sabato 27 ottobre 2012

5 useful tips for DIY doll clothes on a budget

Crafting supplies may be expensive, but sometimes it only takes a bit of creativity and inventiveness to save some money. Speaking specifically of sewing doll clothes, while making my tailoring experiments for Monster High dolls I learned some cheap ways to gather supplies (like fabric, trims, lace...).
Here they are, I hope they'll be useful for you too!

1) Raid your house (and closet)

The cheapest way to find some fabric is using old clothes (or blankets, pillowcases, tableclothes, ...) you no longer use but are still in good condition: even a plain black t-shirt could be turned in a doll-sized cocktail dress (that's how I made Cleo's dress in this post)!

2) With a little help from your friends

If you have friends (or relatives) that are into sewing, ask if they have some unused fabric scraps to give you (when I was I child I started sewing for my dolls using fabric leftovers my grandmother gave me).

3) Party hard!

Party and wedding favors are often decorated with ribbons, lace and small fabric flowers: all these things can be used to add elegant details to your doll clothes and accessories.

4) Fat quarters

Dolls are way smaller than humans, so you don't need great amounts of fabric to dress them, a single fat quarter is enough to sew a lot of doll-sized things: try searching for quilting fabric fat quarters, usually they're reasonably cheap and come in a great variety of patterns (you will soon see my Sweet 1600 Draculaura in a Valentine chocolate themed dress ;)).

5) Chinatown

Chinese shops and dollar stores often carry a selection of basic sewing supplies at very cheap prices. Here's what I took home from my nearest chinese store for only 5 (about 6.50$), when I started sewing for MH dolls:
- 1 spool of golden embroidery thread;
- 1 package of velcro straps;
- 1 package of snap buttons in different sizes;
- 1 package of tiny hooks;
- 1 set of silk ribbons, in 5 different colors (each color was 2m long, about 80")
- 1m (40") of elastic band.
- 1 package of pins
That's a lot of stuff for that price, just think at how many doll clothes you can sew with it!

giovedì 4 ottobre 2012

Make up review: Essence Stampy Nail Art Set

Stamping kits aren't a novelty in the nail art world, I always found them interesting, but since they usually weren't easy to find in italian stores, I have never tried them. Until Essence (a brand that can easily be found also here in Italy) released a basic stamping set, with different design plates and special stamping nail polishes, sold at a very low price, how could I resist?
Well, I haven't, so last Sunday I went to the nearest shop and bought a basic Stampy set plus an additional design plate and black matte stamping polish, all for 6€.

The basic Stampy set contains a design plate, a scraper and a stamp, sold separately there are four different design plates and three stamping nail polishes (black, white and silver, but I only found black).
Since it was my first time trying it I decided to watch and follow the tutorial provided on Essence's Youtube channel (here: ). 
After several attempts (including three complete manicure failed and redone), the best I could get was this:

Maybe I'm not the best nail artist of the world, but honestly I was expecting someting better after all these attempts :-/ as you can see better from the picture below, the stripes don't cover entirely the nail and are a little smudged.

The truth is that this "technique" isn't so easy to catch: you have to be very quickly applying the polish on the plate, scraping and then stamping it on your nail because it dries very fast, also it takes some practice to obtain smooth and clean stamps. Another problem is that the smallest designs, like the heart, paws and swirls  of the basic set, are carved with very little depth on the plate so they didn't work very well, only the patterned ones gave me some decent results.
My last complain is about the stamping nail polish: not mentioning that you waste a lot of polish (and dirty a lot of paper towels and cotton swabs) during the whole process, you are forced to use it, because normal nail polish don't work with the design plates (maybe it's not enough dense), and this limits a lot the color choice, plus once applied on the nail it scratches away very easily, so you have to be quick putting on the top coat, but be careful, use some very light brush strokes or the design will smudge!

My overall rating: 2/5
The idea (and the price) is good, but if you need a quick and easy nail art solution , nail stickers or fake nails are still the best in my opinion. Once you learn how to do it right and quickly, you can obtain some nice results (I've seen beautiful nail arts on the web), but I don't think I'll buy other Essence design plates in the future (but I'll probably try again with these when I'll have some spare time).

Bonus pic: one of my failed attempts using a different pattern