Space Fantasy Sindy and Toyah Willcox on the scene

Space Fantasy Sindy in Cherry Pop, Quick Changes and Dream Ballet

My super model for this week has been pink haired Space Fantasy Sindy (1985). She’s nicely designed with a heart shaped, vulcan hairline so that she can wear her hair up on top. A very popular doll with collectors. Quite a stand out in the line of brunettes and blondes.
Here she is in the “Quick Change” 1982 silver outfit (plus extra bag), which came out three years before Space Fantasy.

Space-Fantasy-Quick-Changes

She brings back memories of Toya Willcox yelling “I don’t want to go to school” in a fabulous silver and black sci-fi inspired ensemble.

Delighted to see that she’s just released a new single called Sensational. A hopeful song for the children of the future, with a fab contemporary but 80s inspired music video.

Space Fantasy also shone this week when I dressed her up in the Jean Paul Gaultier style corset from Hasbro “Dream Ballet” 1991. It looks very pop star without the skirt!

Space-Fantasy-Dream-Ballet

And I love this pink polka dot “Cherry Pop” trouser suit (1984). The white braces, made from two linked loops are such a great twist.

Space-Fantasy-Cherry-Pop

I remember a pink polka dot blouse I wore to death in the 80s. Loved it.

Would love to hear about your space inspired outfits from the 80s.

p.s on the metallic space theme, a Facebook friend just shared this… Brigitte Bardot in 1968 “Contact !”

Check out all ShimmyShim’s Sindy clothes for sale in the shop. When you buy 3 or more up to ¬£10 each, you get 15% off.

First ShimmyShim T-shirt designs

First ShimmyShim fashion doll T-shirt designs

This week I designed and made up a couple of fashion doll T-shirts. This is the classic example, modelled by Barbie friend Deluxe Quick Curl Christie.

The slogan is “One of the Girls”.

Barbie Christie Deluxe Quick Curl wears ShimmyShim T-shirt

And this is a cap sleeve version on 80s Sindy.

Sindy wears ShimmyShim T-shirt cap sleeves

It’s made from one piece of cloth, which was an idea suggested by Ruth Gadsby, as a simple solution to avoid fiddly shoulder seams. On such a small scale, the fabric is strong enough to hold its shape on the shoulders, which creates something of a Star Trek look. I was quite excited about the style as I haven’t see one quite like it. For a human sized garment I wonder if you could create the same effect with something like neoprene fabric.

The first time I made up a T-shirt it went a bit skewiff, with the hem wavy and the sleeves (intended to be the classic shape) too wide.

Doll T-shirt first attempt with transfer

So, a few problems resolved with help and advice from Sindy collectors (thanks if any of you read this). I prevented the hems waving by placing a sheet of tissue paper under the fabric as I sewed it. This also gives you something to hold onto, so that you can manoeuvre the fabric left and right as it runs under the machine foot.

Machine sewing doll T-shirt side seams

The sleeves are impossible to sew in using the traditional method I learnt at school (make the sleeve into a tube and then slot it into the armhole). But manageable if you sew the open sleeve into the shoulder before the side seam is closed.

The stretch on the badly made sleeves had been caused by cutting the sleeve along the ‘wale’ of the weft knit jersey fabric, rather than across it, in line with the weft or ‘course’.

I tacked all the seams for my second attempt (tack a long way from the edge to avoid machining over the tacking). But for the third attempt, with speed in mind, I used pins to hold the seams together (pin at right angles to the seam and not too close). Only the very tight neck edge needed tacking. And I might try glueing that next time using a Prym Aqua Glue Marker (florescent when applied, dries clear and washes out).

Despite all my best efforts at speed I timed the making at over an hour with the press studs still to be sewn on!

iPhone stop watch display

Hopefully, to make these cost effective I’ll get faster with practice.

I ordered some Prym mini rivet press studs and started to experiment with them. They seem a bit tricky and the instructions aren’t clear. I crushed one set of studs because I’d used a wrong attachment (they’re not marked). Studs were skidding across the floor like meddlesome tiddly winks ūüėȬ†. I’ve put them aside for today as I’m not happy with the size either – 8mm is a touch too wide for a fashion doll T-shirt.

Image result for vintage tiddly winks

I’m currently working on the packaging for these T-shirts. Display cards are part of the whole experience of collecting and enjoying micro size fashion and I love them! Also, of course there must be a code number. 001 and 002?!

Faerie Glen, ping pong and Blue Peter

If you collect doll’s clothes, you may have stumbled across ‘Faerie Glen Wear Made in England’ doll clothes. They’re very distinctive outfits and after a while you spot them at a glance just by the style and design. But they often come with intact labels for an easy ID.

Faerie Glen wear Mad in England label

This is a typical example – slightly frumpy shape, striking 70s floral print and lurid trim.

Faerie Glen 1970s orange autumnal nylon dress

Shop Faerie Glen

And this beauty, complete with kipper tie!

Faerie Glen 1970s orange stripe kipper tie dress

Googling doesn’t always come up trumps (tip – try Bing sometimes – Google is not the only search engine!). Searching for “Faerie Glen doll clothes”, I hit a wall of pinterest, eBay and Etsy links and not much else. But take a breath, drag your eyes away from attention grabbing Mod outfits and try one last time with a new search term. Bingo! A page from “British Dolls of the 1960s” by Susan Brewer delivers a cup cake size story…

Faerie Glen 3 tier cocktail dress with new flowers

“Hook and Franks Ltd used the trademark Faerie Glen on their dolls as well as on their extensive range of dolls’ clothes.”

Apparently the company was founded by a lady called Daisy Franks and her daughter Peggy.

“…who later became a presenter of the popular television show Blue Peter.”

[I see Ms Franks had a slot on Blue Peter in 1959 ‘dressing a doll’ ].

According to a filmed interview in the 1960s, their company had a staff of 350 and turned out 5,000 tiny outfits per day!

Faerie Glen purple pink floral dressing gown

Watch the British Path√© archived film of the interview. It’s absolutely stellar. I love the design studio / factory which appears to be someone’s living room, artfully draped with cloth and looking more like a shop window display. Peggy looks very ‘Sindy’ in her¬†plimsolls,¬†playing table tennis at the start of the film. She was very sporty and “represented England in every table tennis championship since the [Second World] war”.

According to Susan Brewer in her book “Collecting Classic Girls’ Toys”, Faerie Glen did very well with children’s dressing up clothes too.

I’m definitely a fan of Faerie Glen. There’s something a bit awkward about the designs which adds to their charm. That kind of ‘ugly beautiful’ that’s nice when it’s consigned to history and you can look back on it a bit wistfully.

The outfits are very much improved in quality if you swap the hook and loop fastener (which tends to be very sloppily sewn on) for pop fasteners.

See a wonderful array of Faerie Glen on this terrific Pinterest board by Carolyn Cunneen