Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Tipster

Novelty fabric over the shoulders and a stocking twist for a hat.. Divine!
As you plow through my blog, learning how to make patterns, creating clothes or finding the tiny details that pull your doll's look together, undoubtedly, you've had your ups and downs. You might have even looked back at the pictures posted here and wondered, "how'd she do that?" We'd like to share a few tips to help make your design experience a tad easier.

1. Don't sweat, it's only a doll!
We all have our reasons as to why we collect dolls. But unless you plan to pursue a career at Mattel in the near future, remember, this is a passion, a hobby, another way to relax, de-stress, and learn something new while having fun with an object that brings you pleasure. No matter how the clothes come out, these little fashionistas will NEVER EVER complain, and NEVER scowl. Actually, they are quite lucky they ended up in your household instead of some little 8-year old with sticky fingers and a penchant for creating clothes out of Kleenex.

2. Don't re-do. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
There are many errors in this, my first jacket.
This is very important. Again, unless you are making clothes to sell or to offer as a gift, treat each garment as a learning experience. I loved the first outfits I made even though they did not fit well around the shoulders (like the silver leather suit pictured here). I treated the mistakes as a "I-know-not-to-do-that-again" moment. The more clothes you make, the better they will become.

3. Would you dress like that.....REALLY!!??!!
Take a good, hard look at the doll and ask yourself, if you would put yourself together in the same fashion as your doll and walk down the street or go to a social event. Develop the eye of a fashion stylist. Does it work? Be mindful of your doll's proportions as well as those of the details, fabric and accessories that make up the look and be guided by that. If the item were scaled to your size, how large or small would it be. Add a touch of drama for that catwalk swag, but then stand back and analyze. Is it chic or is it kitsch? Take the advice of the legendary Hubert de Givenchy (the couturier who designed Audrey Hepburn's wardrobe in "Breakfast at Tiffany's): Take one last look in the mirror then remove something!  Keep it simple. Keep it real.

Though it seemed like a good idea, the feathers were too kitsch..
4. Style, style, style.
On a photo shoot, stylists make everything look better with pins....all of which, remain out of the eye of the camera. I've gotten better at using Velcro, hook & eyes and snaps, but sometimes, a straight pin at the back will do. I use pins (particularly 1/2" applique pins) to hold handbags on the shoulder, tack on trims, or simply to make something fit in the back when I've miscalculated the pattern. And even when the garment is okay, I still might not be happy with the end result. That's when I use accessories to make it work. Scarves, jewelry, shawls, belts and hats turn a Glamour (magazine) "Don't" into a Glamour "Do."

The doll on the right is better suited for the outfit.

5. Small change.
Assuming you have more than one doll in your collection, consider putting the outfit on a different doll. The right model can make all the difference. Sometimes it's a question of a certain doll's look, skin tone, hair, proportions or attitude that makes or breaks a look.

6. Treasure hunt for tiny objects.
Wherever you are, be on the look-out for tiny objects that can be used as jewelry, belt buckles, hats, buttons, belts, or decorations. Second hand stores, shops selling miniatures, crafts or jewelry making stores (for tiny beads, wire, chain or findings), tourist shops (key chains, tiny trinkets), hardware stores, fabric stores (buttons, notions), dollar stores.

Two coats of acrylic paint and now it's fashion!
7. Recycle. 
Plastic from the packaging was used to create this bag.
Quite naturally, all of my dolls' sunglasses, foot wear and purses provide an excellent stash of accessories. And don't be put off by those bubble gum colors or plastic materials. Everything can be transformed into something that's chic and current by re-painting, covering with cloth, or adding an assortment of notions to them. Don't forget to keep the little rubber bands for holding a purse in the doll's hand.

8. Reimage
When model agencies scout for new recruits, they look beyond the girls' natural features and imagine what they will resemble with new hair and makeup. I like dolls with personality, dolls with attitude. I also like diversity, not only in the type of doll, but also her hairstyles and skin color. Since most are of the same brand, they all tend to sport long hair and the same makeup. Consider giving your doll a new look. Curl her hair by winding it around bits of pipe cleaners. Dip in hot water for a few seconds and let dry naturally like I've done with the classic Barbie below. For a looser curl, I tightly twist the doll's hair around pipe cleaners and leave them in for a few days.
An older doll's hair gets a new look when curled using pipe cleaners and hot water.
If you are too scared to cut the doll's hair (after all, it won't grow back), then put it in a pony tail high on her crown and style around her face like the picture below.
Change the makeup. This doesn't have to be complicated. In the photo below. There are websites which show how to repaint the face. However, I've simply removed the doll's lip color with nail polish remover and applied a clear nail polish, thus giving the impression of a clear lip gloss. If you're not comfortable with repainting her eye liner and shadow, try using a color stick (eyebrow pencil, oil pastels) smudged with a Q-tip around her eyes.

9. Have Fun!!!
No matter your fashion expression, your level of sewing or construction expertise or even the type of doll you collect, at the end of the day, it's all about enjoying your dolls and indulging in the "Fun Factor!!"

All text & photos property of © Fashion Doll Stylist. 2013. Please do not reproduce without prior permission.

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