Thursday, January 14, 2016

Lea Has No Neck Strings - Zip Tie Instead

So this is a jfyi post.

Jfyi - Lea Clark does not have neck strings.

She has a plastic zip tie holding on her head.

She does not have a string through her neck.

There is no knot at the back of her neck.

There are no strings.

She has no strings.

"I've got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret, or make me frown
I had strings
But now I'm free
There are no strings on me"

I had to do that ^^^.

And apparently, according to the word on the street, 
all AG dolls will eventually transfer over to this type of production.

So I asked on Instagram for peeps to send me pics of the back of Lea's neck.

And my two new bffs @outdoordolls and @ag_dolphins came through for me.

Crowdsourcing my friends.

@outdoordolls sent me a poster from the store display 
that flagrantly displays the back of Lea's neck.

It's like ^^^ "Hey! Check out my lack of strings!!!
But they still tucked my compass necklace string into my dress for some reason...."

And @ag_dolphins sent me three pics of the back of Lea's neck.

And you can see the bump of the zip tie closure under the copyright sign.

According to everyone's research - the company made this change because thousands, if not millions, of poor ignorant idiots would cut the strings down to the nubs or try to cut it out altogether.

(Not because the price of string suddenly went sky-high or something....)

I guess those idiots thought it didn't look good.

But they didn't put one and one together 
to get the fact that that string is the only thing holding the doll head in place.


So then American Girl had to keep fixing all these strings left and right - for free.

So yeah. Now we have zip ties.

Because American Girl is tired of paying for dumb people's mistakes.

Now I understand if it's like an 8 yr old who thinks -- 
"I don't like these strings, let me cut them out" - not knowing what was about to happen.

But why are we trusting 8 yr olds with scissors!?!!???!!?!

Some 30 yr olds shouldn't even be trusted with scissors....

And so - the people with the scissors 
were most likely adults - who never studied how the doll is held together 
before they decided to play surgeon.


A lot of people don't like the zip ties.

I honestly don't care.

I will rip open the seam.

And cut the zip tie.

And take it out of her neck.

And re-string the neck with a safety pin and some candlewick 
or string or ribbon or whatever I have around me.

Part of a cat toy.

Who knows?

It's more exciting that way.

And I will tie and untie Lea's head whenever I feel like it.

But I'm an adult, who can do those things.

Anybody else who isn't trusted with a seam ripper and scissors is screwed.

So true story:

A long, long time ago I ordered a Just Like Me/Truly Me #25 once.

And she came with a zip tie in her neck instead of the string.


Who knows.

She was supposed to be brand new.

And there was no X on her butt or anything.

Somewhere along the line she got a zip tie.

Was her string replaced?

Did she always have a zip tie?

Who knows....

It will be a forever-mystery, as she can't talk...

But I was like -- "What the heck is wrong with her neck? Where's the strings?"

So I cut that zip tie apart.

Took her head off.

Inspected her insides.

Because I was really wondering why the eff she had a zip tie, as a brand new doll.

Not one back from the doll hospital.

A returned doll maybe?

Who knows...

Can you tell that this still bugs me?

I don't like unsolved mysteries.

But it's not like I could put the cut zip tie back into her neck - 
that's not how they work.

(I foresee AG having to replace a lot of cut zip ties...)

So I restrung her neck with a brand new white shoelace.

So yes - one of my dolls sports a white shoelace at all times.

My point is -- restringing the neck is not fun, it's not necessarily easy either, 
but it can be done.

So don't be afraid to slice that zip tie and restring your doll's neck.

That's the way I remove the heads to take off their wigs.

It's a lot easier scalping just a head than a whole body.

And of course, you need to take off a doll head to do an eyeswap.

Or restring a limp doll.

Or replace the stuffing.

Or clean the cloth body in a washing machine, etc.

Or make sure AG hasn't stuffed a dead rat into one of their dolls 
and shipped it to me as a payback for this blog....

So yeah -- it might seem like American Girl is telling all of us customizers to go jump off a cliff - but it's not like you can't get around the zip tie.

It's just a pain in the butt.

I will report to you how my restringing of Lea's neck goes once I do it myself. :-)

I am hoping that it will go as it has in the past - a fairly straightforward job.

Just not with a white shoelace this time....


If you have Lea and you have already re-strung her neck - 
please comment below about your experience!

I'd love to hear how it went and if there were any problems, etc.


Thank you so much to @outdoordolls and @ag_dolphins 
for helping me with this post!!!


Thank you for visiting us today!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Trends to Sew: Long-Sleeve Shirt Options from GapKids, Hanna Andersson, and Justice

As a further addition to the conversation started here:

And continued here: 

I wanted to post a link to a pinboard I created:

There you will see pins of long-sleeve tops from GapKids, Hanna Andersson, and Justice.

-- Just like the title of this post says, haha. ;-) --

GapKids is great. I love most of their styles.

But some are better than others.

(I will most likely avoid things with glitter on them. Or pink hearts...)

This one is awesome:

^^^ I want that in my size... probably is my size because I am built like a 12-yr-old....

Hanna Andersson has more youthful styles, but simple.

That is the comforting kinda style I wore as a kid.

My fav amongst the HA pins:

^^^ Yes, it's more of a hoodie sweatshirt.
But who says it can't be a hoodie sweatshirt?

And Justice is more of the wilder, brighter, bolder style.

But I like a lot of their stuff.

My fav from the Justice pins:

And of course, you can never go wrong with a button-down plaid shirt!

^^^ Justice offers them in several colors.

These are all companies that the AG demographic might theoretically be shopping at.

And there are definitely some shirts I would totally buy in doll-size.

So in case you are sewing up some more shirts -- go check out those pins!

And even if you aren't sewing -- go check out those pins!

I'd love for you guys to "heart" the shirts you like the best so that people who look at the board know which ones are the most popular.

And of course, if you are selling your shirts you may want to keep in mind shirts that will look awesome with Lea's chambray shorts:

Make the shirts and model them with similar shorts, 
and you may see an increase in your sales!

Just an idea. ;-)

If people have those shorts, then you are offering 
them another shirt to match them up with.

And, of course, putting them on a Lea doll would definitely help. :-)


Thanks for visiting us today!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Honest Editorial: What is Trends to Sew about? What is this blog about? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life...

So I've been called out that I am not comparing apples to apples.

I am not comparing a youthful shirt of a child to a youthful shirt of a child.

See the last Trends to Sew post:

And after getting called out, 
I felt like my goals for this blog have been misunderstood.

I usually don't respond to comments when they call me out.

But being misunderstood is annoying.

Hopefully without sounding like a whiny poophead, 
I would like to explain why I do what I do.

Which kinda seems silly.

But I felt like I needed to restate what my Trends to Sew are about.

And really, what this blog is about.

First off, this is an opinion blog.

I say my opinions here, and those of Maple.

And you can comment your own.

It's meant to be open and free-flowing.

Good opinions of things. And bad opinions of things.
And 'eh' opinions.
And 'meh' opinions.
And 'OMG' opinions.

They're all welcome.

Overall the blog is about owning your dolls, 
your collection, your playthings -- whatever they are to you -- 
and doing whatever you want with them.

You want youthful, colorful clothing?

Buy from AG.

You want other options?

Teenage clothing?
Goth clothing?
Really detailed historical wear?

You are probably going to have to look outside of American Girl.

What's wrong with wanting something that AG ain't selling?

This is something us collectors have lived with for 30 years.

Some years have been more bountiful from 
AG for styles I like to buy, others have been a bust.

That is the nature of being a fan of a company's product line.

The Trends to Sew posts are meant to present 
alternatives to those of you who sew and sell, or just sew.

If you want that bright shirt, buy it.

It's there for you to buy.

If you don't, but you still want clothing for your new Lea doll -- 
well, look elsewhere. Shop on Etsy. Or sew it yourself.

But what if you aren't sure what to sew?

That's where my suggestions come into play.

I look at what's trendy, happening in the tween and teenage realm.

I shop for you on Forever21's site, Hollister, Urban Outfitters, etc. -- 
and I look for doll clothing I would love to own.

The truth is, that even if Lea is 9 or 10 -- my Lea will not be 9 or 10.

I want her to be the doll I want her to be.

I want her to be older.

I want her to dress older.

And why not?

Why can't I dress my dolls the way I want to dress my dolls?

I asked on Instagram -- are your dolls the 9 or 10 they are designed to be?

And I got all sorts of answers back.

Some said yes, they stay 9 or 10.

Some say they started at 5 yrs old and grew up with them -- so as a child turns 13 her dolls will age with her. Which I think is really something.

Some say their dolls are 12 and 13.

Some say they have teen dolls -- 15, 16, etc.

And if you go on Instagram and look at #agig'll see dolls dressed as all ages and in all kinds of different fashions. 

Which is awesome - and kinda the point of it all.

I never tell people not to buy from AG.

I never say -- "Hey that shirt is ugly, don't buy it. 
If you buy it you are encouraging them to create ugly stuff."


If you want that shirt. Buy it.

Buy 10.

Roll around gleefully in a huge pile of those shirts.

What I am saying is - I don't like it - and I want my Lea to wear something else.

And here are some of the shirts I'd love to have for my Lea:

So I hope I don't sound too whiny.

I just wanted people to know that yes - people have dolls that are teenage dolls.

And yes - sometimes people want to dress their dolls 
in different clothing than AG sells.

So I throw out other options in Trends to Sew.

Maybe older options.

Maybe too old for your taste.

But maybe awesome for someone else.

I am trying to be inclusive, while also staying true to my own opinions.

But I will try thinking more about what a ten year old would wear, 
if that's what you guys want to see.


And I think this rather random discussion 
gets down to a recurring issue in the AG fan community.

In the end, the main goal of this blog 
is that I am not necessarily just talking to the 10 yr olds and their family members.

I am not just talking to American Girl's demographic.

I am talking to everybody that owns AG dolls.

Not just the kids, the tweens.

Not just the ten yr olds.

I am talking to everybody.

Young. Old. In the middle.
White. Black. Yellow. Tan. Brown. Blue. Purple.
Women. Men. Girls. Boys.
Genderfluid or trans, or whatever you want to label yourself.

So what if you are 12 or 16 or 25 or 35 or 60 or 90 or however old you are -- 
You can own American Girl dolls -- 
You can collect them -- 
You can buy clothing for them or even sew it yourself.

And you can stand out in a field and take pictures of them at dawn 
because that's when the light is the best and 
you can't do it in the evening because you have to be at work.


You can use these dolls to feed your creative soul.


You can own these dolls even if you "grew up."

Even if you are supposed to be a teenager doing teenage things.

Even if you are supposed to be an "adult."

You can own them.

And you can do whatever you want with them.

Because they are yours.

Look around your house right now.

How many things do you own that 
you can pick them up, smile joyfully, and say happily..."this is mine."


So how about you guys?

Are your dolls all 9 or 10?

Are they older?

Do they only wear AG clothing?

Do they wear a whole mixture of brands with Etsy handmade items thrown in?

What's your dolls' fashion styles?

Let us know in the comments below!!!


Thank you for visiting us today!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Looking for Real-Life Pics of Lea Clark?
Try Instagram Friends!

Welcome back to my super-intelligent blog.

Yeah. Totes intelligenty.

With super-obvious posts like this one.

Want doll pics?
Look at Instagram.

But sometimes people might not put Instagram 
and American Girl together in their minds.

So I'm here to help you guys out.

So some of you, like me, might want to stare 
at pics of Lea Clark all week long.

Oh, that's just me?

Okay, well never mind on that point then...

But let's just say you want to see 
some pics people have taken of her -- in the store or in their own little paws.

Check out #leaclark

and #goty2016

You'll see pics of the doll, the catalog, the website, 
her clothing, her accessories, mini Lea, and so much more.

And it's just nice to see so many people excited about zee new doll and new shinies.
You can almost smell it! Haha. ;-)

So if you have Lea pics, please be sure to use one of those hashtags, or both.

That will help people find your pics and your account!!!

^^^ Sampling of zee Instagram pics.

Thanks for visiting us today friends!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Trends to Sew: A Better 'Aztec' Shirt for Lea

So Lea's collection has been released now, 
and I can innocently post pics of her outfits and stuff.

I swear.

Cough. Cough.

So we start with the Bahia Outfit.
That Lea got in Bahia.
Thrilling story, right?

The shoes and shorts aren't really anything to write home about.

At least the shorts are sort of a normal color that 
you could mix and match with other doll clothing 
items you might own.

(They are labeled as "chambray.")

The shirt however.

The shirt...

The shirt...

The shirt...

Is it just me or does this shirt look like it is crying?

Okay, first off -- you don't mix dip-dye fabric 
with this busy applique/iron-on thing.

You guys can argue with me all you want in the comments,
but this is my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

If one searches for dip-dyed shirts - this is what you get:

Shockingly! Shockingly! : There is nothing on top of the fabric, 
messing with the beautiful shifting colors.


And whose idea was it to put pink and yellow together as a dip-dye?


And then the Aztec/tribal/geometric/abstract/whatever...
pattern on top of the dip-dye thing....

Well, you can search for all or 
any of those words...southwestern, geo, boho, etc. etc.

(I'm lumping all of these things together, not in a 'I'm trying to be racist and culturally insensitive'-way, but because a) most of these patterns don't really come from anything culturally-specific - they are at most, culturally-derivative, and also b) I'm not really sure what you would label Lea's shirt design as....)

The list goes on and on for possible labels - but while doing an online search you will rarely find something as hideous as Lea's shirt.

So try all-over patterned shirts instead.

Tank tops.

^^^ Nice contrast neckline and straps

Yells: "BEACH!!!"

^^^Check out those flouncy tassels!

Screams: "SUNSHINE!!!"

More tassels below!!!

And all-over patterning.

Or you could just use one simple color 
with an embroidered or applique pattern along the neckline.

^^^Simple, cheerful, bold, not ugly

Or you can go with peasant tops.

^^^They are very "in" right now.

And you can go the all-over pattern method, as seen above.

(But don't make a dip-dye peasant top.
I'll have to kill you.
I mean...Maple will have to kill you.
She's the fashion-assassin around here.)

More peasant tops...

^^^I especially like the tie/un-tie option on this one, 
and how it makes a beautiful V-necklne

^^^ There's something very visually pleasing about the embroidered 
pattern just being on top of the white or cream gauze fabric.


(Not on top of pink-yellow dip-dyed fabric...)

Short sleeve, slightly cropped peasant tops.

^^^ Notice how the banding of the fabric can really change the "weight" of the shirt from focused around the neckline and shoulders versus focused on the bottom hem and sleeve hems.

Experiment with different approaches!

And onto something a bit less peasanty.

^^^ Beautiful high-contrast designs.

Two different style shirts -- but both are way more appealing than this....

Even this bizarre combination of "Aztec" print on 
a bomber jacket appeals to me more than Lea's shirt.

Yes, Roxy made that ^^^ and you can buy it from PacSun right now for like 50% off.

Honestly, if I could pull it off, I would totally wear that.
(But I'm not cool enough.)

And I think it would be completely awesome to have it in doll-size.

But I think it would be awesome to have any of the above shirts in doll-size!

Alright, I think I'm done whining about Lea's shirt.....sigh. Siiiighhhh.



Thanks for visiting us today friends!!!

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