Thursday, November 7, 2013

Snake Charmers

Animal prints and patterns are now considered the "new neutrals" in fashion. Rarely does a season go by where some form of it doesn't grace the catwalk. Texture is a big deal today so you might want to give into your dolls pleas (or tantrums) for a luxury skirt or jacket.

A printed fabric sews up like any other. In fact, we had a great time making this jacket for Richard out of a $1 square of reptile embossed felt. (What appears to be zippers is really a novelty trim added to the front edge and pockets.) However should you come across the tiny squares of snakeskin often laying at the bottom of those remnant boxes at fabric stores, those rare lizard skins (sometimes at the Salvation Army) or that funky snakeskin jacket Uncle Robert bought in Hong Kong decades ago, there are special considerations to keep in mind when trying to make clothes.

Unlike leather which comes in a variety of thicknesses--some of which sews up in a breeze--reptile pelts are more brittle and more fragile. For that reason, you must keep the garment super simple. Forget about using a pattern. It's best to build the garment directly on the doll.

I was given two lizard pelts found in a yard sale years ago. I finally decided to make something for dolly. However, the skins were stiff, not flexible. Any attempt to sew rendered the edges brittle. So I used the entire hide in one piece as a coat. I rolled back the top edge as an enormous collar, using the holes (where the legs must have been) as armholes. i left the edges raw and wrapped everything around the doll, belting it with a leather lace.

If the pelt you have doesn't have those leg holes, swing back the doll's arms to determine where armholes should be. Make small tubes from socks or knit to fit the doll's arms. Push them through the coat holes and then glue the top edge around the openings.

Last summer in New York, I found a tiny piece of pink snakeskin at Mood fabric store. With it, I made a pencil skirt to fit my skinny Barbie Basics dolls. First wrap the swatch around the doll's hips so that it absolutely fits and forms a straight tube around her body. Tape where the edges come together. Overlap about 1/4-inch and cut away any excess.

I decided to leave the skin as is for a high waisted skirt but feel free to cut yours down. Press the skin close to the doll's body and draw a straight line along the torso down from the side of her bust to where the hips begin to curve. Make a slit. Be sure to tape the skirt on the doll to keep it from shifting. Now mark the other side, making sure the length is equal to the first cut.

Glue the edge of the cut. Remember to glue seams towards to side seams. Tape in place until the glue has dried. Repeat in the back. The side view shows the direction of how to glue. You can cut away some of the excess to make those darts more straight. In the back, I've taped the entire back seam shut while working. When I finish, I will use a long strip of Velcro down the back seam.

I had a tiny bit left over, which I fashioned into a small corset.

Here is another skirt made the same way using lizard.

Under the lizard coat, Iman wears a reptile printed 2-piece basic dress. I had a tiny scrap of the lizard left which was made into a belt, held in place with a dot of Velcro.

Our team loved the gorgeous reptile jackets they saw in Hermes, Armani and other windows along the Rue Faubourg Saint Honore in Paris!

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  1. No, Trichelle, don't jump! LOL JK...

    They all look SO fly. Especially you, Trichelle, it'll be OK! ;-) JK. :-P

    All of this is awesome and great tut!

  2. Ha ha ha ha!!!! Not to worry. Trichelle's the kind of model who goes out on a ledge to make a great picture. BTW...Cosmodollitan, I LUV your name!!!


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