Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Doll's Eye View: Golden Globes 2017

It's that time of year again....the first red carpet event of the year! The Golden Globes! My girls love these types of galas. It gives them an opportunity to rival, if not upstage the actresses present on the red carpet!

In covering these events over past few years, I've noticed how the fashions at these events have become increasingly simple in line. Emphasis is placed more on the fabric rather than the cut which presents a particular challenge for choosing what to make. There were a few gowns I passed on simply because I couldn't find a similar fabric or print. Still, I was able to make a few which I share with you here.

This dress, designed by Armani especially for Janelle Monae, really compliments the actress' personality. I was immediately attracted to it for its fancifulness and originality. But I wasn't sure if it was a dress I'd want after making it. However, Iman, pictured here in the dolly version, insisted on having this dress. The bodice is a simple bodice cut from a band of mini sequins (perfectly scaled to the 12" doll). The skirt is a bubble skirt gathered into a satin ribbon waistband. What is difficult to see in the initial photo is that atop the white bubble is a single layer of tulle, to which black disks are attached.
I love slinky gowns with a bit of draping. Of course, getting the look is tricky due to the weight of the fabric. The trick is to select a silk or, in this case, rayon 2-stretch jersey. It's thin enough get the folds (which are controlled by slip stitching them in strategic spots).

Sometimes simple is challenging! I assumed the criss-cross draped bodice of the yellow gown would be pretty easy. But alas...it took me a day to arrive at something I could live with. I decided to do this dress in two parts: a corset over a slim, high waist sarong skirt. I began with a waist length foundation piece (for structure), over which I draped softly pleated fabric which criss cross over the skirt. I could have used a China silk, but instead I wanted something with more body, so I used, instead a polyester. Silk would have produced finer drapes over the bodice but I feared the skirt would have been a bit flimsy. In any case, my dress is INSPIRED by the original Atelier Versace dress. so I am still happy with the result. Eva need something else...so I gave her a white boa in addition to her pearl necklace.

At this year's even, there were a number of women who appeared on the red carpet in a tuxedo. The jacket is the one from my post on Yves Saint Laurent. The trousers are a standard pair of pants, but with slightly wider legs. The blouse (cotton) was made with the basic bodice sloper but with a front closure. The bottom front edges were cut diagonally away from the center front. A long, rectangular strip was added to the neckline which wraps around the neck twice and ties into the bow.
For another tux, Kathy wears a bra underneath a slightly shorter jacket and the same, wide trousers.
The focal point of this Armani Prive gown is the horizontal beading on the silver satin. I was able to recreate the look of this fabric using metallic ribbon with "ribbing" that resembled the beads. I sewed the horizontal edges of each band together. However, you don't see where I've sewn those bands together because I discovered that I could glue strips of ribbon over those seams and iron them in place. On the other hand, in my first attempt to duplicate the exact neckline, the ribbon frayed terribly and I discovered that with this very stiff material, it did nothing for the doll. So I decided to simply decided to "sculpt" the ribbon over the bust into a 3-dimensional form. Naomi still felt this dress was missing something, so I gave her a long shawl of silver lame to toss over her shoulders. Admittedly this dress is more of a "craft project" than a real dress. Nevertheless, Naomi has made me promise that she will get first dibs on this dress next holiday season.

I don't know what it is about velvet that makes me want to make a dress out it..especially at 1/6 scale where with tiny details, it is difficult to control. I liked this "Dowton Abbey" sort of gown with its draped cap sleeves and long train. For the doll, I decided to lower the neckline which made the sleeves fall slightly off Karen's shoulders. Personally, I think the dolly version looks less matronly than the original dress.

The dolly version of this Tom Ford dress is a simple strapless dress made from black sequins. If you can find stretch sequined fabric, you could make it by simply making a long, skinny tube the length of the doll. In any case, it still needs something else. So Lana brought her attitude as well as a whiff of bejeweled, black tulle.
Coming up next....part two of our last post...but this time we have a few more ideas on......Footwear!!!!
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Friday, January 6, 2017

It's a Cover-Up!!!

We've all been there. You find yourself in between doll purchases. You need a fix. You've blown your budget and you don't have much to spend. So you go to your local store to satisfy that "need" by buying a Barbie accessory pack. The problem is...the color, the style and the cheap plastic have all your dolls putting their fingers down their throats when you get home with the goods. But after you've removed that pair of shoes what to do with everything else? Use them as a base to make something better!
Inside of the Barbie accessory pack I recently purchased, was a necklace I almost liked. The Art Deco design was quite attractive but I imagined how much better it would look with leather inlays instead of silver-tone plastic.
1. I began by making a pattern so I wouldn't waste any of my precious leather scraps. I used a bit of paper tape which I put over each section then traced off to get a pattern.
2. Each pattern is then transferred onto a tiny scrap of leather and then the shapes are cut out. Set this aside.
3. First I wanted to prep the necklace with a coat of shiny silver in case it shows through.
4. Don't forget to paint the edges that are also likely to be seen

1. Now let's get started. Slather on the glue, section by section and lay on your leather squares onto the necklace.
2. I wanted a black and white necklace, so I put the black in the middle and the white on either side.
3. I felt it should have something else, so using 24 gauge silver jewelry wire, I wrapped the intersections of each color.
4. Using a pair of jewelry pliers, I pressed the wire in close to the necklace. Be careful not to press too hard or you'll break your necklace.
5. I continued to wrap the two sides of the necklace with this wire. Begin by placing a bit of the wire on the back side and wrap so as to cover this end. As you work, push the wire close together.
6. Again, I stop and press the wire together towards the necklace.
7. When you get to the neck, try to tuck the end underneath the other wire. However, if you are worried about the necklace scratching the doll, you can always put a bit of felt or leather on the underside.
8. And voila....Iman is wearing a REALLY nice necklace!!!

Very happy with the way that turned out, I found another necklace that had come with one of my SIS Barbies.
1. Here is the original necklace. Lots of possibilities for personalization! For this one, I didn't want the bling. Instead, I wanted to do something more discreet.
2. I start by applying glue to one stem of the necklace.
3. Using silky embroidery yarn, I put one end on the underside, then begin wrapping the yarn around to cover.
4. Keep wrapping tightly around the stem until you reach the end and dab a bit of glue underside and tuck the yarn underneath.
5. Repeat on the other side.

6. I rough cut a few rough cut strips of fabric.
7. Stitch them together at midpoint.
8. Cut a tiny circle of felt and glue to the medallion on the necklace.
9. Stich the base of it to the felt and readjust the strips.
This project really gets interesting when you personalize the Barbie handbags! I was given a lot of old Barbie accessories which included this very sweet, heart shaped (bubblegum pink plastic) purse.
1. With irregular shaped objects, the trick is to make a pattern so that you can better cut your material to fit.
2. I begin with a piece of tracing paper. I trace off the shape of the bag in the front.
3. Use a narrower piece of paper for the perimeter.
4. Make slits on both edge so that the paper will lay flat on the top. Trace off the edges.
5. Now place the paper around to check for fit.
6. Place the front pattern piece on the bag and then the sides to check for fit.
7. I used scraps of suede although you can use vinyl, felt or any other non-woven material. Lay your pattern on the material and cut out your pattern.
8. But we'll begin with the handle which I've decided to cover with a tiny strip of suede. You can use ribbon, embroidery yarn or simply paint it.
9. I lay down the edge of this strip then wrap the rest of it around it.
10. Wrap tightly right to the opposite edge.
11. Ad a dab of glue and fix to the inside of the purse.
 12. Now let's cover the outside. I begin by applying glue (I'm using rubber cement) to the sides of the purse.
13. Then carefully lay the side strip (remembering to cut the notches out on both edges to accommodate the handles) around the purse.
14. Next apply the glue to the side of the purse and carefully place the material over it. Repeat for the other side.
15. As for the top, you will be confronted as to how to deal with the part that shows.
16. Admittedly I thought a coat of paint would suffice. But alas, I wasn't completely happy with the results.
17. So I cut another small strip of suede to lay over the top and I'm much happier!
18. And here is the final result! I still have the sweet shape of the heart, but with the suede, it's a more sophisticated version my dolls just love!
Here's another handbag. This one has a relief and here's how I dealt with it.

 1. In the land of Barbie, bubblegum pink with cute little bows are all the thing. But my girls (even the playline Barbies) want something a little more sophisticated.
2. Using paper tape, I covered the handbag as a way of making a pattern. Cut notches around the base of the handles.
3. Here the is a bulge created by the knot of the bow. I let it poke through here. Then I trace around the edges of the handbag. Remove.
4. Apply another piece of tape on the side and trace the form.
5. Remove from the purse and place the front and the sides directly on the material. Here, I've chosen scraps of leather from an old belt.
6. Here is what my coverings look like
7. Apply glue to both the front and back of the bag and carefully put the leather onto the purse. Stretch it well and smooth out any gaps.
8. Be sure to press around the handles and at the top.

 9. Glue the sides, one at a time and carefully put the leather in place. For this bag, I've chosen to paint the straps.
10. You might have a bit of an overlap on the sides. Carefully cut away the excess.
11. I've decided to add a chain shoulder strap. Take a thin strip of leather. Add or make an eye ring for each edge. Attach the chain catching it inside of a loop on one side and threading it through the eye ring on the opposite side.
12. This will allow the chain to be used as a shoulder bag or as a handbag. And finally, I glued a bead cap over the little lump in the front of the bag.
Using the same techniques as above, here is the handbag Helena is holding in the opening photo.
Before and after. I covered it in black leather then added a "label" cut from self adhesive Mylar (taken from my car insurance bumper sticker) and a leather tassel. In this case, I wound thin leather around the straps. There was the problem of seeing the blue on the inside. So I added a bit of leather to the inside of the bag and touched up with a bit of black paint.
One last thing.....yes, you can redo those funky, little bubblegum pink boots that go with nothing in your doll's wardrobe!
And so here are those wonderful "boots." I think the idea here was a shoe with leg-warmers.
1. Because the foot is open, you will need to add a bit of cardboard to create a structure for the foot.
2. You don't have to do the next steps, but I wanted a different toe. I used air dry clay to create a new shape around the bottom of this boot.
3. Allow to dry.

 4. Again, I used a few scraps of leather. Old gloves are a good source of leather if you don't have other resources. I first, covered the top to toe of the boot.
5. Barbie boots have a slit down the back, so with a rectangle cut down to the scale of the boot, I begin by tucking in one edge to the underside of the boot. Apply glue to the body of the boot, then stretch the leather (or vinyl of non-woven material) around the boot, then tuck the other end inside of the boot.
6. I stopped to paint the heel.
7. Since there is a seam where the two pieces of material meet, I decided to add a little strap. This wraps around the base of the boot and through an eye ring.
8. Cut another piece for the sole and glue in place. I touch up any areas of the original pink (including the top edge of the boot) with a bit of paint.

Oh Joan is so much happier with her "new" cream colored leather boots!!!!

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy Dolly New Year!!

On behalf of myself and all of the dolls that make up my house....we would like to first thank all of our wonderful followers, visitors and friends for your support, the kind words that some of you leave and your continued friendship.
We wish you a very happy, blessed and prosperous and healthy 2017.
Happy New Year!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fancy Footwear: Stocking Shoes

I wanted to do one last tutorial before the end of the year. While surfing around the internet, I discovered a new trend...."Yeezy Sock Shoes" along with a few DIY ideas on how to get the look without the expense.

Yeezy "Sock Shoes"

Sock Shoes are neither practical (for humans) nor new (I've had a pair in my closet for MANY years). On the other hand they are perfect for the dolls!

Classic Stocking Boots
Some of you may remember that a while back, I did a post on spats for those of us who wanted to make boots to match our doll's outfits without the hassle of actually making boots. Those shoe coverings--which rest over the top of the shoe-- had the structure of rigid boot. On the contrary,  my dolly version of the stocking shoe, covers the entire shoe, is supple and form fitted to the doll's legs. In essence, we will make a pair of stockings that stretch over the shoe but allows the heel to poke through.

For this project you will need your doll, a pair of doll shoes of her choice and a small bit of 2-way stretch jersey or knit. (That means knit fabric that stretches both horizontally and vertically.)  Men's dress socks, tights, jersey, Tshirt fabric is perfect. I begin by making a pattern for my stocking shoes using a bit of Tshirt material. You can make them any length for a wide variety of looks, for both day and eveningwear.

1. Put a pair of shoes on the doll that you want as your base.
2. Decide on the length of the boot you want to create. For this exercise, I want thigh high boots. Stretch a bit of jersey around the doll's leg and around the shoe. Pin along the back of the leg, and then under the foot, being careful to leave the heel exposed.
3. Mark and make your paper pattern.
4. The final pattern should resemble something like this.

Cut out your pattern, then sew down the back seam of the stocking and again, under the foot, ending at the toe. Clip away any excess from the back seam. Turn right side out. Put the doll's shoes back on her and slip each stocking over the leg. Make sure the heel pokes out from the hole. You can adjust how much of the shoe back you want exposed afterwards.

I cut this from a pair of men's socks so as to take advantage of the ribbed knit top edge. Here is what my end result looks from front to back. Because these are stocking shoes (and not simply stockings) I glued a piece of leather on the bottom of the shoe. Keep in mind that there is a seam there which means it will not be at the same level as the sole of the heel. So use a thin leather or felt for your soles.

The stocking shoe adds a dramatic compliment to a long gown as well!

Both the dress and these stocking shoes were made from silver lame socks. Note that the doll is wearing the lavender chunky heeled shoes pictured above.
For a completely younger, more casual look, I used fabric from a striped sock and cut a short "sock boot."
I could have stopped there, but had still another idea when some stretch lace fell out of my drawer. Underneath, Renee is wearing light beige heels to give the illusion of a nude foot. Should you have problems with the heel poking through the lace as you slide it through your stocking...put bit of tape over the both sides of the shoe. When you get the heel through the back hole, you can carefully pull it away.

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Home for the Holidays!

Me and my dolls wish all of you and your dolls a very warm and wonderful Merry Christmas!!!

This year, I was determined to get every last doll in the house dressed for the holidays. This was no small feat. And since they are all decked out in their finest, they insisted on being photographed throughout the house! (Special thanks to my father who puts up with my dolls invading most of the house during the holidays.)

My bedroom is ground zero for all operations. The dolls all want to be downstairs on the piano, but there simply is not enough room AND.....SOMEBODY'S got to keep me company!!!! (Still on Christmas and New Year's Eve, they sneak downstairs to the livingroom.) I have two doll size Christmas trees, one on each nightstand. Each one is decorated with mini-ornaments, tiny angels. The one nearest the side where I sleep, also are decorated with my late mother's costume jewelry.

On my nightstand:
On the other nightstand:
High above, on my chest of drawers:
They are dressed and waiting for Saturday night's Black & White Ball downstairs on the piano!
Next door in the guest room:
These dolls have their own party on New Years. This year, I had enough clothes for everybody to be better dressed than in previous years.

On the nightstand:
Yes, another tiny tree, covered with tiny toys.

Out in the hallway:
A few of my mom's dolls under a slightly bigger Christmas tree.

Meanwhile, downstairs in the dining room:
They mix in with old family photos on the buffet cabinet.
I took the idea from the Doll Conventions and created my own "centerpiece." Of course, once the food arrives, dollies must get out of the way!!!!!
Everybody to the living room!
These three dolls at the foot of the tree, are part of a large doll collection of my late mother. They stay in the living room year round.

On one of the cocktail tables, I've put the dollar store and "homeless" dollies (who insisted on being part of the action this year.) Inclusion is a good thing!

And of course, there is the piano. My dolls' "stage" where they come to model all throughout the year!

And here we are, back upstairs, in my room, atop my dresser drawers. Nice work, girls!!!
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