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A New Year’s Suggestion

January 2nd, 2010

If you are looking for a good new year’s resolution, why not resolve to keep your sewing machine in good working order. Dig out your sewing machine manual and give your machine a good overhaul. Follow the directions to remove lint and add machine oil to the suggested moving parts. Change the needle if you haven’t changed it in a while. It is a good idea to clean and oil your machine after each large project. Because some of my doll projects are small, I try to clean and oil my machine once a month rather than after each project. Changing needles is a little trickier, because I use several sizes when I am making dolls. I save the exchanged needles for reuse. Trying to remember how long that I have used each needle is a good memory exercise.

getting organized, sewing tips

Pen and Pencil choices for Dollmaking

November 1st, 2009

When I started using pens and pencils to color my dolls faces, I used Prismacolor pencils and Pigma Micron pens. The pencils can be purchased separately rather than in a box and come in an amazing variety of colors. They make beautiful faces. The main problem with these pencils is that they are not water proof. If you are planning to wash the doll, the eyes and mouth should be painted with clear fingernail polish after the face has been completed. Recently I discovered EK Success Memory Pencils. They are water proof and dolls made with faces using them can be washed without further treatment. The Memory Pencils come in boxes of twelve. I use colors from the primary colors box and the earth colors box. I still use the micron pens, but I have found that Sakura Gelly Roll pens also work well. I have read of dollmakers who use Sharpie micro pens, but I have problems with bleeding colors when I use Sharpies. I still use Prismacolor pencils when I transfer pattern markings and embroidery designs. The lines wash out beautifully and I can color code my embroidery designs.

sewing tips

Organizing Patterns

August 11th, 2009

When I buy a doll clothes pattern from a big name company with tissue patterns, I like to cut out the patterns and place the patterns for each garment in a separate stationery envelope. I label the envelope with the name of the garment and the pattern number. I put all the small envelopes back in the original larger envelope and file it with my patterns. I use this method for keeping track of patterns copied from books of patterns. I write the name of the book and the garment on each small envelope. I put all the pattern envelopes from one book in a larger envelope, write the name of the book on it and file it in a box with my tissue paper patterns. I am now using the envelope system for keeping track of my own patterns.

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A Handy Tool for Inserting Elastic

May 8th, 2009

When I use elastic for doll clothing, I always use 1/8 inch wide elastic. One reason that I use this width of elastic is because it fits through the eye of my favorite bodkin. This little gadget looks almost like a six inch needle. It has an eye at one end that is large enough to hold 1/8 inch elastic. The opposite end has a small ball instead of a point. The bodkin can pull the elastic through a casing in a few seconds.  I remember pulling elastic through a casing with a safety pin when I was a child. I thought that it was a slow and tedious chore. Now it is done so quickly that it is not a chore at all.

sewing tips

An Ironing Tip

May 7th, 2009

 

To accurately press under a 1/4  inch seam when you are sewing doll clothes,  cut a strip of paper 1/4 inch wide from a sheet of quarter inch grid paper. Pull the edge of fabric over the paper strip and press. Use a 1/2 inch wide paper strip to press a wider seam. I keep a 1/4 inch strip and a 1/2 inch strip of paper on my ironing board when I am sewing doll clothes.

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