Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Mental Health Therapy

I've been doing more unpacking lately, clearing any New Conceptions stuff out of the last daycare room to be worked on, which means I started unpacking again, about time after moving 19 months ago. I found the hardware for my bookcase doors - a huge YAY! And, my own personal treasure, my sewing stuff! I really wondered if I'd lost my skills, but the second I started pulling my tools out of boxes, my fingers started to itch and my brain revved up. You know that part of your brain that doesn't have anything to do with the kids or the housework, but the really smart part of yourself that you forgot you had? That's the part that revved up. The first night I sewed I made a marketable pattern - pleated Ken doll pants. Then I started crocheting. Each time I sewed, it was like a rush of endorphins and I felt better and better. I'd emerge from my sewing studio with a huge sigh of contentment.

I discovered some super neat free videos on how to make Barbie stuff, such as this one on How to Make a Deluxe Cat Condo and that really got my brain going because, even though I'm all grown up, I still love Barbies. I've discovered that most famous apparel designers do and many actually design specialty Barbie clothes to this day as well as having done so as their first design interest early in their lives, which is how I got started in pattern design and drafting. I also discovered patterns to crochet itty bitty outfits for Barbie-sized babies. They are very fun to make and very quick, which I love since I like the satisfaction of finishing a project sooner rather than later.

I've discovered several new niches in the art world from those who strip the factory paint off Barbies and repaint them in an extremely realistic way, to those who design fashion doll clothing so real they look like real men's apparel and all sorts of other things, like miniature sculpted dolls so realistic that I can't stand to look at them because they look like miscarried real babies to me. In my market research, I discovered that adult collectors are going for realistic or way out there. I like realistic, so after watching the above video on making the deluxe cat condo, I designed my own more realistic one, using similar materials, cardboard, toilet paper rolls, felt, hot glue and yarn. I also designed and made the Moses baskets. Mine again are going toward the realistic look whereas the one I saw in a video was Barbie-pink and not so professional, but mine are still made out of cardboard, hot glue, fabric, ribbon, yarn, and my own idea, using burlap of the natural cardboard color to simulated a woven basket.

Ken doll also got some underpants! Finally! Researching that was hilarious. If you want a good laugh sometime, just look under images for "men's underpants" and see what comes up. No pun intended. Really! Truly!

As I make prototypes of patterns or just sew someone else's pattern for fun and relaxation, I create a pile of things my girls can earn with good behavior. A special ed teach gave me a great idea today to actually pay them with our fake, but realistic, money, and have them buy things from me with it, like these items for their dolls. Then they begin to understand better how money works. They also get to do some crafts. Sissy is particularly interested and has been invited into my inner sanctum several times to observe me at work. I've also signed all three big girls up for sewing classes at our local fabric store starting next month. They'll be with other girls their ages and learning a new skill!!!

When do I have time for all this? When I'm supposed to be sleeping!


Karen said...

You are SOOOO talented! I can't imagine sewing such teeny, tiny stuff! I can't even make pants to work for Lydia, and she's much bigger

Anonymous said...

The cat tree and sewn clothes are amazing!

Lynnea Hameloth said...

OH MY WORD. I had no idea how teeny tiny you were sewing! That is INCREDIBLE. Certainly there is a market for that on Etsy! What a talent you have! Love it!
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Your crocheted items are adorable. If you used a pattern, are you willing to share it or the source? Thank you!

Maureen said...

I've been trying to find "American Boy" things (including "American Boy" dolls. Think "American Girl" but a boy). So incredibly difficult. Both of my boys want "American Boy" dolls so they can play with their friends that are girls that almost all have "American Girl" dolls. I'm thinking about trying to learn how to sew things small enough for them (and alter girl patterns to make 'boy' things. My one in particular wants a "Prince Charming" or "Prince Phillip" costume to dress his in when the girl dolls dress as princesses). I had to buy Our Generation (Target brand) girl dolls and take them to a beautician friend of mine for 'boy' haircuts. Sigh. Okay, off of my soap box.

K said...

That's very creative. I didn't think to restyle a girl doll into a boy. Sewing for these 18" dolls is very easy, actually, and there are tons of free patterns online for them. It should be easy to alter pants and shirts into boy styles. Please email me privately if you'd like commission me for some boy doll clothes.