Friday, January 6, 2017

It's a Cover-Up!!!

We've all been there. You find yourself in between doll purchases. You need a fix. You've blown your budget and you don't have much to spend. So you go to your local store to satisfy that "need" by buying a Barbie accessory pack. The problem is...the color, the style and the cheap plastic have all your dolls putting their fingers down their throats when you get home with the goods. But after you've removed that pair of shoes what to do with everything else? Use them as a base to make something better!
Inside of the Barbie accessory pack I recently purchased, was a necklace I almost liked. The Art Deco design was quite attractive but I imagined how much better it would look with leather inlays instead of silver-tone plastic.
1. I began by making a pattern so I wouldn't waste any of my precious leather scraps. I used a bit of paper tape which I put over each section then traced off to get a pattern.
2. Each pattern is then transferred onto a tiny scrap of leather and then the shapes are cut out. Set this aside.
3. First I wanted to prep the necklace with a coat of shiny silver in case it shows through.
4. Don't forget to paint the edges that are also likely to be seen

1. Now let's get started. Slather on the glue, section by section and lay on your leather squares onto the necklace.
2. I wanted a black and white necklace, so I put the black in the middle and the white on either side.
3. I felt it should have something else, so using 24 gauge silver jewelry wire, I wrapped the intersections of each color.
4. Using a pair of jewelry pliers, I pressed the wire in close to the necklace. Be careful not to press too hard or you'll break your necklace.
5. I continued to wrap the two sides of the necklace with this wire. Begin by placing a bit of the wire on the back side and wrap so as to cover this end. As you work, push the wire close together.
6. Again, I stop and press the wire together towards the necklace.
7. When you get to the neck, try to tuck the end underneath the other wire. However, if you are worried about the necklace scratching the doll, you can always put a bit of felt or leather on the underside.
8. And voila....Iman is wearing a REALLY nice necklace!!!

Very happy with the way that turned out, I found another necklace that had come with one of my SIS Barbies.
1. Here is the original necklace. Lots of possibilities for personalization! For this one, I didn't want the bling. Instead, I wanted to do something more discreet.
2. I start by applying glue to one stem of the necklace.
3. Using silky embroidery yarn, I put one end on the underside, then begin wrapping the yarn around to cover.
4. Keep wrapping tightly around the stem until you reach the end and dab a bit of glue underside and tuck the yarn underneath.
5. Repeat on the other side.

6. I rough cut a few rough cut strips of fabric.
7. Stitch them together at midpoint.
8. Cut a tiny circle of felt and glue to the medallion on the necklace.
9. Stich the base of it to the felt and readjust the strips.
This project really gets interesting when you personalize the Barbie handbags! I was given a lot of old Barbie accessories which included this very sweet, heart shaped (bubblegum pink plastic) purse.
1. With irregular shaped objects, the trick is to make a pattern so that you can better cut your material to fit.
2. I begin with a piece of tracing paper. I trace off the shape of the bag in the front.
3. Use a narrower piece of paper for the perimeter.
4. Make slits on both edge so that the paper will lay flat on the top. Trace off the edges.
5. Now place the paper around to check for fit.
6. Place the front pattern piece on the bag and then the sides to check for fit.
7. I used scraps of suede although you can use vinyl, felt or any other non-woven material. Lay your pattern on the material and cut out your pattern.
8. But we'll begin with the handle which I've decided to cover with a tiny strip of suede. You can use ribbon, embroidery yarn or simply paint it.
9. I lay down the edge of this strip then wrap the rest of it around it.
10. Wrap tightly right to the opposite edge.
11. Ad a dab of glue and fix to the inside of the purse.
 12. Now let's cover the outside. I begin by applying glue (I'm using rubber cement) to the sides of the purse.
13. Then carefully lay the side strip (remembering to cut the notches out on both edges to accommodate the handles) around the purse.
14. Next apply the glue to the side of the purse and carefully place the material over it. Repeat for the other side.
15. As for the top, you will be confronted as to how to deal with the part that shows.
16. Admittedly I thought a coat of paint would suffice. But alas, I wasn't completely happy with the results.
17. So I cut another small strip of suede to lay over the top and I'm much happier!
18. And here is the final result! I still have the sweet shape of the heart, but with the suede, it's a more sophisticated version my dolls just love!
Here's another handbag. This one has a relief and here's how I dealt with it.

 1. In the land of Barbie, bubblegum pink with cute little bows are all the thing. But my girls (even the playline Barbies) want something a little more sophisticated.
2. Using paper tape, I covered the handbag as a way of making a pattern. Cut notches around the base of the handles.
3. Here the is a bulge created by the knot of the bow. I let it poke through here. Then I trace around the edges of the handbag. Remove.
4. Apply another piece of tape on the side and trace the form.
5. Remove from the purse and place the front and the sides directly on the material. Here, I've chosen scraps of leather from an old belt.
6. Here is what my coverings look like
7. Apply glue to both the front and back of the bag and carefully put the leather onto the purse. Stretch it well and smooth out any gaps.
8. Be sure to press around the handles and at the top.

 9. Glue the sides, one at a time and carefully put the leather in place. For this bag, I've chosen to paint the straps.
10. You might have a bit of an overlap on the sides. Carefully cut away the excess.
11. I've decided to add a chain shoulder strap. Take a thin strip of leather. Add or make an eye ring for each edge. Attach the chain catching it inside of a loop on one side and threading it through the eye ring on the opposite side.
12. This will allow the chain to be used as a shoulder bag or as a handbag. And finally, I glued a bead cap over the little lump in the front of the bag.
Using the same techniques as above, here is the handbag Helena is holding in the opening photo.
Before and after. I covered it in black leather then added a "label" cut from self adhesive Mylar (taken from my car insurance bumper sticker) and a leather tassel. In this case, I wound thin leather around the straps. There was the problem of seeing the blue on the inside. So I added a bit of leather to the inside of the bag and touched up with a bit of black paint.
One last thing.....yes, you can redo those funky, little bubblegum pink boots that go with nothing in your doll's wardrobe!
And so here are those wonderful "boots." I think the idea here was a shoe with leg-warmers.
1. Because the foot is open, you will need to add a bit of cardboard to create a structure for the foot.
2. You don't have to do the next steps, but I wanted a different toe. I used air dry clay to create a new shape around the bottom of this boot.
3. Allow to dry.

 4. Again, I used a few scraps of leather. Old gloves are a good source of leather if you don't have other resources. I first, covered the top to toe of the boot.
5. Barbie boots have a slit down the back, so with a rectangle cut down to the scale of the boot, I begin by tucking in one edge to the underside of the boot. Apply glue to the body of the boot, then stretch the leather (or vinyl of non-woven material) around the boot, then tuck the other end inside of the boot.
6. I stopped to paint the heel.
7. Since there is a seam where the two pieces of material meet, I decided to add a little strap. This wraps around the base of the boot and through an eye ring.
8. Cut another piece for the sole and glue in place. I touch up any areas of the original pink (including the top edge of the boot) with a bit of paint.

Oh Joan is so much happier with her "new" cream colored leather boots!!!!

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  1. Such a great idea! Those purses look amazing! I think I might give this a try.

    1. Hi Erin O and welcome to my blog. Our dolls always need accessories and this is the one of the quickest ways to stay on top of their demands! This was a lot of fun so...enjoy!

  2. Good job! Thanks for the reminder that plastic junk is dandy toi provide shaping.

    1. Thank you. I try to recycle as much as possible because, as you are aware, this hobby can get quite expensive if you let it. And...this eliminates the initial step of having to create a base for the accessory you want to create. Btw..welcome to my blog. Come back any time.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you. Happy you liked this post. Something similar is coming up soon!

  4. All great ideas, I usually just paint them, but lately I bought so many accessories in the right colours that I don't bother any more. I do have a pair of boots I was planning to cover, so thanks for the tips!

    1. Thank you BlackKitty. When I buy shoes, they are usually from Fashion Royalty that I find on eBay. They cost $$$. And I also tend to buy Barbie Model Muse shoes. But when I was buying playline dolls that came with their own accessories, I accumulated a lot of funky pastel colored "hip hop stuff" that didn't work for me. I have painted or glittered a number of shoes, but I wanted something with a different texture and feel. On the subject of shoes...I have something else coming up soon.

  5. Oh my, your going to make dig out all the little purse and re-fashioned them, like today! I need to take inventory of my fabrics, paint and glue so I can get started.

    1. Brini, the possibilities are endless! The purse in the first photo had just the right shape I was looking for to transform it into a "designer" bag. This saves the initial step of making the initial base!

  6. Talk about upcycling, these are great ideas! I am so going to have to try them.

    1. Thank you Jaye. So happy you liked this post.

  7. Wow, these are wonderful! You are a crafter supreme!

  8. Great ideas! Have u ever checked out the accessories packs for the Basic Barbies? They have a more realistic look.

    1. Hi. When I first started collecting the Barbie Basics, I did buy a couple accessory packs. I still have and use those shoes and bags. Those same packs today cost a LOT more and are not readily carried in local stores. Also, sometimes (non-dolly) people give me stuff thinking I can use it. Alas...I finally have a use for it!!!

  9. The first part of this post was funny. I can imagine your ladies turning up their noses at the accessory packs. You performed miracles on those accessories! They are totally unrecognizable.

    1. Well know how spoiled my girls are... They see plastic and wonder why not leather or metal. In any case, I was able to fool them with these accessories! Thank you.

  10. Rewelacyjna koncepcja! Przyznam się, że kiedyś przyszło mi coś takiego na myśl, ale nie podjęłam prób wykonania!
    Twój projekt jest naprawdę wspaniały! Wszystko wygląda profesjonalnie i "z górnej półki"! Piękna praca!
    Pozdrawiam Cię serdecznie!

    1. Olla wrote: Sensational concept! I confess, this idea has occurred to me, but I have not made attempts to do this!
      Your project is really great! Everything looks professional and "top shelf"! Great job!
      Olla, great minds thing alike!!! Yes, there is this desire to use what comes with the doll, but at the same time, we want something nicer. I have been covering the boots for awhile, but just recently decided to cover some of the other accessories as well. In any case, thank you for your lovely compliments. Warmest greetings.

  11. Fantastic idea! Those are exeptional ^^

    1. Thank you Dollmino. Glad to know you enjoyed this post.

  12. Great ideas, thanks for sharing! I should try do this by myself :)

    1. Thank you, Neytiri. Have fun with this project. Glad to know you liked this post.

  13. Hi April! I have a suggestion, I'd love to see a piece on how to make protective undergarments for our dolls when wearing dark clothing, aswell as the alternative wrapping them in plastic. I had seen somewhere on here you mentioned this. I think it would be great for all of us, as I'm sure I'm not the only one who fears staining dolls with dark fabric! Thanks! :)

    1. Hi there. I am always open to suggestions so thank you for yours. I had done a post on how to line a sheath dress. In that post, I recommended using a light tone or flesh tone fabric for the lining for dark garments to guard against staining. Last year, I also did a spa day for the dolls where I showed how to remove the stains created by dark or red fabric along with the suggestion not to leave dolls in dark clothing for extended periods of time. At this moment, I'm involved in a little project with a friend who sent me one of her dolls. Since I don't want anything to happen to this doll while I have her, I made a flesh tone bodysuit out of 2-way stretch material--used for undergarments--for her to wear under her black top. I'm giving a lot of thought to your suggestion but here is, what I see is the problem.... I can do a tutorial on how to do a bodysuit. Of course, it would need to have sleeves. And then we could add a pair of tights to be worn under your garment. But I fear seeing this underneath the garment might detract from the overall look of your fashion! Inasmuch as I do have this stretch material, I will think of doing something like "spanx" type stretch undergarments in a future post. What do you think?

    2. Sounds like it might be a bit complicated lol. If you ever figure something out that works, please share! :)

    3. But I'd still love to see this in a future post!

    4. No's not complicated at all! When you made your pants, you left an opening (either in the front or the back). on the right edge of that opening, stitch a bit of fabric or even a bit of ribbon. Now. Put the pants on the doll and close the pants. As you bring the two sides together, the extension will be on the bottom, (for the most part, out of sight).

    5. I meant it sounds complicated to make a body stocking that won't interfere with their fashions.

    6. Yes, it would be complicated to make special underwear for each and every garment. And you're would not be attractive to see underneath the fashion. On the other hand, in my mother's day, women wore undergarments to support or protect the garment--especially when it came to evening wear. And there is a sheer, very strong material used for professional ice skaters and dancers that gives the appearance of bare skin. I've put those things in my think tank to see if I can come up with something!

  14. Self adhesive Mylar! I can imagine a drawer full of very random things that have future potential!
    I just love these and one would never know, from the finished photo, how tiny these are.I love the black bag with a chain, the cream boots!
    And the adorable red suede heart purse!
    Love to imagine you focused on these mini items!
    Wonderful tutorial!

    1. Thank you Jano. You know I'm in a house with soooo much STUFF and I always try to recycle whenever possible. So when I see little things, I try to figure out what, in real life, they could translate to. (That's how I came up with the necklace findings as belt buckles!) Tiny things are so hard to manipulate but I'm still trying..... Thank you for your kind remarks.

  15. Too bad there isn't an advice section here lol. I have a small sewing dilemma,I made a pair of trousers for one of my Tonner dolls, I did everything right, except fit on doll as I was sewing. Everything looks good except I cannot close the back because it's too small. What would you suggest I do? I thought about somehow making an extention from a piece of fabric. I'd hate to have to make a whole new one, after all of my hours of working on it. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks so much in advance.

    1. If I could just teach my dolls to type..... (LOL!!!) The idea you have (an extension) is exactly what I would do. In real life, when making trousers, often we would make a "fly front" especially for jeans or better quality women's pants. I don't as a rule do this for doll clothes because of the bulk. But in this instance, make a extension by folding a small rectangular piece of fabric in half then sewing it to the opening to your right. When closing the pants, lay the left side over the right (which is, in reality, over the extension). I hope that helps.

    2. Lol mine aswell. Thank you! :)

  16. This is pure art of recycling,well done,love the ideas.

    1. Thank you, M-C. I love to recycle!

    2. Me too. I love finding awesome clothing I don't use to cut up and make stuff for my girls!

    3. One thing about recycling...if the old garment you cut up belonged to's a way of extending the good times you may have experienced wearing that garment. If it belonged to a family member or a's a way to always remember that person!

  17. Replies
    1. Thank you, Allenoel. Glad you enjoyed this post.

  18. Love your ideas! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Thank you for your visit, Shazza. Glad you enjoyed this post.


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