Friday, June 17, 2011

Meet Pippaloo: Friend of Kindred Thread

From the very beginning, Joni and I envisioned using Kindred Thread to showcase the work of other doll crafters whom we admire. Today we want to introduce you to our first Friend of Kindred Thread: pippaloo, creator of incredibly realistic polymer food for 18" dolls.

Meet Teresa of pippaloo:

"When I picked up my first block of clay four years ago I never intended nor could I have even imagined I'd be now spending my days making food for dolls. My obsession started out quite innocently when my girls suggested we make some cookies for our dolls. From day one I was hooked.

"As a SAHM I feel blessed to be able to focus my creative energies on an outlet that my girls and I enjoy together- as well as to be able to share with others who have a genuine love of dolls. There is an old adage- 'do what you love and love what you do'. I feel I have both of those abundantly covered."

This month, pippaloo made us an exclusive Walk-away Waffle Cone to go with our 1904 World's Fair ensemble:

This ice cream cone is all kinds of awesome--the scale is just right for wee doll hands, and the texture is incredible. I'm also completely in love with these, which are perfect for doll pool parties on our back porch:

And the Pièce de résistance:

Pippaloo and Kindred Thread have lots of goodies planned for the coming months. (True story: I just bought two yards of a feedsack fabric specifically because it reminded me of creamsicles!) In the meantime, stop by pippaloo's Etsy shop and prepare to drool!

P.S. Bidding on Meet Me at the Fair closes tomorrow at 8 PM EDT. Check out the auction listing and make sure to add it to your watch list.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I've been thinking for a long time about making a Steampunk outfit for American Girls. Of course this is a genre that may not be familiar to all dolly collectors. From where I am sitting, Steampunk seems to be a mix of science fiction, Victoriana, and pure imagination - which is why I was so attracted to it. It's historically-inspired without being the least bit troubled by historical accuracy. I'm not cool enough to own a Steampunk outfit for myself, but I'm looking at you, Simplicity 2172.

I think it's actually easier to define what isn't steampunk than what is (and let us warn you before you click that link... there's some spicy language over at Regretsy). On the other hand, Steampunk Addie has provided a handy definition for us. And if you aren't reading The Adventures Of Steampunk Addie (and her unusually stout parasol!) believe us, you are missing out.

I've also noticed that there are quite a few Steampunk Blythes out there. I've been trying to scout out where the Blythe goggles come from, since they have the same size heads as our 18" girlies and the goggles will likely fit. eBay and Etsy have so far turned me up nothing. :(

After scouting around all the local fabric shops for things like black suiting, wee jewelry charms, and FEATHERS, I finally tackled Steampunk for my June Modiste project. I think you can see the influence of the pattern I linked above in my final result:
(Meg photoshopped Jess in front of a steam engine, of course!) I raided my stash for lots of fun bits and bobs to trim out the ensemble. For example, this vintage black rayon eyelash braid - I didn't realize until I was sewing it on how much it looks like the teeth on a gear! (And you'd think I would have learned my lesson about skinny trims after last month's Regency pelisse nearly drove me mad... but I'm not the sort that can learn a lesson.)

More eyelash trim at the hem of the skirt, and you can see that my sewing machine's ruffle foot (which also does pleast, and looks pretty steampunk itself) is my new favorite toy.  Pleated silk might just be the nicest thing ever. The skirt is high-waisted and laces closed in the back, and provides all the swish and rustle your little heart desires.

The blouse has a high neck, velvet ribbon bow (I *heart* velvet ribbon), and a little dangly clock charm in antiqued brass. And the jacket, which is comprised of 22 individual pieces (I counted), is lined with poison green taffeta that peeks out under the epaulets, the collar, the pocket flaps and the TAILS. Speaking of subconscious influences, my husband and I saw 'Wicked' on Christmas Day and I clearly have a stylistic holdover from that, what with the green and the clocks and everything.

But the very finishing touch - the only detail that was absolutely sharp in my mind's eye when the rest of the ensemble was still in the vague planning stages - is the Tiny Top Hat. I went all out on this one, even though it involved a lot of hand-sewing - not my favorite thing. A little veil of birdcage netting coyly hides one eye, and there's a band of velvet ribbon, and two wee feathers in green and gold. Also important, I sewed a hair comb to the underside of the hat brim so that it will perch at the exact right Rakish Angle.

The Time Traveler Chic Steampunk Ensemble won't be produced again (did I mention, twenty-two pieces for the jacket alone?!) and is absolutely one-of-a-kind. Bidding is currently up to $66.07 on eBay and there's two days left, so you've still got time! Click Here to visit the auction, and good luck!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Literary Doll

When I first opened a Facebook account (and I was not what you'd call an early adopter), I wrote this on my profile:

"My three main interests, in no particular order, are reading, sewing, and my children. I try to combine them where possible: so, reading with my children, sewing for my children, listening to audiobooks while sewing. I have yet to figure out how to do all three simultaneously."

That, obviously, was before I started Sewing For Dolls. Costuming dolls as my favorite characters from children's literature? Nirvana.

My very first customized American Girl Dolls were Betsy, Tacy and Tib, from the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace (recently back in print; it is your Civic Responsibility to purchase these books if you've not yet read them!) You might recognize an early version of our Seersucker Sailor Dress and Samantha's Play Dress and Pinafore:

Next came Anne of Green Gables, followed by her BFF Diana Barry:

And did you know that there's also a Gilbert Blythe? I don't know what the market is for clothing boy dolls, but I could probably be convinced to sew a few Gilbert ensembles if you twist my arm.

As always, there are works in progress . . . I have a custom Laura and Mary Ingalls with a stack of 1870s calicos, and a half-dressed Valancy Snaith nee Stirling. (Jess! With a bob!) Don't know Valancy? Gasp! Read About Us and then run, don't walk, to Project Gutenberg to download your copy of The Blue Castle.

Now, Kindred Thread is pleased to announce our first Limited Edition series: the Little Women Collection. Each month will feature a new Civil War-era fashion inspired by the pages of Louisa May Alcott's novel. We begin this month with the eldest March daughter, and my namesake: Meg March.

Meg is soon to be followed by Jo, Beth, and Amy--we know you'll want to collect all four! (Two words: Pickled. Limes.)

What other childhood heroines would you love to see in needle and thread?