Re-Rooting a Doll Head: Trial and Error

Last month I mentioned that I had picked up a couple of cheap-o thrift store Barbies with the intention to do some OOAK work on them. I have since removed their heads, removed their hair, ordered new hair, and have started the re-rooting process on one of the dolls.

If anyone is curious, this is the tutorial I am using:

How I will secure the final hair plug is yet to be determined.

Things I have learned so far:

  • Be super careful pulling out the original hair plugs. I accidentally blew out this woman’s forehead. I *did* find a way to fix this (Behold: Magic!), but I think I’m going to wait until after this first doll’s head is done before I mess with it.GE
  • “Carrot Cake” looks much more like strawberry blonde in person. Next time I will get a different shade.

    Even my camera is deceptive!

    Even my camera is deceptive!

  • I really have no idea how thick or thin these hair plugs need to be. Never having done this before and being worried about making her hair too sparse and thin, I think I may have made her hair *too* thick. Her head is only maybe half done and is already as thick as my Lammily’s.
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Random bits of amusement I’ve gotten from this process so far:

  • Over in my Handmade Lammily Fashions group, one lady likened my progress photos to “brain surgery” and got (mock?) squeamish. I thought it was cute.
  • I’ve taken my in-progress doll head to work and have shown both my co-workers and the teenagers at the shelter. The reactions and looks on the faces of these kids has been priceless (they’re already used to me being “weird”, lol!)

Here are the rest of the photos of my progress thus far:

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Power to the Pockets!

Yesterday, I started sewing myself a pair of cargo pants, following a McCall’s pattern I’d had laying around. This evening, I have continued my work.

What you see here is an actual college photo. That's me, in Japanese class, rocking the cargo pants, sitting next to my friend, Ryan, with an amusing look on my face.  Honestly, I don't remember what we were talking about before the camera went off.

What you see here is an actual college photo. That’s me, in Japanese class, rocking the cargo pants, sitting next to my friend, Ryan, with an amusing look on my face.
Honestly, I don’t remember what we were talking about before the camera went off.

Cargo pants are a wonderful thing. They have a great many pockets in which one can carry items. When I was in college, I used to rock men’s cargo jeans almost exclusively. Something about women’s pants just doesn’t allow for ease of storage. Probably because designers assume all women carry purses. Pfft. The purses came to me as a result of needing to carry yarn. The basics – wallet, phone, and keys – ought to fit easily into one’s pants.

That said, I was shocked when I started reading further along in the pattern instructions and saw this:

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“…through all thicknesses.” Basically, the pattern instructions would have you go through the hassle of creating these pockets and pocket flaps so that they can, ultimately, serve no other purpose than decoration. F**K THAT!! That’s defeating the entire *point* of having all those pockets! Fortunately for me (and for you), I know what the hell I’m doing and was able to alter the original pattern so that all the pockets are fully functional. Here’s how:

First, prep your pockets the same way you would in the pattern. That is, fold each of the edges inside about half an inch and top-stitch around. Then, sew the pocket onto the pants as directed, but do not yet attach any of the flaps.

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Here is one of the back pockets I did yesterday, now affixed to the butt of the pants.

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For the big cargo pockets that go on the sides, you want to create a pleat in the middle. The pleat should be about 2 to 2 1/2 inches. Stitch the top and bottom to hold the pleat in place.
What you are looking at here is the front view.

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And now the rear view.

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The prep on this cargo pocket (front view) is complete. If you notice, I’ve folded in the edges and created a decorative fold at the top.

Prep the flaps as well.

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Prepping the flaps: Inside out at the bottom and right side out at top.

Flap prep complete.

Flap prep complete.

Now, this is where it starts to differ from the original pattern.  I made a mark on either side of the pant pieces, 1/2 inch directly above the corners of the pockets.

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Do this for each corner, on all pockets.

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Before stitching the flap on, I noticed that the dots lined up with the stitch lines on the flap. So, I basted each corner of the flap – right in the crosshair of the horizontal and vertical stitches – to each dot..

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I then sewed the flap down. Once along the original top-stitch line, and then once 1/4 inch below that.

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As you can see, the flap opens and the pocket is functional. Huzzah. Rinse and repeat for each pocket.

The beauty of making your own clothes is that you have the power to do with the design what you want. Don’t ever feel that you have to follow every step of a set of instructions to the letter. Play around. Experiment. Learn by doing. One of the easiest ways to start designing your own clothes is to start making little changes here and there to existing patterns and seeing how what you’ve done affects the end result.

Check back this weekend to see how these cargo capris turned out!

 

Old Tshirt Becomes New Halter Top

For all of my Facebook followers, here is the promised “How-to” for the halter top I made the other day. If you haven’t been following the official Facebook page (there is a convenient little box to the right of this post), then this is completely new for you.

Before I get too far into this, I have to give credit to BrittneyNGrey over at Youtube for the inspiration on this one. I followed her basic construction, but I made some of my own modifications.

Start with a T-shirt larger than your size

I started with an XL tshirt. (I typically wear a size S or M. If you’re in an XL or higher, you may want to use 2 shirts for this) This particular shirt was one I had raided from Neil’s dresser (with his permission) one afternoon while I was helping him fold and put away clothes. I noticed that he had 2 of the same t-shirt and asked if I could have the spare.

Altering the Shirt

I followed the above video for the beginning. I cut off the collar and sleeves, cut the back up the middle and across in the same fashion. (I did not stretch out the fabric, though)

It is at this point that I diverged from Brittney’s pattern. Rather than using the shoulders as the tie around, I decided to make my own, less bulky tie around:

Fold the shirt in half..

Use a marking utensil to draw an even cut line that will separate the shoulders from the rest of the top.

Use a strip from the pieces you have cut away to create a tunnel for some string or ribbon to go through. This will be your tie around.

I created my back laces and tie string (please refer to video at the top of this post) using stretched out strands from another tshirt for color contrast. I had some leftover tshirt yarn from the knitting workshop I did last year, so I just used a couple of pieces of that.

Adjustments

I like my clothes to fit me just right, so, I flipped the halter inside out and tried it on, ready to mark any places that needed further work.

As you can see, there is some unsightly bulging going on.

But if I just use those natural protrusions to make darts, I’ll have a more form fitting top.

I just stood in front of the mirror with needle and thread, stay stitching the darts in place while I still had it on.

The Final Product

From the back

And the front view! Feel free to accessorize with your own arm candy 😉