Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2nd Hand Dolls , New Clothes

If it's November, it  must be doll sewing time.  I plan and sew clothing for dolls to be donated to Catholic Social Services.

Second hand girl dolls are most often found nude; boy dolls are often found with a pair of pants and nothing else. All dolls get washed, and face paint is touched up. Theoretically I could count the number of  dolls and make the same outfit in a variety of colors. One year I made a dozen karate outfits. Yes, I cut them all one day, sewed the next and dressed them the third day, but it was a grind and it was boring.

Boy dolls (more properly action figures) usually have camouflage pants, all in different camo patterns and colors, and need camo shirts. I bought a mossy green nylon and all the camo boys are getting mossy t-shirts. Live with it, kids. Most of the dolls are 12 inches, but  Mattel's Ken is less bulked up than that company's Max Steele, and Max is smaller than Hasbro's GI Joe. Joe is smaller than a couple of male dolls from Formative. Those dolls are so much wider that it is easier to cut down patterns from 14 inch dolls than to widen those for 12 inch dolls. This years crop includes a fireman, some military men, some Louts About Town (droopy drawers and bomber jackets), and an Earring Ken with a vampire cape

 I  like to alter or incorporate bits and pieces from commercial and home made outfits which landed in second hand stores  or in bags of scrap fabric left on my doorstep. These clothes may have outlasted the dolls they were meant for, but there are so many dolls in so many sizes that judicious use of Velcro fastening will make most wearable. Then all I have to do is fill in the gaps with some of my standards.

The girl dolls range from 6 to 12 inches. Even dolls of the same height have significant differences in arm length and waist sizes, but I can make multiples and cover up the  difference with judicious use of Velcro. I have tried and true patterns I developed, a wrap skirt,  sleeveless blouse, and pants. I also have a vast and terrifying collection of commercial patterns for dolls, but I tend to stick to a couple of tried and true Simplicity doll patterns. Their ease is such that any child can play with  the clothing. Some of the newer patterns are for adult dexterity.

No matter what I do, there are some dolls who insist on individual treatment. This year it was Get Real Girl, a multi-jointed female action figure who came out about 10 years ago. I wanted to stuff her into a t-shirt and gathered skirt, but the  doll would not cooperate. When issued, Skylar of Get Real Girls was a snowboarder. Nothing less than  sweatshirt and pants would do, she informed me. I spent more time on her t-shirt, pants and jacket than I did on clothing for a dozen other dolls. Also had more fun.

I wrote this 4 weeks ago, hoping to persuade the camera to cooperate. It has not.