Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Behind the Design: The Altuzarra Lattice Skirt

While preparing the fashion reports, time is of the essence. In my effort to keep them newsworthy and relevant, I have a very short amount of time to recreate the catwalks then create a few dolly versions of the latest styles. Unfortunately, however, I don't have time to prepare tutorials. My dolly version of the Altuzarra leather lattice skirt created quite a buzz. And while there was a request for a tutorial of this skirt, it also occurred to me that, from time to time, I should, perhaps, do more "style analysis" to help you better interpret catwalk styles into scaled down versions for your dolls.  If you recall, I did this in the post "Dolly Couture 101: the Classic Draped Couture Gown."And so, from time to time, I will feature a mini tutorial, "Behind the Design" whereby we stop, examine a garment then bring it to life.
I love the simplicity of this look by New York design firm, Altuzarra. The top is a simple, wrap jersey sweater folded over a bra top. Underneath the latticework, the model is wearing what appears to be panty-cut shorts, though it could be worn over almost any pencil slim garment. What really makes this look, however, is the skirt. At first I thought of creating this skirt gluing leather strips on sheer then cutting out a pattern. But upon close inspection, it was apparent, there was no understructure to this skirt. The strips of leather are attached to each other. The design of the skirt is incredibly simple. It is a straight skirt. For my dolly copy of the Altuzarra top, I used cashmere knit (cut from mom's moth eaten skirt) and the wrap top (with the addition of sleeves). The bra is made from a tiny bit of black leather. For the white version, I used a cotton shirt, knotted in the front over the white cotton bra top we made in a post on swimwear.

Early on, I did show you how to make a 1-piece skirt pattern suitable for non-woven materials and leathers. And so that it where I began. In creating this pattern, make sure it opens in the front instead of the back.

Once you have transferred the drape into the paper pattern, simply lay it on the table and use it as a guide for the leather strips. You will create the skirt on top.
You could do this skirt using 1/8-inch ribbon. However I think the leather adds a bit structure and class. The first skirt I made was from a leather scrap. The second was cut from white ultrasuede. Do NOT cut your strips randomly. They won't be even. Instead, measure out 1/8-inch spaces, draw the lines on the wrong side of the leather, then carefully cut them out. A metal ruler and Exacto Knife makes for perfectly eve strips. But scissors are okay.

Next, lay the strips diagonally over the pattern. If you are working in leather you should lay them right side up. Adjust so they are evenly spaced. Take more strips and criss-cross with a second layer on top. Carefully lift one strip at a time from the top layer, adding a dab of glue (with a toothpick) then lay the strip in place.

Continue until all of the strips have been glued together. Trim the sides and tops close to the edges of the pattern (leaving a little extra just in case you need it later). Now, cut one more strip the width of the hemline and glue alone the bottom edge of the skirt. Cut two more strips the length of the skirt and attach to each of the sides of the skirt. Leave the top edge free.

When everything has ben glued in place and is dry, press with a cool iron. Place on the doll, overlapping the center front strips. Cut one more strip to fit the doll's waist + enough extra for the seam allowance of the skirt on both front edges. Tape the edge of this strip to the front top edge. Then carefully, adjust the spacing at the top of the strips to fit into the waistband. Work from front to back. Take your time.
The above three photos shows what this will look inside of the garment. Note: The Barbie Basic and Model Muse dolls have slimmer hips than my black Barbies who have more curves. That's why my two lattice skirts look a little bit different. After you have glued everything in place you can glue in small strip of sheer seam tape to "clean up" the edges. Let it dry well and again, press with a cool (low-heat) iron.

Your doll can wear this over a dress or skirt. I cut a long strip of leather for a tie-belt which is knotted in the front. I do believe the original model in the catwalk shot is wearing shorts. However, I wanted to be sure of having a smooth, sleek look underneath, so I made a simple micro-mini skirt with a piece of stretch lycra. This consists of two seams, no zipper and was constructed right on the doll.
The completed skirt can be used for a number of different looks. Below, here is Chystele wearing it with a 1-piece strapless bustier and matching fringed poncho made from chamois cloth (found in the hardware store) we created a while back.
Coming up next.....the jumpsuit! (Pssst....that's easy too!)
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  1. Thanks for sharing how to make this beautiful skirt. I will have to try it.

    1. You are quite welcome, Phyllis. Enjoy and stay tuned for more!!!

  2. This Altuzarra leather lattice skirt is fabulous
    thank you so much for share the way you made it,this is a must to have in all dollies wardrobe,so fashionable piece.
    have a nice week

    1. Thank you. I agree. This skirt is such a stand out piece. With it, we're really getting into real fashion (in contrast to doll clothes). Don't be surprised if your dolls show up with their own leather scraps for you to make them one :-D

  3. Hello from Spain: I really like these outfits. Pretty Barbies. Great picture. Fabulous skirts. Great tutorial. Keep in touch

  4. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to see how the jumpsuit is made into miniature too, I think every doll needs one in her wardrobe!!! xx

    1. I love jumpsuits with one exception....when you have to go to the restroom, they are not practical. HOWEVER....dolly doesn't have that problem, so shoe can go crazy!!!

  5. Hi April, the gown is wonderful and the tutorial priceless! I'm looking forward for the jumpsuit too, I love making jumpsuits and I'm ready to pick some new ideas

    1. Thank you Billa. I am working on that post right now and will be providing a few variations of that pattern. Hugs.


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