I mentioned in an earlier post that I probably wouldn’t use the Mr.Super Clear Matte sealer again because of its extreme nastiness and health warnings. Well, I’ve done an about face on that. After I finished the original can that I had bought ( it was able to do 3 dolls) at a cost of about $20 if I remember – bought on eBay and took weeks to arrive, I decided to try a matte acrylic spray readily available at Joanne and/or other craft supply places in America . I tried 3 different clear matte sealer sprays. Not one of them came close to the look of Mr. Super Clear. The picture above you can see the difference. The face plate on the left is NOT MSC and has a wet shiny appearance which detracts greatly in photographing a Blythe. So I’m resolved to using MSC. However, I have now bought the more expensive $30 mask for spraying , which is only done outside in the open garage.
I just have to be honest with you up front- I’m stalling. I need to be working on Custom #4. But the creative juices are still bubbling away in my head and havn’t hit on just what it is I want to do with her so ..here I am.
SeaCillia was an absolute pleasure to do. I’m happy with her. The carving went so fast because I knew just what I wanted the end result to be.
These dolls really do take on a life of there on- expressions just pop out of there faces. If you have the desire to try this – you should. It is very rewarding.
I’ve been looking at a lot of faces. Blythe faces of course. Makeup, eyes, lips, chins, nose. There are so many different expressions I’m finding it very hard to decide what direction I want to do next. That is, what kind of expression or emotion do I want my next doll to portray? Part of me is going- well, which one will sell the best? And another part is saying, I could never guess what someone else might want, so I should just choose what I really like and hope there is someone out there with the same tastes as me. And then there’s the part of me that wants to keep every single doll, so I’m hoping no one else but me likes them.
Where do I look for Blythe faces? Pinterest is a great one. And then Etsy also has many styles to spark the imagination as well.
In the sewing department, I finished two more dresses. Both are gathered ruffly items.
Still need to add some sparkly purlple trim to the lavender dress. The white/pink dress is already in my etsy shop in DeltaDawnBoutique
I’m mystified at the wide range in pricing for Blythe Doll clothes. I saw many as low as $10 a dress, one even as low as $5 a dress, and then some as high as $175!? Now I understand that making a simple shift out of cotton isn’t going to take up near the time or the expense of say a handmade dress out of silk- but $170 difference? Then there were alot of dresses in the $20 range and quite a few more than I expected to find in the $35- $50 range. I need to decide what is required to charge (and get) $50 for a dress or an outfit for Blythe. Here’s what I’ve noticed.
1- I’ve seen “vintage” thrown around alot, as in ‘this dress has vintage lace or vintage silk’ on it. – okay- shop D.I. for old wedding dresses?
2- Some of the very expensive ones actually do look like they took a lot of time and are almost a work of art because of the way the artist has pulled together, fabric, trims, lace and beads to create something kind to the eyes. – So, think less of making a half dozen of one dress or another, but just make one, one that is over the top special.
3. Part of selling dresses on etsy though is making a name for oneself. Either by selling and getting good reviews or posting your creations in a public forum. like … Flickr? Maybe I should check that out.
So, my plan is to get busy and explore some elaborate designs that I would like to see done , and do them. Then, post them on public forums like flickr, or pinterest or facebook.
I did it. I dove in and did it. It was hard. It was easy. I learned lots but I have lots more to learn.
I followed the free tutorials on blytheverafter.com and then I consulted some youtube vidoes when the instructions on blytheverafter.com didn’t seem quite enough. I began writing down the steps in simplified form as I did them, so that I would have a path to follow back home again.
- remove the 3 screws from back of head and and place in a container and label-(important- especially if you are prone to losing things easily)
- remove plastic pull from string and place with the screws
- place doll on her side on a padded surface(folded bath towel works nicely), and with palm of hand (yours, not hers) apply pressure to side of her head at about the temple. Head should pop open at least at the jaw line.
- At this point either the back plate falls off easily or you will need to have an object inserted into the crack in between the front face plate and back of head plate and ‘help it’ to seperate. Mine fell apart easily. Yea!
- BEFORE pulling back plate off, reach in with jewelry pliers or a crochet hook and remove the tiny spring thats wrapped around the bar in the center of the rectangular slot in the back of the head.
- Once the back plate is off, ONLY LOOSEN the screw inside the head that holds the face plate to top of the skull. Once you are able to pull the scalp off,( and put in a safe place with the screws that you removed), then tighten the head plate screw back up a notch and leave it attached to the face place. ( It’s just easier, one less thing to loose.)
- Put the doll body with the scalp and screws for safe keeping.
- Remove the screw that holds the little plastic t-bar against the eye- mechanism and put them both with the other screws.
It was here that I got way too involved in the learning process to record any more.
I had to separate the eye-eylid unit mechanism. I used a blow drier as recommended to warm up the plastic and help it to bend and not break as I applied some pressure to the side of the head to pull it out and then the blow dryer trick to heat up then separate the eyes from the eyelids.
My best suggestion: WATCH SOME VIDEOS ABOUT THOSE TWO ITEMS ABOVE! It will give you confidence and help to avoid breaking your dollies poor head.
Once the doll was apart. I put the “Don’t lose these” parts in a box and away on a shelf.
And I spent the next 4 hours, sanding and carving. I sanded the backplace, the eyelids and the front plate, just as the video described. It would definitly not take me this long in the future. Most of that time was spent repeating the same process over and over. Sand, carve, sand, carve, sand, carve.
When I first began carving the lips, I was tired, and I lost my focus just a little. I didn’t put a piece of painters tape right down the center of her face to help me keep her mouth straight. And I didn’t mark out with a pencil the bacis shape of the mouth I was trying to accomplish. About an hour into the carving I could see that the bottom lip was somewhat askew. Not good. I got up and walked away for a while.
Yep, just got up and walked away. When I was sure I understood what I’d done and exactly what action I needed to take. That is, what need to be carved where in order to set things straight again. I sat down and began to carve again.
So I carved, straightened out the lip alignment- sanded. It seemed I sanded my definition of the lips away…. I carved more definition. I sanded. Again, poof, the definition seemed to disappear. I went back and watched a few more videos on youtube on carving. Went back one more time and carved again and this time I didn’t sand as vigorously.
I got a little nervous there at the end because I’d read of others first attempts and how they carved so much that they carved right through the face and then had a hole in their dolls face. Ruined!
Following all the steps, I started a make up job. Here I definitely could use some practice. You would think any women 50+ years would know how to apply makeup but…. My little Moonshine has a lot of makeup on her face. A lot of pink and marroon and burgandy. It is a warm and cheery glow- just like her name- Moonshine. There’s more- I painted a pair of eye chips- real ones. I loved them , they are green and gold. Then I added paint to her original chips( someone else suggested this, its not my idea). And it really didn’t change them much. It made them a bit darker. Then I pulled out her eyelashes and put her back together, which went just like clockwork. Easy-peasy.
No Sooner did I give Moonshine a new face, but I let her pose for New dresses for my etsy shop DeltaDawnBoutique@esty.com.
2nd Customization coming soon and I vow to take more step by step pictures next time!
I’m not sure how it happened but all of a sudden I’m up to 11 Blythes! Only 2 have arrived but I have 9 more on order. When they all arrive I will have:
Two Blythes with pink hair, one long hair , and one short
Three Blythes with red hair, one short, one long hair with bangs and one with curly pigtail braids.
One Blythe with short curly blond hair.
Two Blythes with short, wavy, darkest purple hair.
One Blythe, a Brunette with short hair
And a golden hair Middie Blythe.
OH!, And one With Flaming Orangy Red haired Blythe with a tan.
I really must begin to customize at least one of them. That’s why I orginally bought one, Right? To cusomize and then sell them? I lay awake half the night wondering which one I could possibly bring myself to give up? And the rest of the night I wonder If I’m really going to be as good at this as I think I am. After spending about $500 in dolls over the past month I better be. Wow- $500?! ? Yep. It’s Time to Start customizing!
In the meantime, I’m still sewing. I listed the first six dresses in my etsy store DeltaDawnBoutique, today. I offered them at ridiculously low, low, looooow introductory prices, just because there is a lot of competition on etsy and if people don’t try the cookies they will never know how good they are- or be able to write a review of how very good they are. And why?? So I can sell more cookies, of course.
I’ve had quite the education and then some in sewing for Blythe in the last day and a half.
Here’s what I learned so far. – Actually, even before I begin, let me say this. Although it is true what you may have heard, Blythe does fit the old skipper patterns, be advised that after making just 2 items, I began looking for other options. They fit but they were too primitive, not enough style.
1.- Not all patterns are equal. You have to know what you want. If you want something simple and basic and not really much style- then those old Skipper patterns put out by the big pattern maker’s whose patterns you will find at all the fabric stores, will do just fine. If you wanting something more detailed, with set in sleeves or cuffs, and tucks, and collars and pizzazz, well…. Those patterns aren’t going to get you there. And that is one reason most people are drawn to Blythe in the first place is because of the fantasic wardrobe that she seems to crave. If that is what you want too, then I would suggest checking out the Dolly Dolly Japanese downloads. These are my #1 favorite patterns that I’ve found so far. I found them on etsy. They are called by a couple differnt names but if you search for Dolly dolly pattern books on etsy, they will come up. Each big book has several innovative fashions for blythe(as well as several other poplar dolls). They run from about $3.80 to $6 for each book, or pdf file download which has quite a few patterns, with about 120 pages in each download. Although they are all in Japanese, they have pictured illustrations and arrows telling you the order of sewing, as well as the patterns which are very easy to print off. So, for a dress pattern, they will be a picture of a dress and it will point to the lace attached to the ruffle at the bottom of the dress and name it (1) indicating to sew that on first then point to the seam between the ruffle and the skirt of the dress and name it (2), indicating to do that next and so on. You would simply have to “know” that before sewing on the ruffle you would need to ‘gather’ the edge of the ruffle. The items that I made so far turned out lovely and fit wonderfully. You WOULD need some prior knowledge of sewing garments and know what a sleeve and a bodice looked like in a pattern and generally how they are put together to use these. The seams in their patterns do NOT appear to be quite 1/4 inch, so if you are uncomfortable with that then you will need to add a bit when copying them or cutting objects out. And most of the time it does not appear that they line the garments, or enclose seams, or have facings, so if that is more your style, you will need to modify that as well. But as far as variety of style and design- these patterns are WONDERFUL! I love them.
2. I spent the entire day trying to recreate a peasant style, elastic neckline, puffed sleeve, and elastic empire wasted-dress from the 70’s era. Five tries. All with some little error, making them unusable. Very frustrating. I started with the basic pattern for the dress(not from the ebooks referred to above) , but one of the ‘major’ pattern makers. One of the biggest obsticals to my tries was the elastic. Cord Elastic was not a good choice as far as making the gathers look nice and even and sewing in the cord at the ends was a nightmare as the cord elastic kept rolling. Several times it popped away from the sewing and then I was fishing for the elastic end in the seam and not being able to retrieve it. So I tried thinnner round elastic. It broke. I tried several strands of thinner elastic together. It still broke. The material I was using wouldn’t gather nicely around the neck and sleeves, it was too stiff. I became impatient. The minute this happens, my machine thread always breaks. Every time. I finally discovered that the cord elastic just wasn’t working- so I went to the store and got the 1/8 size braided elastic. It worked like a charm. Could have saved me at least some of the heart ache today if I’d have figured that out sooner. That and a proper tool for pulling elastic through casings. (Mine was broke and kept snagging on the inside of the casing causing more impatience.)
So, the right pattern, the right materials, the right tools- all very important.
After 5 attemps and not one dress that fits the way I wanted it too, I put it on the back shelf and tried one of the cute patterns from the Dolly dolly pdf files. It was a baby doll top with a bra style bodice and spagetti straps and bloomerish shorts. I made mine as pj’s although one’s choice of fabric and lace and whether or not one puts elastic in the hem of the shorts would change the look considerably.
Exhausted, but I learned alot today and had a great time doing it. But it’s already tomorrow(past midnight) and sleep I must.