Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Man's collared shirt, tie

I've been working on a shirt for the Doll Leaves body (and btw, the head is ON THE WAY. So excited).

I want this shirt to work with a suit: vest, coat, tie, and pants. So the best pattern is one that includes a collar band/stand. The stand provides a place for the tie to go around and then the collar lies nicely over the tie.

I tried this shirt first in a lightweight quilting cotton: too bulky and that bulk made the cuffs and collar stand nearly impossibly thick for buttonholes.

This version is in a very fine and light pima cotton batiste: perfect for this application.

Yes it is pink. Get over it and admire this vintage Arrow shirt advertisement with PASTELS.

I did not interface any part of the shirt, although I might try judicious amounts of cotton organdy next time.

If you look closely at the neck, you can see that the collar stand sticks out farther than the shirt front on one side.

This is due to the difficulties of getting my fingers, the shirt, some pins, and the sewing machine foot all in there are once. The end you can't see, of course, is perfect.
I hate to hand baste, but I might have to if I want this shirt to work.
I did make the band just a little bit wider (taller) then it was originally, and it might look a bit odd, but it was much easier to sew, but still not problem free. So I might regress to the original height. Still pondering.

I'm also not happy with the placement of my buttons on the front. I would have liked one less button on the front (to the same length, so wider spacing), and to have started the top (non stand) button just a bit farther down. Not to mention my buttons are all higgledy-piggledy facing every which way. Bleah.

I've narrowed the sleeves and raised the armscye (armhole) quite a bit since the modern shirt pattern I based this doll version on was quite sloppy loose and it was rather awkward under the close fitting vest.

The sleeves are better now, but I'm wondering if I need to make the shoulders just a tiny bit narrower.

I kept the plackets on the sleeves although it added considerable to the time involved.

This means that sewing the cuffs on was another "exciting" adventure, since the placket is NOT on the seam, so the cuffs are put on after the sleeve is sewn. More hand basting in my future. ARRRRGH.

The plackets seem rather long, but that is necessary since this Doll Leaves doll has lovely large manly hands. And check out the crooked button! ARRRGH.

The back pleat is proportional to the original pattern but it looks too narrow to me.  And from the back, it is clear that my collar stand IS too tall.


The pants are a work in progress: this version is too snug in the butt and thighs, making the pockets and fly pull unattractively. Mark III pants will be the next post, I think.

I scaled down a tie pattern for this: I kept the three part construction, although I will not keep that for the future since the seams make it difficult to roll the tie at the narrowest spot.
The last tie I made (blue winter print)


came out unexpectedly long, so I used a Windsor knot on it. The red version is 1/4" shorter, and I used a Pratt, which is not symmetric. I will put the missing 1/4" back and stick to the Windsor knot.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vintage French-back boxers

A proper sized head is on the way for my SD male body, so I got inspired to pick up the boxer pattern again.

I bought a rather beat-up but intact 1945 Simplicity sewing pattern for boxers. After scaling it down, then up, then down, then finally arriving at a reasonable draft, I set out to make a pair "for real".

I had intended to list this pair on my Etsy store (The Educated Flea: see side bar) but this is a time-consuming pattern. Like, 2 hours for cutting and assembly, not including buttonholes and buttons! So I would have to charge between 20 and 30 dollars just from the time involved. And I think that is a bit steep for a pair of doll underpants.

But they are COOL

I do have some problems still to solve with the pattern: It is not left/right symmetrical. You can see this a little bit in the photo. The left and right waistband are not the same length (this is supposed to happen): the difference is made up by cutting off the left hand side of the waistband. Somehow, in combination with my 1/4" seam allowance, means that the right side of the boxers is too long. So I suppose the way to solve this next time is to NOT cut off the left hand side short.

I also had to change the order of sewing quite a bit to get the boxers assembled without a lot of swearing.

I used pima cotton batiste and 1/4" buttons for this. If the pattern draft had been any smaller, the buttonholes would never have fit. As it is, I had to pick out and re-do two buttonholes.

You can see in the front picture that the buttons are very close together. I really like the three-button front, but I might change subsequent versions to 2 buttons. The buttons are right next to each other, adding to the difficulty already built into such small buttons.

The back should have had two button holes in each side of the waist band back extensions, but there is just not room at this scale for two. These buttonholes were made with the automatic buttonholer for my Singer Featherweight. They are 5/16", the smallest cam I have.

The next version will be in striped fabric, like the version on the original pattern's cover.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A meetup

Today, I went to my third or fourth doll meetup. As usual, I had a great time, learned a lot, and may have fixed a few more names in my head.

The meetups I have been to here in the Sacramento area have all been hosted at private homes, although in the past some have been in parks or in other public venues.

Imagine a kitchen table, covered in doll parts, pastels, colored pencils, tools, surrounded by women working on dolls: painting gorgeous tattoos, piercing ears and noses, body blushing, and anything you can imagine.

In the living room, another crowd, flopped on the couch and the floor, some working on dolls but some just watching a movie.

Every once in a while, the conversation swells from a dull roar to a louder roar punctuated by ear-piercing shrieks of laughter.

Outside people are spraying clear coat either before or after adding color, and some are dremmeling and sanding.

I had sprayed two of my dolls (the headless Doll Leaves male and my treasured Impldoll) before I left for the meet. I managed to blush the Doll Leaves, but my attempt at coating the Impldoll was not very even so I will save her for another day.

I also got the assembly of a fur coat for my Etsy shop (fake fur, of course) done. Several people expressed some interest in the clothing I have for sale but I made no sales. However, folks did get a chance to see the quality of work I do and I have hope for future sales.