details look better and more delicate than on smaller dolls’ outfits.  Kianna’s outfit features working zips on the top and trouser legs.  I particularly like the dolls’ shoes which are very nicely molded and definitely far superior to anything I have seen on a Barbie or similar doll.

Obviously these dolls will not be able to wear any of the vast number of Barbie, Monster High, Bratz, Blythe and similar clothes.  I do not have an American Girl to see whether their clothing would work, but I suspect that many would, simply because the dolls are so close in height.

The Accessories

The dolls’ boxes are very sturdy card and close with velcro.  They double as storage boxes for a doll and her clothing etc. Each doll has a very different looking box. You can also buy “Create a Closet” accessory packs which go in the boxes to add shelves and other storage.    I assume that these accessories can be usd by any of the dolls, as with the clothing.

My dolls do not have all their original accessories. Gabby has a nice pink hairbrush – which is far more realistic looking than any fashion doll brush I have seen before.  She also has some sweet hair slides and a pink plastic handbag.  Best of all is her big  black handbag which is really impressive, and opens just like a real one. I really like this bag!  Kianna has a pink plastic belt and a bag.

And Finally…

I am really pleased with my two new girls.  I love the larger size which makes them feel nice and substantial to handle, dress and groom.  I also like their unconventionally realistic look.  These are not your normal ‘huge boobs and long legs’ type dolly.

They are quite expensive to buy new (over £30 each on Amazon in the UK) compared to many fashion dolls, though I do feel they are very good quality.  Their large size means their clothing and accessories seem more detailed and better than those for smaller dolls, but the fact they are not compatible with the vast majority of existing doll’s clothes, furniture and other accessories does mean they are limited for play value.

 

 

You Never Know What You Will Find… And Where…

Originally posted on 11 March 2012 – reposted on new blog on 20 April 2012

I popped down to the supermarket today and found a nice little surprise.  I do like finding things that I can turn in to other things.  Its like a little treasure hunt.

I walked past the ‘party treats’ and spotted a little bag of pretty ball-point pens.  Sure,the pens were nice enough.. but what I wanted were the wonderful little butterfly charms hanging from each one.

And they were super cheap!

Now I have 4 new pens (and I am ALWAYS losing pens!) and will use the charms for various things.  For a start I can see a pretty Blythe/Pullip necklace in the making!

Tin Teddy Tutorials

Originally posted on 27th February 2012 – reposted on new blog on 20 April 2012

Today I added the first tutorial on the website.  First of many, I hope 🙂

This first tutorial is How To Make a Doll’s Bookcase using my new Tin Teddy Wooden Background Papers.  You can make one with other paper, of course, but the Tin Teddy wood papers do the job perfectly 🙂

I will be adding many more tutorials over the coming weeks and months.  Here are some of the things I will be doing:

  • more furniture and accessories for popular dolls like Blythe
  • card making and scrapbooking techniques, projects and ideas
  • lots of ideas for using your Tin Teddy graphics in new and fun ways
  • knitting, crochet, lace-making and stitching tutorials
  • polymer clay and sculpting tutorials
  • whatever else I think of 😉

I will do some as videos and some as picture/written description type.  I will also include written details for the videos.  I will also try to get all the tutorials up as downloadable PDF files so you can easily print them out to use away from the computer.

I have been crafting for a very long while and hope that I can offer some fun and unusual ideas and projects for you.