Sunday, September 2, 2018

Taking Stock (Again!)

I have been very busy NOT making clothes!!! If you have more than a couple dozen dolls, you know the problem. As your doll collection grows, so do the number of garments, shoes and accessories. At first you can control it. And maybe, like me, you build a cute little closet from one of those wonderful tutorials on Pinterest. But then the day comes where you need more storage.
A modest beginning in 2013!
In 2013 for my first tutorial, "Taking Stock," I built a lovely little closet out of balsam wood and dowels, fashioned adorable little clothes hangers out of wire. And everything out of season, I put in a box and placed on a shelf in the basement. And then chain migration began.....

More dolls meant more clothes, more shoes, handbags, lingerie, bathing suits, stockings, hats, jewelry and.... boyfriends!!! I found an old drawer which I converted into a closet for the guys by standing it on end and adding dowels. I bought plastic cases to store their shoes. I

Meanwhile in the basement... I couldn't find anything because there was no system And when I did locate the right dress, it was wrinkled! So two years ago, I proposed  "Closet Boxes," an organized way to store dolly's out of season gear upright in a cardboard box and out of the way. And while I am still faithfully storing doll clothes in this fashion, I found that some (many) items needed to be in full view. I was blaming the dolls for stealing borrowing items and losing them. Since that post, I have been reorganizing, building and rebooting....
A hidden camera revealed much activity in the vicinity of the closet while I am out of the room or asleep!

I needed something more practical than "pretty." This time around, I made racks and shelving inexpensively using...3/8" (4mm) foam core board, 3/8" dowels, a straight edge, hot glue gun and toothpicks. It's not difficult, it's not costly and best of is fast!!

My needs now are multiple. I have gowns of varying lengths...from ankle length to trains, pants and shirts. I have lots of black and lots of white. I have spoiled my girls--both the Barbies and the Fashion Royalty clan--with more shoes than I possess for myself! My dolls' needs are very specific. I am showing you 2 shelving units, which is all you need because you can configure the dimensions any way you please according to you own needs. Foam core is super light, but then again, so are dolly's clothes and accessories. You can use wood, but I chose this material because no hammer or drill is necessary. But if you really need to make it "pretty, feel free to paint, cover with auto-adhesive paper, or add trim.

Shelving Unit
I'm using this unit to store my dolls' wardrobe of boots. The unit was made from a single panel of 30x20" foam core board. The back and sides (cut in one piece where it's marked "cut") measure 18-3/4" from the right edge. The bottom panel is 3-3/4" from the bottom edge and the top is 3-3/4" up from the bottom panel. The resulting board is cut into 4 equal panels. You will need to trim a scant 1/8" off the side edge (so they will fit inside of the unit).

1. Measure and draw your lines directly on the board. Use a single edge blade, box cutter and a steel ruler. Cut through at the vertical line to separate the shelves, top and bottom panels from that of the side/back panel.

2. For the back panel, you will need to draw a vertical line 3-3/4" from the left edge and the same from the right edge. Using a straight edge razor or box cutter, score along those two vertical lines. That is, you will cut half way through the board without completely severing. Fold each side inward, in the direction away opposite the cut.

3. Shows what this should resemble.

4. You can use hot glue or some other glue along the top edge of the unit. Lay the top panel on.
Turn upside down and repeat, gluing the bottom panel to the unit.

Lay the shelving unit on its back.
Now let's plan what kind of spacing you will need depending on the accessory. In my case, I have boots of varying lengths. And boots and spats I made out of fabric.

1. Place the objects inside of the box and place your shelves around them.
2. Mark the placement with a pencil. Use a ruler to make sure, from side to side, everything is level. Add glue to the edges of each shelf and slide them in place. You can use 1/2 toothpicks on both sides to keep the panels in place while the glue is drying and as added support.
3. Here, I had fabric boots I chose to suspend so I poked a 3/8" dowel near the top.
4. I made separate hangers using dolly sized clothes pins and wire poked through the wire joint, bent into a S curve.

Note: I cut the dowel so that it would extend away from the shelf which allows me to hand boxes of shoes on each side. These are small translucent boxes I found at the Dollar store. They are normally used to store hardware items like nails, nuts and bolts! I organize the boxes of shoes by color.
In addition to these shoe boxes, I also rummaged through my dad's stuff and found an old storage box, normally used to store nails, nuts & bolts and the like. They are sold at hardware stores.

If you look closely at the photo, you'll also notice I also used different sizes of plastic drawers. One set holds lingerie, tops and scarves. Another for handbags. And the larger holds jewelry, hair stuff, and more shoes for the guys. (My craft drawers are on the other side of the desk.)
Ken's shoes fit into one of those drawers, but my FR guys' shoes are  larger. I found this box (designed to hold beads, thread, etc) at a crafts store. It's kept on the bottom of the guys' closet.

More (Planned) Closet Space
This is really, the same closet I built back in 2013, except I've used foam core instead of wood. Again, this was created using a single panel of 30x20" foam core. It does not have a closed back. But you can always cut another piece of board or poster board if you want it contained.

Here's a variation of the above shelving. In addition to re-positioning the shelves, I added "pegs" to suspend the shoulder bags.

Lengthwise, I divided the board into 4. The top two panels are sides and are cut separately. The bottom two panels are divided in half. This creates the top/back and the bottom/back of the unit.
Cut along the lines marked "cut." and score (or slice lightly and bend) where indicated.
1. When cut apart, it will look like this.
2. The top/back and the bottom/back are scored and folded.
3. Glue along the top edge of the side panels and place the top/back panel (folded 90 degrees) as shown. Turn around and repeat for the bottom. You can insert toothpicks cut in half and pressed into at the corners as extra support.
4. Hold the garments to the unit to determine where the dowels should go. You can use 3/8" or 1/4" dowels.
5. Again, if you want to close off the back, cut a piece of poster board and glue to the back edges.
For this size of closet, I can usually get 3 rows of racks comfortably within. You could add a fourth rack if you have lots of tops and shirts.
Me, I really needed a closet for those black tie dresses and ballgowns. (My girls go to so many glamorous events!) Here, there are only two rows. Perfect!

Hang On!
More closets mean you'll need LOTS more hangers! I made more of the variety I posted in, "Closet Boxes." Only this time, instead of recuperated cardboard, I used sheets of white foam: 3mm is nice but 2mm will do as well. What's nice here is that you create them to fit your doll.
 What's nice is that you can alter them to fit the garment. And you can pin the matching accessories directly onto the foam.
1. Place your doll on a sheet of paper. Trace around her body from her neck to the widest part of her hips. Don't draw the arms.
2. Remove the doll.
3. Smooth out the lines and transfer onto cardboard so that you use as a template.

You don't have to make them all the way to the hips. You could stop just below the waist if you need something to hang a top. You can also cut out the top of the legs so that you can hang matching pants, for example. You can make the hooks yourself...but even better...use Christmas ornament hooks sold in bulk! Cheap and easy!

Closet in My Pocket
MyStuff2 App can be configured to document all of your collections of dolls, clothes & accessories.
While the closet and storage boxes provide a tangible view of  what I have, I also have an inventory system on me at all times. There are a number of very helpful apps on the market for your smart phone or tablet. I use an iPhone app, "MyStuff2." It is a database which can be customized according to your need. I use it to keep track of all my dolls (names, dimensions, "date of birth" and price as well as a detailed account of all their clothing and accessories.  You create the categories and subcategories of your choice, then add pictures and comments. You can view everything at once, or separately. This way I know exactly what I have. Unfortunately this is only for iPhone users. You can download MyStuff2 Lite for free. It allows you to make 15 entries. If you like it, you can buy the full version for $4.99 which allows unlimited entries. For those of you with Android phones, look for an app that allows you to create your own categories and enter photos.

Oh my goodness. Is it September already??!!! Where on earth did summer go. Red carpet events start with the Emmy's (US Television Awards) and Fashion Month begins in New York!!! It's going to be a busy month ahead!

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  1. The photo taken with the hidden camera is hilarious ;-D! So that's what the naughty dolls are up to when they are alone hahaha!
    Your system is very neat, and easy to make! I don't have much accessories and clothes, but still it is a lot to handle, it's amazing how quickly stuff is added isn't it! I use similar plastic boxes like yours, but such wardrobes with hangers are more efficient and take up less space. I admire the wardrobes of your dolls, and their shoe collection, lucky girls and guys :-)!
    I look forward to the September posts about red carpet events and fashion month!

    1. LOL!!!! Oh yes, my (very spoiled) girls are quite mischievous!!! And now that I've organized things for them, I suppose I've made it easier for them to sneak off with more stuff! And yes, it's amazing how much stuff we accumulate for our divas.

  2. This article was really interesting, useful and lots of fun! While I do not have yet "actual" clothes for my two dolls, because I've just started with the hobby, the slopes, muslins and prototypes are starting to pile up in the shoe box where I store them, and soon will need some of the solutions you present here.
    By the way, one of your dolls in the pictures is paying an scandalous homage to Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct". Priceless.

    1. Ha ha ha!!! I am NOT, repeat, NOT responsible for the actions of my dolls!!!! You might want to take a peak at my other post, "Taking Stock" that was published in 2013 (there's a link early on in this post). It has ideas for storing patterns and shows how I've organized my desk drawers which contain, in part, craft supplies. Sometimes I store the muslins along with the patterns in the notebook, though I wish I had space for a rack just for them!!!

  3. I look to you and the family for inspiration, and I am never disappointed. But this post outdoes them all. For all the reasons posted previously (oh that naughty Sharon Stone) and the 'here are MY shoes' shots, I thank you for the enormous smile on my face.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. What is really fun for me, is creating a 1/6 environment that really replicates our own fashionista lives!!! Though I must admit, when I think about equivalents, my dolls now have more clothes and closet space than me (and my late mother) had combined!!!!

  4. Och! Bardzo dobrze wiem, ile trudu trzeba włożyć, aby zachować porządek wśród ubrań i butów moich lalek! Nie mam zbyt wiele miejsca i to jest również problemem! Nawet oddałam już moim dziewczynom cztery duże szuflady na sukienki i inne stroje, ale niektóre z nich, po wyjęciu, wymagają prasowania! Buty przechowuję w pudełkach z przegródkami na śrubki i gwoździe i to jest naprawdę doskonały pomysł! Tak samo jak kolczyki, naszyjniki, bransoletki i okulary.
    Twoja propozycja jest doskonała i już zastanawiam się, z czego i kiedy wykonam te szafy!
    Super sprawa! Bardzo, bardzo dziękuję!

    1. Olla wrote:
      Oh! I know very well how much effort you need to put in order to keep order among the clothes and shoes of my dolls! I do not have much space and this is also a problem! I even gave my girls four large drawers for dresses and other outfits, but some of them, after taking out, require ironing! I store my shoes in boxes with compartments for screws and nails, and this is a really great idea! Just like earrings, necklaces, bracelets and glasses.
      Your suggestion is perfect and I am already wondering what and when I will make these wardrobes!
      Cool thing! Thank you very much!

      I think all of us have this problem at one point or the other. I started out storing clothes in drawers and luggage. But I was unhappy having to iron everything once out of storage! And yes, space is another issue. I am lucky here in the US. I have a nice big bedroom. (I have no space in Paris.) Still, I have already used up all available space in my room, and I still need to make a few more closets for more clothes.

  5. I love the hidden camera shot! So great! :)

    So is your idea for keeping dolls stuff. You did a great job. :)

    1. Thank you Kamelia. I kept dressing my dolls in the same clothes over and over. So, out of necessity, I was obliged to create a new organization system! The new boot (and handbag) closets help me see what I've got in a glance. The only bedroom has been transformed into a doll room!

  6. A great idea the wardrobe of your dolls. I am impressed by the about of clothes your girls hale.

    1. Thank you. After 5-1/2 years of making doll fashions, accessories and buying shoes for the girls....things have a way of mounting up. It's surprising to me to see how many clothes my dolls have. They are so spoiled!!!

  7. I have wondered how you managed the impressive wardrobe! I bet your dolls have a wonderful time when you aren't looking ;) But they will have a more difficult time now that things are organized...hehe! Good job, and good thinking with the app! I use one on my android called Memento Database to keep track of my dolls (though I am admittedly terrible at keeping it updated).

    1. The problem is two-fold---I make a lot of clothes throughout the year. AND..each addition to my doll family forces me to increase the number of footwear they all need! Now that there are a number of "men" in the house, I am not surprised the girls have been getting more into the closets and my drawers! On the contrary, I think I've made things a bit easier for them. Thank you for the app suggestion. I'm going to add that back into the body of this post. The trick to keeping it up is to photograph each new doll as soon as they enter the house. And photograph each new outfit right after you make it. It's somewhat of a ritual for me.

  8. Hi April! I'm stopping with doll collecting, and just wanted to say that I appreciate the many years of your friendship, and that your blog is awesome. I deleted my blog and didn't want to leave without informing you. Big hugs and keep having lots of fun with your amazing dolls and creations! Linda xxx

    1. Linda, I am so saddened by your news. But thank you for stopping by to say goodbye. Wherever you are, know that I have also treasured your friendship. Big hugs and good luck to you in your future endeavors. Big hugs, April xxx

  9. WOW again! I really love the idea of the app to organize and document. Sadly, I don't have an iPhone! I love the idea of the foam board and will try to use that for some of my folks. Right now that just have their on plastic bag!

    1. Ms. Leo, I started out small. But given the quantity of clothes I've made over the years and ALL the dolls who have come into the house during the same period of time, I began to lose track of what all was here. So this post was done out of necessity for me!!! LOL!!! Incidentally, if you have an Android based phone (Samsungs and the like), Erin, another collector, recommends an app called, "Memento Database" (in case you're interested!

  10. I have followed you for a long time since I got my first Barbie at the age of over 60. The solution to no storage for clothes is to have more fabric than time. I thought a stash for dolls could not possibly equal a stash for me. I was wrong! The fabric, beads, ribbon, leather scraps, thrift store earrings, pencil grips for bracelets, et cetera ad infinitum, take less space but weigh heavily on my mind. If I could figure out what my google account is I would give it, but tant pis. Please keep going. My stable have their Halloween outifts but are agitating for a retro Christmas.

    1. Oh my, oh my....I totally understand the problem. Actually I think, most of us who sew share the same problem, especially when it comes to fabric. We see something we are sure would make a wonderful outfit, but before we get to it, we see something else that captures our fancy! I don't have the fabric stash I once had. I really try to use what I've got. And when I shop I tend to stick to "staples." Not always imaginative, but basic fabric I know I will use in the near future (like black rayon jersey). This is probably why my dolls wear so much black! LOL!!! But. between the tiny scraps I never throw out, the beads, ribbon, notions.....and ALL the shoes, gloves, doll jewelry...not to mention the clothes I've made over the last 5 1/2 years---it does tend to mount up!!!

  11. This is so cool! I actually made a little closet and a shoe shelf out of the same foam board material & hot glue some months back, only it wasn't leveled correctly but this is so awesome to see!

    1. About a year or so ago, I saw something on Pinterest. A doll collector who made one awesome doll closet where the clothes were sorted by color. Unfortunately I did not save that pin and could not find it. But the optics of her organization remained in my mind. Inasmuch as I needed something super practical, I didn't get into adding drawers and shelves to each unit--but rather--I chose to create separate units for each accessory. Building this out of foam core makes it super cheap and super fast to build as many units as I need. (I've run out of space, however!) This makes finding things for a photo shoot, really easy because I can see everything in a glance!!!


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