In the fields with little Rapunzel

It is a little early for photos in fields of crops – everything is green rather than golden. Nonetheless, I couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity when it came up. Recently I had an unexpected visit in my hometown. The suburbs there look like proper countryside.

It was already evening when I set off for the walk too, so I only caught the last sunset-tinted rays of light.

The results were a little different than what I had in mind, and seeing the photos on a bigger screen for the first time I thought I’d scrap them and wait for another opportunity – but I couldn’t really give them up. In the end, I have decided to enjoy them for what they are, and save any reservation for the betterment of the future ‘photo walks’ 🙂

This spontaneous session was only possible because of the little white tunic that I had ready in advance – I made it last year and forgot about. When I heard I had to go, all I had to do was slip the doll and her accessories in my luggage. Nobody on the train knew my secret 😉

It was sewn according to the free pattern from Mekkotehdas . There are no instructions, but sewing it like a dress with a lined bodice works just fine (where you start with two layers for the bodice, facing good side to good side, and flip it inside out after sewing the sides. I only add a single seam allowance around each piece).  For a personal touch, I added the tiny buttons and gathered the sleeve ever so slightly.

Taking doll photos in your hometown is even scarier – I was seriously worried of running into someone I know 😀 Of course, there is no shame in collecting dolls, but… I need a little more time to gather my courage.

I once read that you should be careful to avoid flyaway hair when photographing dolls. I dutifully packed a doll-sized hairbrush (now that would be a perfect sight… and adult sitting in a country road brushing a dolly), but I just let them be. Since it’s Rapunzel, her flyways are magical.

This last photo will be different. I took it back at home, and let me be honest, the colours where crazy from overexposure and I couldn’t fix it. As a last ditch effort, I salvaged it by making it sepia tone. Now it reminds me of my mother’s childhood photos – she too was a little blond girl in a white dress in them. A happy accident 🙂 Don’t tell anyone, though – the official story will be that it was the plan all along 😉

Vintage sepia Rapunzel s

That’s all from Rapunzel – for now.

The summer is here, and I still don’t have holiday plans. Aside from choosing a destination, I still have to decide which doll to take along. I would like to take an Animators’ doll, but they take so much space in luggage. It will probably be one of the Ever After High girls. Maybe Holly or Cerise. Whoever it ends up being, I’ll be sure to share the results 🙂

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Pastel Easter

Last year, when Easter was just around the corner, I was looking at various Easter themed dolls and their reviews – just for fun, no dolls were purchased in the process. I noticed that a lot of them were dressed in pastel colours, and I wondered – is this a thing? Around these parts, there is no such thing as a preferred set of colours for an Easter ensemble. Now I know, yes, apparently it’s a thing! And I even decided to make my own pastel Easter dress for a doll 🙂

This dress was made according to the Mimi dress pattern by Dolly Delicacies (still not a payed advertisement :)). I went with a 1/2 sleeve length, because I think it looks elegant, plus, it can be somewhat chilly in early spring 🙂

As for the fabric, I sacrificed my own light cotton top. Don’t worry too much about it, it didn’t suit me so well, and it had just the right springlike colours.

I’ll admit to one problem right away – the colours are perhaps perfect for the occasion, but in retrospect, I am not sure they go so well Rapunzel’s complexion. Her face looks somewhat garish.

You know how certain colours don’t suit certain people? I find that it is even more true for dolls. At face value their ‘complexions’ resemble natural ones, but if you look closely – or even worse, tale a photo – some odd undertones emerge. At least this is my experience. I have been learning the hard way not to assume a fabric will go well with a doll. It’s best to put it next to her face and stare long and hard until you’re sure the tones aren’t clashing. Needless to say, I did not do it this time 🙂

On the bright side, I found chocolate eggs in exactly the size and colours I wanted 🙂

This year, I tried to learn from my last year’s experience: since I have found that greenery is not yet particularly lush and appealing this time of the year, I thought I’d try indoors. I am not sure which solution was better in the end, as I am not in love with the more artificial feel that the backdrop (posterboard) creates. Should I mention that they only had a limited range of colours available too?

Overall, I landed this surprisingly challenging project in an acceptable place, but I am not entirely satisfied. Maybe next year? They pass so quickly I am not even too disheartened about having to wait for another chance (I’m definitely done for this year 😉 )

Anyhow, Happy Easter to you doll lovers and all passing by 🙂

A dress fit for a… toddler

Recently I had developed a desire to make a truly ‘princessy’ dress for Rapunzel. In fact, I am surprised that so many months have passed without me being drawn to such an idea.

I had the motivation to sew, a design ready in my mind, and all I needed was the right fabric – a nice, pastel-coloured satin. Unfortunately, I simply could not find the right one. In the meantime, I ran into this most adorable pink corduroy, and its colour matched Rapunzel’s lips just right, too! So, I adjusted my ideas accordingly. Now I was making a cute toddler dress.

If you’re making a toddler dress for an Animators’ doll, you can’t go wrong with the Mekkotehdas free pattern. I have previously made jokes about me using two patterns over and over, so perhaps it’s time to be serious about why it’s so:

  • Animators’ dolls have quite big bellies. No other cut works as well on them as empire line. I find myself coming back to it.
  • The above pattern, and the other one I use, from Dolly Delicacies, are very versatile. Make the waist lower or high, the skirt longer or shorter, add the collar or skip it, alter the sleeves, add embellishments… and you have enough variants for a lifetime
  • For the most part, patterns aren’t free. I try to make the best of the ones I have. I am very pleased with them, too.

With this out of the way, maybe I can stop being apologetic about reusing the patterns 🙂

In this case, I originally wanted to make the sleeves long to make the dress appropriate for the cold, winter months, but it was starting to look like pajamas. Luckily, the approaching disaster was spotted and averted in time  🙂

The white sleeve underneath is a doll top that I found in a shop – I thought I was very lucky to find something that fit my dolls like that. As a rule, you craft it, or do without. Unfortunately, it’s a small, local doll line, so I am afraid I cannot make a useful recommendation here.

The mouse plushie has a story, sort of. It was a gift for my husband (back then my boyfriend), possibly for valentines day, quite a few years ago. Maybe 7 or 8. I don’t know why a guy would need a mouse plushie, but he was kind enough to never complain 🙂 I thought the mousie would make a good friend for Rapunzel (in the doll world, the colour scheme decides…).

I’ll be honest about one problem I have encountered with these photos. I am not too too sure that the colour balance is the absolute best, but it’s the best I could arrive at. I’ve been having that problem since I was forced to switch cameras a few months ago. Or maybe it’s just me. The longer you stare at these things, the more problems you start to notice. Maybe my wall is the wrong colour, too…

I had sewn these doll tights about a year ago, and the wear is starting to show. Personally, I think it’s adorable 🙂

It will soon have been a year since I first got Rapunzel, and I think she deserves more creative attention than she has gotten. There have been a few attempts, but in the end I scrapped the photos because I wasn’t pleased with them. I still have the clothes I made for these photos, so I can always try again. Bottom line, I hope we will be seeing more of her.

A Red Berry in the Snow

Sometimes I think it’s a little silly how often I mention the weather and the seasons in my posts, given that it’s a “doll blog”. But how could I not mention that we’ve had our first snow this winter? 🙂 Outdoor doll photography has proven to be very closely tied to the weather conditions, and finally, weather has delivered  🙂

The snow only lasted three days, so, knowing the forecast, I prepared ahead by sewing a winter coat. I had initially planned to use the one from the last year, but it seemed too big! I did make it extra wide to fit a fluffy sweater underneath…

For the new one, I used the pattern which originally came from ninnuskadesign.blogspot.fi. Unfortunately, the blog appears to have been closed. However, if you google ‘ninnuska’ and ‘animators’ you’ll still be able to find the pattern floating around the web. The one which says ‘takki’ is the coat/jacket in question. ‘Huppa’ means ‘hood’, and ‘hiha’ is the sleeve. The pattern does not have a seam allowance included.

You’ll find two versions of the sleeve – I used the straight one.

I also made the coat a little bit longer – perhaps about 1cm longer.

I found the hood to be a little tight – maybe that’s just me, but I feel like it wouldn’t hurt to add at least 0,5cm more space around the outline (and then the seam allowance on top of it).

Even though I decided to make slight adjustment, I think this is a great pattern, and I will likely come back to it in the future.

The outfit kind of makes the doll look like the Little Red Riding Hood, but that wasn’t intentional. Red is just such a cute colour for a little girl’s coat – even if she’s made out of plastic. It makes her look like red berries in the snow.

I found the gloves in a dollar store (Sort of. I don’t pay in dollars. I mean a cheap-Chinese-import-shop). They were keychains, but they fit surprisingly well. It’s definitely a good idea to check such places for doll accessory miracles.

I had already taken winter photos with Belle last year, so I was hoping to take along Rapunzel this time. Unfortunately, I found that the red really clashed with her complexion. I actually encounter this problem a lot with my Animators’ dolls. It’s best to check the fabric ahead against the doll’s skin vinyl.

I hope I will have another opportunity to put Rapunzel in the snow. Although… taking photos at their eye level means getting down on your knees, or lower, in the cold, cold snow and I’ve developed a very slight distaste for that  😉

If I do get out again, I sure will keep you posted  🙂

Great news! Animators’ Belle back in blue!

Collectors of Disney Animators’ dolls, rejoice! If you never managed to get the original, blue-dress release of Belle, now is your chance:

https://www.disneystore.com/dolls-toys-disney-animators-collection-belle-doll-16/mp/1421613/1000259/

If you’re not  familiar with the story, Belle was first released in her adorable blue peasant dress, but the following two versions sold over a few years were dressed in yellow dresses loosely inspired by her ballgown. While I’m sure the yellow dresses have their fans, it was the original that stole my heart, and apparently those of many other DAC fans. To the best of my knowledge, Bluebelle, as I like to call her, was one of the priciest Animators’ dolls on the aftermarket, second only to version 0 Rapunzel with tinsel hair.

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The first, 2011 release of Disney Animators’ Collection Belle – this particular one from the UK Disney Store.

Judging by the promo photo and the customers’ comments, it appears to be nearly identical to the first wave doll – I have noticed that the new one does not have the lace trim on her socks, but that’s all the differences that I have spotted.

The Disney Store seems to normally make each wave of a doll discernibly different than the previous ones, so this comes to me as a surprise. I can only guess that this is to celebrate the upcoming release of the new Beauty and the Beast film.

So, if you’ve always dreamed of your own (reasonably priced) Belle as seen wandering through her little town full of little people, now is your chance  🙂

Bookworm Belle

A few months ago I sewed a cute dress with my DAC Belle in mind, took some photos and put it in a box with the other ones. Recently I’ve been thinking about re-using the dress in a different context and realised I never even published the original photos! So, at long last, here is the dress:

The dress was based on the same basic pattern as Rapunzel’s long floral dress and Merida’s orange summer dress. There is something I particularly like about this classic rendition. It is somewhat old fashioned, and as a result, even the modern Disney doll looks reminiscent of a traditional porcelain doll. Or so it seems to me. I am also just partial to dresses which have a school uniform feel – in their proper, innocent interpretation, mind you  🙂 I find it rather fitting for bookworm Belle, who, I would imagine, must have been a good student.

Belle is a beautiful doll, but not even she can wear everything. I have found that many colours, especially pinks and purples clash with her complexion. I had never thought that such things apply to dolls as well as people. She does look good in white, yellows and blues, among probably a few others, hence the fabric choice. I used thin denim for a slight modern touch.

Oh, and the teddy bear  🙂 It was a freebie added to a big package of tea (we sure like tea in this house), and I never thought it would be of any use, but these two are perfect for each other  🙂 He came with his own clothes, less work for me.

This is about it, as brief as that  🙂 Big post, big evil.

 

Fiery Little Spirit

Think of one colour you would never put on a doll with red hair. OK, make it three colours. Would orange be on your list?

I’m sure fashion police is out to get me now  🙂

When I was browsing through thrift-store dresses to harvest for fabric I decided, against all common sense, that this design would suit Merida. Doesn’t it, though?

And yes, it’s a real tiny ice-cream cone! And yes, I’m the one who ate the chocolate on top…

The dress is once again based on the Mimi Sewing Pattern for Disney Animators’ Collection, however this time around altered to make the dress sleeveless. I still have no affiliation with the author of the pattern  😉 It just really is quite versatile.

For the longest time I couldn’t establish what it was that inspired me to make a sleeveless collared dress – in all my life I never considered this type to be cool or pretty, and suddenly I decidedly wanted one, at least for my dolls. Then I had an epiphany – Blondie Lockes, Enchanted Picnic! I saw her and her dress a few times and it subconsciously grew on me  🙂 Apparently this creation is the first to marry my EAH and DAC interests  🙂

Merida, being the brave princess that she is, is not afraid to stand on the swing.

It is not easy to get additional shoes for Animators’ dolls, but I was lucky to find this one pair online. These are not strictly DAC shoes and are slightly big, but they look just fine with socks. I think they are adorable. Having new shoes  opens new outfit opportunities  🙂

I don’t know why one of her socks keeps turning up but it was beyond my power to stop it.

I still have one overdue summer photo set, and then I can start acknowledging that the seasons change  🙂

P.S. You can also view the above photos on Flickr, if more convenient.