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  1. #1

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    Lightbulb Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    I noticed Eeee-va, Cheshiremomo and Ursulalvr "talking shop" in the photo thread and thought it would be nice, now that we have some talented folks making Duffy fashions, if they had a special spot to showcase their work. It would also be nice if MiceChatters with sewing skills would give advice on stuff like:

    1. What kind of basic equipment do you need to get started making Duffy outfits?

    2. Some basic patterns or construction advice.

    3. Tips on different kinds of material for different kinds of clothing/sewing, etc.

    I know there are other MiceChatters with some sewing skills, too. I hope this thread will be a place where people work together to start producing the fan-based costume-making that really sent Duffy into overdrive in Japan. Our very own Co-op Workshop! And who knows, if some of us get really good, we might even start an Etsy revolution to rival Yahoo! Auctions Japan...well, a boy can dream...^^

    I'm so impressed with what MiceChatters are making; let's keep them encouraged and motivated!

  2. #2

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    Ahhh! I love this thread and name title! So cute! I will be contributing! What a D*STAR needs to make their own outfits:

    1. A basic sewing machine. It doesn't have to be high end, unless you wanna be a real pro, I got a very nice kenmore machine from around 2007 for only $25 from the goodwill, it works great and haven't had any problems. You'll need some pins to hold the clothes together before you sew them together. It gives you an idea of how the clothes will turn out. Then you need, of course, some thread! It's best to get thread that matches the color of the fabric your using so it blends right in. Or if you're being creative, you can using a contrasting color for some great looks! A seam ripper is a great tool to have also, it usually comes with a machine, but you can get one for cheap! It helps for when you mess up.

    2. Patterns, I have a couple that I made myself by reverse engineering some of the Duffy clothes I already have, I'll try to scan them in and post them on here. I also have an old Teddy Ruxpin pattern for a raincoat, but it's a little to big, so it needs altering. I'll see if I can scan that one in too, but it has a lot of pieces.

    3. Some tips: When making clothes, you have to think in reverse. You're making the clothes inside out so you have nice clean seam lines on the outside. It might take a while to get used to it, but start by making some simple bows for Shellie, or Duffy, cut out 2 squares of fabric(makes sure the edges of the square are rounded), sew the 1/2 an inch in(seam allowance) around the square leaving a small hole. Then you pull the fabric inside out, you get the nice lines(they'll look great no matter how bad you are at first), then just stuff the bow, and stitch the hole up, by hand, or if your confident, with a machine. Then you take a small piece of fabric in the shape of a rectangle, about 3 inches long, wrap it around the bow in the middle. Sew the 2 ends together and flip it around to hide the seams and there your go, a nice simple bow! For fabric, I suggest light weight fabric, don't get too thick fabric, remember, these are small bears. I usually just get some cotton. Or get some cheap muslin for practicing, really cheap fabric, around $2 a yard.

    This is all I can think of right now, I hope others contribute and we can share tips and patterns!

    ---------- Post added 10-19-2011 at 02:48 AM ----------

    Oh, and if you're new to sewing, and don't have time for classes, this youtube channel is great! Threadbanger. It's a hip way to show you some basic tips and tricks. They usually apply to clothes, but the same rules apply for Duffy clothes.

    Canal de ThreadBanger - YouTube
    Poor unfortunate Souls.

  3. #3

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    I think this is a GREAT idea! I have no sewing skills what so ever - but was luck enough to find a Disney CM on the disboards who has offered to make me some custom outfits for my daughter's Duffy.
    This thread may be enough to motivate me to try my hand at some simple patterns.

  4. #4

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    Love this thread! Love the title! Yay! Looking forward to seeing Duffy patterns!

    I'll post a little about sewing for tiny Duffy tonight. No pun intended.

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    Just a warning: I don't claim to be an expert at all! This is all from personal experience and trial and error, and I'm sure you'll figure out your own tricks after you've experimented a bit. I also won't touch on basic sewing, since Ursulalvr already touched on pinning and sewing inside out and such.
    If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them. I've never had any formal sewing classes; I learned everything I know from my mom and grandma, so it's more "common sense, easy" sewing than actual technique.


    1. What kind of basic equipment do you need to get started making Duffy outfits?
    I have a basic Brother sewing machine. I rarely use any of the fancy functions it has, only the different stitch patterns (straight, zigzag, etc). I do a lot of my sewing by hand, since I have quite a bit of experience making stitched felt animals. My advice would be to practice hand-sewing just as much as you do with the machine! Clean hand-sewing is an especially important skill when finishing seams after turning things right side out, or when sewing buttons and snaps.
    Pins, replacement machine needles, needles for hand-sewing, extra thread, and a seam ripper are things you'll need to get started. I also recommend having a pair of scissors dedicated to fabric - cutting paper actually dulls your scissors! Having a special pair for only fabric makes for clean, easy cutting.


    2. Some basic patterns or construction advice:
    I actually draft most of my own patterns, since I find it easier to get what I want that way. I think that more unusual clothes are more fun and stand out, so I have a book of graph paper that I use to draw out new patterns. If you'd like to draft your own patterns, I suggest looking at patterns online to get a feel for the different pieces you will need for each of your projects. Then you can lay your Duffy on a piece of paper and trace his general size, but be sure to leave seam allowance! If you'd like to simply mod patterns, or maybe just stick to a pattern completely, this is a FABULOUS site:

    型紙無料ダウンロード 公開中の型紙一覧〜ハンドメイドのココロ(新米マ マの手芸&グルメ)

    Since I know not everyone reads Japanese, just click the green button (it says "download") to get the pattern. If you click the picture of the garment, there are picture tutorials on putting it together, but I find it easier to just figure it out myself. They over-complicate things sometimes. When using printable patterns for babies like the ones from this site, choose to print them at about 80% - this fits 17" Duffy nicely.


    3. Tips on different kinds of material for different kinds of clothing/sewing, etc.
    Wash and machine dry your fabric first even though it's for teddy bear clothes. In most cases, this makes your fabric softer and easier to work with, and also more cuddle-ready! And if you happen to get something on it, as could be the case in the parks, the seams won't become warped in the dryer later.

    Unless you're comfortable with a surger, I recommend not using knits. They look super cute, but they are a pain to send through your machine; the thread easily gets tangled as it tries to work through such flimsy fabric, and zigzag stitches and knots are a real pain to try and pull out. If you do want to work with knits, use this trick: sew the garment with a layer of paper attached underneath! This stabilizes the fabric, as it's much softer than other types of cloth. Of course, this does dull your needle if you do a lot of this, and you will have to tear all the paper bits out of the stitching. But if you soak the garment in water for a bit, the paper disintegrates for the most part and you can rub the rest out gently using your fingertips.

    I also suggest lining everything. Of course, you don't have to do this, but, I think it makes the garment look more finished and gives it a nice weight. I usually line my pieces with the same fabric as on the outside, but you could certainly have more fun with it! Maybe line a black jacket or vest with a bright color!



    The best advice I can give is to practice. I know this is common sense, but I used to get super frustrated with things because they weren't looking polished when I was done with them. Pay close attention to details - trim all loose threads, clip all of your corners, and press your seams. All these little things add to the quality of your garment. Most of all, have fun with what you make! Don't make this into a chore. The more fun you have making things for Duffy, the more you'll love your finished product. Let's go make fabulous things for Duffy and Shellie May to wear!

  6. #6

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    This is a very cool thread, thanks for sharing all of this information! I might attempt this at some point, but not right now. It's great to have a guide though. It makes me want to create stuff of my own.

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    I've made amazing creations using the simplest of tools- paper, scissors, and tape. Paper models! I really want to encourage everyone to use stuff like this. I've made clothing pieces (an entire Max from Where the Wild Things Are costume and a custom Hobbes for my friend). This way, you can see what you're sewing and understand it better with the model. I have yet to make stuff for my bears, but I plan on it when school gets less demanding.

  8. #8

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    My aunt has a book of teddy bear clothes patterns that she uses, then alters the patterns a bit to suit Duffy & Shellie May. She even takes basic patterns as a starting point for more customized outfits.

  9. #9

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    I have not sewn clothes for my Duffy bear yet, I have to get him away from my 10 year old who now things MY Duffy is HER Duffy, and he'll be lonely if he doesn't sleep in her bed. But I sew for Blythe and BJD and the tricks are the same.

    1. What kind of basic equipment do you need to get started making Duffy outfits?

    Mark-b-gone pen: This is a pen that disappears with water and is perfect for marking on cottons - like where darts should go, snaps, etc. I often draw my pattern on the fabric then cut it out instead of fussing with pins.

    Fray Check: A liquid that stops the edges of fabric from fraying. It does make the fabric a bit stiff. Works great at the ends of ribbons

    Iron: I think an easy mistake first time sewers make is not ironing their seams. It makes such a huge difference in the final product.

    Turner thingies: I can't remember the name, I have two different ones but they are long metal poles that you use to turn fabric inside out, one of mine has a hook.

    Bone File: Works great for pushing out corners when turning things inside out.

    DVR sewing shows: There are several fantastic shows (Martha's Sewing Room, Sew Easy, Sew It All) that are the best source for learning how to sew. And many of the techniques are applicable to sewing doll clothing.

    2. Some basic patterns or construction advice.

    Paper towel mock up: You can 'make' the outfit out of paper towels by cutting out the pattern pieces minus seam allowance and tapping it together then trying it on. It's a quick way to verify sizing.


    3. Tips on different kinds of material for different kinds of clothing/sewing, etc.

    Cotton is one of the easiest fabrics to sew with.

    Baby clothing is a great source for material that is closer to being in scale.

  10. #10

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    Wow! Great tips! I will definitely take these into account, I'd also like to add, I'm no expert either! I just learned from trial and error and watching videos on youtube. But you do start to get the hang of it. Also make sure you know some sewing terms, they'll help you understand more like: grain line, Selvage, Nap, Wrong side, Right side, Seam Allowance, and others, a simple wikipedia search will give some explanations! I love this thread!
    Poor unfortunate Souls.

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster View Post
    My aunt has a book of teddy bear clothes patterns that she uses, then alters the patterns a bit to suit Duffy & Shellie May. She even takes basic patterns as a starting point for more customized outfits.
    You gonna share or are you just bragging?

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    That's actually all I know since she's like 1200 miles away.

  13. #13

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    I was never formally trained at sewing either, though I so love making doll and bear clothes!

    Here are a few thoughts and ideas about sewing for tiny Duffy (magnet or keychain-sized).

    For beginners, felt is great for items that can be a little thick (I'm thinking vests and hats, but it could also work for pants, coats, etc.). That is what I first sewed on when I was a little girl. Felt does not fray at all so you don't need to line it...not that lining isn't awesome, but it's hard for beginners and can be too bulky for clothes for a tiny bear. In the US, you can buy felt rectangles at Michaels for about 29 cents. (Don't get the stiffened kind!) I haven't measured but one piece of felt can VERY easily make a vest.

    As to that vest pattern...I haven't worked on it since Saturday but I drew up a fun concept sketch today and am excited about working on it again! (It is not that big of a thing to do; I just have to get around to doing it.)

    For beginners and intermediate seamstresses and tailors, you will likely want to do at least some hand-sewing on the tiny clothes. Doing a whole tiny outfit all by hand is not a bad idea. I find hand-sewing is a fun way to spend some time while watching TV or a movie. Since they are so small, there is not that much work to do. And hand-sewing has been a perfectly acceptable means of sewing about as long as there have been clothes. (Actually, girls used to learn how to sew in part by sewing clothes for their dolls!)

    For those of you with a sewing machine--again, in a perfect world, most Duffy garments would be lined, but in the world of tiny Duffy, a lining might add way too much bulk. If you are not lining but worried about the fabric fraying, you can zig-zag interior edges to keep them from raveling.

    I used to ALWAYS hem my edges by folding the fabric over twice to roll the raw edge inside. But as much as I love that, for tiny Duffy it may be better to zig-zag your edge, then press it to the inside and sew it flat. Otherwise you may get too much bulk.

    Also if you're using a machine, a seamstress friend told me a great tip for sewing for tiny dolls--trace around the fabric pieces on your pattern, then pin them together, and then sew the seams by machine. Only AFTER the seams are sewn do you want to cut. When you're sewing something so tiny, the edges will get caught in the machine very easily, so waiting until later to cut will prevent some of those problems. I will be trying this when I make a shirt or dress for Tiny Duffy or the still-in-Japan-for-now Tiny Shellie May.

  14. #14

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    Ok - here痴 my first contribution for Duffy痴 Button Box & Pin Cushion! I love this thread! (no sewing pun intended!)


    Be sure to read Ursulalvr, cheshiremomo, melancholywings & Eeee-va痴 posts before you begin. They致e posted great tips that will be very helpful. Only a few of their tips were repeated my demonstration. There are a few ways to construct a bow. As long as the end result is what you want, it really doesn稚 what pattern you use.


    Not all the steps are pictured. I did my best with the photos and instructions, as I致e never put together a sewing demonstration/instruction before. I致e been sewing for a lot of years and it痴 easy to take for granted the little tricks and things that are used to make professional looking outfits. I even forgot to put all of my tools in my original picture and tried to show these items later in the demonstration.


    Ok - Here we go!




    Fabric: Scraps or 1/8 of a yard, you can also purchase fabric by the inch.


    Notions: Thread, 15 of 3/8 wide elastic, Poly-Fil 100% Polyester Stuffing.


    Tools: Scissors (use a different pair of scissors for cutting fabric and one for paper), hand sewing needles, seam gauge, iron (ironing board or special ironing surface), seam ripper, pins, measuring tape, Mark-B-Gone, safety pin or loop turner.


    Name:  01 Duffy the Disney Bear _SM Pink Dot Bow.jpg
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    Make your pattern: Trace around original bow on paper. Add 1/4 to 1/2 extra for your seam allowance. Suggestion: Make your pattern before purchasing your fabric. Bring your pattern to the sewing store with you, along with your notions list. The sales associates at the sewing stores are usually very helpful.


    Fold your fabric in 1/2 and place your pattern on the fabric. I suggest tracing around the pattern with the mark-be-gone marker for light color fabrics or white dressmakers chalk for darker fabrics. Then place your pins inside of the lines to hold fabric secure while you cut along pattern edges. Note: Depending on the size of your fabric, i.e. - if using scraps, you can place the pattern pieces in the opposite direction with the inner straight seam of the bow pieces along the selvage edges.




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    I used an alternate fabric for the loop around the bow and to cover the elastic for the headband piece. The strip for the loop is 4 inches long and 1&1/2 inches wide before folding in 1/2. The fabric that covers the elastic to make the headband is 1&1/2 inches wide and 22 long.


    Pin around all the edges. If you are a beginner, I suggest basting the seams together before you stitch the seams on the sewing machine.




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    When you put your needle into the fabric, start about 1/4 into the seam. My machine needle is 1/4 from the start of the seam and 1/2 from the edge of the seam. Start and finish each seam with a backstitch on the machine to lock the stitches in place. I used a 1/4 seam allowance on my loop and elastic cover. However, I like the suggestion about making larger seam allowances and then trimming later. That would be easier for beginners.



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    After you sew your seams, you are going to clip around the circle of the bow and grade the seam allowances of all pieces. Along with the ironing suggestion above, these are sewing techniques that will make your finished items look more professional.




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    Turn your loop and headband cover right side out and press. I used a loop turner, but you can also use a safety pin or the back end of a pencil to help push the fabric through. Press both pieces flat.



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    Turn and stuff the bows. Pin seams closed and stitch along seam lines. Duffy was very curious. ShellieMay is the new addition to the family and he痴 wondering why I haven稚 sewed for him lately!




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    Then fold the edges of the bows to make pleats. Pin the pleats in place. Again, I suggest that beginners hand baste the pleats in place. I am very big on hand basting. It will save you lots of time and frustration from ripping out seams. It takes a bit of practice at the machine to sew straight and remember to never sew over your pins!




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    Pin the Bows together and stitch along seam line. Open seam allowance and lay flat. On wrong side of bow, pin the headband in to the center seam and stitch into place. I used a zigzag stitch to secure the headband in place.






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    Place the loop over the center of the bow and hand stitch together folding over the rough edges.




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    .......... and here is my precious little girl in some of her bows and outfits. She loves ruffles and lace! I can hardly wait to make her some very fancy dresses.




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    I haven稚 made clothing patterns since I was in High School. <-- ancient history. But I知 working on perfecting my skills and getting these patterns to fit just right. My friends all tell me that I am very OCD about the fit of clothes on a Teddy Bear. They just don稚 understand that Duffy and ShellieMay are much, much more than 阻ust teddy bears!!!


    I知 looking forward to seeing your bows and other original outfits!






    Sandrita







    Last edited by Sandrita; 10-23-2011 at 07:49 PM.

  15. #15

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    Re: Duffy's Button Box & Pin Cushion: How-to Sewing Projects & Original Designs

    Wow…

    THANK YOU, Sandrita!!!^^

    Your Shellie is sure lucky to have been adopted by someone so talented! Both my Shellie and Duffy saw this and exclaimed, "See?! Why don't you make us stuff like that?"

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