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..

"Pina"
Acrylic on 3x3 stretched mini canvas


"Cani"
Acrylic on 3x3 stretched mini canvas


"Ama"
Acrylic on 3x3 stretched mini canvas

"Yoi"
Acrylic on 3x3 stretched mini canvas


"Sora"
Oil on 9x12 stretched canvas


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

"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...

xoxo,
shasha

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!

xoxo,
shasha



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...

xoxo,
shasha



Sunday, February 17, 2019

New How-to Videos: 1950s-inspired Shirtwaist Dress

Hey dollings!

Yay, I just finished editing the last of the 6 videos for
the 1950s-inspired Shirtwaist Dress video playlist
and they're now available on my
YouTube channel, here.

Here's a preview of the clips:


Of course, for those who liked the fit on the video's model Silkstone Barbie,
I have the PDF pattern available both at my shop,
and Etsy.



A how-to post is also available, if you like, here.
Actually, I have already placed all my how-to posts
at the left column for you guys to check out.

Alrighty.
I hope you find the videos informative ;)
Let me know in the comments what you think about the dress,
the videos, questions... 
and I'll try to answer them as best as I can <3 p="">

That would be it for this weekend, loves.

I'll see you on the next!

xoxo,
shasha

Friday, February 8, 2019

What has happened in 2018...

Hey dollings!

I hope everyone is well :) Some of you may have noticed that I've been MIA for the past few months and wondered where have I gone. Well, thankfully, I'm still here but have gone farther with my ventures. I've finally done some things that I had been wanting to add to my never-ending list of to-do's, or at least, to-try's ;D

Firstly, yay I finally have some of my sewing patterns scanned, formatted in PDF and listed on my online shops available for download.


I had been wanting to do this even before I thought of quitting my day job to focus on the shop. I was once in the technical and copy writing business so I had experience with publication. It took a loooong while but I think what really pushed me to start working on it was to heed a call during my 7th shop anniversary. I wanted so much to share what I have to the community. I want to have a giveaway where I can share how much creativity can save us from this neurotic society and its problems. I thought that if I start sharing my patterns, someone on the fence of making their own dolly clothes will be inspired to actually start doing it. When I was just starting to make my own patterns, there's so much resistance and very little skills, so it took me sooooo long to improve. I know I needed to understand patternmaking to be able to make the tiny garments that I want to see in my dolls, but at that time, there wasn't enough information and tools available for me.

So, yeah, I got myself a scanner and I started making layouts. I gave away 10 patterns for my 7th anniversary raffle winners. One of them is Vero of @doll_magnolia, who is having such a fun time making her own hoodie pullovers from the patterns I made for her.


Fast forward to today, I have now 18 downloadable patterns on my Etsy shop, and oh, at my new website, ateliernishasha.com ... 



Finally, I have purchased a domain and a shop feature to house my inventory. I still run some inventory on Etsy but all new items will be listed first in my website. My website will also have a lower retail pricing scheme as now I can save up on the massive fees that Etsy asks from us low-quantity producing business owners. I hope you can find time to visit my website today ;)

And also, I have added more how-to videos at my Youtube channel, yay! These videos are the made to support the PDF patterns. I can't believe I finally did it. It took me so long to figure out how to format the videos but so far, they just came out naturally. I hope you can check out these videos, too.

I also added new dolls, and let go of some last 2018. It was sad to let go of the ones that had been with me since the start but I guess, it's time that they move on to new homes. I'll probably check my current collection some time and make a post about who's been added and who left.

Okies. That is it for now. I know I have a lot more to talk about but I will do that in another post. 
For now, I wish you a great weekend, be it you will just be lounging,
or crafting, or travelling ;)

much love,
shasha