The People’s Dolly

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It’s been just over a year now since Morrígan (my Lammily doll) arrived at my door, moved into my heart, and gave me doll fever. I’ve sung her praises many times on this blog, but today I want to sing the praises of her creator, Nickolay Lamm, and the Lammily company.

When Lammily first came out, there weren’t many options for clothes for her. Her selling point was that she has realistic proportions that, scaled up, would result in a woman with a healthy body. This, and the fact that the company was brand new and figuring things out, meant that there just weren’t many options for her. She couldn’t swap clothes with many other dolls, certainly not with the usual suspects. This gave birth to a DIY market and community – Etsy sellers like Phyllis ShermanHelena HannukainenOph Bruneau, and Em Carroll began making Lammily clothes. I decided to create Handmade Lammily Fashions on Facebook, which was followed by an offshoot group, Lammily Enthusiasts (both groups have mutual respect for and collaborate with each other). We were small but we were mighty. A representative from the company joined Lammily Enthisiasts, where she would interact with and answer questions for eager Lammsters. Soon after, Lammily Enthusiasts became the Official Lammily Fan Group.

As Lammily’s success grew, the company aired their first commercial which let’s us see our girl interacting in the already established Doll World.

In the most recent commercial, Lammily takes time to give homage to the iconic toys and dolls that have come before her, pointing out that without them, she would not exist.  The driving image is showing this doll as an equally valid and inclusive player – not elite, not better-than-the-competition, but just as good. She can play with and fit in right alongside your other dolls. I think that’s big.

Something I have been extremely impressed with in recent months has been  how Mr. Lamm not only acknowledges Lammily’s DIY crowd and fan-base, but is actually *very* supportive of it. On their website, an option right along their “World of Fashion” clothing, are the “Handcrafted Limited Editions“. Further, what you will see when you sign up for their mailing list and start getting their emails, is that he introduces you to the DIY lady responsible for the handmade clothes.

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Screen shot of a Lammily Email

So far, I am really impressed with Mr. Lamm and his company. Between all I’ve stated and the fact that she was the product of a Kickstarter campaign, I don’t think I’d be out of bounds to go so far as to consider Lammily “The People’s Dolly”. (As much as a representative of capitalist consumer culture can be, anyway. The irony isn’t lost here, only amusing.)

Now I just need to learn more about how the dolls themselves are made. From what I understand, though, the company ensures that every step of the doll-making process is done at factories that don’t take advantage of their employees.

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Handmade Lammily Fashions – Inspirations

Have you seen the Handmade Lammily Fashions group over on Facebook? I started this group just a month ago and there are already 116 members. I find so much inspiration in seeing all of these talented individuals posting pictures of their creations. I love seeing people create and develop personalities for their dolls. I see the way members help each other by sharing advice, tips, and discoveries and the way they all compliment each other and it lifts my spirits on a bad day. Here are some of the clothes made by members who have given me permission to share their work:

Amber McGlynn:

AmberTMcGlynn1 AmberTMcGlynn2 AmberTMcGlynn3

Armel Pélardy‎:

ArmelPélardy‎2 ArmelPélardy‎1

Deborah Griggs:

DeborahSGriggs1 DeborahSGriggs4 DeborahSGriggs3 DeborahSGriggs2

Deluded Martita:

DeludedMartita5 DeludedMartita4 DeludedMartita3 DeludedMartita2 DeludedMartita1

Julie Soper:

JulieSoper1

Oph Bruneau:

OphBruneau2 OphBruneau1

There are many more wonderful works over on the group page. I encourage you to give it a look 🙂

Dolly Got Back: Making Pants for Lammily

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One of the wonderful things about the Lammily doll is that she has realistic proportions. As a result, Lammily actually has a booty. This is both a blessing and a curse. Trying to form pants to fit a larger derriere is hard enough with people –The Struggle is Real -but trying to form pants to Lammily’s rear is downright frustrating. Unlike a fleshy behind, her hard plastic butt has no give – no muffin tops for this girlie. Even the shorts she came with can’t handle the pressure when she sits.
Seriously, they look so nice until she sits.

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So, trying to figure out the right way to make this doll a pair of jeans that will look just as good when she’s sitting as when she’s standing has been a daunting task with multiple fails.

The first thing I did was to try to draft a pattern the way The Fashion Doll Stylist demonstrated with her dolls.  This was the pattern I derived from that exercise:  I suppose they could work with some adjustments. I’m sure I’ll use this pattern for dress pants.

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I tried just playing around with trying to form the jeans to her seated. This mostly resulted in ridiculous sketches and a lot of chopped up fabric as I tried to figure out what I was even trying to do.

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I then decided to try to approach her jeans just the way I would pants for a person with more seat cushion. I turned to various sewing books on my shelf that weren’t much help. Then I found this tutorial – Full Butt Alteration for Jeans. So, I set to work again.

Now, if you follow the A’Cloth the World Facebook page or are a member of my more recent pet project, the group Handmade Lammily Fashions (also on Facebook), then you’ve already seen some of these photos and have read a bunch of my real-time frustrations.

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I don’t even want to think about how many hours I put into this, but I managed to make a pair of jeans that look like they’re comfortable and manage to work both standing and sitting. Of course, they’re baggy. This is, of course, what I was going for. However, I cannot currently imagine how skinny jeans might be constructed for her. I don’t think I’m committed enough to buy a pair of Apple Bottoms just to deconstruct them to see how they’re made. I’ve received plenty of compliments on these pants, but, I’m not entirely happy with them. I’m sure they could greatly be improved upon – I’m just too worn out to try right now. Until I *do* tweak them just right, I’m not putting them up on Etsy – although the girl power hoodie is up for sale. But, I did share the pattern over on the Handmade Lammily Fashions group page in case anyone wants to try making them.

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Awake Late at Night

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This is going to be one of those streams of consciousness styled posts I occasionally like to write. I took a nap earlier this afternoon, do not have to go in to work until the middle of tomorrow afternoon, and so, I am wide awake and my mind is bouncing around. Honestly, you’ll likely not be reading this until sometime after I’ve left for work tomorrow, but, just for fun and pointing out real-time, it is now 11:33pm CST on a Sunday evening as I begin to write this. (in the same vein, real-time distractions will be inserted, italicized, in parentheses)

Tonight, I just realized, was the premiere of the new Cosmos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I’ve not watched it yet. But, I’m actually running a Symphony of Science playlist on Youtube as I write this. (jump to facebook, to get into a discussion with a friend about Carl Sagan) I’ll have to watch that tomorrow. Perhaps I can introduce the kids that I work with to the awesomeness that is the universe and curiosity and the badass-ness of DeGrasse Tyson. Or they may just think it’s lame. Which is *usually* what I am met with – a general disinterest for pondering the bigger picture or the vastness of the universe or the meaning of life. Once in awhile though, I am pleasantly surprised.  This reminds me… some time back I came across this quilt that a woman had created to teach kids about the solar system. (another facebook break)

Speaking of work, I brought in my sewing machine this morning. One of the teens staying in the shelter wanted to learn different ways to refashion some of her jeans into shorts. We worked together to make 2 pair of shorts, a pair of cut-offs and a hemmed pair, and I had her get familiar with the machine with some scrap denim. I pointed out the importance of a stay stitch with cut-offs and how to get the denim to fray quicker. I’d like to work more with these kids on some of the basics of sewing, even just basic repair work. And I wonder if it would be worthwhile to try to set up some kind of community sewing studio.. because not everyone has the funds or space for a machine… and perhaps free classes on how to sew, repair, and design your own clothes. I would like to see sewing become something of a norm again – it would help to combat throw-away fashions if people could simply repair/ refashion their clothes. Perhaps, with an emphasis on re-used fabric, it might combat the sheer tons of textile waste we create Every. Single. Day.  Also, I love outlets to build community and be creative. Of course, maybe I’m a bit daydreamy to think that kids and teens would be interested in such a thing. How do we make sewing “cool”?  If you have never commented on these blogs before, I encourage you to comment on this topic… thoughts, ideas, anecdotes, discussions…

(break to take a shower and put on jammies. 2 thoughts whilst I was in the shower: 1) I want to do up a cosmos themed dress.. embroider the universe, a la Ms. Frizzle 2) I’m totally dressing in Sagan-style next Carl Sagan Day – Nov. 9th) … screw it, I kind of want to do that this week. Flashback to Emulation. It’s also just occurred to me that I never expanded into all the realms of emulation that I wanted to do – Halloween, LARPing, CosPlay, etc. I need to revisit this.

I mean to mention a couple of other things that are important. 1) Hatch. I did it last year (see here), I’m actually in it again this year. I’m horrible at self-promotion. I should have been talking about this weeks ago. The opening reception, the trashion show (yes they had a trashion show this year), and the gallery talk have already come and gone. My lack of posting about it is probably due to a combination of 1) being too lazy to buy new batteries for my camera 2) the artwork I had accepted for the exhibit is a piece I’ve already written about in length here and 3) I’m just lazy in general. HOWEVER, this coming Saturday, March 15th, 2014, is the Art Fair for Hatch. I originally intended to go to this. However, The Culture Monk is going to be in Chicago that morning in his series of coffee houses. I’d really rather go to that. Because I’d kind of like to meet this guy in person, link a face and a voice and an experience to the blocks of text I read regularly. Sadly I cannot be in 2 places at once. But I promise to be in at least one of those places Saturday. (youtube and facebook distraction) (time check – 12:54am. Going back into text to insert links) (links inserted, tags entered, end time 1:28am)

Update, 11:11 am: Just finished watching the new Cosmos on Hulu. I teared up. I literally teared up. DeGrasse Tyson’s remembrance of Sagan at the end touched me.

It’s Something

Today is my day off from my day job. I have 3 tasks ahead of me today.

  1. A friend of mine is paying me to hem a pair of his scrub pants. It’s a quick and simple job. So I should get those done.
  2. The same friend also needs me to affix a couple of patches to the shoulders of his scrub tops.
  3. Another gentleman I know has asked me to med a pair of jeans for him. I’ve got plenty of scrap fabric, I’m just gonna patch them.

I suppose the first thing I should do is get dressed. That’s a bit problematic for me, because I’m laying in bed with 2 blankets on me. Well, they’re not really blankets as much as they are body heat insulators that protect me from the cold of the rest of the room. My body has a natural disinclination to the cold.

——- Editorial Time Jump ——-

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Patches done. I use wonder under  and an iron to affix patches.

One way to hem a pair of pants, the way I frequently use:

GEGet the inseam measurement you need – that’s the length along the seam from. Measuring a pair of pants that are a good length for you already works well enough, though it’s not as fine tune accurate as having someone measure your inseam while you stand in your underoo’s. But we’re talking maybe a half inch room for error here.

GEIf you do not know the outseam measurement – that’s the outside seam from waist to ankle, or the measurement you’re given (if they’re not your pants) is wrong or off, simply measure the distance from the bottom of the original hem to the hash-mark where your desired inseam hem is. In this case, it’s 6 inches. (6 3/16 inches, but I’m not that precise.) So, I measure 6 inches from the bottom on the outside seam and make a mark.

GEFold the leg inward so that the hash-marks are both are even and centered. Pin.

GESew.

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I like to tuck in the inside too. So,  from here, I turn the pants inside out, cut off some excess leg…Fold inward…Pin and sew

And here’s one way of patching holes (there are several):

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These are the jeans before I did anything to them. This is the downside of those expensive pre-torn jeans – they tear in ways you don’t intend for them to much easier because they’ve had a head start.

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Turn the clothing inside out. Pin scrap fabric to cover the hole.

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Sew. Be careful though, when you’re sewing far into a pant leg or a sleeve – you have to really bunch the rest of the leg or the sleeve to avoid sewing through layers of folded over material (i.e. sewing the pant leg/ sleeve to itself).

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This is how they look after the scrap had been sewn in. I still need to go in and hand sew that long tear, and I will probably do so decoratively. Like this:
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Come What May

So, welcome to 2014. New year, new chances to lie to myself about blogging more regularly and finishing unfinished projects. This will not be a polished entry, this may even get personal. Maybe. Right now I’m just typing words as they escape my brain between shoving unhealthy snacks in my face.

I’ve got my laptop next to me, with my camera, my sewing machine is out, and I have bits of fabric on the table. What follows is an insight into my creative and thought processes, raw, unedited – chaotic and probably going nowhere. But why am I still typing crap? Here – look at some pictures.

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This is some sexy lingerie I bought several years ago. I only wore them once. They don’t even fit me anymore. I’m going to chop them up. Why not?

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Chop CHOP! Choppy Chop! Lace is pretty.

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Oh, remember these? Yeah, I’m still not sure what to do with them, but, they’re sitting in a pile on the table.

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This looks kind of neat.

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CRAP! I need pink thread! The stores are closed! All I have is embroidery and hand quilting thread! Grrr…

Do I want to just sew it with a contrasting thread color? Or use embroidery thread? I don’t want to wait until morning. I’m pushing through, making do, not putting it off. Embroidery thread it is. Such is life. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be messy, it can be chaotic, and it will be ok. It will. I promise. Screw the fairy tales and the picture perfect notions of what should be. The harder you push it, the less idyllic/idealistic it will be. Ideallic. Is that a word? Screw it. It is now. #Ideallic. Go trend that crap.

Idyllic -1:  pleasing or picturesque in natural simplicity; 2:  of, relating to, or being an idyll

Idealistic – 1: of or relating to the philosophical doctrine of the reality of ideas; 2: of high moral or intellectual value; elevated in nature or style; “an exalted ideal”; “argue in terms of high-flown ideals”- Oliver Franks; “a noble and lofty concept”; “a grand purpose”

Yeah, neither of those quite do it for me quite the way it feels in my mind standing by themselves. Oh, so, here’s a thing I’ve been working on off and on that I don’t think I’ve posted about:

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I got the pattern from Urban Threads. It’s going to take me eons. Ok. I’m getting kind of sleepy. I think I’m going to post this and come back to this in the morning. Maybe I’ll get a stock of posts done to schedule over the next few weeks. Maybe I can be more regular. Maybe I can convince myself that I don’t actually NEED to have a point or well-formed idea. Maybe I can stop avoiding the blog and the facebook page when I haven’t finished any of my many unfinished projects. Maybe.

They’re Almost Pants!

This past week I have been working on making myself some cargo pants (See posts 1 and 2). While I had intended to have these pants completed by now, as always, life has had other plans for me. However, in contrast to the way the story normally works on this blog — I get busy, I don’t make time to update, 2 or 3 months later I write another post apologizing (like here.. or here), long time readers know the drill by now — I’m going to update with what I *have* managed to get done since last time (and force myself to accept the fact that I’m neither perfect nor able to juggle everything the way I’d like to).

Inside out, pinned together.

Inside out, pinned together.

Right side out, front side

Right side out, front side

Right side out, front side, pockets close up.

Right side out, front side, pockets close up.

Right side out, back side

Right side out, back side

As you can see, they are definately starting to look more like actual pants, and the pockets have turned out fairly well. However, between getting hung up on the zipper (this pattern has some oddly written instructions), work, surrendering the table to roommates for their gaming purposes, and spending time with my boyfriend (obligatory plug – check out his podcast sometime), I haven’t gotten further than this. Let us see what this next week brings.