April 2014

Monthly Message from Lee & Pearl

Hooray — it's our first newsletter!

First off, we want to thank every one of you for being part of our journey so far. It's hard to believe that we posted our first pattern on Etsy less than a year ago. We'll always remember that first day: staring at the screen, wondering if anyone would notice. And you did! Now we've got a stack of patterns, a website, a mailing list, a newsletter, wonderful Pinterest and Facebook friends, and lots of sales and reviews to boot.

So here we are in April, 2014.

For me — Pearl — this past month has been a study in contrasts. A family medical emergency was bad. But on the plus side I got to spend a lot more time on the same coast as Lee... where it snowed a lot, which was bad. But on the plus side I got to take lots of picturesque background photos of the fluffy white stuff. And so on.

To continue work on Pattern #1008: Classic Ball Cap and Big Fat Trucker Hat for 18" Dolls, I set up a workroom with Lee in Virginia. She's got great equipment, so the sewing wasn't a problem. But I did learn something about my workroom habits that I'd never noticed before. Apparently, I need a LOT of scissors: at least one pair next to every machine and one on every work surface — and sometimes more than one. I found myself reaching for non-existent scissors constantly. I never noticed this in my home workroom. Looking around, I can see why: I have scissors everywhere. Staplers and tape dispensers, too, though not quite as many as scissors.

I had enough scissors to finish the baseball cap pattern, though — and we love the way it turned out! Our friends seem to love it too, as it has been selling briskly on Etsy, getting great reviews and popping up on doll's heads around the web. A great big thank you to everyone who helped make this pattern a success!

Lee & Pearl Pattern 1008: Ball Caps and Trucker Hats for 18" Dolls

Eventually, I headed back to Los Angeles, while Lee made it down to the Spring Arts & Crafts Show in Fredericksburg where she met and had a lovely chat with Gale Sicard of Lexington, NC's All Dolled Up. Hi, Gale — those are some great dresses!

Gale Sicard of All Dolled Up, NC

Back in Los Angeles, I took a 20% off everything coupon to Michael's to score lots of little things, including the tiny faux-succulent topiary, wire bird cage and alligator-clip birds ($4.19, $3.00 and $3.99, respectively) in the photo below. I also managed to squeak in a visit to Disneyland, where I picked up the miniature autograph book keychain ($6.95) that should come in handy for a future Tweak the Pattern idea we're working on.

"Tweak the Pattern? What is that?"

Thank you for imaginary asking...!

We hope that all our patterns serve as springboards for your creativity. We love it when people take our patterns beyond the outfit on the cover. In fact, we often do that ourselves. In our newsletters, we'd like to offer some of the ideas we've had for using bits and pieces of our patterns to create new items and outfits. Some of these Tweak the Pattern features will involve actual new pattern pieces — like our Ice Princess / Bridal / Red Carpet gown below — while some will be simpler suggestions for using unexpected materials or trims. And of course, if you have any ideas you'd like to see explored in future newsletters, we'd love to hear about them! Please let us know at info@leeandpearl.com.

Without further ado, here is our first Tweak the Pattern feature. We hope you love it as much as we do!

Tweak the Pattern: Ice Princess / Bridal / Red Carpet Gown

Back in our costume design days, we would always have to stop and think whenever anyone asked us, "Where did you get the pattern for that?" Because most of the time, the sleeve would be from one pattern, the collar from another, the bodice drafted from a photograph, the skirt from a painting, and so on. I'm sure many of you are familiar with this feeling, particularly if you've ever had to make kids' costumes. Don't get us started on the year Lee's son wanted to be a Transformer for Halloween, but not any Transformer for which costumes are readily available. No, he had to be Quickstrike, from the Transformer's Beastwars Fuzors line, circa 1996. (The moral of the story is don't let your kids watch old Youtube videos unless you really LOVE sewing, which luckily, we do.)

This year, we're sure a certain Ice Queen's frosty blue gown will be a popular demand for both kids and their 18" friends. After gazing at pages of Pinterest images of the original, we found ourselves looking at the Long Program bodice on the cover of our Pattern 1055: Skating Dresses for 18" Dolls and thinking, "Hm...."

Lee & Pearl Pattern 1055: Skating Dresses for 18" Dolls

You're seeing it too, right?

As soon as Pearl got back to the Los Angeles workroom, she whipped up a pattern for an easy two-piece skirt that turns that little bodice into... THIS.

Let it Snow! Tweak the Pattern Ice Princess using Lee & Pearl Pattern 1055


Lee chimed in, saying, "I bet that would make a great recital dress, too." And it did.

Great Performances! Tweak the Pattern using Lee & Pearl Pattern 1055

And why not a stretch velvet Red Carpet dress? Yup, that too.

Arrive in style! Tweak the Pattern using Lee & Pearl Pattern 1055

Then Pearl found some white stretch lace...

It's her big day! Tweak the Pattern using Lee & Pearl Pattern 1055

... and decided to try the Short Program bodice as well.

It's her big day! Tweak the Pattern using Lee & Pearl Pattern 1055

The best part is, all of these variations are made with the same, simple two-piece skirt pattern and use almost exactly the same directions that are already printed in the skating dress pattern. We are offering this two-piece pattern to you as our first Tweak the Pattern — an ongoing newsletter feature in which we suggest (and provide pattern pieces for, as needed) the kind of metamorphic pattern alterations that we hope you enjoy as much as we always have.

CLICK HERE to download the Ice Princess Gown tweak-the-pattern PDF document.

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.

You will need to purchase Lee & Pearl Pattern #1055: Skating Dresses for 18" Dolls to get the bodice pieces for these dresses.

Tweak the Pattern using Lee & Pearl Pattern 1055

Thank you! See you next month...

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