Strumpet Barbie

A friend bought Moon Munkie a Barbie-esque dolly back from her holidays. I feel ambiguous about these toys. On the one hand pretty dollies are a mainstay of childhood. They encourage imaginative play; life skills like hair brushing, face washing and getting dressed; they assist with development of fine motor skills as tiny fingers learn to dress and undress, do up and undo; and generally they make little ones happy. One the other hand, they seem to promote a type of beauty that is unachievable for most women; reinforce an unhealthy focus on appearance, hair, clothes and weight; and I feel that they encourage a materialistic and consumer-orientated approach to life too.

So here’s my dilemma. As a kid I wanted a Sindy so badly. I asked for one for months. My Mum eventually capitulated. I was so excited as I opened my Christmas present, knowing there would be a dolly in it for me.
And there was. A freckled Sindy with long chestnut hair. And a trench coat… A long, toad-green, trench coat.

Here’s a cracking photo of me, having just opened it, before I got my “polite face” on, holding the dolly with an expression that clearly says, “What the Dickens is that? ” Of course, in my 4 year old naivety, I hadn’t specified that I wanted a dolly with a pretty dress, it just seemed obvious.

[Edit: Having re read this, I'm concerned that I sound like I'm whingeing. Really, I'm not. With hindsight my Mum probably had similar ambivalence towards the pointy-plastic-breasted ones as I have now. My life was not ruined. I am not emotionally scarred! I learned to sew in order to make new clothes for her. It's just a funny story.]


That’s part one of the dilemma. I wanted one, so badly that I don’t want to say no out of hand. Part two is that Moon Munkie fell instantly in love with what I’ve come to call Strumpet Barbie. Of course she did. She’s a dolly with blonde hair to her knees and a “pretty” [read: slutty] gold and red dress. With gold metallic decoration. What’s not to love when you’re 2 and a half?
Anyway, I’ve decided not to make too much of a fuss for now.  Trollop Barbie can stay, although I’ve made her a new princess dress which is altogether more demure and  pleasing. I got a lovely and very easy tutorial from Miss B Couture. Given that I think she’s writing in her second language, this tutorial was easy to follow and easy to adjust to a slightly different doll. Also, I wanted it to be a long dress right to the floor.

It was a quick make, just a couple of hours. The top fabric was sheer and hard to work with. I was toying with making Moon Munkie the same costume. But I don’t  know if I physically could. I’m not good with slippy fabrics.

And that should be the end of the story. But after I’d taken the photos for this post, I presented Princess Barbie to Moon Munkie, full of motherly pride and creative joy at having made something so lovely for her. She gave me a look reminiscent of trench coats and said, “I want red one.”

*sigh*

Streetwalker Barbie is back.

Can’t stop thinking about pyjamas

Since the end of my self-imposed embargo of new projects during February, March has been a bit of a whirlwind. Ideas that were backing up for the whole of February have been fighting amongst themselves for my attention. I just can’t stop thinking about making a set of matching pyjama trousers for Moon Munkie and myself. I would make some for Mr Munkie too, but I don’t think he’d approve. Yellow and white stripes would be perfect. Ideally I’d like to make the out of upcycled sheets or a duvet cover. Having trawled every charity shop between here and the Arctic Circle, I’m coming up empty handed. So keep your eyes peeled for funky yellow and white striped fabric and let me know.

So far I’ve completed a pretty little dress for Moon Munkie and a dark green Melton wool poncho for myelf. There we are in the picture together trying to pretend it was warm. Ignore my hair, it’s the post-swimming look. The daffodils are just beginning to peep through, although given today’s temperature I think they’ll be regretting it! We found that little flower head on the floor and Moon Munkie crowed with joy because we’d had a long talk regarding Not Picking Flowers before we went. The dress was an impulse make last Tuesday. It’s made from quilting fabric I already had, using a free pattern by Made by Rae. I made it in the toddler size, but she also has the pattern for babies-  even for preemies. In fact, it’s called the Itty Bitty Baby Dress and she designed it because she wanted something to fit a newborn in a way that shop bought clothes never quite do. The dress took just 3 hours from cutting right through to hand stitching the lining. Perfect impulse make if you have a spare evening and some pretty fabric to hand.

Moon Munkie loves it because it’s got that princess-ballerina feel as you spin. “Dancing dress, dancing dress!” she sings happily to herself as she twirls.

          

I’ve also cut all the pieces to make 10 tiny mice and this evening I finally got brave enough to cut into my favourite jersey fabric in order to make a top for myself. I should perhaps note that until this month, March 2012, I have never sewn (sewed?) myself a single item of clothing. The thought terrifies me. But the poncho (photo right, don’t laugh at my weird fingers, I was nervous) was a success, if you don’t mind that I look like a Hobbit. It needs something to break up all of that green. I can’t decided between something elegant and grown up – a ruffle in the same moss green for example. Or something shabby chic – faux patches in a floral fabric and a blanket stitch edging maybe. Do let me know what you think in the comments. That collar needs interfacing too, as it has a life of its own at the moment.

Nappies for Baby dolly

 

Today Moon Munkie was playing with Baby. She wanted to change her nappy but the disposables I have were WAY too big for the 14″ dolly. She was having the best time, but the big girl nappies were less than satisfactory. When it was time for Moon Munkie to go to bed, we convinced her that Baby needed to stay downstairs tonight. And I spent a pleasurable hour stitching up 3 little reusables. They are so sweet and I managed to design the pattern, cut, stitch and finish off in about an hour and a half. So if your little one’s little one needs a clean bott, as we say in the Munkie Household, then grab the Reusable nappies for baby dollies template and photo tutorial.

 This is my first photo tutorial, so I’d be really grateful to hear what you think. If it’s not useful, how could I do better? If you decide to try, don’t forget to send me a picture and let me know how you get on!

Baby Kimono Top

This pretty kimono top is made from soft cotton to snuggle nicely next to new baby skin. It has wide sleeves for ease of getting dressed – (15 minutes it took me to put my Moon Munkie’s cardigan on her before we left hospital!!). An internal and external tie mean it will stay put on wriggly baby bodies. Size 0-3 months and suitable for a boy or a girl in these colours. So cute that I can feel more on the way soon!

Upcycled baby sleeping bag

 

Before (Daddy’s shirt)…

 

… After (Moon Munkie’s sleeping bag!)

My favourite brand of baby sleeping bag can run to more than £30 – which is a little on the steep side, although they are very cute. During the summer weather my little one has been in need of a lighter-weight sleep bag. Having already bought 1, I was reluctant to shell out again. I thought I might make something similar. And then my husband was throwing away a lovely cotton shirt and hey presto! an idea was born. I took off the sleeves, put a dart into the placket to reduce the collar size and then stitched pretty blue bias tape around the neckline and sleeves. It looked good but still needed something to finish it off. So I put on 2 accent ribbons and a little tag (just because I learned how this weekend!) Lovely.