Workshop with Shasha: Creating swimwear for curvy Barbie

For a while now I've been teasing a sewing project that I've been working on with Shasha from Atelier Ni Shasha. Well, that project is finally completely finished, and I'm so excited to share the final result with you. I have been showing separate pieces here and there, so it's not like a huge secret, but now I finally can show the full outfit. It took me a bit longer than expected to finish this, but since it's June already, I think that it's perfect timing. 


For some context, back in September 2021 Shasha organized a giveaway to celebrate her 10th shop anniversary. The prize was a coaching session in which you could sew an outfit for a doll of your choice. The design was up to us, but we had to more or less describe what we wanted in order to enter the giveaway. And, as you might have guessed, I was one of the people who won. 

I was hesitant to enter, because I had 0 sewing experience. So I was concerned I wouldn't be able to come up with something simple enough for me, and wouldn't be able to make the most of the course. But I finally came up with the idea of sewing a bikini set with a cover up, as I thought it would be very easy to do, being the bikini so small. I chose to do this for a curvy Barbie doll, as Mattel doesn't seem willing to come up with specific clothes for them and I didn't think I could come up with a bikini pattern on my own. 


We started back in late January/ early February. Because, at this time, there was a lot going on with the pandemic, I decided to go with whatever I had at home, so I picked some old clothes I had around to start with the bikini. The time difference between Spain and the Philippines is around 7 hours, so we decided to meet at 9 a.m in Spain, which would be 4 p.m in the Philippines. So, for I don't know how many weeks, we've been meeting some Fridays in the mornings to do some sewing and chat about random stuff. 

We started off with the bottom part of the bikini, which was one of the easiest things to do. I have already shared this part back in February, on the Sewing progress post. Despite my initial thoughts, this was quite easy to sew, and I actually ended up making two, but the second one wasn't in the right fabric. Here are some photos of the process. 



The second piece that we made was the bikini top. Shasha mentioned that this piece is quite hard for a beginner, and could be considered intermediate level. It was indeed trickier than the bottoms, specially when it came to sewing the band that connects the triangles. 



I actually ended up sewing two tops, because on the first one the band was too small and wouldn't fit the doll properly, so I had to start over. I will eventually sew a hook and eye on the first one, to use it on my original body dolls. On the second one, I made the mistake of sewing the triangles outside the band, so I had to redo the band again. So yeah, this was one of the reasons why it has taken me so long to finish it. 

First top, too small for a curvy doll

For the cover-up, I had nothing at home I could use, so I ended up buying a cheap sheer scarf at a local store. I actually wanted something with a print on it, but couldn't find anything that suited me, so I picked this one because I liked the color. 

The pattern for the cover-up is quite simple, but the fabric I chose was a nightmare to work with. I know woven fabric tends to fray, but this felt almost like burlap. The color is stunning, but the fabric itself was a poor choice. 


Once everything was finished, I got so excited planning for a summer themed photoshoot. I used the vertical garden I have, because it gives such a fresh look, and the wooden floor. In this first pic, Shea is showing how she looks in the bikini. 


My pieces are far from perfect, and they do have some flaws. The band of the bikini top is too long, but luckily you can't see it, since it's on the back. The cover-up is probably the piece with more flaws, as the fabric gave me lots of trouble. I do have plans to re-do the bikini at some point, but in another color (would love to find a hot pink or a yellow). I have another curvy doll that might want to go to the pool too. 


The idea behind the cover-up is that it would be a versatile piece that you could use as a beach cover-up, or as a light summer jacket if you combine it with jeans. I already have something similar from Mattel, and it's one of my favorite pieces. I do have plans to recreate it in different colors, but also try using different types of fabric, to see how it goes. It's also one of those "one size fits all" pieces you can use with dolls of all sizes. You've already seen Chloe wear this in some of my latest photos, but here she is modeling it with a swimsuit (from Mattel). 


Despite my garments not being perfect, I'm really happy with them. I feel like I've learned quite a bit from it, and I've got to practice a lot. Before we started the course, I had only sewn 1 tank top (see it here) and a handful of doll-size pillows. Now, as of today, I have sewn 2 bikini tops, 2 bikini bottoms, the cover-up and a teal tank top I sew in between lessons, to get some practice. My goal for 2022 was to sew 5 garments in total, so that goal has been more than accomplished. 

As far as I know, Shasha will have the pattern for the bikini available on her Etsy store soon. There's also a written tutorial on her blog, in case you would like to check it out.  I believe she also has plans to share a pattern for the cover-up but, for what she has told me, it actually does take a lot of time to put a pattern on sale. 

(Update August 2022: she has the bikini pattern now on sale here.)


Overall, I'm really happy with the results and the experience. I am so grateful to Shasha for sharing her time and knowledge with me. She had a lot of patience with me, because I don't know Jack. She also took the time to come up with the patterns herself and share them with me, which I know it takes time. I don't think I would have been able to design these pieces without her help. Please, follow her on every platform you can, such as her blog, Instagram and YouTube channel

I hope you enjoyed reading about this whole experience. I feel like I'm forgetting to mention something important, but if I do remember it eventually, I would add a note at the end of the post. I'm not 100% sure what I will post next. I mentioned I wanted to work on some furniture, but I got an eczema on my hand that is finally going away, however I want to wait a bit longer before I use paint. In the meantime, I think I'm going to practice a bit with my sewing machine and try to make a sofa cover or some doll-size bedding. Whatever I do, I will share the progress here. 

I hope you're all doing well, and I'll see you very soon!

Monster Crafts

Comments

  1. Hi MC, This is a beautiful set that you made! It's wonderful that you have more than reached your goal as well! Shea looks beautiful in the bikini, and the colour is perfect for her. Well done girl!!! I don't see any flaws tbh. I've watched some of Sasha's tutorials on Youtube in the past, they're great. Looking forward to more clothes and sofa covers that you'll make 👍😊 Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Linda! I do like how the colors work against her skin. I do see the flaws, but I always make sure they aren't very visible on camera. I also find her tutorials very helpful, and even relaxing at times. I figured out how to sew the tank top I made following one of her videos. I really hope the sofa cover comes out right, this could really help to expand my furniture collection.
      Big hugs to you too!

      Delete
  2. That's awesome. I have some curvy barbie dolls that need some new clothes, so I may end up using it. :)
    -Quinley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Quinley! This pattern is not available yet, but Shasha has other patterns in her store, so definitely check it out.

      Delete
    2. Hi MC. I think you did an AMAZING job on that swimsuit. Bra tops are not easy to make and fit. BRAVO!!! And your doll wears it well.

      Delete
    3. Thank you April! It was indeed, quite challenging and I did have some fitting problems at first. This doll is stunning, so no surprise she looks good in anything.

      Delete
  3. Congrats on finishing another project! Isn't it fun to have more clothes? Personally, I have to finish some scrub pants for my daughter and fix a hem on a shirt to help out my daughter's dance teacher, so I'll be busy with human stuff for a while.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Barb! It is! The process can be frustrating, but it's so rewarding at the end. Now I can't stop thinking about other things I want to make for my dolls, but I'm not sure if I have the time and skills for them. Good luck with your human-size projects!

      Delete
    2. What are you interested in making?

      Delete
    3. Honestly, everything, but for now I want to stick to some basic staple pieces: simple tops, a skirt, basic dress... My plan is to use some of the Mattel clothes that I own as a guide to make my own version of those. When I get a bit better I would love to try my own patterns. I don't have a set plan really. For now I'm going to try to practice with the sewing machine and try to make a sofa cover. My dioramas could use a new sofa.

      Delete
  4. ¡Hola!
    Reto conseguido, la práctica hará que sigas perfeccionando la técnica. Para ser el primer bikini que haces no ha quedado mal.
    Saludos ^-ᴥ-^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Muchas gracias! La verdad es que estoy muy contenta con el resultado, aunque se puede mejorar. Por lo menos esta bastante mejor que la primera camiseta que hice, que eso no hay por donde cogerlo.
      Que pases un buen fin de semana.

      Delete
    2. What a wonderful opportunity and you nailed it! Keep sewing so your ladies can keep looking sexy.

      Delete
    3. Thank you! I have plans to keep practicing. I really need to expand my dolls' wardrobe

      Delete
  5. This sounds like a fun workshop, it's great it was so productive for you. Looking forward to seeing more clothes from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was indeed, and Shasha is such a lovely person. I have plans to sew more clothes, although they might be quite basic until I get better at sewing.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. Hey hey MC ---- so sorry for the late comment on this fabulous post you have about our post. It was one of the most fun collaborations I've had! Your creations are fantastic for first try's even, and I know you're not going to give up and make more and become better at sewing your own doll wardrobe! We all are looking forward to see more of your creativity, dear so keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shasha! Don't worry, I understand that life gets busy. It was a struggle bus at some point, but I'm really happy with the results. I won't give up, I have lots of ideas for future projects. Right now I'm just struggling trying to make a sofa cover.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  7. June has been a perfect time for swimwear over here in Sweden. We have had degrees near +30°C and that is rather hot over here. Great that you were one of the winners and could design a bikini for the curvy Barbie. There are not so many clothes out there that suit the curvy ones. Looked the other day at the toy store, but with no luck. Love the colors you made the outfit in. Shea looks marvellous in her new bikini and you did a good job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Niina! The temperatures have been high, but now they're slightly cooler (still hot though). I'm so happy that I got this opportunity. At first I wasn't sure, but I feel like I've learned a lot. Yeah, it's sad that Mattel dropped the ball pretty quickly when it comes for clothes that fit curvy dolls. Also, the fashion pack prices here are rather expensive for such cheap quality. I also like the colors I picked, they really suit her skintone.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think! (Spam comments will be deleted)

Popular posts from this blog

The return of Monster High

Doll Review: Barbie BMR 1959 Curvy

Doll Review: Barbie Made to Move redhead