Happy New Year!

Dak and I wish you a Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

I haven’t had time to update the website yet, so if anyone else wants to get Victoria Rose 3rd Edition at the 20% discount, order it as soon possible. I’ll probably get it updated tomorrow (Tues, 1/2/18) afternoon sometime.

Jim & Dak

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The Ideal Way to Learn Precision Cloth Doll Making

When You are Ready for a Bigger Challenge:
Precision Cloth Dolls

 

  • Some cloth doll makers start out from quilting. After they’ve made a few quilts, they find an interesting cloth doll to add to the quilt display. Usually, these are simple “pancake” cloth dolls with costumes that complement the quilt.
  • Some cloth doll makers start by making Raggedy Ann and Andy cloth dolls or other simple cloth dolls for their grandchildren. Small children seem to prefer “soft” cloth dolls or animals that they can carry around with them. Usually, these are simple, soft, pancake cloth dolls with costumes that match what the children usually wear.
  • Some cloth doll makers find “abstract” cloth dolls as a way to express their creativity. They often start with a design in a sewing, or craft, or decorating magazine, and go on to more and better cloth dolls.

If you’ve been making cloth dolls for a while and you are looking for a bigger challenge, a precision cloth doll may be ideal for you.

Figurative Sculpture in Fabric and Fiber

From an artistic point of view, the difference between a doll and a sculpture is the sense of frozen time. A doll is just a representation of a person in a sort of abstract way similar to a 3-dimensional stick figure – it has only the life that the child (or adult) projects onto it in their imagination. A sculpture looks like it is a person frozen into a scene in time that could suddenly start moving and carry on with it’s life. A sculpture has a sense of realism in its proportions, anatomical detail, implied motion, and costume accuracy that makes you feel it is about to come to life. A sculpture creates an emotion of some sort in the viewer – a sense of empathy, curiosity, or anticipation that makes the sculpture more than just an inanimate object.

This sense of realism is the difference between an ordinary cloth doll and a precision cloth doll. A precision cloth doll is like a little person waiting to come to life and tell their own story that is implied by the scene that is set. If you want this sense of “life” in your dolls, precision cloth doll making can help you make your work display the transition from object to event. A precision cloth doll can give you a deep sense of satisfaction that you have expressed a story you have always wanted to tell.

From Beginning Steps to Advanced Accomplishment

Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition starts at the beginning with Mimi’s Basic Shopping List for Cloth Doll Makers – a separate 30-page booklet that you can take with you to the fabric or craft store on paper, on your smartphone, or on your tablet. It shows you with pictures and descriptions exactly what tools and materials you will need for basic precision cloth doll making. It explains how each dollmaking tool is used and what to look for. If you have a limited budget, or if you’re not sure you want to get heavily involved yet, it tells you which tools to start with and which tools to leave for later. If saves you hours of time and lots of money by helping you get the right stuff the first time and avoiding costly mistakes.

Mimi’s Victoria Rose Shopping List is a separate 3-page list of the exact supplies and materials you need to make Victoria Rose. Again, you can take it to the store with you on paper, on your smartphone, or on your tablet.

Mimi’s Video Handbook for Cloth Doll Makers consists of 13 how-to-do-it videos that show you step-by-step how to do all of the little tricks and techniques that make dollmaking easier and more fun. These are the sewing tricks that you usually only learn by taking an in-person class with a master teacher. You learn not only the easiest and best ways to create dolls and clothing, but also in addition to the “how,” you learn the “why” for each technique, what mistakes to avoid, and how to fix it if you make a mistake.

  • Sewing Machine Basics – how to set up your sewing machine and what accessories make dollmaking easier.
  • Machine Stitching Techniques – how to do critical things like back-tacking and following tight curves.
  • Disappearing Fabric Marker – how to select and use a disappearing fabric marker.
  • Making and Using Templates – how to make and use templates for precision sewing. (Eliminates guesswork following seam allowance.)
  • Preparing Fingers for Turning – how to trim and strengthen seams around fingers before turning so that the seams don’t rip open.
  • Making and Using ginger Turning Tools – how to make tools that will let you turn fingers easily, and how to use those tools effectively.
  • Wiring Fingers – how to wire fingers so that hands can grasp objects or so that fingers can be individually posed for hand gestures.
  • Posing Hands – how to bend fingers so that knuckles look natural and pose hands at the wrist so that poses look natural.
  • Ladder Stitching – how to join body parts and close stuffing holes so that the seams looks like it was perfectly machine stitched.
  • Hair Wefting Techniques – how to weft fibers and yarns so that hair can be easily attached to the doll and will look like natural growing hair.
  • Face Coloring Techniques – how to color the doll’s face so that it looks natural and realistic.
  • Anatomy: Scale and Proportion – how the parts of the body relate to one another so that dolls look like real humans in miniature.
  • Story: Balance and Motion – how to pose dolls so that they look like they are in the middle of movement – like a frozen snapshot in time.

Mimi’s Victoria Rose Instructions have been greatly expanded to 115 pages (56 pages in previous editions). There are more steps with expanded explanations to make it easier than ever to just follow the step-by-step instructions and get a beautiful doll. You can print out the instructions, or you can read them a step-at-a-time on your smartphone or tablet right next to your sewing machine. If you prefer, you can read them several steps-at-a-time on your laptop or computer.

No matter where you’re starting from, beginning dollmaker to advanced fabric and fiber sculptor, Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition is the perfect introduction to precision cloth doll making.

Victoria Rose is an easy-to-make, armatured, 16-inch, free-standing cloth doll. She has a young, full-figured, anatomically-proportioned body with a late 19th Century silhouette.

Instructions are included for three face styles:

  • a very easy traced face, embroidered or colored with pencils and/or crayons
  • a trapunto (quilted) face
  • a sophisticated needle-modeled face

Victoria Rose’s clothing was meticulously researched. Her undergarments consist of a set of combinations (these replaced the chemise and drawers, and had no crotch), a corset, a petticoat, and a bustle pad. (The bustle returned as a pad in the late 1880’s.) Her outer garments are a lined walking skirt, a dickey, (rather than a complete blouse to diminish bulk), a lined jacket, and a beautiful hat. Her Victorian boots are paperclay covered with glove leather.

Her hair can be made from either wefted mohair or from textured yarn. Instructions for cleaning and wefting mohair are included.

Suitable for Beginning to Advanced Cloth Dollmakers

This is a Step-by-Step Dollmaking Workshop that comes in a variety of formats to make it conveniently available beside your sewing machine and everywhere you want to view the instructions. Included are:

  • AZW format for Kindle or Kindle PC.
  • EPUB format for most smartphones and tablets.
  • PDF expanded format for large screen laptops and desktops.
  • PDF condensed format for Print.
  • DVD video format for DVD players.
  • MP4 video format for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.
    (Note: some smartphones do not have enough processing power to play videos.)
  • Expanded 115-page instruction book included on DVD (56-pages in 2nd Edition) filled with pictures, drawings, and hints for dollmakers.

This pattern can be used for any young, full figured, anatomically proportioned, female character doll.

You are licensed to sell dolls made from this pattern.

The complete DVD with all files for printing, smartphone or tablet, and DVD or computer video is on sale at 20% savings until New Years, 2018. It makes a wonderful gift for you, and for all of your dollmaking friends.

Get it directly from Mimidolls.Com or at DollmakersJourney.Com.

Behind the Scenes at Mimidolls

How Cloth Doll Patterns are Changing

As most of you know, Mimi passed away in February of 2017. I have done my best to make sure that all of her teaching patterns remain available for cloth dollmakers around the world.

There are also three new patterns that I am working on to complete the collection of her work. I hope to publish Mimi’s Wee Folks – Elves, Mimi’s High Priestess, and Mimi’s Spartacus sometime in 2018. Part of the delay has been trying to decide just how to publish these new patterns.

To investigate new ways of publishing dollmaking patterns, I did a study of how dollmakers used patterns. What I found is that most dollmakers purchased patterns on CDs and then printed the instructions out so that they could be placed next to their sewing machines while they worked. This is a matter of both economics and convenience.

  • The desired result is to have the pattern instructions in a convenient form next to the sewing machine so that you can follow them step-by-step.
  • The cost of copying and assembling paper patterns, then shipping them to the pattern store, and then shipping them again to the dollmakers is very expensive and time-consuming for the pattern publisher and the pattern shop.
  • The cost of duplicating and shipping CDs to the pattern store and then shipping them again to the dollmakers is relatively inexpensive. Particularly, if the CDs are in an unbreakable polyethylene case (LDPE), because they can be shipped in an unpadded envelope at letter rates rather than at package rates.
  • Dollmakers don’t seem to include the cost of printing from the CD as part of the cost of buying the pattern.

On the other hand, there are still a number of dollmakers who prefer to buy paper patterns, perhaps because they find it inconvenient to print them out from the CD.

So, the first part of making doll patterns more useful was to create a doll pattern that can be used next to the sewing machine and can be distributed at minimal cost.

The second part of making doll patterns more useful was to determine if dollmakers will accept alternatives that to printed patterns, and use smartphones or tablets to hold the instructions next to their sewing machines. This has the added benefit that I can make the instructions much more detailed (longer) without having to print more paper, and I can include videos of techniques that are easier to learn by showing them to you instead of describing them.

Making Instructions Better

This is the story of how we created the 3rd Edition of Mimi’s Victoria Rose. The instruction book will work on your smartphone, tablet, or computer, or if you wish, you can print it out on paper. I say “we” rather than “I” because I feel that Mimi is helping me do this.

The original Victoria Rose pattern was created in 2001 as a paper pattern with a 56 page, step-by-step instruction book and 12 pages of pattern pieces. There was one color picture on the cover and all the other pictures were in black and white. Mimi and I revised the instruction book in 2012 to bring it up-to-date with new techniques and new sources. As our most popular precision cloth doll pattern, it seemed to be the ideal pattern to bring up-to-date again with the new information, techniques, and technology available in 2017.

One of the things that was most important to Mimi was to create patterns and instructions that even a beginning dollmaker could use to create a beautiful doll. The instructions needed to be simple, clear, step-by-step, and complete with no skipped or missing steps. We’ve learned a lot since 2001. We have new techniques that are simpler or work better, and we have new videos that we created for later video workshops.

We’ve added a lot more color to make it easier to understand the instructions and to show more examples of how spectacular the dolls can look. Wherever possible, we substituted color pictures or color drawings to make techniques clearer. We’ve also added lots of new drawings to illustrate the instructions better, and made many of the drawings and pictures bigger so that you can see them easily on your smartphone, tablet, computer, or paper copy.

Instructions Available Anywhere

The biggest thing that we have done is to move to modern technology without abandoning the older ways of doing things.

  • Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition comes in four versions (all included) to run on your Kindle (AZW), your smartphone, tablet, or ebook reader (EPUB), on your laptop or desktop computer (PDF for large screen), and also formatted so that you can make a printed copy (PDF for print). You can read the instructions right at your sewing machine. The large pictures and large text will be easy to see even on your smartphone.

D-Instructions

  • Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition comes on a DVD, on a storage key, or by digital download. It includes 13 dollmaking techniques videos that can be played on your smartphone, your tablet, your computer (MP4 format), or on your TV (DVD format). You can watch the videos right at your sewing machine if you want.

D-Videos

  • Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition includes a separate Mimi’s Basic Shopping List for Cloth Dollmakers that you can take to the store with you to help you get the right tools and supplies for dollmaking the first time with minimum cost and without costly experimentation to find the right stuff. It tells you specific brands and model numbers with pictures so that you can be sure what you are getting. It is 30 pages printed, but it also comes in all four formats, so you can take it on your smartphone or tablet right to the store.

D-BasicShopping

  • Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition includes a separate Victoria Rose Shopping List that you can take to the store to get the supplies for Victoria Rose. It is 3 pages printed, but it also comes in all four formats, so you can take it on your smartphone or tablet right to the store.

D-ShoppingList

Of course, Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition comes in an unbreakable LDPE DVD case, a USB storage key, or a digital download.

It’s on sale now, for 20% off, until New Years 2018. It’s a perfect holiday gift for yourself, or for any dollmaker you know. Suitable for beginning to advanced cloth dollmakers.

Come visit us at Mimidolls.Com and order your copy now!

 

Story: Balance & Motion

This is the 6th of the new HD videos. It’s one you’ve seen before in SD, but I have also simplified it and made the explanations clearer.

When you watch the video, pay attention to the doll in the cable-knit sweater with the big glasses, the teddy bear and balloons. The doll is named: “Sylvia – Groovin’ Granny.” It’s actually a self portrait of Mimi.

How to Ladder Stitch, Victoria Rose 3rd Edition

I have just posted the new, HD version of How to Ladder Stitch. It has been considerably updated to include more information on properly pinning doll parts and to make the general presentation easier to understand. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Victoria Rose 3rd Edition Coming Soon

Something new is coming up soon. I have just completed the 3rd Edition of Victoria Rose. It has been updated and simplified with more pictures. It can be displayed on your smartphone or tablet as well as on your computer and possibly your television. The instruction book (and 2 shopping lists) come in three formats: AZW for Kindle, EPUB for most smartphones and tablets, and PDF for large screens such as laptops and desktops, and for printing.

There are two special new features that are included in the pattern:

1. Mimi’s Video Handbook for Cloth Doll Makers contains 13 videos about all aspects of cloth doll making, including the new videos posted here recently. They will play as a regular DVD on your TV or computer, or you can play them as MP4 videos on your smartphone or tablet.

2. Mimi’s Basic Shopping List for Cloth Doll Makers discusses everything you may need for dollmaking from sewing machines to pins and needles, dressmaker’s shears, pipe cleaners for wiring fingers, armature materials and tools, and where to find everything along with specific brands and recommendations. It can save you lots of time and money by showing you what to get (and why) without having to do the research yourself.

It should be ready to go in the next two or three weeks. It is currently out being edited by Vicki Petticord to help make sure I haven’t missed anything, and that it is as simple as possible to understand and use. Look for the announcement here soon.

Jim

New Disappearing Marker Video

Here is a new video on disappearing markers for dollmaking. It includes the new Pilot FriXion heat-activated disappearing gel pen. Mimi and I created this as part of Mimi’s Mannequins, and I’m finally getting around to posting it. I have several more videos and patterns to post, so expect them soon.

Happy Dolling,

Jim

Mimi Update March 1, 2017

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and good wishes. Many of you have asked about how Cassi and I are doing/coping with Mimi’s passing. I’m going to attempt to give you some idea in this letter.

As those of you who know me are aware, I am very much an introvert who doesn’t like to be around people much. However, having lived with Mimi for more than 40 years, I’ve gotten used to living in a goldfish bowl. Besides, it might be therapeutic.

Mimi died early Sunday morning around 2 am, February 19, 2017. The hardest night was the Friday before she died. I was in pain the whole night. I think it’s because I knew she wasn’t really there anymore. I was alright Saturday, and even Sunday, but Monday I had several sobbing episodes.

The rest of the week has been mostly lethargy on my part and Cassi’s part. Both of us were hardly able to function. We have been working hard at getting just one task done each day. We spend a day on the dresser and clothes drawers, and another on the closet. We spent an entire day just taking the clothing to the Hope Chest and Goodwill. We spent a day on the bathroom. We spent a day food shopping. That’s five of the ten days, and mostly we didn’t do anything the rest of the days. I am binge reading and binge watching Netflix. I find it hard to do anything else. I don’t have trouble sleeping, but I have a lot of trouble getting out of bed.

We still have to go through the dolls and the books and the studio. This will take many days, particularly at the rate we are going. I hope to get the local art guild to help get the studio cleaned out. Then we have the kitchen and pantry. (We took 2 days for the refrigerator and freezer.)

Cassi has hyperextended ligaments all over her body. That means she is “double jointed” everywhere. From a more practical point of view, it means that her toes and knees and shoulders dislocate by themselves frequently. That prevents her from working more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. For some reason, she was dropped from Medicaid (thanks Florida) and we have to reapply for social security SSI and fight our way through the bureaucracy.

I have a number of other tasks that I will get to as I can.

  • Dolls for Lisa Lichtenfels.
  • Dolls and gifts for family members.
  • NIADA, Doll and Toy Collectors Club of NYC, and doll convention t-shirts, sweatshirts, programs, souvenirs, and other things that should go to dollmakers instead of Goodwill. (If you are interested, let me know.)
  • Send personal thank you messages to as many of you as I can.
  • New ebook of Victoria Rose pattern.
  • New ebook of Pretty Faces videos.
  • New pattern for Elves.
  • New pattern for High Priestess.
  • New pattern for Spartacus.
  • Behind the Scenes at Mimidolls – the technology of dollmaking and publishing patterns and videos. (A series of articles.)
  • Finish my book and deck of Tarot Cards.

I really have no idea how we are going to do this. We have a Canadian Lynx and a Mink fur coat that she was saving to make teddy bears (neither is wearable). We have enough beads and bobbins and threads and art supplies to fill up an art supply store. Oh, well, Mimi always said: “She who dies with the most stuff, WINS!” I just didn’t think she was serious.

Anyway, I’ll try and give you a new report every week or two. Let me know what you want to hear about. (You can email me at Jim@JimWiner.Com. I may not be able to answer emails individually, but I will try to answer question or discuss ideas when I write again.)

Thanks for listening.

Jim