Thursday, September 12, 2019

Letter from the universe

Hey Shasha...

Yes, you. Can we talk for a bit?

I know you're always busy and all, dreaming up things, wonderful and nice. And as always, I thank you for that, humbly. For if you don't dream, there is nothing for us to create, and maybe nothing new to experience.

For today though, I'd like to tell you something. This is because I see you sad and uncertain at times. I know that what you are going through is normal, just like with anyone who pursues something beyond herself. I understand that it is your pleasure to learn, and with pleasure comes pain. Some pains are bearable and temporary, but yours seemed like eternal. Maybe I can help?

See, you always look at the future. And when you sometimes look back in the past, you only see the undesirable. You seem to only remember what needs to be solved. You seem to always just look for problems, as if you can solve all of them, for some perfect future?

May I suggest that together we look into the past, wholly? Aside from not so pretty ones, we also look into what we've done that made us happier in the actual moments? Walk with me...

Yesterday, we spent the whole day hand embroidering that doll clothing piece we started making a pattern for a few weeks ago.

designing a wedding dress for the first time...

It was fun because we did embroidery for the first time in maybe 20-something years! The last time we tried our hand at it was in fourth grade, as part of art/crafts class. It was really fascinating to see thread build texture into the fabric.

trying hand embroidery again..

It sure made our right hand aching later that afternoon, but we listened to our body and relaxed those muscles by doing some watercolor painting.

Non-female looking male portrait, finally :D
It was nice to apply what we've learned from istebrak on drawing male heads, right? Finally, our male portraits look manly haha! And it was a relaxing study at that. See, you have to realize that thanks to your idea of using watercolors in our studies, that we get to relax and learn at the same time - a perfect way to wrap our day up. Thanks for that!

Oh, and don't forget that we shipped six packages early this week. We are always grateful to our buyers for their unwavering support for our craft. May I remind you that we always seem to be smiling when we write those messages for them. Those moments are what we are all about, remember that. And hey, you kept us safe as always. Such a wonderful guardian you are to this existence.

Last weekend was also exciting because we went to Divisoria to replenish our notions, packaging materials and to look for that perfect lace to use for that wedding dress. I know it's a little disappointing to not find that lace we want. I guess, life is just full of surprises, yes? And that's okay, because this led us to venture into another unknown - embroidering our own lace and that I know, excites you, too.

Hmmm so whatelse to remind you of those lovely things that we do...

Ahhh.. remember that we've been wanting to organize our threads for so long? Well, last Friday, we took some 20 or so minutes to the garage, poke some nails and voila, we now have a neat bunch of threads! This gives us some peace of mind for years to come for sure haha!

We also painted a lot more lately, experiencing watercolor's uncertainties again. When we realized we wanted to draw much better eyes, eyebrows and lashes, we researched and studied back in pencils. Wow, that was really fascinating to carve those eyes out that our sketches looked like renaissance statues.

eye studies
See, we have done joyful things recently. Add to that the ones we did for our family and friends. This year, we were having fun experimenting. For the last eight years, running a one-man show is the most invigorating. Together we have been doing joyful things for almost 39 years now.

But you seem to forget all of this. In these wonderful times, you just sit at the back and let me happen. You just watch. It seems that you are resting from it all, and I don't mind. Rest in me, if you must. I don't get tired of happening anyway, but you do, with all that dreaming.

So this post is a simple reminder that, you, my beautiful ego Shasha, don't need to beat yourself up for being not enough. You dream the most beautiful dreams, for us to happen and continue to happen for eternity.

all the love,
the universe

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Doll clothes design tip | Always listen to what the material tells you

Yay, happy to say that I had been good and loving to myself today... 
I didn't bury myself to making 27 prototypes, 
and I have accepted earlier than I usually do the fact that 
fabrics do have specific designs meant for them

I have spent the past few days designing a tie-front cropped top pattern for the Integrity Toys NuFace doll. 
This has long been requested by my long-time dolly friend Javi 
and I also wanted to make one in addition to my recent curvy version.

Pattern V.1 Prototype.1

Pattern V.2 Prototype 2

At first, I thought I was happy with my second iteration of the pattern, but as it turns out, 
I tweaked it again and finally, the third gave me the utmost joy. 
And so I started prototyping pattern v.3 using the same polka dot chiffon fabric I loved so much.
After trying out 4 different ways to do it
- painstakingly inserting linings to add some opaqueness to the piece - 
I decided to just use another fabric. 
Sometimes, you just gotta accept this one thing. 
And I'm going to dedicate a whole paragraph for it because it's kind of like a short story hehe...

'prototyped a couple more to find the best way to use chiffon and the lining fabric

When I buy my fabrics, it's always because it was love at first sight. 
Sometimes, I immediately know what to do with it exactly,
other times, I just trust my gut that someday,
the best design will come to me and then I'll be able to use it.

Ahhh all the lessons learned are so worth it...

See, that's the thing with miniature sewing. 
You can't just design any garment you want, with whatever you have in your fabric stash. 

You have to have that best design for that specific fabric. At least to me, that's the case. 
I don't like to see my garments bulky, so I use light fabrics. 
Maybe bulky is perfect for some designs, like outerwear,
which I don't make much because I live in a tropical country,
and so do my ladies. 
I can't pretend and make them wear trench coats in the middle of a 32 degree Celsius day.
But I might in time - if I get to travel to a colder place, who knows?

So yeah, I am again reminded that the fabrics I buy have designs waiting for them. 
I just gotta connect with each material deeper again, when I'm back at the atelier. 
I guess I had been thinking too much lately that I missed the dot 
(with all those dots in the polka dot, how could I not? tee hee... corny, I know...)

I was happy to snap out of it as early as possible, went to my stash quick, 
and find that fun print I had been meaning to use! 

It's just perfect for sunny days! 
I'm not too crazy about the bottom piece though so I gotta do
some more "deeper connection" thing with this fabric sooner or later tee hee...

Hmmm need to shorten the ribbons, and think of a better-matching bottom piece 

Yep, I never stop critiquing what I do.

But, well, that's it for today, dollings. 

I'll go start my day with my tax returns haha,
then hopefully continue making pieces for the shop,
 and release this new pdf pattern so you too
can make this summer must-have for your doll just in time.

love lots,

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

April 2019

Hey dollings! How have you been? 
I hope all is well for everyone <3 p="">

And just like that, it's already June, and we're nearing July even!
How time flies!
And I don't wanna miss every single moment of it ;)

Which takes me to this month's blog post.
I'll just be sharing with you moments between my last post,
and today's, in a video format that I've posted on my youtube channel.

After doing some documenting of my process in the last few years,
I realized that taking videos is fun.
So I took it to the next level, and I started recording my days.
I love it that I still get to be in the moment with what I do,
and be able to record snippets of those fleeting moments and share later.
Thank you, old self, for braving to invest in a nice camera phone.

So, here you go, guys. I've prepared a montage for my April shenanigans,
for me to relive those moments, and to share with you all
who has supported my craft through all these years.

Thank you as always for being there.

I'll see you on my May montage soon...


Track Name: "I found me", "Chill Day", "Blue Boi", "Wonder"
Official "LAKEY INSPIRED" YouTube Channel HERE:
License for commercial use: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported "Share Alike" (CC BY-SA 3.0) 
Full License HERE -
Music promoted by NCM @

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

April - the month of slacking off

Hey dollings!

For this month of April,
I'm afraid I might be slacking off.

I'll be on a two-week vacation by the last week of the month,
and just this weekend we concluded the family's annual beach getaway.

And when I'm preparing for vacations,
I mean business 😅

So yeah, to make the long story short,
I never got to make any new designs for you, my dollings.
Please, please forgive me.

But creativity never escaped me!

Instead of beating myself to worry about missed work and earning opportunities,
I painted.

I played again.

I may not have mentioned it to you before
but my first love has always been making images 😊

I've never really abandoned sketching, drawing, painting.
I may have paused for several years but
while I'm busy trying to survive college,
raise a baby, establish an office career,
even run my first adult business which is selling espadrilles along with two of my friends,
I always daydream about making images in between.

I feel peaceful when I sketch with a pencil, or if I mix paints, and lay them on paper or canvas.
The sound of my marking is just so soothing, it's perfect to allow myself to just let it all go.
When I paint or draw, something whispers to me, "it's gonna be okay" .

So, yeah.. Please bear with the non-doll related post today...
But I did paint miniature pictures, so I guess you have no choice left but to forgive me 😅

Here are my paintings in the past weeks or so..

Acrylic on 3x3 stretched mini canvas

Acrylic on 3x3 stretched mini canvas

Acrylic on 3x3 stretched mini canvas

Acrylic on 3x3 stretched mini canvas

Oil on 9x12 stretched canvas

And lastly, I painted our five-year old furry family member, Puffle ❤️

Oil on 9x12 canvas board panel

It was so liberating to not think about creating a product, 
to not think about earning, to not think about time and how time can earn you money, 
to not think about both time and money.

I could hear my mother say her favorite words to me 
"there you go again with your impractical ways..." 

How is happiness impractical, my dollings? 

That's what I will leave with for you now, my dear friends.. 

Until next time...


Friday, April 5, 2019

How-to: Sleeved Top Pattern

Hey, dollings! I hope things are going well over your little corner of the universe.

So, indeed this post is about my process of adding sleeves to my dolls' sleeved tops, tees and dresses.

I actually already uploaded a youtube video of the same title. However, I am still much of a newbie when it comes to voice overs and video editing so I felt the need to run through it again,
and hopefully explain the missing points here.

So here's my process.

Start by drafting the bodice sloper first.

I have a detailed video on how I draft a sloper here, in case you want a video version.
But basically, you grab two pieces of fabric
just enough to cover half of the doll's front bodice,
and another half at the back.

Below is the front bodice sloper, which is only half.
We're making just one sleeve for demonstration so I'm not making a full bodice sloper.

I cut slits on the curves of the neck and the arm hole
to lay the fabric as close as possible to the doll body, 
and to find the curves I want.

At this stage, I also tuck in my vertical and bust darts.

Front bodice sloper (half)

Back bodice (with vertical dart) now taped to the sides and the body

Now that our bodice sloper (half, that is) is ready,
let's draft our sleeve.

Drafting the sleeve pattern

I start this stage by measuring the arm hole circumference.

Taking the front half sleeve hole measurement

For this older fashionista doll (articulated),
I decided that the front half of the arm hole is 3cm,
and the back half is 3.5cm.

I make these notes while at it

Also I take measurements for the width of the sleeve,
which in my illustration is noted by 3 levels of curved lines.

I have 3 arrows there for each centimeter from the top.
Each arrow refers to the changing widths of the sleeve,
from back to the center of the arm,
then center of the arm to the front, as I measure like in the photo below.

Measuring sleeve width, from back to center of arm

Measuring sleeve width from center of arm to front (sorry for the off-focus shot)

Next up,
measure the sleeve hem circumference.

Decide how tight or loose your sleeve hem circumference at this stage.

And then I also measure the distance I want
from the sleeve hem/edge and
the armpit area.

Here then are my measurements,
in a new sleeve illustration.

My hem circumference is 4cm, and distance from hem to armpit is 1cm

Now that we have the measurements,
let's transfer them on an actual fabric.

Transferring measurements on test fabric

For this stage, I start with my hem circumference,
which is 4cm, and use it as my pattern's widest area.

Then I mark the center of it,
make a vertical line from the hem
to the tip of the shoulder,
then stop for my actual sleeve length.

Then on each side of the hem line,
I make a vertical line up 1cm each,
as this is our distance between armpit and hem.

From the armpit, I shape my measuring tape
like a sleeve curve up the shoulder tip.

Transferring measurements unto test fabric

I make sure the curve length equals my measurement,
which are 3cm for front sleeve curve,
and 3.5cm for back sleeve curve,
like we measured earlier.

Our actual sleeve measurements on the fabric, yay!

Then let's cut the new pattern with added seam allowance
so it's easy to tape unto our bodice sloper.

Cut slits on the inner curves

Don't forget to cut slits along the inner curves
so your pattern can easily lay flat on the doll.

Taping sleeve pattern on bodice sloper

I start with taping the center tip part of the sleeve
unto the shoulder tip of the bodice sloper.

Then I tape the rest of the sleeve pattern
around the arm hole of the bodice sloper.

Tape the hem as well as check if your armpit distance works

Pattern on Paper

If you are satisfied with this pattern you made,
transfer them to something that you can reuse over and over again.

I use graphing/math paper because the grids help a lot with keeping my lines straight.
I also cover the final pattern with transparent tape
so they don't tear apart with reuse.

Pattern on prototype fabric

Once all your patterns are ready,
take your prototype fabric and start
sewing ;)

Can't wait to try and see if our pattern looks great!

To sew this top,
let's start with the shoulder seams.

shoulder seams first...

Then the darts, bust and vertical, next.

Darts, next

Okay, so the next part is you attach your sleeves
unto the armholes,
then do both the side seams,
then hem the neckline.

I didn't record this part of the procedure,
however I have a how-to videos uploaded here,
for your reference.
That playlist details how to make a shift dress,
but basically it's the same techniques used.

Please check that one out if you haven't done a similar process yet.
I don't mind waiting here...

Start here, of you're from my youtube how-to shift dress playlist..

Hey, thanks for coming back.

So you probably arrived with something like this
after checking my videos, right?

and this..

And here's our final pattern prototype.

front part

back part

I think this pattern is perfect as template,
and I'll just tweak it a bit depending on the new design I want.

I hope you learned something from this how-to
blog post, dollings, because to be honest,
sleeves are hard to make and this mini demo has taught me so much.

If you have suggestions on what I patterns you want to learn making,
just drop your comments below and I'll make sure to find a way
and do it when I can.

I wish you an awesome weekend, dearies and see you next crafting time!


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

6 things to prepare for a dolly photo shoot

Honestly, dollings, I sometimes get reluctant to go out and take dolly photos simply because it's just too much work. Imagine, YOU ALONE are your own team of a creative director, stylist, hair and makeup artist, photographer, assistant among other roles, to have a successful marketing campaign. Oh, and yeah, did I mention I also designed and produced the garment myself?

But always, it never fails, that I feel happy when I wrap up a photo shoot. Seeing the photos I took of the dolls just reconfirms my love for this miniature thing ;D The dolls always look the best outdoors, in natural lighting. And that, my friends, instantly blurs out all the crazy stunts I would do as you can see in the photo above LOL ;)

Here's how I prepare for a dolly marketing campaign photo shoot, at least the night before:

1. the outfits
Since most of my photo shoots are aimed at marketing my latest creations, I make sure that the new pieces is ready to be photographed. That means they are clean, neat, and have matching pieces if they are not an entire outfit. This is when my staple tops and shorts come in handy. My staple garments are mostly in neutral colors or are easy to mix and match with so that I don't need to stress out on coming up with a new piece just to complement my new creation.

2. the models, in this case, the dolls
I choose the models that most complement the outfits. If I have a variety of outfits to shoot, I make sure each outfit is worn by the most suited models, skin tone-wise. If my outfit is white, or bright-colored, my tan girls get the job. If the outfit is dark, I choose a light-skinned girl so the contrast will be interesting.

Most often, I give them a bath, and prep up their hair so that they dry nice the next day. Sometimes, I just spray them with water and clean up quickly, but there's nothing ever so satisfying than giving your dolls a soapy bath. I enjoy it a lot, to be honest. Who doesn't enjoy the scent of clean stuff, tell me ;D

3. the theme or scenes
You gotta have at least an idea or a story behind every photo shoot.  This prepares you at least a few poses and scenes to begin with. This makes it easy to pose the dolls, and to save time. You don't want to stress out coming up with ideas while out in the sun, carrying all your apparatus with you. Just be prepared with a story, there's no harm in that. But also be prepared to change up the plan, because you really can't tell what your location may come up with. Be open to opportunities ;)

I am usually using the idea of a girl just strolling by, checking her phone or just chilling. I like that my dolls look like they are "happy and at peace" with everything around them. It gives me the positive vibe.

It also helps that you can prepare some scenes that would fit your social media platforms. For my recent shoots, I first take photos that highlight the clothes because I use them in my product listings. Then I follow with fun, lifestyle types of shots. I also take short videos. They might be useful for future montage projects at my youtube channel.

4. the accessories/ props
Since you already kind of figured out what they will be doing in their poses, you will know next what to bring for your props and accessories. Aside from shoes, my go-to pieces are a bench, a drink, a phone, sunglasses and sometimes a bag. My girls don't wear a lot of jewelry so I seldom bring some, though it also depends on the outfit. Some outfits require bling, you know.

5. the technical stuff
I make sure my camera has sufficient memory for the project, and that its battery is full. I also bring a piece of white paper to be used as a bounced light source. Sometimes, I like to shoot at low exposure but I still need to highlight the face, so the white paper is such my instant lifesaver. I also bring a comb, a water spray, napkin, a q-tip, a painting brush that I use for removing stuff from the clothes or from the doll. Oh, I use masking tape as a lint remover, too LOL. It works awesome every time! I never forget also to bring a set of hand sewing tools just in case. To make the doll stand, I bring a small stick for her to lean on. I keep these small tools together in a pouch, separate from the doll and the outfits.

6. you, the one-man team
I just make sure I'm healthy when I'm out for a shoot. I bring a big bag to put all my photo shoot stuff in it, and I make sure I have lots of water with me, especially when it's hot. I love taking photos when the sun is out, so I gotta improvise and make sure I don't dehydrate.

Sometimes, I'm with family or friends when I do these shoots. They can lend a hand and that is very much appreciated, most especially when you're in a crowded place with people being weirded out by what you are doing LOL..

So yeah, that's all that I usually prepare when I'm off for a sunny photo shoot the next day. If you have your own tips and tricks as to how to have a successful dolly photo shoot, please let us know in the comments section below. It would be so much fun to talk about this "weird" thing we do here for sure.

Thanks so much for being here, dollings and I hope you enjoyed this post. I'll see you on the next one...