Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fit to be Tied!!!

One thing our fathers, brothers, boyfriends or husbands all have in common...at some point they receive a tie they really don't like. OR...they still have an out-of-date tie that's long past its expiration date in terms of fashion. Don't throw those ties out. Make your Barbie a dress!

At DollObservers.com, I joined the "Sew Much Fun" group. A few weeks ago, fellow doll collector, Pabboo Redfeather proposed a "Neck Tie Challenge" whereby each participant choses two different printed ties to create a garment. Granted, the smaller dolls have an advantage in that the fabric included in two average sized ties is more than enough. I had such a great time with this project, I created an eveningwear ensemble (gown+cocoon coat) and then found a third tie to create a tea-length dress. In fact, if I don't stop myself, my father's wardrobe of ties could be in danger of subsequent raids. The prints are perfectly scaled for the doll and though I was, at first, tempted to use a pattern and cut into the ties (I've made a suit from a single skirt waistband!), I chose instead, to create a dress in one single piece.

For the first garment (featured in the top picture) I found a beautiful Lanvin ecru/beige/claret silk tie which I found second hand at an antique fair. For the second one, I went to the cheapest store in Paris (Tati) and purchased a Bordeaux polyester tie in a paisley jacquard. Second hand stores, The Salvation Army are great places to find ties.

I was inspired by the Haute Couturier of the 1950's (Balmain, Dior). I took apart the cheaper tie to create the gown. However, the designer tie was so lovely, I hated to take it apart. So I carefully folded it (padding and all), then shaped it into a "quilted" cocoon coat.

Though this type of design is free style and organic (like sculpture), I decided to photograph the various steps involved with the hopes of inspiring you to unleash your inner Dior.

Begin by creating a fitted foundation garment. I made a strapless foundation by cutting off the top of the sheath dress from the bottom of the armhole to bottom of the armhole. The length was just above the knee, but you can make it longer or shorter depending on how much you want to control the design of the drapes.

Flatten out the tie. Iron. Then begin by "sculpting" the fabric to the foundation. Pin each fold in place. Where you want to fabric to hug the body, pin those areas down; where you want more of a 3-D effect, let the fabric rise.
Keep turning the doll around as you work. Adjust your folds until you are satisfied with the results.

Work so that there are no raw edges visible. The most important thing is to have fun. When you are finished pinning, remove from the doll and use tiny stitches to hold your drapery to the fabric.

Slide longer stitches underneath, picking up just a tiny bit of the outside fabric. Stitch deep down in the valley of the folds to hold them in shape.

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  1. How gorgeous! It fascinates me how it all started from abase form with draping to follow. How did you manage to fasten it shut on the side?? Amazing. Interestingly enough, one can still tell that it has the quality of a necktie because of the way the paisley pattern cascades identically as it would down a necktie's form. Yet, it has transformed into a luscious gown holding its own. The cocoon coat, with a different set of swirls, beautifully complements the outfit without friction or an over abundance of volume on the mannequin doll's lithe form

  2. Olympia, the gown is closed on the side with the help of hooks and eyes.


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