I have been working on samples of new dolls for my next DVD. The patterns are finally done after 15 attempts. They are a pair of adult dolls, a 15½” female and a 17″ male. They are very easy dolls to make. They just took a long time to design.
Mimi's Mannequins, Front View
Mimi's Mannequins, Face and Chest Profiles
Mimi's Mannequins, Rear View
Easy is not the same as simple.
I do complicated very well. It only took 30 years to figure out how to simplify a doll pattern from 36 pattern pieces down to 8 or 10 and still have the same form – in muslin. Anyway, a simple doll is a cookie cutter doll – a doll with 1 pattern piece. Some of my pin dolls have 2 pattern pieces. A simple doll is usually easy. The Mannequins are EASY-TO-MAKE complex dolls. The shape is built into the pattern and the technique is built into the instructions.
When I make a doll in micro suede or other fabrics with more stretch, I feel as if I am cheating because I can take a one-dimensional pattern and make it look three-dimensional with the way I stuff it – it is so much easier for me. But I also like the look and feel of a really good cotton muslin. I have had letters, (way back when), from folks who saw my dolls in a magazine and asked where I get my molds.
The body requires little or no needle modeling – just a stitch or two to pull the breasts in and make the crotch V-shaped so the legs will fit. The face doesn’t need to be needle modeled at all. (You can if you want to, or paint eyes, or just leave it blank.)
The interesting thing is that except for the torso front, the directions for the male and the female are exactly the same! The female has two upper front torso pieces and one lower front torso piece to get the breasts. The male has one upper front torso piece and two lower front torso pieces to get the abs. The rest of the doll construction is exactly the same – the shapes of the pattern pieces are similar but different. The pattern pieces even have the same numbers: F1, M1, F2, M2, etc.
Jim says I have to get the dolls all on one disc. They are actually mannequins but I gave them legs and heads because I know whoever purchases the discs will want to make dolls from these patterns. The arms are not sewn on because the body must be draped before the arms are stitched in place. I put the bodice on the doll, then sleeve the arm, roll back the sleeve and stitch the arm in place then stitch the sleeve to the bodice, the second disc will teach you how to drape patterns and create clothing to fit any doll.
The second disc is a class on how to drape the bodies and feet to make basic contemporary patterns for bodices, shirts, skirts and pants, and shoes as well as wigs. I hope there is room on the disc to show how to create a doll’s tailored jacket. I am tired of seeing “male” dolls wearing jackets that do not fit properly and look as if it has been slept in for months. Once you understand how to drape you can drape anything, even a horse. The reason we have to keep it to one disc for the dolls and one disc for the draping and clothing is to keep the price down so it’s more affordable.
The bodies are quite nice. I am happy with them. They have a new easy to make leg armature that allows the doll to stand alone and a new way to make the foot stronger without using a piece of cardboard. Both dolls have bare feet with (optional) needle modeled toes. The samples are naked, of course, because they are mannequins. (Also because I haven’t done the costumes yet.)
I would like to do a series of DVD classes on how to create patterns and sew period costumes for these mannequins. If the costume requires a certain style of shoe I will include a new leg for each doll that will have the foot shaped as if it were already wearing the shoe for that outfit. Then it can easily be draped to cover the “shoe” with cloth or leather.
I have had a couple of requests for early 20th century patterns. I enjoy both Italian and French Renaissance, and English Elizabethan court clothing. Wigs will have to be included. Each “class” will be limited to two discs to keep them affordable.
If there is a particular period you prefer let me know and I will add it to the file I keep so I can do the ones you want most next.
I would appreciate some feedback on this. Please let me know what you would like to have in a DVD Mimi class. (I let Mimi out of the suitcase from time to time – only my Grandchildren and all kids call me Mimi. Family and friends call me Gloria so I keep Mimi as a public persona and that way I can be myself and not have to put up with her all the time.)