Monday 31 July 2017

Lottie Week - Day 1 - From Rock 'n' Roll to Rock Cakes

I was having a chat with a friend and the subject of her little girl's Lottie Dolls came up. My daughter is not really one for playing with dolls as she has a group of soft toy dogs that star in her imaginary play, although I appreciate that this could change, and I have never been comfortable with the idea of her having a "Barbie type" doll. The tiny waist, long neck and sexualised nature has never really sat well with me. The emphasis on make-up and more adult situations does not seem like an ideal basis for play either. I appreciate this is all just my opinion but with this in mind I found Lottie refreshing. She is based on the proportions of a 9 year old girl and the company has focussed on lots of fun sets from fossil hunting and star gazing to a superhero. I decided to make a series of outfits as a gift for my friend's little girl - who from now on will be referred to as Little Miss E. This wasn't because I felt there were sets missing from their range but because I had some ideas that were very personal to both my family and hers.

In total I made 6 sets/outfits and some bags to keep them in so I am going to share a set a day and at the end of the week show the whole collection and bags together.

Lottie is quite small at 7" tall which I identified as my first challenge. There are not a lot of specific resources for her online as she is quite new. The first one I found was a lovely tutorial and pattern. I liked the simplicity of this fun dress and I took my inspiration for the fabric from the first dress I ever made for my daughter.

My inspiration for Lottie outfit one.

As the fabric is prone to fraying I decided to line the dress. I made the pattern 1 cm bigger all the way around and stitched the outer fabric and lining together for each of the three pieces leaving a small turning gap.  After turning the pieces so they were not inside out I stitched the gap closed and constructed the dress using a very small ladder stitch. There were many times where I hand stitched things that were too small to machine. I made sure that I went over each seam carefully and gave everything a good tug. I was very mindful that it needed to be handled and played with.

To fasten I used a fantastic snag free Velcro that would not damage the dolls hair or clothes. It has both hook and loop on each side - with the loops buffering the hooks. I would have liked to have found very low profile Velcro but could not find a UK seller, although now the project is over I am sure to find it everywhere! I embellished the dress using sequins also inspired by my daughters party dress. If I had not embellished it I could have opted for a patterned lining and made it reversible, but I decided not to do so in this instance.

Embelished purple party dress for Lottie

I was pleased with the fit and pattern but it needed something go with it for play purposes - I opted for a guitar, it seemed like a fun idea, and I found a template here. It looks a lot like my husband's guitar which made it seem more personal and playing with an instrument seemed like a fun addition to the toy box.

The construction is basic felt applique - something I got very used to while playing with the pipsqueaks book last year. I loved the details with the beads but I was less happy with the strings. Getting them straight on felt is not easy, I stitched them in using very thin thread at certain points but it was still not perfect. If I did it again I would possibly back stitch them in, although I loved the idea of them being looser to 'strum'. This was one of the many many points where I had to take a step back and tell myself it is a gift for a 4 year old, who would hopefully be more interested in playing with it than analysing my sewing techniques!

Felt guitar

Along with this set I included an apron. I adore Fiona Gobles apron pattern and I have made 9 of them now, one of which was a Christmas present for Little Miss E's Mum. I had a scrap of the Mori Girl's "Bertie Dog" fabric (designed by Jillian Phillips for Dashwood studios) that I had used at Christmas left over. The idea of dolls matching their owners is not a new one as I made my daughter's doll a quilt. I loved the idea of Little Miss E spotting the matching items as I feel it makes it more special. The reason I love the apron pattern so much is that you can adjust the waist and the fitting around the neck. This was really useful for a Lottie doll as methods for children's clothes did not always work at this scale, but this patetrn allowed it to go over the head without an additional fastening. How to fasten things was one of the biggest issues I came across in the whole process. I was pleased with the first fun little set although I was very aware that I had more ambitious plans to come...

Party time!
Ready to bake!

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