Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!!!

The dolls have changed out of their Christmas outfits into party wear for their annual black & white New Year's Eve ball downstairs atop the piano. On behalf of all the 'girls' and 'guys' whose gorgeous little bodies grace this blog, I wish everyone out there in dollyland, a prosperous, healthy, soulful, wonderful, fun loving, satisifying, creative, dollicious 2014!!!!!

 Let the party begin!!!!

Looking forward to spending 2014 with all of you.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our Furry Friends

Santa was REALLY good to the dolls, this year....fur-real!!!! The girls are STILL parading around the house in their gifts. With New Year's Eve parties less than a week away, and the start of red-carpet season which starts soon after, a touch of fur--be it a hat made of small pompoms or a full, ankle length coat--is just the thing to add a dash of glamor to your doll's look.

Thanks to the modern invention of faux fur and trim sold by the yard, Squares of faux fur sold in craft stores, not to mention furry caps and scarves available en masse at second hand shops, Santa didn't have any problem making lots of furry gear for my entire crew! Moreover, fur coats and jackets are among the easiest articles to realize. And no small animals were harmed in the process.

It all starts with a super simple pattern. Again, I used the basic jacket pattern made from the front, back and sleeve sloper which can be lengthened or shortened to suit your taste. You can flare your pattern slightly, but personally, if you're working with long haired faux fur, you really don't need much more than the straight coat pattern. Your sleeves should have straight (not tapered) sides.

Though there are few differences in the making of a shearling coat from that of one made of fur, there are a few things should keep in mind. First of all, unlike working in leather, faux fur is essentially fabric, but with a deep pile. You stitch it with your sewing machine or hand sew your garment together with little difficulty. You can choose to line it or leave it unlined. But as with working with leather, trace your pattern on the backside of the fur and do not use scissors when cutting out the pattern. Cut close to the base and gently pull the pattern piece away so as to preserve the long hairs of the fur.

There are no special instructions for this basic coat/jacket except to have fun and be sure to choose really fun faux fur. But for those of you who want to line your garment, here are a few suggestions.

The reason behind this approach is based on my observations of my mother's old fur coats. There was often a cloth tape around the perimeter, to which the lining was attached. This allowed to cleaners to remove the lining from the fur for cleaning which was then treated by it self. I stitched a 1/2-inch satin ribbon against the hem of the jacket's interior. Around the sides of the jacket, I took the same ribbon and folded it over the edges so that half will lie in the front and the other half at the back. Hand stitch in place. 

The lining, using the same pattern as the coat (minus the sleeve) is made, I have used fabric glue to hem it on the sides and bottom. stitched to the ribbon on the sides, but I do not attach to the hem. You can then stitch another strip of ribbon at the neckline.

Or you can attach a strip of fur to the inside of the neckline (to fold right side out). Then attach another strip of ribbon at the neckline. Just like mother's coat I have gathered or pleated the ribbon along the curve of the neckline to avoid stress.

A shaggy coat is enhanced with a detachable hood.

You can also make a jacket (or coat) using fur trim, sold by the yard. For this doll's red/black jacket, I used 1 yard (1 meter) of trim. I began by making my basic jacket, leaving it turned inside out with the seams on the outside.
You don't need to line up each strip edge to edge unless the trim has a short pile. You just want to make sure the shag hangs over the next strip of fur. Below is my plot. The grey areas represent where each strip of trim is placed. The cross hairs show the overhang of the fur. I sew this onto the jacket by hand. I sew a strip of ribbon on the edges which is then turned inside of the jacket.
Again, I added a leftover rectangle of trim to the neckline for the collar. Here is what the jacket looks like inside and out. I used strips of fabric around the edge. However, if you so choose, you can add a border to border lining instead, stitched by hand.
There is also a quick and easy way to make a fur coat for your doll. For that we went to a discount store or vintage shop in search for fuzzy caps made from fur-like yarn.

To make this fur cocoon coat, I started off with a cap. 
Most caps are joined at the crown with crisscross seam. I open these two seams and flatten out my cap.

Next, open up the top corners just enough for the doll's arms. Now stitch up the rest of that opening into one single seam. Roll the cuff of the cap back and place on the doll so that the "collar" falls behind her neck. Stick her arms through the holes.

By using just the front and back pattern pieces, you can also create a very trendy vest worn over a skirt or jeans!

Wait! Don't toss out those scraps!!!! I use every bit of my leftover scarps to trim jackets or coats as well as to create a plethora of accessories.
A faux monkey shrug over the Gatsby dress with feather skirt.
I had large scraps of fur left over from one of the jackets I made. So, I joined the pieces together and fashioned it into the shrug worn by the doll above. The "asymmetrical" aspect to the joined pieces adds to the charm and originality of the garment. But don't stop there. Lets give the doll a trendy, fur handbag!

Just look at what I was able to do with a scrap of fur and one of those plastic Barbie handbags!

And look, with a tiny scrap, my doll has now has fur trim (Barbie) boots!!!
I took a long strip of faux lamb, and lined it with the same fabric as the doll's suit for this glamorous stole. I simply folded the edges of the lining under and hand stitched it close to the edge of the back of the stole.

Scraps of fur can be folded into instant dramatic hats! The hat above was created by shaping the fur into a loop around the doll's head.

 You can also use fur ball pompoms for hats, too!
A few scraps can add a dramatic touch when added as a collar to a suit and topped off with a hat (made from a small rectangle, folded and stitched at the top and back.
And don't forget to add a matching stole! It can be as full or as thin (think boa) as you like for the desired effect.

We added a bit of a flare to the basic pattern for extra fullness. 
Message from my dolls to yours? There's no reason NOT to have the coat or accessory of your dreams. Let the fur fly!!!!

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Somewhere between Downton Abbey and The Great Gasby! The hat on the left was created with a pipe cleaner & a tiny fur scrap.

All images and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2013. Please do not reproduce without prior permission. Thank you.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my visitors who pass by this blog, whether you're a faithful follower looking for ideas and patterns to create for your doll or a passer-by who simply likes looking at the pictures. Thank you all for visiting my page and thank you for your support and lovely comments. At this time me and the dollies at Fashion Doll Stylist would like to wish each and every one of you (and your dolls) a very, creative, fun-filled, Merry, Merry, dollicious Christmas!

In celebration of the holidays, FDS would like to offer you our rendition of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. (Our sincerest apologies to the original author, Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863).)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even the Fashion Royalty dolls, the latest to enter the house.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that April would soon pass with lots of new clothes by there.

The dolls were perfectly posed on their stands,
Though a few, thinking to grab a few gifts, tried to flex their hands.
Adrianna, Carla, Pat, Eva and Nichelle, all the Barbies were ready,
Veronique, Jordan,  Christie and the other Royals held steady.

While visions of clothes, and accessories danced in their heads.
April was set to retire her needle and thread.
When over in the den arose such a clatter,
The dollies sprang from their posts to see what was the matter.

Away to the door they flew like a flash,
With hopes of getting a glimpse of their new stash.
The light on the sewing machine provided just enough light,
They were able to see lots of party clothes for any festive night.

When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
April holding miniature designer handbags, fur coats, and an assortment of leather gear.
More rapid than eagles she created such fabulous gear,
That all the dolls began to cheer!

April’s eyes-how they twinkled! She was definitely feeling merry!
She made us all something lovely including Christmas dresses in tones of red cherry!
A seasoned fashion pro, she is a diva, thin and chic,
In contrast, we are plastic, barely 12 inches and at times, meek.

As all the dolls strained to see what else was there,
April laid out suits of clothes for Ken and his friends on a nearby chair.
One thing was clear, as we looked to see more,
None of this came from any store!

Leather suits, sheepskin coats, spats and leather skirts,
And yes there were Valentino look-alikes, miniature Diors and Versace medallion shirts.
Lace bustiers, Easter hats, red-carpet gowns, and corsets galore,
How could we ask for anything more!

April spoke not a word as she continue to work,
Laying all of our clothes out, then suddenly turned with a jerk.
She thought she heard us, so she ducked out of sight,
But just before going to bed, she said,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all my dollies, a good-night!"

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I grew up in the American Midwest where winters were sometimes brutal. Yes, there were those romantic snowy, white Christmases, but after the holidays the bitter sub-zero (F) temperatures settled in. Once the temperatures near the zero mark (-17C) or dipped below, no cloth coat could keep us warm. Even mother's fur coats were not warm enough. For those temps we pulled out the heavy artillery.....our shearling coats!!!!

In Paris, there is a store, Au Gentleman des Cuirs (4bis, rue d'Orsel, Paris 75018) situated at the Marche St. Pierre, that sells full leather pelts as well as scraps. That's where I found a few bits of fleeced leather. While this material is thick, it provides the look and feel of the shearling coats mother and I once owned. It is important to use a ultra-simple pattern. On the plus side, there is no need to hem nor line anything. For this exercise, I made a "shearling" jacket for Richard and a coat for Sissilie.

This jacket was made using the man's shirt pattern as a base. I held the pattern against the doll to check for the length of jacket I want.
As in the case with any garment you make in leather or skins, you should trace the pattern directly onto the leather. Just remember to flip the front pattern piece. (Otherwise you'll end up with two left sides.) The only thing that is slightly different with this pattern, is that the sleeves are not quite as tapered. I added 1/4 inch to each side so that the sleeves will be a little straighter.
In order to make it a little easier to sew, I shaved the wool away from the seam allowances of each pattern piece (with the exception of the jacket/coat front edges and the hemlines).

You could overlap the edges the way we did with the leather garments. However, I chose to make a typical "bomber" jacket, so the decision was made to assemble my garments the same way as a regular cloth jacket. Be sure to use moderately long stitches. Stitch twice to ensure the stitches won't pull away.

Now add the collar. The collar will be the measurement that extends from the mid-point of the front lower collars, as well as the back neckline. You decide how big or narrow you want your collar. The one featured on the jacket is 1 1/4-inch high. You cannot baste, neither can you pin. You will need to tape down the collar. It is attached to the inside of the jacket and folded over the neckline.

Since I did not have access to doll sized zippers and cannot use snaps, hooks or Velcro, I decided to design my jacket to close with buttons that actually work. I used "brads" (attaches Parisiennes). Tape the jacket closed, then plan where you will place your buttons. I used a heavy safety pin to pierce a hole, then poked the brads through the left side. The brad should be somewhat loose.

After it is in place. Close the jacket and use the pin to poke a hold on the right side of the jacket where the buttonhole will be placed. I used a seam ripper to make a tiny slit. Then I cut away the fleece around that buttonhole on the underside. Do one complete button placement at a time.

I cut tiny rectangles of the leather for the pocket flaps. Cut away the fleece and glue each one in place. Now measure around the hips of the doll wearing the jacket and cut a narrow strip of the leather to make a belt. Turn the bottom of the sleeves up into small cuffs. I've always turn back the center front edge to expose the wool on the front of the jacket.

Sissilie's coat is made in exactly the same manner. For her coat, I used the basic jacket pattern created from the basic bodice (minus the darts). I lengthened the original jacket then extended the front by 3/4-inch from the Center Front line. I also wanted a very full collar. Using the technique for the "designed collar" we employed for the Redingote, I create my front coat pattern piece. The coat back and sleeve are unchanged. The buttons and buttonholes are created as described above.

For the pocket, I turn down the edge, then shaved away some of the wool of the inside pocket. Glue in place. Again, the sleeves are turned up into self-cuffs.

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All images and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist 2013. Please do not reproduce without prior permission. Thank you.