Sunday, 10 September 2017

No Sew, No Glue, No Way!

Irecently had a request on my YouTube channel for a no sew, no glue doll’s swimsuit. The requester then went on to say, they couldn’t sew and couldn’t be bothered to buy glue. So basically you wanna watch me wrap rag round a doll, Yes? Er No. Oh my god! I’ve never been made more angry by a request. This is the absolute height of laziness. Okay, if you can’t sew, learn, it’s really not that hard and I am sure there are plenty of YouTube channels which will walk you through step by step if you don’t have a maiden aunt to show you how. And as for not being bothered to buy glue then look, I’m sorry I can’t help you. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a challenge and there is no challenge to this kind of request at all. There are a few projects I consider easy on my channel but I’m all about development and self improvement. I would get bored if I just made really simple stuff all the while. I get that a lot of people may not have my confidence when it comes to crafting but the only way you gain that confidence is with practice, experimentation and getting out of your comfort zone. I feel sorry for today’s youth, they don’t know any of the skills mothers of the 60s and 70s taught us. My mom made sure I could sew, knit, crochet, embroider all before the age of 10. I was reluctant at first and thought “Pfft, only grannies do that” but, you know what, I soon saw for myself that you could create untold beauty with your own hands and I was dsigning my own patterns in all genres by the time I was 12. I admit, I put it all aside during the 90s when being a working mom took up all my time but as an empty nester now, I’m so glad my mother showed me all these skills.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

You Sew Everything By Hand?

I remember being taught how to use a sewing machine by my mother when I was a child and we even had a couple of sewing classes at High School and I remember I made a pretty well made blouse during that class. None of that was enough to make me fall in love with the machine sewing though.

Forward a few years and owning my first house. I made cushions, blinds, curtains, the works in order to save money and got on well with sewing them by machine.

But for small projects I found the everlasting changing of thread, changing of bobbin, setting tension, pulling through and tying off of threads (I hate the reverse stitch method of finishishing off) through, up down round and under of threading the damn thing. By the time I’ve done all that, the item could so easily have been sewn by hand. So I do.

It takes no time at all to sew doll clothes by hand and I actually find it quite relaxing to hand sew. What’s not relaxing is to sew a perfect seam to find the bobbin ran out 10 cm earlier and the top thread has been pulling your leg by imitating a row of proper stitches.

I went back to university as an adult to take a craft/maker’s course. We did a variety of subjects and in the textiles class, everyone was busy sewing and embroidering with a sewing machine. I was busy making papier mache and using thread in totally unorthodox ways. The tutor kept trying to get me to sew and I said I didn’t like it and I didn’t want to.

Then one day we had a go at paper-making. The paper sheets needed to be weighted down with something extremely heavy to press out all the water and flatten the paper pulp. The tutor did not seem impressed when I told her, “At last, I’ve found a use for the sewing machine”.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Living My Shoe Fantasy

Like most women I have a little bit of a shoe obsession. Sadly these days I don’t own or buy many pairs but I love to look and best of all I’ve started designing and making my own shoe miniatures.

It all started by accident really. I was giving my first Monster High doll a head to toe makeover and when it came to her shoes, there weren’t any existing Monster High shoes that I particularly liked and I was too tight to buy them anyway.

Not only that, as I had already made every item of clothing, rerooted the hair and repainted the face, it made sense that the whole makeover should be handmade by yours truly.

Many years ago I worked in papier mache, making all kinds of creations and decided to apply that technique to making my first pair of doll shoes.

Since then of course, I’ve incorporated other techniques into my doll shoe making and am always looking for new ways to improve the way I make them.

I may not wear fancy shoes myself anymore, but in my craft room the shoes are as fancy as the imagination will allow.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Being a Fashion, Shoe and Bag Designer

Following on from my previous post, if I’d thought about it back then, I could have been combining my art and the dolls my mother insisted on buying me, the way I’m doing now. I was the only girl of 5 and she lavished girly things on this sibling influenced, inevitable tomboy.

And just think how many outfits I could have made for those Spice Girls dolls belonging to my daughter, who by the way now looks at me with contempt as if to say a) Where was all this when my dolls needed it? and b) What is a grown woman doing “playing” with dolls?

Well, it’s not exactly playing now is it? What I’ve found in my new hobby/job is the opportunity to live out all my creative dreams by being a fashion designer, shoe designer and bag designer all at once. With the doll repaints I’m also discovering makeup techniques I never knew or was interested in previously.

The creative opportunities are limit only by the imagination and the best thing of all is that I have no boss and no client to compromise my vision, I used to be a graphic designer, nowhere near as glamorous or fulfilling as you might think, now I can do whatever the heck I like. I’m the kind of creative who just can’t stick to one medium and with this I can change things up from hairstyling to handbags and everything in between.

How much fun am I having?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Discovering Monster High Dolls

When I was a little girl, I wasn't much into dolls. I much preferred art supplies for Christmas and Birthdays.

I remember I used to love the smell of new doll hair and I hated the fact that they never had on any underwear. I also remember and didn't understand why all dolls were white and when you did see a black one, it was darned ugly.

I used to love making room boxes for them though... and furniture... and I covered up my first pair of naked dolly boobs when I was about 10. I made a simple triangle bra for a 10 inch doll which had a striped shirt, a green patent mini skirt and ankle length platinum blonde hair.

But as I said, art was my real interest and my pale skinned dollies were rather neglected.

Forward a generation and my daughter grows into Barbies and the complete set of Spice Girls and Britney Spears dolls. It was great to see a trendy, beautiful Scary Spice doll but dolls of colour were still rare until the arrival of Bratz.

I immediately dashed out and bought them all for my daughter, I was very keen for her to see black and mixed race beauties represented positively.

The arrival of the millennium saw dolls slip away from our lives. Then in the spring of 2016 I saw my first ever Monster High Doll and thought WOW! These dolls didn't just stop at representing realistic skin tones, they cranked it up and gave us skins of extraordinary colours and parentage of wildest fantasy.

Good on you Monster Highs. You've turned this grown up into a kid again.