Right, a few posts ago, Blackkitty virtually bullied me into being more specific about my New Year’s resolutions (she’s tough, that one) and as a result I committed myself to a minimum of two projects a month. I managed the first one – Dury – right at the start of the year. I’ve got several started since then and I don’t look like finishing any of them very soon. Earlier today, I was thinking “wouldn’t it be nice if I could redress some of my dolls without all that time-consuming sewing”? And I remembered that when I was a little girl I used to make my dolls outfits out of sweet papers and Easter Egg foil and stuff like that. It kept its shape, and it didn’t fray or need stitching – although of course, the disadvantage was that it ripped to bits when you took it off the doll. I thought that if I could make something passable out of paper, I wouldn’t mind it being disposable so much because I could take some nice photos first anyway.
I’ve heard of people making paper clothes for dolls before, but I’ve never tried it myself. As my Monster Highs are particularly outfit-challenged – and also because I thought they could probably carry off the quirkiness of a paper outfit better than Barbie could – I decided to start with them. I chose my lovely Scaris Frankie as my first victim, mostly because I like her outfit least out of all the Frankies I have. And because her look is mostly black-and-white anyway, I thought I would try this out with newspaper.
** WARNING – I am about to tell you how I did this. I’m not sure you can call it a tutorial or not, because its so easy and self-evident if you’ve ever made a doll dress before, but what you need to know is this – newsprint WILL rub off on your doll. I tested mine out first and I found it washed off my Frankie with soap and water, even from the softer more porous vinyl on her face. But I bet different newspapers use different kinds of printer’s ink and I can’t guarantee it will wash off yours. I recommend you “spot test” first, or even better you could just use plain tissue paper, although there still might be a chance that the dye in the tissue paper might transfer to the doll. I also suggest you don’t display your doll in this outfit, think “on, photos, off again” especially with newspaper, which is what I did as I didn’t want to give the ink a chance to soak in. OK? OK!**
So anyway – I used:
* A newspaper
* Masking tape (this is easier to cut and if needed to reposition than sellotape is)
* A naked Frankie
1. I cut a column width of newspaper out. This was probably about two-thirds the length of Frankie long. I also cut a smaller column out, which covered her from waist to knees. I didn’t do it, but at this point its a good idea if you get your masking tape and cut a good 10 – 12 pieces measuring about a cm across, 3 or 4 cms long. You can stick these on the edge of the roll or something – another good thing about masking tape is, its detachable from most hard surfaces when you need it to be.
2. To make the bodice, I draped the newspaper roughly around her upper body and tucked it under her arms. I made two small cuts from the top of the bodice to the points of her boobs – I measured and these were about 2cm apart, about 1cm deep.
3. I then folded the outer edge of the cut inwards, tucked it behind the inner edge of the cut, and secured on the inside with a small piece of masking tape:
4. Then I made two more vertical cuts up the bodice, stopping about a cm shy of where I had made the previous cuts:
Again, I tucked the outer edges of the cuts in over the inner edges of the cut, and secured with masking tape to make the paper follow the line of her waist. I gave her a masking tape belt to hold it nice and tight.
5. (sorry, I should have taken more pictures) because the bodice was quite long, it was already respectable dress length at the front. However, at the back it was too long and the edges of the column formed two kind of triangles behind her legs. I just shaped it with the scissors – what a relief not to have to hem it all up afterwards!
6. I liked it so far, but it needed some shape at the front. I took the second piece of news column which covered her from waist to knees, and folded two pleats into it:
Then I folded the outer top corners under to make the piece into a triangle shape:
7. I stuck this onto the front of the dress at waist level to form the front of the skirt.
8. (no pictures again, sorry). Next, I looked through the newspaper til I found what I wanted – a large picture of a starlet of some kind in a lacy dress. I cut out a piece of the lace detail which was about two cm deep and long enough to go round Frankie’s waist (and that doesn’t have to be very long at all) then folded it in half. I secured this at the back to make a lacy belt, which hid her masking tape belt.
9. Finally, I noticed that on the bottom right hand side of her skirt, a sentence had been printed in larger font than the rest and it kind of stood out, which irritated me. So I cut three circles out of newspaper, each a little smaller than the last and sort of scrumpled them then stuck them all together (with the largest on the outside and the smallest on the inside) to make a kind of flower thing. This wasn’t perfect, and I’d like to find out how to make better flowers at some point, but it was OK.
Finished! I think it went OK for a first attempt. Seriously, it was five minutes worth of work (by the way, I hope my stages are understandable, sometimes I feel like I degenerate into writing “and then you stick the thing to the other thing, you know what I mean” – if you can’t follow it, just let me know and I’ll try to think of a different way to explain it!)
ADDITIONAL: I’ve been thinking about this and the long piece at the front of the skirt is longer than the dress (see second to last picture below where the length difference is just about visible). I liked it like this but it would have looked neater from all angles if I’d trimmed the front piece to match the rest of the dress. Just thought I’d mention it 🙂