Monday, September 6, 2021

Fairy Claire

Sadly, I ran into a little hiccup with the Belle dolls last week.  They both had really dirty vinyl, and when I cleaned off all of the dirt, I found a few small stains that needed Remove-Zit treatment.  That treatment can take several days to several weeks, and so I figured that while I was waiting for the stains to fade, I could finish up my Experimental Claire doll.

You can read all about Claire here, but as a recap, she's the doll I used to test out the handmade resin eyes I bought on Etsy.  These eyes are tiny works of art, and they looked beautiful on Claire, but they were just a bit too intense for a regular girl--probably because of the eyes' extremely white scleras.  Because I had to cut open the back of Claire's head in order to place the resin eyes, it was very easy to re-open her head and try out some different options.

When you saw Claire last, I had swapped out her resin eyes for normal sable brown Eyeco acrylic eyes. She looked like this:

My Twinn Claire with her Eyeco eyes.

I like Claire with the brown eyes, but they just weren't right for her.  As I work on a doll, she develops a personality in my mind. A big part of Claire's personality centered around her big, bright, realistic eyes-- even though they were unnervingly intense.

I had the brown-eyed Claire sitting next to me in my workroom for several days, and I just felt like she had lost her spunk and sparkle: she'd lost the personality I had for her in my mind.

So...I went back to the drawing board.  I read over some of the suggestions that were given in the comments section of Claire's original post, and decided to take the advice to make her eyelashes darker (thank you, Luis!) and stop pretending that she was a regular girl.  I decided to make her into a fairy, which was an anonymous suggestion (thank you!).

The first thing I did was to give Claire a new pair of eyes.  These are resin eyes--like her first pair--but they have a slightly softer blue-based palette that I knew would match an outfit I had in mind.

Unfortunately, Claire's straight strawberry blonde wig was shedding badly from the beginning, and it only seemed to get worse every time I removed the wig to swap the eyes.  After three eye swaps, the wig was done. I had to find a new one.

I found an old ZaZou wig in storage that perfectly matches the color of Claire's first wig (and hence her eyebrows), but this wig has some amazing curls!  Here's a test picture I took of the fairy Claire with her new eyes and wig:

She's got her personality back--and then some!
This is the Merina wig from ZaZou, but it's an early version.  The current version of this wig is much brighter red (and much more accurate to the description photos).  I was happy to have one of the more subtle ones in my stash!

For Claire's fairy dress, I started with a My Twinn princess dress that looked like this:


The photo, above, is of a pristine example of this dress that I own, but I also had a more scruffy version that was ok to play around with.

The first thing I did was to dye the dress blue using Rit Dyemore dye.  This process worked amazingly well, but it was hard to get the dye to wash completely out of the fabric afterwards.  I probably washed the dress seven times after it was dyed (in very hot water and then in cooler water), but it still lost some color when I ironed it.  As a result, Claire is wearing a very crude jersey knit underdress to protect her fabric body from the dye.  You might see the underdress peeking out around the sleeves in a few of the pictures.

Once the dress was washed and ironed, I embellished it with lots of rhinestones, ribbons, and little tulle flowers.  I paired the dress with a tulle crinoline (for added volume), a simple head garland, and a leafy glass necklace.  Claire is not wearing any shoes or tights.

Here's fairy Claire in her new ensemble:


The blue of the dress matches the outer part of Claire's irises really well!


I ornamented the bodice of the dress with rhinestones (glued on with Fabric-Tac) and some silver trim (sewn on by hand with clear thread). The necklace is made out of glass beads strung onto black thread:


The skirt has lots of flower and rhinestone accents on the top tier (glued on with Fabric-Tac):


And an extra layer of ribbons sewn in underneath:


There's some visible glue residue here and there, but I tried to be careful about that overall.

I made Claire's head garland out of beaded wire, and then I twisted some ribbons around the wire and glued on some pearl and rhinestone accents:


If Claire's hair is clipped back from her face a little, like this, I think it accentuates the effect of the garland nicely:


Claire also needed some fairy wings, of course!  I ordered a pair of $20 wings from an Etsy shop that does not have great customer service.  17 days later, those "ready to ship" wings still have not arrived.  

Happily, a different Etsy shop came to my rescue with these beautiful white wings that cost under $4 and shipped super-fast!

They're hard to see in photos, though!
I sewed a bobby pin onto the back side of these wings, and then glued the bobby pin and thread in place.  This works as a clip to fasten the wings to the top of the dress:

The positioning is perfect.
Here are some picture of Claire in her full ensemble:





The photo, above, happened to have a nice high-resolution view of Claire's new resin eyes:


I really like this color combination because the brown in the eyes coordinates with Claire's hair while the blue matches her dress.

Miss Claire is a very fun doll to photograph, although the fairies are always a bit hard to move around because of their huge wings!




This is Claire's new (and final!) portrait shot:


A bit closer...


...and now here's a comparison GIF that includes all 3 of her makeover incarnations!


Part of me still likes her original green-eyed version, but the new fairy version embraces the spectacular nature of these resin eyes a bit better.

As a quick aside, I had a doll in my stash who was destined for the Goodwill, and I took an hour or so to enhance her eyebrows, swap her wig, and give her a different pair of these resin eyes.  The Madison face mold has smallish eye sockets, so I was curious how these bright eyes would work in that scenario:


I think there's still something off about those ultra-white scleras.  But perhaps the effect is lessened with the smaller eyes?  Let me know what you think.

Regardless of what I do with the resin eyes in the long term, I'm finally happy with how Claire turned out.

I took her outside to my (very overgrown) backyard for a few quick photos in the natural light:


These fairies always look best in their natural outdoor habitat!





I'm not sure when or if I'll sell this girl (maybe after I track down a good box?) but I wanted to share her with you on this Labor Day holiday.

My wish is that she adds a bit of magic to your already wonderful long weekend!

11 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! I like these new eyes even more than the last two pairs, and that they match her dress?? Kudos! The dress is just lovely too. Wonderful job, I should learn to sew! -Micah

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    1. Thank you so much, Micah! I'm having a blast with the sewing machine, although this was just a lot of hand-stitching. Also fun, but I think I like the machine sewing more. It's addictive! :)

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  2. Claire is perfect as a fairy! My husband and oldest son have central heterochromia so I always think it's so cool to find dolls with that. Also I'm IN LOVE with that Goodwill doll 😍 I think the eyes look great with her darker skin tone. I find darker complexions will have whiter looking sceleras because of the contrast. I think this might contribute to why these resin eyes have never bothered me since I live in a Hispanic community so they look like the eyes I'm used to seeing on people. Whereas the brown eyes Claire had in her 2nd makeover look like the odd ones to me 🤷🏽‍♀️

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    1. Thank you so much! I think she finally found her true self. ;) I thought Claire's brown eyes looked a little dull. Maybe just in comparison to the resin eyes? But I agree with you--they didn't work.
      If you want the Goodwill girl, she's yours! She isn't properly made over at all (just enhanced brows, new wig, new eyes), but if you love her, that seems like a much better fate than the Goodwill. Message me through Etsy! :)

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  3. Woooow a shoutout <3 I've been your fan since TBP! I love reading your reviews/transformations on rainy days :)

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    1. I remember your delightful comments from TBP, Luis!! And the eyelashes were an excellent suggestion. Thank you for helping Claire find her best self. ;)

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  4. Her hair and dress in the natural light look so spectacular. <3

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    1. Thank you! She deserves slightly better outdoor setting, but this is what I have for now. I wish she could wave her fairy wand and get rid of my weeds... :P

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  5. Wow, she came out so beautiful! Those eyes work so well for a fairy character.

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  6. I like the transformation. If you're planning on doing more dyeing, you could try using a specialist detergent which you can get from dye suppliers like Dharma Trading online. It used to be Synthrapol but that's no longer made, but if you search for Synthrapol substitute you should be able to find it. The detergent is made to bond to loose dye molecules so it should help with the washing after dyeing.

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  7. Ohhh, Fairy Claire is stunning! She needed those eyes and that wig! I've been a long-time fan since TBP, and am so happy to still find you online. Your Goodwill gal looks just like a young lady I know here, white scleras and all!

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