July 2015

Monthly Message from Lee & Pearl

What's New from Lee & Pearl™

In our most recent pattern, Lee & Pearl™ celebrated comic book heroes and villains with a suite of iconic character costumes.

Lee & Pearl Pattern #1054: Superheroes! Costumes and Accessories for 18" Dolls

If any of your 18" friends attended Comic Con in San Diego this weekend wearing costumes made from this pattern, please send us pictures. We'd love to see them!

Lee & Pearl Pattern #1054: Superheroes! Costumes and Accessories for 18" Dolls

We love getting suggestions for the features you'd like to see from Lee & Pearl™, and just last week, we followed through on one of those suggestions, launching our new Pictorials feature with a July 4th Picnic photo story featuring our workroom model dolls, outfits made using Lee & Pearl™ patterns, and an assortment of fun accessories, props and furniture.

Happy July 4th from Lee & Pearl

We included links and purchasing information for those accessories and props — and in this Newsletter, we are featuring craft tutorials to make two of your own cool picnic accessories: organza lettuce for a Summer salad, and faux cast-iron pots made from dollar store plastic toys.

Happy July 4th from Lee & Pearl

We're looking forward to many more fun Pictorials in the future, a feature that blends our love for doll clothing play, craft play and narrative play. Thank you for the suggestion!

Lee & Pearl™ Craft Tutorial: Make perfect doll salads with easy organza lettuce

While testing fabric techniques for a fantasy costume, craftmeister "Lee" discovered that a simple candle flame creates marvelous shaped-and-finished edges on ordinary polyester organza.

She quickly brought that technique to our doll world, creating perfect 18"-scale salad greens out of 2" squares of green organza.

Make this perfectly-scaled doll "lettuce" using two colors of organza and our easy tutorial


NOTE: because of the candle, this tutorial is recommended for ADULTS ONLY.

We also made the polymer clay tomatoes, starting with the directions in this YouTube tutorial. We made our tomatoes bigger, mottled the leaf color by mixing two colors of clay, and dusted the tomato tops with yellow and bright green pastel chalk for even more realism.

Lee & Pearl™ Craft Tutorial: Have a cookout with easy "cast iron" painted pots

Re-finishing inexpensive plastic toys to create doll-scale accessories that look exactly like the real thing is something of a passion for both "Lee" and "Pearl."

As soon as we got this ultra-realistic green Coleman® camp stove from Sophia's we knew we were going to need a few more "cast iron" pots for chili and baked beans.

With two sets of plastic toy pots from the Dollar Tree and a little trial and error we came up with this great tutorial to turn shiny plastic toys into realistic-looking campground essentials using a brush, a dry rag and readily-available primer, paint and metallic rub.

Make "cast iron" pots like these using doll-size plastic toys and our plastic painting tutorial


Tweak-the-Pattern 1004a and 1010a: "No Crack Back" Boy-Style Pants and Cargo Shorts for 18" Dolls

At Lee & Pearl™, we are fanatic about fit, and we are always learning and sharing the things we've learned in our design process.

So as an introduction to this month's Tweak, we'd like to talk about two things: first, what do we mean by "boy style" pants (and why are they so special) and second, why do so many 18" doll pants fit so oddly in the rear?

Lee & Pearl Pattern #1004: "Boy Style" Pants and Cargo Shorts for 18" Dolls

What is a "boy style" pant? In the real world, boys have longer waists on average than girls. For anyone who is interested in creating custom boy dolls, one of the best ways to trick the eye and turn a "female" doll into a "male" doll — aside from cutting her hair or swapping her wig, of course — is to lower the position of the doll's apparent waist.

Here, our custom boy doll Jack wears shorts made using our Pattern #1004: "Boy Style" Pants and Cargo Shorts for 18" Dolls, while Chrissa wears the shorts from our Pattern #1033: Bonjour, Paris Mini Wardrobe for 18" Dolls. The difference between the waist heights isn't much, but that little bit is important. With his elongated torso, Jack is clearly a boy.

"Boy style" vs. "Girl style" - Lee & Pearl Pattern #1004: "Boy Style" Pants and Cargo Shorts for 18" Dolls

But don't worry — though our male doll model Jack looks appropriately boyish, these pants and cargo shorts look great on girl dolls as well, just as casual boyfriend trousers look great on real-world girls. The pants look a little slouchier than usual, though by no means are they low riders.

Here's our Joanna wearing pretty orange-flowered cargo pants with drawstring hems from our Pattern #1010: Army Combat Uniform Bundle for 18" Dolls (which uses the same waistband arrangement as our boy-style pants and shorts pattern).

Here's a more feminine version of our Lee & Pearl Pattern #1010: Army Combat Uniform Pattern Bundle for 18" Dolls, with our Pattern #1007: Bush or "Boonie" Hat and a version of our Pattern #1031: Wrap Dress and Peplum Top

Cute, huh? And for our eagle-eyed fans, yes that top is a prototype for a future Tweak of our Pattern #1031: Classic Wrap Dress and Peplum Top for 18" Dolls!

When we first started working on these patterns, we realized that the free-swinging hip joints on our 18" friends meant that pants could either fit perfectly when the doll stands, but slide a bit low when the doll sits — or fit perfectly when the doll sits, but resemble a diaper with all that extra fabric in the back when the doll stands.

We decided to go with the first option as we don't know any wearers of "boy style" pants who want to be seen wearing a diaper.

But earlier this year, while working on our Bonjour, Paris shorts pattern, we came up with a — if we say so ourselves — brilliant alternative pattern that curves the waistband up around the back for "no crack" safety while sitting, without adding any extra "diaper" fullness while standing.

We love this new adjustment, and we had to add it to our old favorite "boy style" patterns — #1004 and #1010.

Lee & Pearl Pattern #1004: "Boy Style" Pants and Cargo Shorts for 18" Dolls

See, perfect while standing...

Lee & Pearl Pattern #1004: "Boy Style" Pants and Cargo Shorts for 18" Dolls

And still perfect while sitting! It's some kind of dolly magic, isn't it?

We love this adjustment so much that we've ADDED IT TO THE PATTERN ITSELF. From today on, all downloads of these two patterns will come with this new and improved "No Crack Back" waistband pattern. So if you buy either Pattern #1004: "Boy Style" Pants and Cargo Shorts for 18" Dolls or Pattern #1010: Army Combat Uniform for 18" Dolls with our 20% discount today, don't worry about the Tweak — it's already part of the pattern!

If you've previously purchased either pattern — thank you, by the way — you can DOWNLOAD THE TWEAKS below, or you can click on the "You" tab on any Etsy page, then click on "Purchases & Reviews" from the drop-down menu and re-download the new version of the pattern from its link on that page.

Click HERE to download the FREE "No Crack Back" Boy Style Pants and Cargo Shorts Tweak the Pattern 1004a PDF

Click HERE to download the FREE "No Crack Back" Army Combat Uniform Pants Tweak the Pattern 1010a PDF

Note: Our download management system may ask for your email address. If you're already on our mailing list, use the same address that you signed up with. If you aren't already on our mailing list, the system will send a confirmation email to the address you enter. If you want to join us here at Lee & Pearl (and receive our annual FREE pattern for mailing list subscribers) respond to that confirmation email and we'll get you started!

NOTE: These tweak packages do NOT include Pattern #1004: "Boy Style" Pants and Cargo Shorts for 18" Dolls or Pattern #1010: Army Combat Uniform Bundle for 18" Dolls. These patterns can be purchased separately in our Etsy store.

Happy sewing, saving and crafting. See you next month!

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