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.)

Mimi’s Health Update – Mimi’s Mannequins and Pattern Draping

Hi everybody,

Sorry for taking so long to let everybody know what’s happening with Mimi – I have been sick and away from the computer for a while.

Mimi’s neck is fine. She is off the soft collar except when she has overdone working, or come back from physical therapy. She has about one more month of physical therapy to go (twice a week to get more range of movement).

She was allowed to go back to chemotherapy about four weeks ago, but I waited for the scan results before sending out an update, and then waited while we figured out what the scan results meant. She still has the spots on the dome of her liver. We started the Captosar again, every other week, which is less aggressive treatment than before. It’s not clear whether the doctor doesn’t think more is needed, or whether he’s just treating it like a chronic disease, which it is. The Captosar causes much more nausea than the previous treatment (oxyplatin), but doesn’t cause side effects that cause peripheral neuropathy. She has a new treatment for the chemo induced peripheral neuropathy (CINP) that is much better. So, on the two week schedule, she is sick for about one week and okay for about one week and then we start over. No end in sight yet. Next scan in about 3 months.

Mannequins and Pattern Draping is almost done. We will starting taking pre-orders about the middle of September for before Christmas delivery. We are going to use a crowd funding site and have special deals and premiums to get things moving. This is necessary because it’s one hell of a good DVD class, and we can’t manufacture enough sets by ourselves, so we have to have enough money from pre-orders to pay a manufacturing company. We used to do this ourselves, but we aren’t up to it this time. We’ll send out notices when it’s ready.

Mimi only gets to her email about once every 2 weeks. Don’t be alarmed if you send her email and don’t hear back in a reasonable amount of time.

I have been sick for about a week. The doctor thinks it’s flu. I think it’s stress. I’m getting back to work now.

Thanks for your interest.

Jim

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,

Mimi’s Mannequins – How to Paint a Male Face – Free Video

How can it be a Mimi Doll without a needle-modeled face? See for yourself! I painted the face of the male mannequin (manikin) and we made a FREE VIDEO that you can watch on here and at  (http://Mimidolls.Com).

Mimi’s Mannequins are a pair of adult dolls, a 15½” female and a 17″ male. They are very easy dolls to make. The shape is built into the patterns and the techniques are built into the instructions. The 2-disc Dollmaking Workshop Classroom on a DVD will be available in mid-November, 2011.

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 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. Once you understand how to drape you can drape anything, even a horse.

Be sure to keep track of the status here on the Diary of a Mad Dollmaker blog. There’s a place over at the end of the right column where you can get an email subscription.

Happy Dolling,

Love,

Gloria (“Mimi”)
http://Mimidolls.Com

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Mimi’s Mannequins – First Look

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, Front View

Mimi's Mannequins, Face and Chest Profiles

Mimi's Mannequins, Face and Chest Profiles

Mimi's Mannequins, Rear View

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.)

Happy Dolling,

Love,

Gloria (“Mimi”)