Archive for the ‘the boys’ Category

Taking shape

I must confess that I don’t always bother to press pattern pieces using an iron, since it is often possible to flatten them out to an acceptable standard by hand.  However, there are two situations in which I always do: if the pattern is particularly creased, or if the pieces are very small.  The pieces for Avon and Vila, naturally, are pretty small.  When I’d finished pressing them, they looked like this:

Pattern pieces for the Avon and Vila dolls

You can just see the fabric on the right, and it is a good representation of the colour (at least, it is on my monitor).  Remember that, if you wouldn’t mind, because I couldn’t get the colour to look right in the next photo.  The boys are really not going to be spectacularly pink.

I’ve just been away for a week, and I took the pieces and the fabric with me.  While I was away, I cut everything out and did as much making up as I could.  This wasn’t a great deal because the arms and legs have to be stuffed before I attach them to the bodies, and I didn’t bring the stuffing with me, but it still took me a couple of days.  The results, as they stand at the moment, look something like this:

Fabric pieces for Avon and Vila dolls

I hate tailor tacks, but I can’t really see a way round them here, except on the arm pieces.  The arms are supposed to have a couple of tailor tacks at the top.  I’ve only put them on one arm, because it’s obvious from the construction where they go; I just need the one arm marking as a reminder which way round they are (the green thread marks the larger circles, the purple thread the smaller ones, and there’s one of each).  I’ve also thread-traced the stitching lines, and will probably replace the thread with chalk just before I actually stitch them.

Now, just look at that first photo again if you don’t mind, the one with the pattern pieces.  The text on the back piece (bottom right) is a tad out of focus, but all the outlines are very clear, and the photo is taken from directly above the ironing board so there is no perspective distortion.  That was deliberate.  I now have a scalable pattern.  You may hear a bit more about this later.

Not the next post, though.  That’s going to be all about the waistcoat. 🙂

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Two bad boys

As I mentioned in the last post, I’m in the process of setting up my new business.  One thing I really needed for this was a good logo, and if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time you’ll know that my artistic skills are entirely a matter of squared paper and grinding patience.  This, however, doesn’t work if what you’re trying to produce is a simple logo with nice bold lines.

So a friend in NZ came to the rescue, and she drew me a really lovely logo which you can see on my business website.  I asked her what she would like in return, and after a little thought she said she would like a plush Vila.  This name may not mean anything to you if you’re below a certain age, so I will explain.  Vila was one of the characters in a SF series of the late 70s and early 80s called Blake’s 7.  Both of us were (and still are) huge fans of this series, so I got quite excited about the idea, and said I was very tempted to make a plush Avon to go with him.  Avon was Vila’s friend.  Sort of.  Insofar as he was ever friends with anyone.  He wasn’t exactly a nice chap.  Even so, when it comes to classic SF double acts, Avon and Vila were right up there alongside the likes of Spock and McCoy.  In fact, whisper it softly, but I think Avon and Vila had the edge.  They got better lines. 🙂

Avon (left) and Vila (right) in "Gambit"

Here they are – the boys themselves, in a very typical screencap.  Vila’s the one on the right, clutching the drink and looking worried.  Avon is doing his usual steely-eyed thing with just a hint of smugness.  After all, you’d be smug too if you knew you could look good in a tinfoil tunic.  This still is from the episode Gambit, which possibly counts as my favourite episode ever.  My friend particularly wanted Vila in that costume (and I like that one a lot too).

The matter didn’t take much deciding.  My friend really wanted an Avon too, so she said if I made one, she’d pay me for him.  “Done!” I replied happily.  Of course, I’m no good at faces (see artistic skills above), but that’s all right.  She’ll do those herself.  She thinks the sewing is the clever bit.  I don’t understand that.  Sewing is easy.  It’s the faces that are the clever bit!

I decided to put Avon in his Gambit outfit as well, since it’s easy to make and it’s very classic Avon.  Avon wore a lot of silver.  (Heck, if you can, go for it.)  The first thing to do was to find a doll pattern.  There are lots of free ones online, but none of them turned out to be quite right, so in the end I bought this one:

Doll pattern (Vogue 7418)

Yes, I realise the dolls shown are all female.  Sssh, don’t tell Avon and Vila. 😉  The dolls actually look female because of their clothes and hair; their bodies are pretty much unisex.  They won’t need any adaptation to make them a more masculine shape.

This morning I went shopping for fabric.  The lady with the fabric stall on the market is truly awesome, because, as you will see if you compare this photo with the one of Avon and Vila above, she had just about everything I needed:

Fabrics, threads, trim &c to make the dolls

And, yes, that brown fabric in the middle is actually suedette.  It really could not have gone any better.  There’s also a large bag of stuffing which is not in the photo.

All I need now is some yarn for their hair, one or two pieces of PVC for their footwear (Avon goes in for big boots, but Vila usually wears a more modest pair of shoes), something I can use for Vila’s belt, a couple of small buckles, and some black sequins or similar for Avon’s belt.

I’m going to have fun with this project. 🙂