Saturday, February 3, 2024

Eleventh Hour

 


My oh my...11 years already!!! The last 12 months were a challenge...... I admit...we crawled throughout the year to arrive at the finish line this year! But we are still standing! It has been a case of life getting in the way of doll play!!! That said....my vinyl darlings continue to give me quite a bit of joy and I navigate difficult days. And so as long as they are still with me...as long as I am still collecting.....as long as the ladies and gentlemen in the photo above (these are just the dolls in my bedroom) stare me down each morning as if to say..... "Move your butt April and make us some new clothes"....... Fashion Doll Stylist will continue to live on. 

As I've stated repetely... we are living in a new world. Covid changed the trajectory of all that existed before. To my eyes, 2020 marks the official beginning of the 21st century. Forget about everything you knew before. It's all different now and that includes fashion. Added to the personal challenges of caring for loved one with dementia, life is further complicated with toxic politics, war, social media trolls and the upside down, crazy aesthetics of fashion's new world. Fashion of the times I grew up in was  elegant, classy...something today' youth calls "old money high fashion" or "quiet" luxury." 

Most of the old masters of yesteryear who were alive and shaking things up years ago while I was reporting on Parisian fashion years ago: Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Hubert de Givenchy, Kenzo, Issey Miyake, Emanuel Ungaro, Andre Courreges, Paco Rabanne, Thierry Mugler, Nino Cerruti, Sonia Rykiel, Patrick Kelly, Hanae Mori, Versace, Azzedine Alaia- have, sadly passed away. Others (Christian Lacroix, Jean-Paul Gaultier,  Claude Montana, Valentino Garavani, Donna Karan) have sold their businesses and moved out of the spotlight.. Most of those "ladies who lunch," socialite women like Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly and oil baroness Nan Kempner & friends who kept these high fashion brands in business--have also passed on. In their place....young rogue designers who break all the rules, celebrities often adopted as designers for name brands and the corporations who employ them. These days, it is difficult to identify the real clientele, the folks who actually buy brand name merch. But it seems the corporations cater to new money destinations: pop stars, influencers, celebrities and athletes...a market more aligned with more gritty urban and less European refined tastes. And so, for me, there lies my principal obstacle....not fitting in with the new "street style" aesthetics. Carrying "current fashion trends to my 12.5" friends has become a chore! In all fairness.....this is normal. There has been a changing of the guard. 

But still..... I love my dolls. In fact, seven new faces arrived in my home over the past year. As usual, I rename my dolls. Let's meet them: 
Meet Aurelie. She's Integrity Toys' "Ultraviolet Poppy Parker." Up until last year, I had not been a fan of this doll until I saw another's collection of Poppys of color. Aurelie is the third to enter my collection.


Meet Jon. He's IT's "Sound Romain" Monarchs Doll. He's handsome--the only thing that interests my girl dolls. They would like more of him!  


Meet the twins. Chocolate dipped gorgeousness. On the left is Juliette, otherwise known as Earth Angel Eden from IT. On the right is Julia, a Lilith Blair doll. Both from IT.


Here's Kylie. She's another gorgeous IT doll "Night Out Erin Salston" Normally I am not a fan of dolls that show teeth. But this doll knows how to smile and doesn't overdo it (except for when she arrived and saw all of the clothes, shoes and accessories at her disposal!) 


Liya is IT's Serving Cake Keeki Adaeze. With her copper toned hair and hazel eyes, she is simply stunning. 


I renamed IT's Naturally Cool Ayumi to "Michelle" in honor of a dear friend who passed away last year from breast cancer. This doll closely resembles my friend, a former top model from Atlanta Georgia who moved to Paris to work for the late Black designer, Patrick Kelly.  

And last to come into the flock....MaryJae...a doll I renamed in honor of hiphop goddess, Mary J. Blige. Because of her outlandish look, Devining Beauty Adele was not a doll I had thought of buying when she came out in 2021. I am usually not a fan of blond hair on dark skin. But when I saw her on eBay for a much reduced price, I took the time to closely examine her and think about all of the possibilities. Once in hand, I noticed the drama she brings to everything she's dressed in. She is a real stand-out!


Last year, I did not post many tutorials. But me and the girls were still very happy with what I was able to do, beginning with the high fashion jewelry (Diamond Life-03/11). Diamonds are dolls best friend... 
Once I found a good substitute for soldering (strong gel glue), and once I learned how to work with rhinestone chain.....there was no stopping. Can you spell.....Tiffany's, Van Cleef, Cartier. ..Each morning, the dolls were next to my bed with their wish lists. 
We found a new use for ribbon (Take Another Bow 07/22)..... an added element used to create spectacular sleeve treatments!

But then we hit a wall and had to go looking all over social media to find inspiration. That's when we landed on the Instagram page of biascutwoman. The Swirl (09/23). Creating a dress out of a single slat of fabric attached to a bodice was a pattern drafting challenge that yielded fascinating results!

Before that challenge was this....a dress that emerged from a single square of fabric. We called it the AI challenge  (08/22) even though biascutwoman swears it was a real pattern for a real dress. She used AI to animate the pattern into a garment. We used a doll to figure out the tweaks needed to turn it into a real dress. 

Our year ended the same what it began....with red carpet dresses from the Golden Globes. 

And so.... what is to become of 2024 here on my blog? All I can say is that we are taking one day at a time as I continue to adjust to my new "normal." I have not been posting on Instagram or Pinterest as regularly as I did in the past. Caring for dad gobbles up so much time. Still, I'm working hard to put more balance in my life and set aside more time for research and projects so there isn't so many wide gaps between postings. 

I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your continued and loyal support and for still tuning in on those almost rare moments when I have managed to post something. I promise to get back to my reading list and visit those of you who still maintain your blogs. Doll people, you are wonderful!




Love,
April and the gang

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Unless otherwise noted, all images and text of this blog are the copyrighted property of Fashion Doll Stylist 2024. We are independent and not part of any other group or website no matter where this post or its elements appear on the internet or social media. Please request permission before reproducing any parts of this post. And please, always credit us. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Dolls Eye View: Golden Globes 2024


You know my girls were not going to let me miss.... red carpet season. Yes, it's been awhile since my last post, but my divas insisted how much they NEED NEW CLOTHES!!!! Now that the holidays are over, and with the new year in progress, I am making a concerted effort to get back on my feet and take care of my ladies, starting with some red carpet action. The key word for this year's Globes red carpet..."Pretty." Celebrities looked more elegant than they have in years. Looks ranged from simple, strapless sheaths and fishtail gowns to big beautiful ballgowns. My goodness...could everybody be under the spell of.... "Hello Barbie" ??!!!!!


First we would like to stop and congratulate Lily Gladstone, the first Indigenous actor to win best Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. Her Valentino gown, is a simple strapless white sheath peaking out from a black taffeta cloak trimmed with voluminous flounces, While we liked the overall effect, we feel the designer could have gone further with the details. For our girl Veronica, we added in lots of curvy couture draping to give the dress more character and interest. Instead of a ruffled cloak, we took a handful of crunchy black taffeta and tossed it over the shoulders. 


Hello Barbie. Can you believe it... our friend Barbie went from supermodel to super celebrity with her hit movie last year! Actress Margot Robbie's dress is a full length replica of a 1/6 classic Barbie dress. But for our girl, Adriana, I did the opposite. I kept the Barbie pink color, but made a more sophisticated rendition of Robbie's pink sequined dress. It's a simple sheath out of silk faille fabric. Instead of the original bubblegum pink tulle, I tossed a pink feathered stole over Adriana's shoulders.




It doesn't get any more simple than this. We saw lots of black velvet on the red carpet. All by itself with its sweetheart neckline and long, off-the-shoulder slim sleeves this dress by Dolce Gabbana exudes elegance. We didn't take any liberties with the original design other than accessorizing a rendition of it with an elaborate "diamond" necklace and a fluffy white jacket, modeled here by Denise.



There were several of these velvet gowns--trimmed with a sweep of satin or a sparkly bow. This dress, designed by Monique L'Huillier, is lovely but, here again, we felt the designer could have had more fun by adding a bit of drama. Case in point... for our girl Estelle, we began with the same black velvet strapless sheath but played more with the drape of the cream colored satin ribbon that sweeps over the empress bodice, tumbling down to the floor.



It's all about the fabric! Another classic one-shouldered Grecian gown designed by Fendi Couture is reinterpreted for Emmanuela. I used a gorgeous silver satin fabric to create the narrow, dartless sheath. I added a train and topped it with a bow.



If I had the silver sequins, I might have been tempted to copy the dress as is. But the fact that I didn't, led me to get creative. Renee's dress was made from the reverse side of silver Christmas ribbon. It's made in two parts..a strapless bodice over which I added squares of frayed ribbon. The raw edges really make this dress! Instead of the white and silver train of the original dress, I made a stole from silver "eyelash" fabric which I felt was more modern, more versatile.



I do like the simplicity of these gowns but I wish there was something elaborate in the mix. This is another one-shouldered sheath with a little draped detailing at the top. I copied the dress as is for Helena. But to jazz up the look, I gave her a fringed, embroidered shawl to toss over her shoulders. 


With its bugle beaded bodice, this dress, from the house of Schiaparelli replicates the old world charm of Hollywood in the 1950's. We liked the way the white beaded bodice peeks out from the rest of the full, black taffeta ballgown. For Nadja, we changed the construction of the front of the dress a bit, shifting the volume from center front to side center. Instead of smooth silk, I used a crunchy taffeta for extra texture and volume. I accessorized Nadja just the way women did it 60 years ago....with long, white satin opera gloves.


I love red satin. I love the volume of this Bottega Veneta gown. But I wasn't wild about the neckline with those two little bits of I-don't-know-what poking out of the top. Laetia wears the same, princess line, full gown...except, we gave her dress a prettier, draped collar over the bustline.


I almost missed this dress, but my girl Veronique brought it to my attention! There is a lot going on here. We both love the asymmetrical look to the whole dress. We love the flounces, the flowers, the sparkly do-dads. And so...for Veronique's dress, I began with black sequinned shear fabric, to which I added satin and tulle flounces, black flat flowers dotted with silver beads. I kept adding elements until I had roughly the same look of the George Chakra dress worn by actress Andrea Day.


When all is said and done, the star of the red carpet show at the Golden Globes 2024 was Jennifer Lopez in a sumptuous pink gown complete with roses over the shoulders and a train that trailed for miles! Wow!!! This was a lot of fun to create for my model, Charlize. It starts out with a simple sheath cur from pale pink satin. I pinched it in between the bustline to get a draped sweetheart neckline at the top of the dress. Over it all is a "shrug" (narrow rectangular tube open at each end for the arms to go through). The shrug is decorated from silk flowers I bought at the craft store. Then I gathered a big rectangle of satin and stitched it to the bottom. The dress, itself is simple. It's the shrug that brings in all the drama. 


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Unless otherwise noted, all images and text of this blog are the copyrighted property of Fashion Doll Stylist 2023. We are independent and not part of any other group or website no matter where this post or its elements appear on the internet or social media. Please request permission before reproducing any parts of this post. And please, always credit us. 





Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Happy Holidays from FDS



It's been awhile.... There haven't been many posts this year but I'm still here after what has been a year of personal challenges. I am looking after a parent with dementia. And, if you know anything about this disease, you know that it takes its toll on both the victim and the caregiver....

Dolls continue to bring me quite a bit of joy. Contemporary fashion, maybe not so much. But I am still a diehard fan of my lovely ladies and they continue to hang by me even though they haven't seen much in the way of new fashions. But don't give up on us.... we are not planning to shut this blog down any time soon. Patience is all we ask while I try to get back on track.

In the meantime, I wish you and your families (both human and dolly) a very warm and wonderful holiday season. A few new dolls came into the fold recently. I'll introduce them to you in the New Year...

April & the Gang

Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Swirl

Haute Couture is not always about flamboyancy. It's also about the genius of a special, out-of the-ordinary cut. Given the fact it took me a month to figure out how to construct such a underwhelming look, many of you might be thinking it's a lot of "much ado about nothing." But I found it fascinating to see such a sculptural dress designed on paper as a flat pattern. Such was the case with this second interesting project I found on the page of @biacutwoman on Instagram. Executed in collaboration with pattern maker @mr_o_pattern_studio (also on Instagram), the "minimalist" dress consists of a cowl neck bodice and a single band of fabric that swirls around the body in a look called "Scorpio Dress 2020," designed by Rick Owens. 

Again on @biascutwoman's post, the dress is animated using 3D software showing how the skirt part swirls around the body in a single piece of fabric. It also provides a glance of the pattern pieces. Mesmerized, I watched this Reel many many times and came away with thinking how simple this should be. It was anything but!!!! I'll admit... To copy this dress I cheated...a little bit. At first I draped my own pattern, but somehow it wasn't quite the same as the one in the video.  And then I found another version of the pattern. But with this information, it did not explain everything. It was like one of those college exams where you are given he answers and now you have to show how the author arrived at the conclusion. 

Finally I figured everything out and aligned my pattern to the existing one. But another issues presented itself... How do you sew a dress with a continuous diagonal seam. an how on earth do you press this dress! And can you make a different bodice for the same dress. My friends...Consider this less of a tutorial and more of a FYI on how I arrived at reconstructing this dress for the doll.

In her reel, the pictured dress appears to have been made from a stretch material. I used my doll's dartless slopers (for knitwear) at first, but the end result was too small for my FR ladies. So back to the drawing board. The project begins with the normal slopers but we ignore the darts. The sides of the front and back slopers fall perpendicular from the armhole to the bottom of the pattern. Front and back slopers are lined up along one side.



You'll need to determine the length of the dress by laying the doll down against the pattern (l). I chose a point below the armhole from which the side point of the skirt will fall and draw a horizontal line across the front and back pattern.

I drew a line from the tip of the far right shoulder to that point on the side, then continue on until it his the CF line on the front bodice. Draw a horizontal line from the lower left hand point on the cutting line, perpendicular to the vertical line until it touches the right side of the back bodice.

Measure the point on the right side of the back bodice to the horizontal line below to determine the width the band will be. Make another line that length parallel to the first one. 

Trace each section onto a new sheet of paper and mark as shown (l). Match up points: A4-B6, A5-B7, B9-C11, B8-C20. On the right we have lined everything up to form the skirt part of this dress. 

From this we create a single band which, with seam allowance added, becomes our skirt pattern for a slim version of the dress. We could stop there, but wait....this doesn't look like the original Rick Owens pattern! Personally I prefer the dress without "the train." but for the sake of recreating the original dress pattern, I made a second pattern more faithful to the original.


1. Complete all the above steps.
2. Instead of creating a single column, swing that part C  out from the apex of points 9-10 so that it is perpendicular to the side of the column. Draw in a curved line to join the bottom of the column to the point of the triangle as shown. 

3-4. Your completed pattern will look like this. For the moment, put these patterns aside so we can work on the bodice.

This original dress has a cowl neck. At first I was not going to consider it because this type of neck treatment is difficult on something as small as a 12-inch doll. But the dress is so simple, I felt it really needed some front interest. 
1. Determine how deep you want the neckline to drape. Then drop a line from the neck point to that point. Cut (away the shaded area.)
2. From that same CF point, draw lines to the middle of the shoulder line, middle of the armhole and slightly under the armhole. 
3. Cut and spread, being careful to line up the CF to a straight edge. Spread the triangles evenly until the top triangle is aligned perpendicular to the CF line.
4. Glue it all down and make a mirror image, thus creating a full front cowl-neck bodice in one piece.
5.Your finished pattern looks like this.

Now for the back bodice. It was unclear as to exactly how the original was made. So I took liberties. 

1. Whether you want to keep it simple or try it with a twist, the back sloper follows the lines of the construction lines as illustrated here.

2. You can add seam allowance and join the points together at the top of the neck. Or....

3. You can line up the two back bodices along the CB line, flipping one side upside down. What happens nest is that you twist one side so that it comes together right side up in one piece. I would advise using stretch fabric for this as there is no back closure. Otherwise the first option can come together with a hook and eye for easy dressing the doll.

And so now you have the pattern, the next burning question is..... how do you put this together? How on earth do you sew this?

Sew together the bodice. turn under the neckline and the armholes but leave the bottom of the bodice alone for the moment.

1. Take the "skirt" part and hem points 1-4 (top of the back). Then line up points 1-2 to those same points on the side and midpoint of the front bodice.

2. That you understand what we're doing, I've flipped the dress to the front side so that you see exactly where you begin joining the skirt to the bodice.

3. Take point 6 (the other side of the back) and join it over to the opposite side of the dress. 

4. From that point on, join the seams together and sew along the seam line. Though it forms a diagonal line across the body, while sewing will feel like a straight line right down to the hem with everything fitting perfectly together. 

You will need to press the bodice seams down and press the other seams open. Be extremely careful to press and not scrub the iron against the fabric because when the fabric is on the diagonal, it will stretch out of place!

Here's a better view of Nichelle's dress.

One of the challenges in making this dress is fit! The bodice doesn't hug Nichelle's body in the back the way I'd like, so a added a very thin wire belt, hidden under the front of the dress and stitched to the sides. I also cut the waistline below the original dress to make an otherwise "discreet" look very sexy at the back.
Nichelle's dress is made from a stretch fabric. So what happens when you create the exact same look out of a woven fabric?


Helena's dress was cut from a white satin dévore fabric. I used the simpler back bodice in lieu of the one with the twist here. I did have problems getting the back bodice to lay flat against the body, so I made a few tucks and added a bow to disguise the problems I had at the top center back. I also made tucks (held in place with a few stitches) to simulate draping of the cowl neck and the drapery in the back. Here too, I cut the pattern with a slightly higher back drop.
Remember how I told you that I made the mistake of using the dartless sloper for this dress. Pictured here is Anna--the doll with the tiniest most filiforme body in the house in this dress. It's made from a 2-way stretch rayon and it's back was cut a little higher. I tried to flame seal the edges with the thought of not hemming. I'm not so sure it was the best idea. 

One of the things I enjoyed about @biascutwoman's video, is how gracefully the dress comes apart. She used it to emphasize how the dress. But somehow I wanted to capitalize on that swirl effect. Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do, but I did come up with this....
I simplified the top altogether, ditching the cowl neck and choosing a simpler bodice held in place with red ribbon.
I only stitched up the dress to the center back which created a sort of tail. I still have issues with the fit in the back, but I also wanted to keep the lines clean and simple.
So I added sewed on a thin gold chain to the waist at the back, allowing for a better fit and a way for Noor to get in and out of the garment.

The above dresses were all created with a bodice and a simple, parallel band. But what happened to the version with the train?

Here it is. I was pleasantly surprised at how pretty it was! And yes, we did cheat by concealing a few hidden stitches to the cowl neck and the back drape look authentic.

And we also added a ribbon tied into a bow at the back. The color is sublime on Dorian.


And so we can say....mission accomplished!



While I've been busy trying to work all of this out, fashion month has been going on. I sent the girls out to scour the collections. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.


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Unless otherwise noted, all images and text of this blog are the copyrighted property of Fashion Doll Stylist 2023. We are independent and not part of any other group or website no matter where this post or its elements appear on the internet or social media. Please request permission before reproducing any parts of this post. And please, always credit us.