Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sewing Revisited

At some point I decided to once again try sewing clothes for my Sylvanian Family members. I figured with my substantial increase in sewing knowledge and practice since I was 12, maybe I could sew something that actually looked good.

I sketched out a pattern for a dress, a pair of pants, a skirt, and a top. The dress was probably the simplest and consists of a bodice and a skirt. The bodice is a pretty typical Sylvanian Family shirt, but the skirt is a partial circle.
The pattern came out relatively well, but I had some difficulty turning the edges under to finish the hems nicely. Hence the blanket stitch along the edges.

The pants required several iterations, mostly because Sylvanian Family members have fixed feet, so the waist hole needs to expand large enough to go over their feet.

For the skirt I was aiming for a Late Victorian or Edwardian style skirt with a slight train. The fabric I was testing this with was far too bulky, and the waistband came out a bit small. The first attempt is in the picture below and has the pink waistband. I revised the pattern by making it slightly larger, and making the train longer. I also added an elastic band to gather the train at the center back, which enabled the skirt to stretch over the feet while pulling it on. I picked a lighter weight cotton (probably quilting weight) for the second attempt, but the ribbon I chose for the waistband was still too bulky.
To go with the Edwardian style skirt, I wanted a shirt that was more bodice like. The shoulder strap sizing was a little off, and there was no good way to place snap or button closures.
Despite the problems with this shirt, I rather like it. I will be making an attempt to fix it in the future.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Hawthorne Family

When I visit Las Vegas, I almost always take a stroll through the Cesar Forum shops, usually to see if the clothing designers are doing anything interesting. Until it closed up or went into renovation, FAO Shwartz was part of my cycle through the mall. In December 2008 I noticed that they carried Calico Critters, and so I picked myself up the Hawthorne Family: Rusty, Cinnamon, Harry, and Tilley.
Unfortunately, I haven't seen any Calico Critters in FAO Shwartz since that time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Crochet Hooks for Fine Threads

I mentioned in the prior post that I picked up some crochet hooks along with the knitting needles, which means I can now crochet with a single strand of embroidery floss. One of the patterns in my Ravelry queue was "Cindy" by Helga, so I decided to modify the dress to fit Coral.
Left sidebackride side front
The bottom edging was "Tiny Treasures 8-130" from Traditional Edgings to Crochet by Rita Weiss [GoogleBooks,B&N,Amazon]. Rather than a belt, a small tatted edging is attached around the waist. Other changes and details are on Ravelry.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Knitting Needles for Fine Threads

After "Quick Rewards #1" and "Quick Rewards #2" I decided size 10 crochet thread was really much too large and thick for my Sylvanian Family characters. So I moved down to a Perle 12 thread for "Quick Rewards #3". Unfortunately the smallest needles I had at the time were 000 (#3-0), which were a tad large for the Perle 12 thread. For the bedspread and vest mentioned in the last post I used a Perle 8 thread and three strands of embroidery floss, respectively, which seemed to match well with the #3-0 needles.

Getting into this miniature knitting adventure a little more, I started browsing other sites showing examples of minitature knitting, such as Mini-Mum and Lesley's Miniature Knitting. I learned that needles finer than #3-0 exist, but I wasn't sure I was ready for miniature knitting, so I cut myself two lengths of #19 gauge wire from a spool I had sitting around, and filed down the ends slightly using a sharpening stone. Then I knit myself a mini gauge swatch in size 80 cotton thread (2nd from the right on the bottom row):
Mini Swatch Project - Page 1
The swatch went well enough that I decided to start on a skirt. I used a single strand of embroidery floss and two stitch pattern from Nicky Epstein's "Knitting on the Edge" [GoogleBooks,B&N,Amazon]: Petite Shells for the bottom hem in a dark pink, and Peasant Ruffle for the rest of the skirt in a light pink. By the time I was mostly finished with the skirt, I decided it really was time to get some real needles. So I made a trip to Lacis and picked up #5-0, #6-0, and #8-0 double pointed needles, and size 12, 14, and 16 crochet hooks.

I finished the bodice of Patty's skirt using the new #5-0 needles, then tatted a couple shoulder straps (more details on Ravelry).
Patty's dress - FrontPatty's dress - BackPatty's dress - Back

Although I was excited about starting new projects with my new needles and hooks, I remembered my sizing failure on the purple vest; I made a few mini gauge swatches using one and two strands of embroidery floss:
Mini Swatch Project - Page 2

Prissy still needed a top to complement her skirt, so my first project with the new needles was to make the rest of her outfit. I decided to try a 'Bramble' stitch pattern; this time I made a gauge swatch first, shown in the upper left of the picture:
Prissy's vest and swatch
Since the vest doesn't close in the front I also made her a small bib front, in a 'Florette Pattern' (according to The Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery by Mildred Graves Ryan [GoogleBooks,B&N,Amazon]).
Prissy's bib
Here she is in her complete outfit (again, more details are available on Ravelry):
Prissy's outfit

Eventually I got around to blocking the skirt, and found out it was now too large for Prissy. Instead, it fits a small adult, such as Tilley, better.
Tilley in a bedskirt.
So now I need a new skirt for Prissy, and a top for Tilley.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

When Sizing Goes Wrong

I picked up Nicky Epstein's "Knitting on the Edge" from the library [GoogleBooks,B&N,Amazon], and I really wanted to try out some of the stitch patterns from the book. So I decided to knit a bedspread from one of the cable patterns, Diamond With Chain, in the book:
Cable stitch bedspread
After I finished the top, I started on two 'bedskirt' side pieces using the Arbor Lace pattern. Well, the first two edgings I knit came out vastly different sizes, so the larger of the two became a skirt for a Sylvanian Family member, and I knit myself a new second bedskirt edging to match. Here's the bedskirt edgings with a veil stitch to go across the bed (I was running out of thread, so I didn't want a dense stitch pattern):

Prissy is wearing the first bedskirt edging which was too loose and large compared to the second piece:
Prissy in a bedskirt.

Since Prissy now had skirt I decided she needed a complete outfit to go with the skirt. So I decided to make a knitted shirt, which came out as a vest. Unfortunately I didn't check my gauge, so the purple vest came out too small. Luckily it fits a baby almost perfectly. I also tatted a small edging for the collar.
Sandy in a sweater vest.Sandy in a sweater vest.