|Nope, she's not Storm ;D|
Hey guys, welcome back to my little corner of the world wide web.
I am currently developing a new pattern-making tool that I hope will help me ease the trouble in draping my muslin on the slippery doll body. I had been thinking about making this for months now but it's only recently that I got to lay out all my tasks in my business, and see clearly my priorities from a macro perspective. F-I-N-A-L-L-Y. And this one has got to be among the firsts.
"Why?", you may ask. Well, as some of you know, I mainly design patterns for doll clothes, but I don't do it the way the school-trained dressmakers draft theirs. Instead of developing patterns from blocks drawn from the flat paper, I drape on the doll, and that is my first step. And I drape directly for the specific pattern I designed. After draping some kind of cheap fabric and taping them securely to get the contours of the body, I remove and trace them on paper to get the actual shapes. Once I have them on paper, I continue to refine from that first block/sloper until I'm happy with the fit. That is my most recent process so far.
I had shared a video on YouTube back in 2017 about how I develop my own doll patterns when I was starting. Warning - the video has low resolution and awful audio mixing, thanks to my newbie video editing skills then. But if you want to check it out, here is the link.
Graphing paper was my favorite draping material back then because it already comes with measurements printed. It has 1x1cm-squared grids so it is easier to visualize the shapes I'm getting. Then I moved on to the softer kitchen paper to get the contour shapes/block/sloper. Guys, please bear but I have no idea which jargons to use here as for such a super huge industry, fashion terms differ per country, era, fashion house, etc. But for the sake of us not getting confused for this entire post, let's use the block as the doll's basic body shape patterns. The term "pattern", which we will develop from the block, will be applied for the actual design, okies?
So, yes I did have a block for each of my dolls back then. But I didn't use them much, as I always just either develop patterns for a specific design I want to make, or adapt from an existing similar pattern (not a block). I do less of the latter. This then makes me depend heavily on the process of contouring/draping directly from the doll.
So here go my issues. Firstly, most of my dolls' bodies are quite challenging to drape on. Some of them have really super-smooth and hard plastic bodies like the high-fashion dolls Poppy Parker, Fashion Royalty, and NuFace gals made by Integrity Toys. My only Audrey Hepburn Silkstone doll is the hardest to drape on, while the rest of the Mattel play scale ones are easier to work on.
Nevertheless, I realized that working this way, I mean draping directly on dolls, is something to be improved. I find myself marking directly on my dolls. Ugh, I even scraped lines on a sacrificial Made to Move Original body to mark seamlines on. All of which I feel very sad about. I don't want to see my dolls like this, to be honest.
And so, after developing the bodysuit pattern for my shop, a new idea sparked. Finally, I thought, I can protect my dolls from any harsh pen marks, but still drape on and develop patterns from their bodies. Yassss!
So I made a prototype on my Finnick doll a couple of weeks ago. I started with him because I had been wanting to create a capsule wardrobe for the guy, and this new tool I invented will be able to help me ease my process.
Then while I'm at it, I also developed one for my pivotal girl.
These bodysuits are made from stretchy fabric, which I took from the t-shirts I buy for the purpose of making doll t-shirts. They are not as thick as other stretchy fabrics like the rayon knits, so we don't get unnecessary additions to the doll's original contours.
I also added seam lines on the bodysuit by hand stitching a contrasting thread around. I used zippers at the back to avoid the bulkiness of metal snaps.
Now, I can use my pins to easily pin my muslin on this bodysuit.
I am looking forward to designing an outfit for both Pivotal and Finnick this coming new week as I want to know if this will work to my expectations. I'm also excited to report back to you guys as soon as I complete their outfits.
And that wraps up the first part of the this series on the new pattern-making tool. Thanks so much for dropping by as always! Please comment below on what you think about this project. I'm really excited about this one. Looking forward to seeing you around here and join me in my mini journey!
Enjoy the weekend, dollings!