Friday, November 25, 2016


Me and a small contingent of girls have been here in Paris for a few weeks. Unfortunately I fell ill to a bad cold and the girls--who have been scouring the stores and streets of this fashion capital-- have not found much they like, style wise. On the street, it's all about basics and in the designer store windows--pure fantasy and not the good variety. So, we figured we was long overdue to stop and offer another edition of Tipster! Here, we dissected the last catwalk trends to show you how to create the details that make those clothes special.

On the Fringe
One of the favorite looks was this dress and shorts with fringing on the edge. In making this outfit, I used two different techniques.

It's really very simple. For a straight edges (like the hem of the shorts), decide how deep you want the fringe. Make a machine stitch at that point, then remove the horizontal threads of the fabric. The machine stitch will keep it from unraveling beyond your chosen edge.

However, when it comes to a curved edge, we have to cheat a bit. Fabric will unravel on a grid, as depicted in the top photo.
So take a spare piece of fabric, make a stitch for the length of fringe you want, then remove the horizontal threads.
Cut your fringe away from the fabric, leaving a small 1/4" (3mm) allowance, then pin to the curved edge of your garment.
Stitch close to the edge. If the curve is steep, you may have to clip the curve so that it lays flat.

Grommets and Studs
This was another popular look that attracted a lot of attention because of the metal eyelets (also called grommets) and the tiny studs. "How do you put them in," I was asked. It took some doing, but I found a solution.

1. I used a grade school compass to help me with this. Slide the eyelet onto the needle.
2. With the eyelet on the needle, pierce the fabric.
3. Slide the eyelet in place and push through the fabric.
4. Using jewelry pliers, make a quick firm crimp.
5. On the right side this looks like this.
6. On the wrong side, the edge is folded in place if it's down properly.

Tiny studs are difficult to handle. 1. So I use jewelry pliers to place on the fabric.
2. Push through so you see the "teeth" on the wrong side.
3. Again, use the pliers to make a quick sharp crimp.

On Angelina's bolero, I used a combination of metal studs and pearl stickers. You could use metallic colored stickers instead of studs, just be aware that the stickers tend to fall away fairly easily.

Circles and Squares
The next trend we've been spotting for awhile are skirts and dresses with handkerchief points. Before I can show you how to make a handkerchief pointed hem, we must begin with the draft of a circle skirt.

While there are several ways to draft this skirt, I've chosen an old fashion technique I learned in school which begins with something called a "dartless sloper."

Here, we begin with the basic skirt sloper. Draw a vertical line down to the hem from the apex of the d'art. Then draw lines down from each dart leg to the hem to join the point of the vertical line. Finally, draw a line from the furthest point on the waist at the side down to the corner side point at the hem. Fold out the darts completely and cut away hip curve. Repeat for the back. We will use what's left as a guide.

1. Here is what our dartless skirt sloper looks like.
2. Divide this into 3 or 4.
3. Cut along those vertical lines almost (but not quite) to the waist edge.
4. Draw or create a 90 degree angle. Spread the skirt out so that the outer slats line up against the horizontal and vertical edges. Spread the other two slats evenly. Note the length from the waist to the hem and make dashes of equal lengths from the waist at the hem. When finished you can draw the curved line at the hem.
Repeat for the back.

5. My pattern thus far only represents 1/4 of the circle.
6. Place this quarter to the other side of the center front.
7. Repeat for the back. Add seam allowance to the horizontal edges as well as the waist edge.
For your waistband, you can use a small ribbon, however if you cut your own waistband, be sure to cut it on the bias (diagonally). It should be slightly longer than width of the waist (for overlap). Use hook and eye to close.

Here is my circle skirt in evening length. In making this pattern. I joined the pattern along one side seam to create a skirt with only one seam.

The only difference between a circle skirt and one with handkerchief points is that one is a circle while the other is a square.

Here, I've placed my circle skirt flat on the table, but squared off the edges.

The result is a skirt that is long in spots, short in others.You can exaggerate the points to create a more dramatic style. Your pattern doesn't have to be symmetric. This is a pattern you can really have fun with.

All images and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2016.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Can You Ear Me Now

I am probably the only person you know who doesn't have pierced ears. As such, I'm not much of an "earring" person which is why you rarely see the girls wearing them. But after numerous complaints--especially from those FR dolls who arrived with their own pair--I have finally given in with this post! Mind you, I really don't need to do a tutorial. Earrings are easy enough to make and at the very least, you can simply pick up an existing pair and be done with it. This post serves, primarily, as a source of ideas in the context of current trends.

Trends??!! Yes, there are trends in the jewelry business that are defined annually. They may or may not have anything to do with the clothing industry. But according to, the hottest look is the "statement" earring. Simply stated, those are super sized earrings. Sometimes they drop as far down as the shoulders. This is good news for the dolls because it means we don't have to worry about scale!

You don't need much to get started: 1) Eye rings 2) Flat nose stems to create end beads, 3) Stems with eye rings. You can create your own posts with them although the wire is quite thin. You might consider making your own using 20-22 gauge nickel free wire. 4) Some craft stores or shops specializing in jewelry making supplies have ready made posts. All you need do is to hang whatever bead or design from the small loop beneath the bead and you're good to go. 5-6) You'll need standard and round nose jewelry pliers. 7) No matter what you use as a post, eye rings are used in between the post and whatever you suspend. It's what creates the articulation of the earring. 8) And if you want to create a drop earring using beads, here's the diagram of what it needed: An eye ring is needed to join the top and the bottom of the snowflake. The top attaches it to the post, the bottom to the rest of the earring. A stem is bent into an eye at the bottom. The bead slides on and this stem is rounded at the top to attach to the eye ring at the bottom of the snow flack. Another eye ring joins the stem to a tear drop. If you have no tear drop beads, then thread an ordinary bead onto the flat nose stem and bend it into a eye at the top.

Using this method, you can create bejeweled teardrops like the ones worn here by Waris and Claudia.

Nichelle and Katoucha are wearing earrings from ready made jewelry I took apart. To reproduce the look without these specific beads, you could make them from regular beads and flat nose stems. After finishing 5-6, suspend them from a single eye ring and attach to a post.

I had fun at my favorite bead store. I forced myself away from the usually silver and gold and dared to pick up some colorful enamel geometric shapes. What's interesting here is that the earrings have similar shapes but are not carbon copies.

Each element has an eye ring and is suspended from a single piece of chain. The orange arrows point out where eye rings attach to the chain. At the very end, the longest piece, the end of the chain and the post all share a single eye ring. You notice that when Aria wears them, they fall at different lengths.

Shootin' Hoops
Super sized hoops are all the rage night now. Making them is pretty easy. You could buy chain and cut them apart or you could make them.

1) This is 18 gauge wire that I have wrapped around a small bottle cap to get a perfect circle.
2) The wire is cut so that there is an overlap. Wrap one end around the top of the round nose pliers. Bend the other end so that it completes the circle of the hoop.
3) Here's the completed hoop. All that's needed is an ear post. I made this one myself.
4) I decided to add an eye ring in between the hoop and the post so that the earring would dangle more freely.

Another popular trend, as seen on catwalks. Sometimes you can find tiny tassels, but if you can't, here's how to make them.

1) I used embroidery thread. Make about 3-4 loops about one inch wide.
2) Take the eye ring stem and slide through the middle of your looped thread.
3) Close the loop so that it is snug.
4) Clip the thread at each end.
5) Fold this in half.
6) Take another small bit of wire and wrap around the thread about 1/8 inch (3mm) from the top. Instead of using wire, you can also use a bead cone to finish the top.
7) Once finished, clip the bottom of your tassel so that the ends are even.
8) There is still a bit of the wire stem extending from the center of our tassel.
9) Bend this back towards the tassel, forming a loop. Add a eye ring and attach to a post.

Have fun with this look.

Karen wears tassel earrings that I have combined with chain. In this case, I bought a bit of chain that had a number of elements I knew I could use. For these earrings I only needed the part of the chain you see outlined by the orange box.
I attached my tassels to the chain using eye rings. The arrows point to where they are cached to the chain. Note that when laid flat, my chain is asymmetrical. This is because I wanted the earrings to fall at two different lengths.

Chain Gang
Chain is also big and very easy to translate into doll jewelry. The top and bottom right hand photos only needed eye rings that attach to posts. But Giselle (lower left bottom) is wearing an earring comprised of an eye ring strung with three lengths of chain.

Slipped Disks
This is a runway look I decided to make. Sometimes we can't find the beads we want. I used oven back clay to make my own here. Just be aware that you cannot make them too fine or they will break.

For these disks, my clay is only the size of a small pea. I used a straight pin to pierce them. You can leave it in as you back to ensure the holes won't close.

I left these au natural, but you can paint patterns on them for truly original designs.

Remember that chain I used earlier for the tassel earrings. Here, I've removed the large leaves. All by themselves, they are gorgeous.

Of course there are plenty of stamped metal pieces to create wonderful earrings.

Any other time, these would be considered out of scale. But in the current season, anything goes. These were made from a pair of vintage earrings.

You can give dolly a single earring or....the newest way to wear them--mismatched!

But at the end of the day, there's nothing like the classics. My girls were still thrilled with their "diamond" studs. If you buy the store bought variety, look for 3 mm stones which are perfectly to scale. On the right...I created "large" diamond studs using jeweled beads and a 5/8" straight pin.

Let me show you using pearls.
I add a bit of clear drying glue to the end of the pin and slide my pearl to the edge. Wipe away the excess and allow to dry. You can also find dressmaker's straight pins with the beads already glued in place.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

To Our Friends in Poland....

While we prepare the next post, we would like to stop and wish our friends in Poland, a wonderful and safe National Independence Day tomorrow, November 11. Thank you for your friendship.

April & the girls

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Get Out and VOTE!

Normally, I don't mix dolls and politics. After all, this wonderful doll community has provided me  a wonderful refuge from all of the strife and stress, the crudeness and bickering, the bad feelings and overall hostility that has, exceptionally permeated this particular presidential race in the United States. On Tuesday, November 8, all registered voters have an opportunity to  go to the polls and let their voices be heard in what has become one of the most important elections in modern history.. So this Tuesday, we urge you to please vote. For all of our other friends....please keep us in your thoughts or prayers....and cross your fingers....that Americans make the best decision for everybody!

Saturday, October 29, 2016


With Halloween just a couple days away, I thought I'd make masks for the girls. I'm posting this early to give you time to make a few before Oct. 31 should you decide to follow along. As you know, most of my girls are quite vain, so most of them have decided to go to the party dressed as chic witches or stylish goblins. With that in mind, I designed a small variety of masks using a simple paper mache base that can be painted or embellished.

For this project you will need:
Aluminum Foil
Paper Towel cut into 1/4" (6mm) strips, enough to cover the mask.
Paper Mache: equal parts of flour, water (a tablespoon of each is enough for 4 masks), dash of salt

1. You can make full or partial masks. Choose a doll without eyelashes as a model.
2. If you don't have heavy duty aluminum foil, use two layers of the regular variety. Press the foil into the face.
3. Be sure to press the foil into the crevices of the eye sockets and along the bridge of the nose.
4. Using a dull pencil, define the eyes.
5. Draw around the face to create the shape you would like
6. For the half-mask, be sure to curve the line up and over the nose.
7. Remove the foil from the doll and cut along the outline of the face.
8. Place back on the face to check for fit.
9. Remove from the doll and cut the eyes out of the foil form.
 10. Mix together the flour, water and salt to make a paste. Then one by one, dip the paper towel strips into the mixture and lay each strips over the foil. (The foil form should not be on the doll.) Apply a second layer. Then press into the contours of the foil form. Allow to thoroughly dry. Usually I let it dry overnight.
11. Turn the mask around to the wrong side and using a sharp instrument (like the point of a manicure scissors) poke out the eyes.
12. Make the eye holes larger than the actual eyes of the doll
13. Now cut away the excess around the perimeter of the mask.
14. With an emery board or small piece of sandpaper, carefully smooth away the imperfections.
15. At this point you can paint your mask or make designs. OR.....

16. EMBELLISH! Think decoupage. Think glitter. Think feathers. And don't forget auto-adhesive jeweled stickers!
17. Start with a layer of Modge Podge or white craft glue. When dry, remove the foil from the back then decorate until your heart is content! These masks extend past the doll's ears. So I use straight pins to attach to their hair (not head). However, you can attach ribbon or thin elastic to each side, if you like. I show you what I did on the last mask of this post.

For my masks, I had fun with paper doilies, with lace, glitter, stickers and feathers.
And with these masks, my divas can enjoy not just Halloween, but New Year's Eve masquerade parties and Carnival!
Now, I realize that some of you just might want to make something more.....Halloween! So here, I finished that full facial mask you saw earlier.
1. Following the same instructions at the top of this post, I covered the doll's face entirely with foil and created my mask using the paper towel and paper mache mixture. When completely dry, I began by painting it white.
2. I drew the design on using a No. 2 pencil.
3. Then with acrylics, I painted in the design
4. When the paint was dry, I removed the foil from the inside.
5. If you extend the sides of the mask beyond the doll's ears, you can pin it to her hair. If not, you can use ribbon or thin elastic and attach to each side with a tiny brad (attaché francaise). Push through
6. And spread the wings out.

Happy Halloween!!!

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