Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dolly's got a brand new bag...

The dolls have been in my closet...AGAIN!!! Though I've always seen to it that they should have the proper purse for any outfit....they've somehow developed an appetite for classic designer the Chanel quilted bag, the Hermes Kelly bag.... As a result they ganged up and insisted I find a way to come up with the goods.

This is an exercise involving crafts. Simple envelope bags are pretty easy...fold fabric, glue, add straps. But I accepted the challenge to be inspired by fashion's quintessential "it-bags." As in the case of its knock-off counterparts, what is important in recreating miniature interpretations of these coveted items, is to figure out what which details are important to "providing the illusion." It is not important for the handbag to open and close (unless your doll has special powers that mine do not possess). On the contrary, you must pay special attention to the bag's most popular silhouette, its straps, closures and any other detail like tassels or bag jewelry.

 The easiest way to create these bags is to begin with a base. And for this base I use either polymer clay or air-dried paper clay. The first comes in a plethora of colors and hardens in the oven within 30 minutes, while the paper clay dries in a few hours and has the advantage of being super light weight.

In the case of the Chanel and the Dior inspired bags, I modeled the clay into simple, rectangular loafs. Using a razor or knife, I drew in the "quilted" patterns. I used a large safety pin to bore a hole to later pass through a wire which hooks onto the chain strap. And, as in the case of Chanel bags, I threaded the chain (used for the strap) with 1/8" (3mm) ribbon, gluing the edges down at each end. For the "Dior" bag, I cut up the plastic jewelry delivered with one of my dolls to make the handle. To that I attached two tiny objects to a wire loop. (The identifying details of this type of bag is that something dangles from the handle)

The clay base also serves as the perfect base for making leather handbags. I cut out separate panels for the side and glue directly to the sides of my form. Next, I trace the front and back silhouette of the bag directly onto the skin. Cut out and glue onto the form, making sure there are no gaps where it meets the side panels. In the case of the lizard skin which is rigid, I used a razor to lightly score the skin on the outside so that it will break where it needs to bend. (Just be careful you don't cut through the skin.) When you have finished covering the form with the leather, trim away the excess. If you have matching paint, you can paint the cut edges.

For the tassels, I used a few loops of embroidery thread, tied and cut to scale. You can wrap the base of the tassel with lightweight wire to hold in place.

This doll's carrying a REAL Dior. (Surprise. It's a Dior keychain!!)

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