Today I have a quick tutorial for you, plus something that we’ve never done on the blog before: a Story Time in which I will tell you about one of my many bizarre life experiences that is sort-of doll related! 🙂 This post also relates to my Blog a Book event, which is sort-of in a 50’s-style, spy noir setting.
Before we get started, I wanted to share some other craft-related news with y’all! I’ve been posting some work-in-progress photos of my Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) costume on the Doll Dimensions Facebook page…which is for a ball I’m attending this weekend! I’m so super excited, and as some of you may have figured out, it’s one of the same balls that I referenced in the last Blog a Book post. 😉
In case you haven’t guessed by the blog’s current and past header pictures, my dolls like to keep it classy. 😉 As featured in all three of my Mission: Imdollsible posts (you can find them here, here and here), my dolls love them some little black dresses (the cool dolls call them LBDs 😉 ). Whether your dolls need to look like spies, classy vintage party goers, or you just want to use up some black stretch fabric, these are great, simple, and fast projects that look fantastic on any doll!
While I learned the initial tube dress technique from My Froggy Stuff, I’ve invented my own techniques for these classy frocks over time, and today I’m going to be showing you how to make them! Plus, stick around until the end for Story Time, in which I tell you about the time I (unintentionally) fooled a kid into thinking I was actually a spy. Yeah, you won’t want to miss that. 😉
Alrighty! For this project, you will need:
- Black stretch fabric
- Black thread
- Velcro or snaps
- Sewing pins
- A needle and thread
First, I’ll be showing you the basic sleeveless dress, followed by a couple of variations.
1 For the sleeveless dress, start by cutting a rectangle of fabric that measures approximately your doll’s arm span for the width, and from the neck to where you want the dress to hit the doll’s legs for the length. The advantage to using a stretch fabric here (I’m using a performance fabric, specifically) is that there is no need to hem–and this makes the entire project a whole lot easier.
2. Next, lay the fabric on top of the doll and mark two dots, one under each armpit.
3. Now, cut a TINY hole on each dot. Note that the fabric will open up a lot, so the cut can be super little and it will still work! Remember, you can always cut more, but you can’t go back and un-cut. 😉
4. Now, try it on your doll, putting it on like a backwards facing vest.
5. Next, you can sew part of the way up the back and add velcro like I do in my Cerise Hood Gown Tutorial. OR, if you’re just using this dress for one picture, like I often do, you can cheat by just pinning it in place with your sewing pins. SHHHH! 😉
Aaaaaand, ta-da! INSTANT CLASS. 😉
Now, for the fun part! 😀
Variation #1: Play around with the neckline.
You can add a gathering stitch to the neck, or you can trim off a tiny amount for a lower neck. You can also stitch a folded strip of fabric to the neck for a turtleneck effect. With fabric that doesn’t fray, you can also cut out a decorative piece, like I did for Robecca’s dress below.
Variation #2: Ruch it!
Once you get to Step 4, you can put the dress on your doll the other way, so the the front is open, and mattress stitch the front, pulling slightly as you do it. This will create a fun, ruched effect! 🙂 Note that the tutorial I just linked is for mattress stitching knitted items, but it works almost the same way for fabric.
Variation #3: Off the Shoulder.
Try cutting just one arm hole, then sloping the the neck slightly for an elegant, off the shoulder look.
Variation #4: Peplum.
Try gathering and stitching a rectangle of fabric to the waist to create a lovely ‘lil peplum.
I hope you have a boatload of fun making these LBDs for your dolls! 😀
Here are some extra pics I took of some of the girls in their new frocks. 🙂
Next up, it’s Story Time! 🙂
I know that this is not specifically doll related, but it relates to the topic of the day, which is sort of spy-themed. As I have stated multiple times before here on the blog, I am ridiculously obsessed with spies, and I have been since I was little. If Barbie: Spy Squad had come out when I was younger, I would have FREAKED. Like, more than I already have at age 15. 😉
Anywho, I LOVE vintage spy noir/detective shows. My most recent obsessions are Surfside 6, a 60’s mystery show about three private eyes who operate out of a houseboat, and It Takes a Thief, a 70’s show about a thief-turned-spy who solves mysteries and such.
ANYWAY 😉 , earlier this summer, when my mum and I were on our road trip to Los Angeles, we stopped off for a few days in Oklahoma, where we worked at a missions center packing boxes and care packages for families in need overseas. It was really amazing, and I met several other homeschooled families who had all traveled together (I’m homeschooled, too 🙂 ). They were all super nice and welcoming, and it was really enjoyable to get to know them. On the last day that we were there, all of us kids were taking a break and sitting at the snack table just joking around. I realized that I didn’t remember one of the youngest kid’s (probably about 5 or 6) name, so I asked him. Just to mess with me, all of his older siblings started jokingly calling out tons of names. His sister turned to me and said,
“None of those are actually his name.” But I was still blanking (and I was extremely tired, slaphappy, and had just eaten at Taco Bell 😉 ) so I said the only thing I could think of to say.
“OH! I am so sorry. How could I forget? Your name is SALSA! Many apologies, Salsa. It won’t happen again.”
And he LOVED it. 😉 Salsa (I never did find out his real name) turned out to be one of the most fun kids there, actually. 🙂
Fast forward to later that day, when we were taking our afternoon break from stuffing packages. I was involved in deep conversation with someone else, but Salsa turned to me and said (very seriously, and with a very straight face),
“I need to ask you something. Are you a SPY?” I wanted to burst out laughing. But, trying to keep a neutral expression on my face, I asked,
“Why would you think that I’m a spy, Salsa?” He started naming reasons, and suddenly I realized why the little guy thought this. 😛
First off, my mom and I had a black Dodge Charger Hemi for a rental car. Yeah, it was pretty sweet. 😉 It was actually really unexpected that we would have that awesome of a car for the trip. We usually do this thing called the “Florida Drive-Out Special” for our spring road trips, which is where the rental car companies want to move out all of the cars that snowbird tourists have driven into FL. They will rent you cars for sometimes as cheap as $5 a day if you will just drop off the car somewhere outside of FL. Yeah, it’s a pretty awesome deal! I think we used Alamo this year, and I think that it came out to $7 a day. Anyway, it’s pretty unexpected which kind of car you’ll get.
And we got Hemsworth. (YES we named the car, what of it? 😉 )
So we basically had a spy car. (Actually, Hemsworth went bad part way through the trip, but that’s a story for another time. 😉 )
Also, when we packed for the trip, we packed summer vacation clothes. Shorts, tank tops, you know. Maybe one or two light cardigans, nothing too heavy.
The entire time that we were in Oklahoma, it was pouring rain and about 41 degrees.
So, we did the only logical thing. We went to Walmart. 😉 Actually the Walmart that was about 5 minutes from where we worked was pretty awesome. It had an entire clearance ROOM where all of the clothing was $1 (It was also where I got my Bratz Study Abroad Jade for only $8). I bought all of the warm clothing that they had in my size, which just happened to be black leggings, black boots, and a black high collared jacket.
ALSO, throughout our time working at the center with the other families, the kids and I were telling each other riddles and brain buster puzzles to pass time, as well as having bizarre and spontaneous evil laughing contests.
ALSO, I had been using my Dash Cam to take pictures with the other kids, which is a tiny car mount camera that I used to film our in-car videos while we were on the trip. To Salsa’s credit, it does look like a spy camera. 😉
All of this had built up in Salsa’s mind…the black spy car named Hemsworth, the all black clothing, the riddles and puzzles, the camera….I had to be a spy, right? 😉
I was about to tell Salsa that I wasn’t actually a spy (but that I thought it would be cool to be one), but one of his little brothers jumped in and proclaimed,
“YEAH! She must be a spy! That’s why she hasn’t taken off that black jacket since we met her!” (Well, it was also because it was 41 degrees outside. 😉 )
“Well, I’ll tell you the truth,” I said. “I’m not actually a spy. I just happen to dress like one, act like one, and drive a car like one.”
“No way! You’re totally a spy. I bet Grace isn’t even your real name!” someone else chimed in.
“Maybe I am, and maybe I’m not,” I replied with a hair toss. And then the break was over. And Salsa never knew if I was a spy or not.
Just kidding. 😉 I said goodbye to Salsa and Co. the next day, and I hoped, as I rode Hemsworth into the sunrise, that he knew I was not, in actuality, a spy.
Or am I? DUN DUN DUN!!!!
P.S. Yes, I know this whole story was very overly dramatized. I was getting pretty punchy when I wrote it, okay? 😉