Saturday, February 16, 2013

DIY BJD Holder/Sleeve/Thingamabojiggy (??!) - a sort-of-tutorial that isn't really

Clover is in her coffin :P

There was a gathering yesterday for doll owners in a facebook group I'm in, but I had no proper bag nor face protector for Clover :( Since I'm always broke and not that many readily available items catch my fancy (especially if it's something i -think- i can make :X ), I told myself that if I could make a bag/protector for Clover in time for the dollmeet, I'd go :) 

Many helpful owners chipped in with suggestions of using a clean towel, bubble wrap, shoe bag etc, and although I didn't own the latter and am not short of clean towels & bubble wrap, having no face protector meant I risked crushing her eyelashes :( 'sides. i was itching to stitch, having held back due to time constraints and the fact that my new machine will be arriving on MONDAY OMG OMGOMGOMG

it's been a long time since i exercised any sort of 'planning muscle' in my brain. first 2 drafts of how i wanted to construct the holder didn't seem to work, and after fiddling about with some ideas, went with the simplest. decided to modify as i went along :)

Top considerations for me were:
- compact, and fit in most of my bags
- sturdy so she doesn't flop around
- protect her face, especially her eyelashes
- waterproof if possible, but that was dependent on materials on hand
- easy to store/remove doll
- machine washable

here're the materials i planned to use for this project, clockwise from top left:
- Daiso material, it feels sleek and possibly waterproof, think it is nylon. has been part of my stash for at least 2 years, loved the print, am SO GLAD it finally got put to use
- white lightweight fabric purchased on the cheap for drafting prototypes, might be polyester
- batting for quilts, with interfacing for stiffness
- 1.5mm thick plastic (polypropylene?) sheets (Daiso)
- green ribbon was some random remnant i had kept and it seemed to work with my fabric choices, but did not wind up using -_-"

 just a note: I hadn't realized this one had the interfacing until i got home and examined the package. which is fine by me, wanted the added stiffness for the part that didn't have the board insert ^ ^ quilting fabric could possibly be much cheaper elsewhere, but i didn't want to travel again and small amounts suit me just fine until i need more.

although these are the measurements i started out with, i modified along the way i.e. shortened the length. used a pair of gardening shears to cut through the plastic as it's pretty stiff, and from past experience, hell to cut through with a penknife. that and i really didn't want another piece of flesh missing from me :S

(not that it's a far removed possibility with the shears, but i digress)

 test fit the pieces, yay they work~

looks too small?

 newp! it's all about perspective :P

size is good for use with my favourite grocery bag!
(given to me by my cousin, she had entered in a local magazine competition and her design won!)

test fit again~ didn't feel like doing too much math and measuring

estimated the length of batting required, which came up to approximately 17 inches across and 14 inches wide. i planned to stitch across the batting on the sides to hold it in place before i turn the fabrics inside out.

 fabric marker works great on the batting

added about an inch around all sides, cut out my printed fabric, then did the same for the white (lining) fabric. do take note which direction you'd like your prints to be in by test wrapping again if need be.

totally forgot to take pics of how I layered the fabrics as I was rushing this project.

printed fabric (print facing up)

at this point, it might be a good idea to attach any ribbons or whatever else you might choose to tie up the bundle if you so wish, in  between the lining and printed fabric. I opted out of this as the idea of fiddling with ribbons just seemed like too much work each time i use the 'pouch'.

folded in the side where i would be slotting the plastic pieces in. at this point i hadn't yet decided if i wanted to stitch over the edge yet, and since i had deliberately aligned the material such that it wouldn't need to be hemmed (no fear of fraying) i figured i could leave that decision till the end.

for neater results, i always iron my fabrics and rough hand-hem (don't know the actual term?) rather than use pins. i think this extra effort is especially important when sewing smaller pieces, since 
a) crappy machine,
b) n00b at miniature sewing,
c) rusty sewing skills :(
for the two sides, i stitched on top of the batting to secure it in place

and because i wanted a less puffy sides, the top (bottom?) edge was simply stitched across the 2 fabrics, as closely to the batting and using the edge as a guide

my corners looked something like this (yeah i ran over the last few stitches again out of habit)

i didn't have a hemming/serger foot, so i just did a zigzag stitch around the edge and trimmed excess fabric. not sure if this actually would help reduce fraying, which didn't matter anyway since I finally decided to do a once over stitching around the perimeter.

turned it out to reveal..............that i had spent 2 hrs to sew a stupid puffy rectangle.


forgot to mention, i snipped the corners at a 45deg angle to the edge of the fabric(as close to the stitches, but take care not to snip away the stitching) so that the corners would be sharper after it got turned out. more experienced uhm seamstresses (??) probably know this already.

ANYWAY. moved on. again, no strict measurements, so i placed my plastic pieces inside, giving it a little bit of allowance and roughly stitched in as straight a line as possible so it would act as a guide

 at this point i had already ironed and stitched over all edges (including the slot edge, though that was done like you would stitch around the mouth of an opening etc hope you understand what i mean

 rough stitching with contrasting thread for easy detection for removal later

 keep going.....

PEDAL TO THE.....ceramic tile floor? XD
(man my jokes are lame, not that it matters if nobody understands me.)

OKAY! time to insert the plastic pieces! i snipped off the corners so it wouldn't snag
(oh yeah remove the rough stitches before you insert mmkay, as usual forgot to take pics in sequence sigh)

taran taran~! almost done! the plastic rests pretty firmly against her forehead, protecting her faceup and eyelashes ^ ^ (though i really should remove that clip lest it scratches her face :X)

cos i started losing steam at this point (was close to the 4 hr mark at 1pm -LUNCHTIME- and I had woken up at 5 that morning), i decided to just make 2 elastic bands to hold everything together. simply measure around the bundle + doll, lighter seal the frayed edge, overlap by approx 1 inch (btw i used a 1" elastic waistband) and stitch.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO STITCH ON THE THICKER PARTS/EDGE OF THE ELASTIC LIKE I DID my needle snapped into 3 pieces :O gave me a rude shock it did.

(speaking of which, i'm also losing steam on this post, took almost 1.5 hrs to do it sans breakfast zzzz)

This tutorial could probably apply to any sized doll, provided you can find sturdy enough material, or maybe cut 2 pcs of the inserts instead of 1 whole piece, etc etc. Cardboard could be used in place, since it's constructed to be removeable before wash.

Apologies if you thought it was going to be more comprehensive or precise with measurements and such, but as you know, i'm all for adaptibility and would rather pick up techniques than measurements :P

Hope this will be useful to some of you, do share with your friends (I have some buttons greyed out below this post, you can use those! wonder if it ever gets noticed) etc etc if you have found this interesting :) Would appreciate credits and a linkback if you ever decide to make one of your own!

Additional suggestions from friends from the dollmeet:
- add handles (would be handy, and could even add a handlewrap thingy to hold it together!)
- velcro (i hate the sound of velcro ripping and avoid it like the plague)
- make many and stack up like a honeycomb (LOL how many dolls do they own OMFG!>?!? but LOVE this idea!!!! can you imagine?!?!? how amazing that would be!!!)

Personal notes:
- add elastic strap to base to secure doll before wrapping up
- lace trim to sides
- possibly push buttons to secure top flap, but elastic band might be better depending on how fluffily clothed doll is
- since plastic boards were used, could simple sew across the edge to secure in permanently, but i prefer to have an option to remove it for versatility. wonder how the batting would hold up with constant removal. 
- re: above, try for more fabric layers to protect batting layer?!?!?! thicker is okay too for added protection!
- man i remember i had so many other fabulous ideas but right now i think i need breakfast


  1. I love the case that you created for Clover. I like that you called it a Thingamabojiggy too. hehe


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