Diary of a Mad Dollmaker

Mimi's Weblog – Let's Talk About Dollmaking

Mimi’s Mannequins & Pattern Draping Arrives at Christmas 2015

Mimi’s Mannequins and Pattern Draping (Techniques for Dollmaking) is almost finished and it is spectacular. It has almost 6 hours of classroom video full of techniques for dollmaking. We began this project almost 5 years ago, and we got interrupted by cancer. Now we’re back on track for Christmas of 2015.

Mimi’s Mannequins presents quarter-scale male and female mannequins as separate patterns with a single set of instructions for both. The dollmaking workshop is all about techniques and the similarity of the human form. Mimi’s Pattern Draping shows you how to create patterns for clothing that will fit your own dolls. It uses the mannequins as tailor’s dummies for draping the clothing patterns.

We have condensed the 4-day dollmaking workshop and the 2-day pattern draping workshop into almost 6 hours of video. Unlike previous workshop DVD sets, we will not be manufacturing this one by ourselves. We are forced to go to a pre-ordering setup to have the money to pay for the manufacturing.

In addition to the video, Mimi’s Mannequins includes:

  • A Shopping List e-book that you can copy to your phone or tablet (or print out) to take to the crafts store with you.
  • The pattern sheets can be printed on your own printer, or you can take them to an office supply store or copy center.
  • After watching the videos, you can use the included step-by-step, photo-by-photo storyboards on your phone, tablet, or computer to make the dolls and clothing. You can refer back to the video anytime you need it.

Who is it For?

In addition to the videos, the go-at-your-own-pace, step-by-step, picture-by-picture storyboards make Mimi’s Mannequins & Pattern Draping suitable for all levels of doll makers from beginner to advanced. You need some hand-sewing and machine-sewing experience, and it’s not really for first time (novice) dollmakers. It is particularly good for those who have trouble fitting clothes on dolls.

We’re opening a Kickstarter campaign on Thursday, Oct. 15th for pre-orders. We’re launching it on Kickstarter so we can raise enough money to publish the 4-DVD set. We’ve got some really great discounts, and some nice perks and souvenirs like the 2015 Kickstarter Hall of Fame at Mimidolls.Com, a chance to vote on features of what we do next, a signed & numbered limited edition, having your name listed in the ending credits, all the way up to a visit to Mimi’s studio.

Here’s the opening video that tells you about Mannequins. At the Kickstarter pre-order campaign.

You can also see the full video (24 minutes) of Lesson 5: Making Arm & Hands by visiting the kickstarter campaign.

Kickstarter for Mannequins

Click to visit our Kickstarter pre-order campaign

We expect to mail in time for Christmas 2015 to the US and Canada (possibly later elsewhere) for orders received by the end of the Kickstarter campaign at midnight Nov. 15, 2015. (You can still order after that on Mimidolls.Com, but you’ll miss the special prices, perks, and Christmas delivery.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Posted by | Free Video, Mimi's Mannequins, Sale | , , | 5 Comments

Christmas Sale — Mimi’s Health — Pattern Status Update

Christmas Sale 2014

  • All downloads, 25% off.
  • All shipped items, 20% off.
  • Ends 12/31.

The Cancer is Back  ̶  Round 2

The cancer is back and we’re now in round 2 of the fight. (Round 1 is reviewed below.)

At the end of the first round, there was no evidence of disease. We decided to discontinue the chemotherapy because of the side effects on Mimi’s mind and the chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). That was over a year ago.

Since that time, Mimi has had physical therapy for both hands and feet. She has worked small projects because of the limited amount of time she can work at a stretch. We have completed video taping for Mimi’s Mannequins & Pattern Draping. We have completed most of the base video taping for the first volume of the Make a Doll with Your GrandKid series. We had a decent year if not altogether good.

Then one of the PET scans came back showing a growth where one of the metastasized spots had been on the liver.

Mimi had five radiation treatments. The major side effect was overwhelming tiredness. The primary effect was nothing. The cancer didn’t seem to care. So, now Mimi is back on a different chemotherapy. This one doesn’t cause chemo fog or peripheral neuropathy. It’s principle side effects are constant nausea, chronic fatigue, and generally feeling poorly.

But the cancer is going away again.

And Mimi is designing two new dolls. They will be Spartacus and the High Priestess made in knit fabric with a much simpler and easier patterns.

Pattern Status Update

Mimi’s Mannequins — Status (December, 2014)

Mimi’s Mannequins & Pattern Draping will be out in the first quarter of 2015. We were trying to get it out for Christmas, but between Mimi being sick and Jim having constant interruptions, we are running at about one quarter speed.

There will be 3 DVDs for the Mannequins and a 4th DVD just for the Pattern Draping. We will not be accepting orders until we are ready to ship.

There are four lessons on each of the first 3 discs. Lessons 3-12 (half of disc 1 and all of discs 2 and 3) are complete except for music. Lesson 2 needs some soundtrack fixes. Lesson 1 (Introduction) is being completely revised to show newer techniques and simpler explanations.

We have finished taping all the video for the Pattern Draping DVD. Now we need to edit it down from 8 hours to 2 hours and record the soundtrack.

Storyboard/Video Workshop
Teach Your Grand Kid to Sew – Vol 1

A single, 90 minute DVD provides a quick and easy video workshop with lots of options for customization of the face, hair, and clothing. In addition to full-size patterns, a complete storyboard is included for use step-by-step while creating the doll.

This will be our first HD video.

We have finished storyboarding and taping all steps prior to making the face. (The face is made before the head is attached to the body.)The FaceKit has been tested and we have found a new technique that makes it much easier. We have done preliminary work on the HairKit and the ClothesKit.

We are using the FaceKit, HairKit, and ClothesKit as a way to avoid copyright problems when the dolls are made to resemble TV or game favorites.

We hope to have this Combination Video Workshop finished 2nd quarter, 2015.

Spartacus & High Priestess — Status (December, 2014)

Spartacus has been redesigned and tested for double-knit stretch fabric. Both the pattern and the needle-modeling are simpler and more sophisticated. The High Priestess will be redesigned next.

We haven’t yet determined the exact format or whether both will be included with a single set of instructions for both (like Mannequins). There will be some form of Storyboard and some form of Video. We haven’t set a target date yet.

Storyboard/Video Workshop
Teach Your GrandKid to Sew – Vol 2
Teach Your GrandKid to Sew – Vol 3

A single, 90 minute DVD provides a quick and easy video workshop with lots of options for customization. Volume 2 is basic training in anatomy, proportion, balance, and motion using a simple, “sketch” doll. Volume 3 is creating simple characters for storytelling. In addition to full-size patterns, a complete storyboard is included for use step-by-step while creating the doll(s). We haven’t set the target dates yet.

Cancer Round 1 Review: Excerpted from Diary of a Mad Dollmaker, August 18, 2013.

I can’t fully express how much I appreciate the prayers and other forms of positive energy sent into the Universe on my behalf. I know your help has contributed to my healing.

My stage 4 colorectal cancer showed up in 11 months and it’s pretty much gone away in the next 11 months.

The Good News is that my last PET Scan showed the lesions in the liver and the original mass are both almost undetectable. I will have a colonoscopy in the fall to know for sure it is all gone. I have been off chemo for about a month, and I will stay off indefinitely. (Never really cured, only in remission.)

I will continue to have blood-work and have my port flushed on a monthly basis, and do another PET Scan in 3 months.

All my side effects are gone except for 2. This is the wonderful good news for me and my family.

The Not Quite So Bad News is that my year-old chemo brain should clear up in a few months. My family is very happy about that as it is driving them crazy.

The Bad News is that the Neurologist tells me that the Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CINP) is permanent. I refuse to settle for that and hope for improvement over time – physical and occupational therapy and massage of hands and feet. I need to get over this now so I can drive again and get back to my first love, teaching.

The Neurologist is primarily concerned with alleviating the pain rather than improving on the function. Eventually, he wrote me a script for the same type of therapy that is used for Diabetes caused Peripheral Neuropathy. The therapist says I will be driving again in a year. (Actually, two therapists, one for hands and arms, and one for legs and feet.) They’ve put me on an exercise program that’s designed to open up new channels for nerve growth – the places that have died have to be bypassed, they won’t come back.

There is no pill, and I would be afraid of it if there was a pill – there’s a problem with side-effects on every damn drug.

Because of the serious neuropathy, handwriting and typing is painful and almost unreadable. The chemo-brain causes me to forget words, have a very short attention span, and very poor short-term memory.

I had to stop working on the DVD on Doll Hair for Dollmaker’s Journey because I simply cannot think clearly or use my hands effectively. I hope to continue this project later this year. Mary Ann at Dollmaker’s Journey has promised to do one if I did not. I hope she does this as there is a need for a good hair book. If I am able to complete it, it will be different anyway. Always room for one more.

Jim is going to concentrate on getting Earth Angels and Mannequins finished.

Jim is working on getting me to storyboard and then voice over instead of talking when I’m on camera. (I write out the script steps and voice over, then we shoot the video clip and record the sound separately.) Jim assembles the clips and voice over tracks. This avoids the problem of having to work and talk at the same time on the camera. I’m hoping to do about three small projects (simple dolls) this year including one with my great grandkid.

Happy Dolling,

Love,

Mimi,

Monday, December 8, 2014 Posted by | Cancer, Health, new patterns, Sale | , , , , | 7 Comments

New Site Design for Mimidolls.Com – Giant Studio Sale -Beau of the Ball

We’ve opened the new Mimidolls.Com. Everything has changed to make it easier to use. The Studio Sale section is open and you can save up to 50% on books, magazines, videos, and everything while supplies last. (We’re moving and don’t have space.)

Mimidolls.Com New Home Page

Mimidolls.Com New Home Page

The new home page has a list of category buttons on the left, and a group of subject tiles on the right. You can select any category or subject by clicking on the button, or, if you have a touch-screen or tablet, by tapping on the category button or subject tile. The number of subject tiles displayed adjusts to fit on your screen.

If you have a small screen, like a netbook, hold down the CTRL key and press “-” to shrink the page so you won’t have to scroll sideways. If you have a giant page, hold down the CTRL key and press “+” to expand the page and make the type larger and easier to read. The F11 key makes the display full screen without the browser at the top and bottom. F11 again brings back the browser. Finally, if you have a wheel on your mouse, you can use it to scroll up and down in the subject tiles.

Navigation Panel

Navigation Panel

Getting around Mimidolls.Com is easy. Simply click any category Category Button button at the left to display appropriate subject tiles and then read or click on a subject tile. Some subject tiles have full information (just a little bit) available by scrolling on the tile itself. Other subject tiles open new pages with the information described in the tile.

Click the return Return Button button to get back to the same category, or click any category Category Button for the desired category.

Some related pages are connected by previous Previous Button and next Next Button buttons that let you see all of the pages in the group without going back to the category each time.

Mimidolls.Com Polilcy Page

Mimidolls.Com Polilcy Page

For example, the “Contact Us / Policy” button at the top shows you tiles about our policies. Similarly, the “Studio Sale” button near the bottom shows you subcategory tiles for all of the things we don’t have the space to take with us. Check out the bargains — most items are priced at half price or less compared to other sites or eBay.

Mimidolls.Com Studio Sale

Mimidolls.Com Studio Sale

We’ve also posted our latest FREE Video Tutorial for dollmakers: Anatomy: Scale and Proportion on the home page and the Video Tutorials page.

Beau of the BallBeau of the BallBeau of the Ball

Beau of the Ball by Mimi. 20″ muslin — One-of-a-Kind — Prototype. ODACA Convention Centerpiece.

Beau is a cloth doll. His body is sewn from Mimi’s original Stud Muffin (Indoor) pattern using a 240 thread count muslin. He is stuffed with Airtex Premium polyfil.

His clothing is mid 15th century. He wears canions and trunk hose (undergarments), silk knit hosen and garters made from golden Kreinik thread. His shoes are painted leather fastened and embellished with antique buttons.

His coral canions are made from silk chiffon. His pansied slops (short, wide breeches) are silk stuffed with netting. (The ones actually worn at that time were often stuffed with the slashed garments of the man he bested in a duel.)

His chemise (shirt) is silk. The cuffs are embellished with antique French gold lace. Buttons are seed beads. His jerkin is golden silk lined in coral silk. The shourlder wings are embellished with gold lace as are the jerkin front and neck.

The picadis on the hem of the jerkin are lined in the same coral silk embellished as the rest of the garment. His ruff is several layers of orange silk netting.

His cape (not shown) is made of re-embroidered (gold on gold) silk lined with a coral and gold silken fabric and embellished with Kreinik threads.

His mask is cut from the same fabric lining the cape, trimmed with antique French lace and tied with Kreinik ribbon.

Hair, goatee, moustash and eyebrows are hand dyed short curly fabric.

And here’s Mimi’s latest doll: Beau of the Ball

Saturday, May 26, 2012 Posted by | Free Video, Sale, Website News | , , | Leave a comment

Mimi’s Christmas 2011 Sale – 20% Off DVD Sets and E-Patterns

Mimi’s Christmas 2011 sale begins today, November 23, 2011 and runs until the end of the year.

Save 20% on Mimi’s Modular Mermaids and Mimi’s Pretty Face DVD sets!

Save 20% on most E-Patterns!

Click Here to Visit the Sale!
(Opens a new tab.)

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011 Posted by | Sale | | Leave a comment

You can take a Private, 6-Day Dollmaking Workshop with Mimi!

Mimi’s Modular Mermaid is here! Suitable for ALL Skill Levels!

6 DVDs — 20 Lessons — 163 Chapters
— 12 Hours 58 Minutes of Classroom Video!

No Travel Required!

Your own copy is less than 1/6 the cost of a 3-day seminar! Much less when you include travel and hotel expenses!

Learn at your own pace. Ask questions and share your work with me through “The Screaming Mimis Workshop” on Yahoo
Groups, established by Sandra Bejster especially for folks making my dolls.

Below are the new introduction video and the new Wefting Fibers Demonstration taken from Lesson 19.

Complete 6-Day Dollmaking Workshop on DVD Suitable for all skill levels

Mermaid Case Outside

Mermaid Case Outside

Mermaid Case Inside

Mermaid Case Inside

  • 6-disc DVD set with 12 hours 58 minutes of over-the-shoulder classroom video.
  • 20 Lessons with 163 easy-to-navigate chapters covering every aspect of mermaid construction.
  • Electronic pattern sheet on the first DVD. Printed pattern sheet on lightweight paper optional.
  • 1″ thick 6-disc DVD plastic case for storage.

Filled with the complete contents of Mimi’s 6-day dollmaking workshop.

Suitable for all levels. If you can do basic machine sewing to make the seams on the torso and tail, you will learn everything else you need from watching the step-by-step video.

What You Will Learn:

  • Precision machine sewing.
  • Stuffing smoothly and firmly using the right tools.
  • How to make your seams beautiful so that they are part of the design.
  • How to make your own finger-turning tools and easily turn tiny fingers.
  • How to make hands that can grasp objects.
  • How to make webbed hands without having to turn fingers.
  • How to make and needle model a lovely female torso.
  • How to make 3 types of poseable hands and arms.
  • How to make 4 different poseable tails.
  • How to make 3 different types of flukes.
  • How to create many different poses using modular arms, tails, and flukes.
  • How to needle model a female face.
  • How to use dyes and watercolor effects to paint mermaids.
  • How to bead a stuffed figure.
  • How to weft mohair and other fibers for wigging a doll.

Contents:

  • Disc 1
    • 01 Introduction (45 min)
    • 02 Sewing Torso Skin (41 min)
    • 03 Stuffing Torso (26 min)
  • Disc 2
    • 04 Needle-Model Torso (56 min)
    • 05 Webbed Arms (46 min)
    • 06 Poseable Hands (29 min)
  • Disc 3
    • 07 Poseable Arms (42 min)
    • 08 Sewing Head Skin (32 min)
    • 09 Needle-Model Nose (37 min)
    • 10 Needle-Model Eyes (30 Min)
  • Disc 4
    • 11 Needle Model Mouth & Close (54 min)
    • 12 Ears (20 min)
    • 13 Tails (41 min)
    • 14 Flukes (36 min)
  • Disc 5
    • 15 Wall Doll Variation (53 min)
    • 16 Overhead Flukes Variation (55 min)
    • 17 Other Variations (4 min)
  • Disc 6
    • 18 Coloring (34 min)
    • 19 Hair (46 min)
    • 20 Embellishing (51 min)

To order your copy at 20% discount ($47.96) until 7/31/2011, please visit Mimidolls.Com.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011 Posted by | Classes, Mimi's Mermaid, new patterns, Sale | , | 8 Comments

Stretch’s Clothing Patterns – Auction Format – Christmas Sale Ending Soon – More Mermaids

The second part of the An Elf Named Stretch was published in the March 2011 issue of Soft Dolls & Animals magazine.

An Elf Named Stretch

This article includes his clothing with shirt, vest, pants, hat, and boots. Since the patterns in the magazine are printed on both sides of the paper, we have put the original clothing patterns up on the web site  so you can download them for printing on one side of the paper. You can print them on regular paper or on card stock (if your printer will take card stock) to get instant templates without having to trace patterns or paste paper printouts onto file folders. Both the Stretch body patterns and clothing patterns are in the same file that you can download by clicking Mimi’s Complete Stretch the Elf Pattern Sheet.

We expected the article on how to needle model his chest would appear before the clothing. It may appear in a future issue. If it doesn’t, we’ll publish it on the web site.


Our Christmas sale is ending on February 15, 2011.

We will be discontinuing the Mimi’s Child Interactive Video pattern. If you are a pattern collector, and you want this one, now is the time.

We need your help!

We have hundreds of out-of-print cloth doll and animal patterns by other designers and dozens of out-of-print books. I’m so busy designing my own work at this point that I will never get to any of them. We would like to auction them off to other dollmakers and pattern or book collectors.

The problem is EBAY is not a good place for this kind of thing. We are looking for a better auction site or we could do a silent auction on out own web site. We don’t know what to do. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. Here are a few examples of what we have:

Patterns:

RenaissanceMaiden

Fantasy Fashions 1981: Pattern for ADULT human for Renaissance Maiden. Includes instructions for adult, girl’s large, and girl’s medium and small variations. Includes guide for M’Lady’s Bonnet, Wizard’s Hat, Jester’s Hood, Renaissance Cap, Cindy’s Bonnet, Flat Cap, Renaissance Cap, Mob Cap, Bag Hats. Also includes 2 hand written pages by the designer on how to alter some parts of pattern to create another style.


Victorianna Petite by Elizabeth Biship, 1990: 20-inch cloth doll with ball gown, high-heeled boots, lacy undies, Gibson girl hairdo. Flexible, posable limbs with another strapless ball gown that has bouffant skirt and petticoat. Miniature satin ribbon rose trim. Color cover picture. Muslin body is embellished to look as if she is wearing Victorian underwear. She looks great just in her unmentionables seated on shelf in bathroom or bedroom. Other clothing patterns available.


Books:

MarionettesOnstage

Marionettes Onstage by Leonard Suib & Muriel Broadman 1975: Divided into three major parts. 1) The New Marionette – words, drawings and photos show how to make and manipulate a new type of figure that has cardboard as its base — lightweight and perfectly balanced. You don’t need a workshop or complicated equipment. 2) Becoming a Puppeteer – presents a full discussion of playscripts,  performing, stages, scenery, props, music, sound effects, marionette magic, multi-media, putting on the show, and safety. 3) Puppet Theater Management – useful suggestions on how to save time and money, business procedures, professional ethics and affiliations, etc.


Mold Making with Martha Armstrong-Hand 1992: The famous NIADA artist tells you in 32 pages how to make plaster molds for porcelain dolls.


We need your help!
If you can think of any way we can get these patterns and books from us to you, let us know. We don’t really have time to run a silent auction on the web or to mess with EBAY where everybody complains a lot. If you know of a better way, or want to volunteer to help us, let us know as soon as possible. Thanks.


More Mermaids

Wall Doll - Small Tail

Straight Arms with Fins

Wall Doll - "J" tail not included in pattern but easy to figure out


Incidentally, if you sign up for an email subscription using the button on the bottom right of the screen, we’ll tell you by email every time something new is posted.

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Friday, January 28, 2011 Posted by | Auction, Diary, Mimi's Elf, Mimi's Mermaid, Sale | , , | 5 Comments

Mimi’s Christmas Sale has Started!

We’re a day late as usual in getting out Christmas Sale started. Right now you can order any of my ten electronic patterns by return email for 25% off. Instead of downloading like we have been doing, it seems much easier to just send you the instruction book file and the patterns file as email attachments. (Be sure your email address is correct in PayPal.) That way no passwords or tedious downloading, and maybe it will be a little bit quicker. To see more about the patterns available, click on the pictures. A NEW TAB will open and you will have to switch to the new tab to see the description. Close the new tab using the red “X” to come back to this page.

Mimi's Annie Agnes

Mimi's Blossom

Mimi's Father Christmas

Mimi's Happy Birthday Honey

Mimi's Jazz

The Queen's Jester

Mimi's Child (Non Interactive - 25% off)

Mimi's Child Interactive Computer Pattern - 50% off

Mimi's Mr & Mrs

Mimi's Victoria Rose

Mimi's Bertie

Mimi's Bertie

We’re also offering the Mimi’s Child Interactive Computer pattern at 50% off because we have discovered that most dollmakers do not have their computers in the same room with their sewing machines which makes using it difficult. So if you’re a pattern collector, this may be your last chance to get this one.

We will be posting some new items each week (we hope) so check back. We might even get the Mermaid done.

Happy Dolling,
Love,
Mimi

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Thursday, December 2, 2010 Posted by | Instructions, new patterns, Sale | , , | Leave a comment