Wednesday, April 7, 2021

atelierniSHASHA How-to: Siargao Tote Bags for 1:6-scale Fashion Dolls


Hello, dollings! 

I had been looking into my old drive the past few months and one of the gems I have forgotten is this tutorial to make tote bags!

Well, I thought it was a gem, despite it being recorded in portrait orientation because I'm sure at least someone out there can learn something from it, right?

Of course, it deserves its own solo shot ;)

I had made several tote bag designs in the past, like this bestselling one, but it's only with this Siargao tote bag that I was able to document my process. Finally, I'll have something to refer to on how to make one, and I can share the process with you guys, too!

So, as I was saying, the tutorial!

The process is now up on my youtube channel, so please check it out if you wanna see how I make this staple summer piece for our little dollings.

For this lined tote bag project, I used the following tools and materials:
Main fabric
(7x3.50 sq-in or 18x9sq-cm, already includes seam allowances)
Lining fabric 
(5.5x6.75 sq-in or 14x17sq-cm, already includes seam allowances)
Threads (matching your fabrics)
Sewing machine or hand-sewing needle/s
Pair of scissors 
Marker (pencil)
Ruler/measuring tape
Basting pins
Fabric glue
Natural fibers for bag straps

Tote bags, for me, are indispensable, as I carry a lot of stuff like it's already the end of the world! LOL!
Naturally, my dolls do the same hahaha

But lately, I had been back to character designing again, and with this, I could venture into different styles for different characters. I'm so excited for this new era for atelierniSHASHA.

Some of you probably already know that I am currently just focusing on my digital patterns business, as it is still challenging to ship my doll clothes internationally.
The last time I checked with my post office, only the US, Canada, and Japan accept our parcels.
And they arrive up to three months!
There are other options, like DHL and FedEx, but oh my gosh, the steep prices!

So, I am thinking of ways to still get the ball rolling for my doll clothes line, and I am hoping that this new way of share with you my passion for designing clothing for dolls will also be an efficient way to keep up with the economy. I'm always positive, as I work hard to achieve these tiny dreams of mine.

As always, I thank you guys for all the love and support for my little craft since the beginning.
I hope to continue sharing with you my knowledge and love for miniature crafting, for as long as I can.

See you in the next post and take good, good care of yourself and your loved ones.
We are in these even more challenging times, and I wish you all clarity and love, always.

much love,

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Crisp look for Finnick Ken Doll (Fresh Repaint, Dress Shirt, Tie and White Trousers)

Hey, dollings!
Several weeks ago, I finally gave my faceless Hunger Games Finnick doll a, well, a face. 

Finally, Finnick doll got repainted...

It must have been at least two years since his face repaint was rubbed off/robbed of him.
So when one of my group members in the Craft Cafe suggested I make a dress shirt pattern for a Ken doll, I immediately took the opportunity.
It was just so serendipitous because I happened to create a pattern for Ken's dress shirt years ago but never really released it. I thought it was too complicated to share.

Believe it or not, this was him modeling the dress shirt in 2018.

I removed his head entirely as I felt I cheated him if I showed him faceless.

But, now it's payback time so aside from giving him a fresh repaint, I also made him a tie, and a pair of crisp white trousers.

Oooops, Finnick had to borrow some white sneakers from his BTS friends...

I don't know how I managed to put off making Ken clothing this long but I'm happy to have done it finally. I am hoping to make him his own wardrobe soon.
Maybe not as fast as I wanted, but definitely not two years.

I feel proud with this whole look, actually.
Even the girls at the Izakaya would agree.

He'll have his new name soon... I just gotta choose from the many wonderful suggestions I got from my Instagram community ;)

Oh, and if you guys are interested in making this dress shirt,
the pattern is already up on my Etsy shop, link here.
The process videos are also up on YouTube.
Here's the playlist link.

And for those of you who like the fit on his trousers, I will work on the trousers pattern in the coming weeks.

So, yeah.. looking forward to more Ken doll clothing in the future.
I actually bought the Asian BMR Ken doll last month, too so I actually am excited.
I just gotta streamline my schedule first.

For now, please enjoy some more photos of this new model in my atelier,
and the Izakaya.

And of course, have a lovely rest of the weekend, guys!

Friday, January 29, 2021

Doll Clothes Wardrobe Organization - Purging


Hey, dolling... Welcome to my first blog post of the year 2021!

I recently edited some videos I took of myself purging my doll wardrobe last May 2020. This purging activity is actually something I do regularly, about 1-2 times a year. Why I purge this often? Some of my creations get old (to my eyes) easily. Also, I just somehow feel the need to not own that many doll clothes. Do you feel the same way, too? Or it's just me?

Lucky hand-me-down recipients are my friends'  and/or cousins' daughters, who, I believe, wouldn't really mind the old-ness of such pieces. I also give away my prototypes, but not as often, as they usually don't have snaps sewn in yet. Very few of these I-don't-want-anymore-pieces are sold for huge discounts to local collectors. 

Since I know it will take me some time to go over my doll wardrobe, I thought of recording the activity and share it with our doll community. It took me this long to edit it, though, because, life happens.

As I go through each of my little creations, these thoughts were running through my mind.

Will my dolls wear this in the near future?

This was my first question every time I pick a piece. I need to ask this because I always, by default, assume I'll have many more photoshoots in the future. While that is possible, my truer, more specific question should be, "Do I have a specific plan for a photoshoot that will use this piece?" I don't, unsurprisingly. I have already toned down my planning tendencies because I found out too much planning can lead to too little actual work. I guess that was why my label for this group was "Keeping (for now)". I mean, purging really is a work in progress, right? You purge for now, not for the unknown future. So, that means I have to make sure I will make use of these items until my next purging. Crossing fingers...

The ones that remain in my wardrobe

I felt so smart to have decided to do this actually - the video recording, that is.
While I was perusing through each piece, I was actually thinking out loud and trying to focus and be honest with myself. 
It's fun to listen to yourself sometimes.

I noticed that when I decide to keep an item, the common themes that run through my mind are the following:

Classics cuts. They're easy to style with.

Neutral colors. Easy to mix and match.

High-quality pieces. They will last even longer.

Old but well-made. Ditto.

A Momoko dress that I hand-sewn back in 2011-ish, I think...Keeping! 

Jeans and denim pieces. My personal favorite wardrobe pieces - and they pair with anything easily.

Hand-sewn pieces that remind me of how tedious it was to make it. Self-explanatory.

Fun prints. Pieces that give oomph to the classic cuts.

Pieces I ran out of fabrics for. Hoarder mode alert.

Pieces of sentimental value. Pieces I made during my first few years learning how to sew.

Prototypes that don't have snaps sewn in yet. I don't want to give away unfinished pieces.

Pieces that are let go

Old with prominent signs of use. Oh, the kids surely won't be skeptical, right? ;P

Defective pieces.  I know - they should go to the trash instead.

Trendy designs. Because they went out of style already?...

Finished prototypes. Yay!

Ken stuff. I felt like an even better time will come for my Kens yet. Soon.

Thick denim pieces. So tedious to put on my dolls.

Doubles/triples. Having one of a thing should be enough....right?

Key Takeaways

After the whole decluttering activity, I felt much happier. I enjoyed reminiscing the pieces and the states of mind I had while I was making them. I felt lighter, too, thinking that half of these accumulated items will go somewhere else, perhaps, where they are given more attention. 
I also felt grateful that I don't really have to go on thinking that I don't have enough doll clothes. I do have some really nice pieces in there - only that they were hidden. I just gotta give some more time and creativity for them, too.

So my action plan is to craft a working wardrobe
I call it a working wardrobe because not only will it be used for storing my doll clothes in a corner - it has to make it easier for me to choose doll outfits while I'm styling, too. 

Perhaps, the working wardrobe shouldn't be too grand, as well, so that I don't have to end up spending too much time planning it, getting tired, and eventually losing the excitement to craft.

I opted to get a couple bins as my frame work, instead of my grandiose plan to build from wood.

Here's my girl checking for scale ;)

To be honest, I am excited to start the year with this activity. 
Like, clean slate of sorts haha! 

By the way, here's the link to the video I posted on youtube yesterday
Thought you might want to check that out, too.
It's made just for fun.

In a future blog post, I will share my working wardrobe building process, so til then, my dollings!

So, what do you guys think of purging your doll clothes?
Do you do it often?
How do you feel going about it?
Let's chat about your experience, too, eh?

Take better care of you guys and I'll see you at the next one!


Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Rea Outfit - Melanie Bodysuit and Rea Wide-leg Trousers

Hey dolling! How has it been? I bet a lot also had been happening over your side of the globe.

Things aren't their usual, with pandemic and all, but it seems, my being inconsistent with blogging, is as usual. To be honest, I have wanted to share everything here, but I couldn't just make myself sit and do laptop work. Is it really this hard to simply type what you want to say, and insert photos? My last post was months ago.

So here I am, dumping whatever that is of recent. Dumping because I wanted to make it feel like it's easy and authentic. I don't mean to sound rubbish. Perhaps, this is just one of those times when I didn't care if my blog post ever mattered. So thank you for being here, dolling. This post may not be helpful and inspirational as I've always aspired my posts to be, but at least, it feels like a lazy Saturday afternoon, as it is now.

Let me share with you today some of the photos I took yesterday, and some days before that. And oh, beware - I won't be editing this post like I normally would (I once worked as a copy editor) so please bear with my carelessness this time.

First up is this bodysuit I am very happy to have designed in the last week or so.  I named it Melanie, as I found out this color is called so. I used the skills I learned from making bodysuits in the last few months.

 I also used some techniques I learned from making puff-sleeved dresses, albeit just prototypes.  I wanted to give the neckline this elegant no-hem look and made the back super low. In the previous photo, you can also see a skinny scarf. The reason why I added this extra piece - I felt like the neckline is too low, at first. But it has grown on me later on.

Then there's the wide-leg pants to pair the bodysuit with - something I had been wanting to make for soooo long. I'm calling it the REA pants. Guess why :D

I have several fabrics that don't really look appropriate with tropical weather clothes so I am so happy to be making things that my dolls can wear in this cool season here in my country. 

Super glad to be finally using these fabrics that had been in my collection for years now.

I usually, unfortunately for my dolls, leave out accessories, but this time, I made a bag to complete the whole outfit. The idea is that Hannari is a real estate agent, and she visits Aki's izakaya. Of course, real estate agents carry papers around so I opted for this bag that can store documents flatly, with an option for a laptop compartment and other small stuff. Why real estate agent? The japanophile in me - that is why. I used to enjoy watching this Japanese tv drama called "Your house is my business". I love how psychology plays a big role in selling big-ticket expenses like properties that the tv show is one of my all-time faves! I could watch the whole series over again.

The characters in that tv show would drown their work worries in an izakaya. That also inspired me to somewhat connect my izakaya diorama and create a storyline. Ahhh, I really love taking photos and telling stories based on what I see in the frame. 

But I realized I wanted a lot more in the diorama I have set up. I wanted to take photos from unusual angles but such are so hard to achieve because of how cramped the izakaya is. That made me come up with this little conversation of Hannari and Aki, planning to expand the izakaya into the whole room box. Of course, I have random things laying here and there - BTS dolls, some tiny stretched canvas that I plan to paint on for forever, a roll of hemp cord, a prototyped drawer.

The friendship that I have written for between Hannari and Aya was actually accidental, but I am glad that it feels so real when I remembered the two actually had a photoshoot together in 2016 if I'm not mistaken. Hannari back then has curly hair, and Aki, slimmer.

Then later in my photoshoot session, after lunch, I took photos that would show details of the new outfits I made. I like how sexy they came out.

Initially, I wanted Hannari to lie down on a fur "bed" but I realized I have already thrown away that thrifted piece (it was actually the fur lining of a big coat) a long time ago. Good thing I found this black and white lace fabric - it looks sexy,  and goes well with the color scheme (black and metallic-ish). There, like a lingerie photoshoot of sorts :)

Of course, I wanted to take photos of the bag, too, because it inspired me to make bags for my girls in the future. I hope I could hang on to this one. I seem to always forget about projects that I only plan on my mind. Documenting here will hopefully impress that thought of wanting to make doll bags in the future.

I love how this photo, especially, came out. When seen from afar or in thumbnail, the pants form deep recesses on the lace surface. Amazing illusion.

So, yeah. What do you think about this outfit? To be honest, I used to wear something similar when I was still working in the corporate world.

Well, I guess that is it for this REA project. REA for Real Estate Agent - lol.. Just me being lazy in coming up with names for my pieces. A doll friend said it was clever - so I feel proud for my slothfulness :D

As I checked, I only typed for an hour or so -  a record-breaking time as I usually fuss about my blog posts like my life depends on them.

But I'm happy I just came here to let go and share away all things that are going through my mind while I am carrying out this project, alone as always. I barely talk about my projects to family and friends, so I feel so blessed to have this platform to just DUMP it all out. It feels really great. Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Now, I'm again and again, reminded how important it is to just blog away.

Okies, I'm gonna go ahead, my dollings.

Love you, sweets! Talk to you soon!

Xoxo, shasha

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Izakaya Diorama: Phase 1

Hey, dollings! How are things over at your side of the globe? Over here, the family is doing well - each one is healthy and we try as much to eat and sleep better. What is happening to the world, as a result of what they call a pandemic, is not a joke. But all we can do is really just avoid contributing to the worsening state, right?

So aside from keeping fit and healthy, my mind (and hands) also had to do their part. I try to stay sane by either crafting or painting. In the past few weeks, I have been working on my new diorama, which was inspired by the Izakaya Re-ment set that I wrote about from the last post.

I was so excited that I started reminiscing on our Japan 2017 trip, re-watched my fave Netflix show, Midnight diner, watched the movie, 37 seconds, and completed another show, The Naked Director, which was crazy interesting I wanted to experience the 80s again!

Well - back to reality, right? But the shows set the mood perfectly and here, I'm sharing with you some photos that I took to kind of document my diorama-making process.

I didn't intend for this project to be a tutorial, but I hope this blog post series (this post is phase 1 of the build) will inspire you to go crafting again if you have stopped like I did.

Unearthing our old doll room

This one was from 2014 that I got made by a local carpenter. Aki helped me check its condition, and we proceed with cleaning it. 

She was looking at the back wall, thinking we might need to remove it (we did eventually!).  Aki is super meticulous about it, but she did approve it for reuse. So glad to have not tossed it years ago.

Starting with the bar/counter

I was inspired by Jhon Robert's recycling for his dioramas, so I re-used some of the packaging boxes lying around the garage as something to give structure to the bar. 

I veneered the packaging structure with some balsa wood I purchased online, some popsicle sticks, coffee stirrers, and bamboo skewers that have been waiting in my crafting box for years. Yasss! They finally saw the light of day, right?

Sturdy walls

I realized packaging boxes alone would be too flimsy for walls so I grabbed my oil painting studies that I painted in cheap plywood. 

I will be adding a layer of packaging box as my main canvas for my walls, as they're easier to work with later.

Long bench

I initially designed individual stools for chairs but instead opted to make a long bench. I have watched some izakaya youtube videos and noticed that people are cozying up in the bar anyway so there's no need to have separate chairs. 

I'm planning to add a stool or two, in case the izakaya gets more patrons. Tee hee.

Left and back walls

I can be the most impatient person you'll ever know in the world, so even if I had ordered some craft acrylic paints, I didn't wait for them to arrive and went straight with painting the left and back walls with watercolors. Ha! That means I had to unearth another art material - a sealer so that the walls will be water-proof.

Putting together the two walls, the counter, and the bench

Aki called in Luna to help decide on how to utilize the kitchen wall for all the bar's needs. While the girls discuss, I tried to simulate architectural lighting.

Staining the bar counter

So, the acrylic paints arrived and I proceeded with staining the counter with a reddish-brown shade.
I also used a gloss acrylic medium to add some shine to it as all the veneer swallowed the paint.

The Kitchen Wall

Everything starts with knowing what you have, so you know what you can do with it.

We decided on making the fridge first so to make sure it can fit in on that tiny space.

It was supposed to be just a prototype, but I thought, the girls can't afford anything fancy right now.

Gotta start lean with their new venture, you know?

Aki seems to be loving it so, yass!

Oooh, and I stained the long bench that day, too, I think.

Then we went on to painting the kitchen wall.

Once the walls are set, I went on to make the upper cabinet.

This one is weird looking that no one in my Instagram and Facebook communities guessed what it is.

The odd rectangular holes are actually to make the cabinets stick to the wall.

I placed chicken skewers on the wall but forgot to take a photo.

And just like the cabinets, the shelf below has those holes as well.

Got them painted in dark chocolate shade (mixed reds, yellow and black acrylic paints) and they're now hung. I designed them to be removable from the wall for easy storing later.

So I set up the pieces again and took a few photos.
Luna seems very relaxed in this tiny space.

And to complete the major kitchen wall parts, I worked on this:

I know - another puzzle, right? Please bear, as sometimes I get so excited with my crafting that I forget to take WIP photos. Sigh.

It's actually a portable... 

"stainless steel" sink

It's collapsible because I know it's hard to store chubby objects.

I painted it with multiple layers of my craft acrylic paint in silver.

Ooops, it doesn't have the faucet installed yet.

Vent Hood

I'll be making a yakitori grill at the front corner of the bar so we need a vent hood, too.

I attached it to a "wooden" horizontal box that connects the left and kitchen walls.

Left wall shelf and hanger hooks

I'm excited to make outwear for my dolls so they can hang them on those hooks tee hee...

Hard to see though because the toothpicks I used had the same colors as the wall.

I might repaint them in dark brown later.

Wrapping up Phase 1

So the girls are again discussing what to do, or add next.
I'm awaiting the battery-operated lights I ordered online,
so I can start working on lighting the room.
And the flooring.
Yeah, the faucet, too, haha!

So, that was PHASE 1, guys!

Whew! Massive, right?

I initially planned to blog every week about it but I ran out of weekend time thus the pile!

Anywhoo, thanks so much for reading up to this point.

It sure was a lot, but I am happy to be sharing my process with you. Sharing an ongoing project is kind of new to me as I used to finish everything first before I show it to the world. 

I am less afraid now tee hee... Thank you as always for your support and love.

So yeah, that's it for me and the girls.

I hope you had fun and I'll chat with you soon!

hugs from the Philippine islands,