Little Darling in Japan: Week 7

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 You may have already opened your Christmas doll, but the holidays aren’t over yet!  We still have New Year’s to celebrate!

My Christmas doll was adorable, but came with a stained head from her wig 😦

See more pix of her here


This next photo comes to you from http://poupeesdeline.blogspot.com/.   She made a little house for her Cherie and Paola Reina Liu.  The wonderful teapot is actually a people-size tea infuser. I also like the little touches like ikebana (floral arrangement) and that their belts are different colors 🙂

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I had really grandiose plans for this post, but you know how sometimes the universe seems out to get you?  Yeah, that was this week.  Nothing went right with my crafting projects, so let’s just call it a miracle I managed to get this done.

Click here for Kimono Pattern

Note that this outfit was originally going to have authentic undies.  You can make them from batiste/thin silk using this skirt pattern, and the top from the karate gi.  Shorten the sleeves and leave off the collar, or make it a contrast color. She’s missing shoes too and doesn’t have a bento to eat!  Like I said, the universe was out to get me.  🙂  Try here: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/hinamatsuri/ for food and shoes you can adapt smaller.

Click here for printable money and envelopes

Little Darling in Japan: week 6

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Apologies for unanswered comments/emails form last week!

Also, an etsy note: I’m now going to be re-downloading and checking patterns as soon as they’re listed, because something seems to be happening from time to time that pattern pieces mysteriously change shape.  So far that has happened with the arctic parka, a sleeve from the 1940s collection and the Maru “versatility” pants.  SORRY!! If you have those patterns you should have gotten an email about it with pieces that will print correctly.  If not, please let me know and I’m happy to resend!  If ever a pattern piece doesn’t look right, please let me know and I will make it right!

Ok, on to this week’s post:

So I had kind of a revelation last week about gathers and pleats and fullness in general in historical Asian garments. You know about the pleats in week 3’s hakama, and this week we have a pleated skirt-type hakama to wear over a summer kimono (yukata) as Little Darling celebrates Obon.  (Apparently she’s time traveling too, back to summer!)

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And then I started thinking about Chinese clothing, for example, the unusual skirt made in two pieces and attached with little frogs (see it here)

Even in Southeast Asia, garments were more often pleated, for example, sarong-style skirts and saris.
Korea seemed to be an exception, with the women wearing wide, full skirts. I had always assumed they were gathered, but the other day I was watching a historical K-drama where they did a close-up of a dress after she flung it over a dressing screen. Turns out, it was pleated with many tiny pleats!

So, I asked myself…why no gathers? In my opinion, gathers are easier to do than pleats. OOOH, unless you’re sewing by hand. (that was the revelation)  Pleated garments can also be folded and stored more easily to avoid wrinkles, especially in drawers and chests, which was the common storage method in most parts of Asia. There’s a bit more polished elegance to pleats as compared to gathers, and finally, these loose-fitting pleated garments were very easy to adapt to different wearers or body changes. Remember when Scarlett O’Hara had to get out the seam ripper to alter a dress before a party because her waist had increased by a couple of inches? That would never have happened with most garments being worn in Asia in that same time period!

Pattern for this week’s outfit  is here

Also, here is a printable shoji-style lamp.  You can use it as a room decoration or to help your doll celebrate Obon.  Print it as “shrink to fit” on cardstock, fold and glue.

If you like pleats and want something more Western, there are TWO new patterns for 13″-14″ dolls in my etsy shop.

The first one was done as a custom request based on a family photo and named for its original wearer.  It features a unique asymmetric front bodice with a pleated skirt and closes down the back. The pattern includes some vintage illustrations and hints about “period correct” fabric and color choices.The other was based on a dress from the Fall/Winter Sears catalog from 1966. I named it the “Alpine Dress” because the embroidery and front band reminded me of Lederhosen. 🙂  Embroidery can be stitched by hand or is available in .pes format.

Little Darling in Japan week 5

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There are two new patterns coming soon to my etsy shop, but, thanks to some computer problems, apparently not this week 😦

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For this week’s “Little Darling in Japan” we have some soft furnishing projects.  If you have a 5×7″ embroidery hoop, you can get the free machine embroidery designs in .pes format in the pattern.

 

More details and free pattern here

Also…a poll.  When I started this, I made a list of everything I wanted to do, and it was about 12 weeks long.  I limited myself to finish by the end of the year, and next week’s post is almost done.  The last post, however, is as-yet nebulous.  The original intent was an outfit and accessories (printies, clay food, etc.) to celebrate New Year’s, which is a major holiday in Japan, but there are some other things I wanted to do and didn’t get to, like modern stuff (Harajuku/wa-loli/etc.).  So, if you have an opinion, please vote below for the final post of the year:

[poll is now closed] The votes were 47 to 31 in favor of a traditional New Year’s celebration.  Look for the post after Christmas!

 

Little Darling in Japan: Week 4

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Ok, we’re more than halfway done with our “trip” to Japan.  Still to come: sashiko quilting and some furnishings, a skirt-style hakama to wear with a yukata, and  celebrating the New Year.  As I put all of these on my calendar and schedule the posts, it’s amazing how quickly the holidays will be upon us.  Wanna know what I asked Santa for?

I actually wanted the one in the hat outfit below, but it’s been sold out for a while and Santa couldn’t find it.  Also he mentioned something like, “Why do you care what outfit it comes in?  You’re just going to rip off the clothes and leave them in the box forever anyway!”

Hmmm.  I see his point.  And I bet you can guess what I’ll be making first for my Christmas doll… 🙂

Ok, back to dolls I DO have already!

So this is my favorite outfit in this whole collection, and I was saving it for later, but decided to post it now.  This peasant-style outfit consists of “straw” sandals, monpe pants and a hippari jacket made with boro-style quilting.  The “little ragamuffin” look can be so endearing on dolls, and is perfect for Little Darling’s wistful face.

Get the pattern here

 

Little Darling in Japan: Week 3

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Happy turkey/tofurkey day!!

DH and I are having a quiet Thanksgiving, since we have no family here and apparently, even though I’m a pretty awesome cook, we don’t even have any family that like us enough to buy a plane ticket.  Little Darling isn’t going to make it home for Thanksgiving either, but she’s really enjoying her stay in Japan.  🙂

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This week, Little Darling is learning aikido, but her costume is also perfect for other traditional sports like fencing, or even replicating costumes from historical dramas/anime/manga.  I was originally hoping to find a lot of pix to photoshop her into, but I try to stick to things that are in the public domain so as not to infringe on anyone’s copyright, and just haven’t found a lot of perfect scenes.

GET THE HAKAMA PATTERN HERE

The top is from last week’s post: https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/little-darling-in-japan-week-2/

Little Darling in Japan: Week 2

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This week Little Darling models a set that may be familiar to a lot of Westerners…she’s learning karate!  And yes, her outfit is based on the “real thing”, so you can be assured the pattern is authentic.  (No elastic waist or set-in sleeves!)  If your dolls don’t want to do karate, it would be just as cute as pajamas.  You’ll need to lengthen the sleeves and pants for Hearts for Hearts, it fits Cheries without changes.

Click here for karate uniform pattern

Click here for general tips for sewing Japanese doll clothes to go along with the rest of the upcoming posts.

Little Darling in Japan…week 1

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This might be my most ambitious series yet.  People have said they enjoy the multi-week series I’ve done, like the summer sew-alongs or shoe school, and I also find it enjoyable to explore a theme in more depth.   When I’m doing the blog, I definitely welcome input on what you’d like to see, but also, as the number of followers grows, I have to remember the old saying, “You can please some of the people some of the time…”

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 When I made Little Darling this school uniform, she looked so cute, I thought about a whole series of her in other traditional clothing from Japan.  And then I decided she needed some accessories and furnishings too, since they add so much to a display, and what she’s got now is enough to furnish a little room!

Chances are, if someone says “Japanese clothing” to you, your mind conjures up a yukata, the single-layered cotton kimono tied with a thin matching belt or possibly an obi.  But historically, there have been lots of different types of Japanese clothing suited for various purposes.  Little Darling seemed like a good choice to showcase these, because she can easily share clothes with other readily-available dolls like Corolle Cheries, Natterer 13” dolls, Betsy McCall,  Hearts for Hearts, and even some BJDs.  Another advantage is that she is just small enough that it wouldn’t be too hard to make (and store) some cute furniture and accessories.

A few weeks ago I put a request for resizing help on FB, with the result that I can also bring you the AG size.  (Thank you, Beth!)  Sadly, no one volunteered to check the versions for Sasha/KnC/Maru/Ann Estelle, so I’m testing those myself and may be selling the pattern with all the sizes and more complete directions sometime in the future.

Pattern for school uniform (AG and 13″-14″) is here

Tutorial for some school accessories is here

While I’ve tried to convince DH that we actually need to go there to take the photos, we don’t have a reliable farm-sitter to take care of our pets, which means I haven’t actually been out of the Denver metro area in years.  I’ve been scouring the web for public domain images and just taking the pix in CO, letting your imagination pretend she’s in Japan. 🙂

I hope you and your favorite little doll will have as much fun exploring Japan through these sewing and crafting projects as I did!

 

Suggested Reading: (a few books I own and love)

The Book of Kimono by Norio Yamanaka (good English-language reference on traditional Kimono and how to wear)

Make Your Own Japanese Clothes Patterns and Ideas for Modern Wear by John Marshall (modern adaptations by a Westerner, but good basic patterns)

Japanese Homes and their Surroundings by Edward S. Morse (Fabulous reference, not just about houses but how people in Japan lived in the 1860s, right as Japan opened to foreigners.  This is in the public domain and also available as a ebook on archive.org)

A Japanese Touch for Your Home by Koji Yagi (nice pix of interiors)

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (children’s fiction) by Rumer Godden

Little Plum (children’s fiction) by Rumer Godden

ドールハウス和のしつらえ (Japanese Dollhouses) by Takako Mizohata and Kozue Kuboki (hard to find and shipping is expensive, but worth it if you like miniatures!)

 

Free LEGAL downloads of a few ebooks:

https://archive.org/details/japanesecostume12guns (book on Japanese costume from 1923)

http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1580&context=tsaconf (paper on historical clothing)

https://archive.org/details/bookofkimonodesi00kabu kimono design book from 1884

Folk tales:

https://archive.org/details/ancienttalesandf00gordrich

Tale of Genji as a Manga!

https://archive.org/details/manga_Asakiyumemishi-TheTaleOfGenji-v01

https://archive.org/details/manga_Asakiyumemishi-TheTaleOfGenji-v02

 

This is a list of other Japanese and Asian-style patterns I’ve done that are free on the blog:

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/free-pattern-for-february-kimono-geta-obi.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/geta-and-sandal-update-for-ag-dolls.pdf

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/hinamatsuri/

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/hinamatsuri-crafts.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/free-pattern-for-february-kimono-geta-obi.pdf

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/doll-hakama-pattern/

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/hakama.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/asian-jacket.pdf

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/asian-vest-final.pdf

Printable origami paper:

http://www.origamiway.com/printable-origami-paper/

 

 

 

A Japanese Dollhouse

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When I did the blog survey, I was surprised how many people asked to see Little Darling return to Japan, and also by the number of people that asked for furniture, room settings and even a dollhouse for bigger dolls like H4H and AG!   While there are some furniture projects in the works for the big girls, this week we’re starting a series to make a Japanese dollhouse.  YES, there’s lots of info on how to convert it to your preferred size, although this one is sized for 6” dolls.  Target has a new line of 6” mini OG dolls called “Lori” and DH surprised me with this one, named Tama:

Although the house was intended for my Azone, Tama fits it too and is much cheaper and readily available.  Yes, Tama and her friends do have a cute little loft made by Target if you’re not into woodworking!  It’s rare to find nice inset eyes on tiny dolls because it can be a difficult process to put them in.  For the price these dolls are quite nice, and they’re the same size as the older mini AG dolls with cloth bodies.

In order to not overwhelm you, I’m breaking the dollhouse project into 3 (maybe 4) weeks.  This week will be the basic “bones” of the house, with more details added next week and some furnishings the following week.

Click here for the intro

Click here for week 1

Speaking of Japan, Saskia sent me the pictures below of her bald Sasha dressed as a Buddhist nun using modified patterns from this blog.  Although it looks like she’s in a Japanese garden, it’s actually in the Netherlands!  You can click the photos to see more on her blog.

April’s journal and the rest of last week’s outfit…

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I had planned to post Aprils’s journal once a month, but thought the first installment might help you learn more about her and enjoy the series more.  You’ll meet her new friend Julika (who was Santa’s gift to me)

And April’s own “new” doll, Sienna (who I bought a long time ago and was never able to work into a blog post)

 See April’s journal so far here

(note: this is a dropbox link, and will work now but may change when I update her journal)

If it looks grainy, click the “open” button and scroll to “open in adobe reader”

The cardigan to go with last week’s blouse is also ready:

Get the cardigan and socks pattern here

And if you’re a Star Wars fan, you might appreciate this:

Cassie resized and adapted some of the Little Darling in Japan patterns as Star Wars cosplay outfits to fit AGs and has generously shared them on her blog here

Make a kimono with “fake” lining

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Have you heard the term “grail” doll?  Mamachapp Moko-chan, specifically this pigtail one, was one of my grail dolls and eventually did arrive and then got hidden to be a present for some special occasion. I found her while cleaning the doll room because DH is apparently not a good hider of dolls 😉  He is good at taking pix of them though, as you can see from Moko-chan’s first photo shoot: https://www.flickr.com/photos/67465307@N08/albums/72157697316555690 

I recently got another version of Moko-chan, who came in a kimono.  You might recall from some previous posts the difference between kimono and yukata, but to avoid linking here, I’ll mention one main difference, which is lining.

Many tiny doll clothes sell for exorbitant prices, and Azone/Obitsu are some of the higher-end ones of these. You can get this 21cm Obitsu body for around $20, and maybe another $20for a head with rooted hair, so what you’re really paying the high price for with the Mamachapps is basically the eyes, styling of hair, and clothing.  The pictures of this doll in her promotional photos made it look like she was wearing a lined kimono, so I was startled to take it off and find out that it was not only unlined, but the seams weren’t even finished on the inside!  I did love the effect of the fake “lining” though, for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s definitely easier and takes less fabric than lining the whole garment, and secondly, it avoids the dreaded“bulk” I’m always going on about with doll clothes.  Something I found very interesting though,and wouldn’t have come up with on my own is using fabric on the BIAS for this purpose.  This is a great idea that really improves the drape of the pieces, especially the lining for the body itself, helping it to curve nicely around the body rather than sticking out stiffly.  Fabrics cut on the bias don’t fray the same way as those cut on the straight grain, so I can even before giving of the sleeve “lining,” although I still would have preferred it to be at least pinked.   

Of course, I needed to make a kimono for my original Moko-chan too, so the pattern here is based on the one her sister came with.  It fits an Obitsu 21-23cm body or anyone else with similar measurements such as Dal, Tiny Betsy (shorten arms and bottom hem), or even Licca and Blythe bodies. Don’t have any of those?  The tutorial for fake lining can be used with any yukata/kimono pattern on the blog but is probably most useful for the small doll ones like Ten Ping or Little Darling. 

Get the tutorial here

There are more kimono patterns to use with this “lining” technique here:

https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/free-pattern-for-february-kimono-geta-obi.pdf (this fits AGAT and Kidz n Cats)

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/more-ten-ping/

https://jenwrenne.wordpress.com/?s=little+darling+in+japan