Diary of a Mad Dollmaker

Mimi's Weblog – Let's Talk About Dollmaking

How to Ladder Stitch in HD, Victoria Rose 3rd Edition Coming Soon

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

Friday, May 19, 2017 Posted by | Free Video, new patterns | , | 1 Comment

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

Mimi’s Universal Toddler is Back!

Mimi’s Universal Toddler is back!

After being out-of-print for many years, the Universal Toddler is back in electronic form for download or on CD at a much lower price (we don’t have to print or ship all that heavy paper). And until October 15, it’s another 25% off the new lower price.

  *  The definitive textbook for knit fabric dollmaking.
  *  You can make this beautiful 16″ cloth doll in just a weekend.
  *  Five Star Rating for beginning, intermediate, and advanced cloth dollmakers.
  *  All skill levels from quick & easy to collector quality.
  *  Pattern sheets included from 12″ to 36″

Picture-by-picture, multi-level instruction book includes full size, cut-out, 16″ patterns for boy and girl. Optional instructions and pattern pieces for sexing boy and girl dolls. Clothing includes bathrobe, girl’s rhumba panties, boy’s briefs, bunny and bear slippers, and stuffed toy. Fixed-leg doll stands alone without armature or doll stand. Certificate, hangtag, pattern sheets for 12″ to 36″ sizes, jointed leg supplement and 12″-22″ jointed leg pattern pieces all included. Body also accepts porcelain heads, hands and feet.

  *  You are licensed to sell dolls made from this pattern.
  *  This is the world renown textbook for making dolls from knit doll fabric. A complete course in dollmaking.
  *  NOTE: Available only as Electronic copy. It has become too expensive to print and ship paper copies.
  *  NOTE: The different sized pattern sheets are not simple reductions or enlargements. For each pattern size, the head is reproportioned to look right. Small sizes have relatively larger heads than large sizes.

More Books!

We have almost all of the books that won’t fit in our new apartment listed in the Studio Sale. There are great bargains here, but only one copy of each book. Check it out before everything you want is gone.

Sunday, September 30, 2012 Posted by | Mimi's Universal Toddler, new patterns, Website News | , | 6 Comments

Mimi’s 6″ Dancing Pin Doll – New Free Project Sheet

Just click the picture to download this new FREE project sheet for a 6-inch dancing pin doll.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011 Posted by | Free Patterns, Instructions, new patterns | , , | 2 Comments

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”)

Sunday, September 25, 2011 Posted by | Mimi's Mannequins, new patterns | , | 12 Comments

An Elf Named Stretch is Here – Free Pattern (& Mermaids Too!)

Mimi’s New Elf doll is a twelve inch male Elf on walk-about. One leg is armatured so he can be posed mid-step. He wears breeches and has a vest and shirt (which he totes in his carryall so he can expose his manly chest). He also has shoes and a woodsmen’s hat.

Some of these instructions, patterns, and photographs were printed in the December and February issues of Soft Dolls & Animals! Magazine. This new free pattern with instructions is the original version from which those articles were adapted.

To get a copy of the 27 page instructions and the 5 pattern sheets, go to Mimidolls.Com and click on the download link.

Stretch Clothed Hello

Hello, I'm Stretch

stretch Bare ByeBye

Bye Bye

Here are some of the Mermaids in Progress from our soon-to-be-released Mimi’s Modular Mermaid Dollmaking Workshop on DVD. It will have 6 discs and 13 – 14 hours of video:

Mermaid with Overhead Flukes, Webbed Arms

Mermaid with Overhead Flukes, Webbed Arms

wall Doll with Posable Arms

wall Doll with Posable Arms

wall Mermaid with Webbed Arms Out

Wall Mermaid with Webbed Arms Out

mermaid on Side with Arm on Head

Mermaid on Side with Arm on Head

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Monday, May 23, 2011 Posted by | Free Patterns, Mimi's Elf, Mimi's Mermaid | , , , | 4 Comments

New Free Project Sheet – Mimi’s Dancin’ Pin Doll (5″)

We have a new FREE pin doll project to introduce you to our new interface. Just go to Mimidolls.Com, click on the “Free Stuff” button on the right, go down to the “Other Free Stuff” selection, and then select the Mimi’s Dancin’ Pindoll (5″) Project Sheet to download the sheet. It should print on any home printer with no problems.

Mimi's Dancin' Pin Doll (5")

Mimi's Dancin' Pin Doll (5")

You might also want to take a look at the “Video Tutorials” button.

Lots more stuff coming soon.

Monday, March 7, 2011 Posted by | Free Patterns, new patterns, Pin Dolls | , , | 5 Comments

Mimi’s Christmas Sale Continues – Mimi’s Mermaid – Elf Named Stretch

We got the sale up late, and Jim’s not able to do as much so It’s going to have to stay up until he has time and energy to redo the website again because the blog needs to get done first.

The second part of the An Elf Named Stretch was published in the March 2011 issue of Soft Dolls & Animals magazine. I submitted both how to needle model his chest and how to make his clothes. They chose only to run the clothes, so I’m waiting to hear back from them if they are going to do the needle modelling section, or if I can post it on the web site. We’ll put the clothing patterns up on the web site as soon as we can so you can download them for printing on one side of the paper.

We are currently working on two DVDs. The first is Mimi’s Modular Mermaid that I started when Cassi was 7 has developed quite a bit now that she is thirteen.  The mermaid is posable (but each pose is separate, not movable) with both articulated arms with wired hands that can hold things, and display arms and hands that have extra fin surface for decoration. She can sit, lie on her stomach with her arms up or down and her tail over her head. There are four different tails and two sets of flukes so you can get lots of variations. Here’s some pictures:

There are also wall mounted variations with gigantic tail flukes and arm and pectoral fins.

Arms Overhead

Red Mermaid

Sitting Blue Mermaid

David's Blue Mermaid

Orange Mermaid

The second DVD will be Mimi’s Handbook of Dollmaking Techniques . It will include videos or animations of everything on the website, and dozens of new techniques collected from everywhere.

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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Wednesday, January 19, 2011 Posted by | Mimi's Mermaid, new patterns | , , | 4 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