The most intriguing look for all of us was the custom designed Versace Haute Couture dress worn by Lady Gaga. True, your average woman (or doll) cannot pull off this dress, but the construction of this "Ace of Spades" velvet gown was amazing. Moreover, Gaga with her "Marilyn Monroe" hairstyle and her legendary sense of drama, pulled it off in spectacular fashion. I chose this dress, fully aware it would (and did) create all sorts of problems from the panne velvet fabric (way to bulky for the doll) to the padded (Kardashian) hips. I should point out, the original dress has lots more fabric in the skirt which I simplified to suit my doll, Brie.
I love how the neckline of the dress drifts off the shoulders and plunges deep over the bust. The darts are sharp and pointed while the fitted bodice gives way to an exaggerated, hour glass silhouette. I draped this dress directly on a spare doll body To get the shape of the hips, I taped cotton balls to the form and draped the fabric around it. It required two deep pleats to steer the fabric away from the form. The sides are then tapered back towards the body. I inserted a 3/4 circular wedge at the center back, just under the hips. At first I sewed in a tuft of pleated tulle above each hip, but the dress drooped, so I made tiny hip pads to maintain the shape. Working with the velvet was not easy. The proportions are slightly different, due, in part, to the bulky fabric as well as the difference in body proportions. If I were tempted to try this dress again, velveteen might be a better choice of fabric.
Very striking on the red carpet was Jennifer Lawrence in a fire engine red Dior dress. Though this dress is the epitome of understated elegance, it is anything but easy to make! I used a sheath dress pattern for the dress and a basic bodice top (without stitching down the darts) for the sleeveless bolero. In reality this outfit is really an exercise in trompe l'oeil. What seems to be two distinct pieces in the front, comes together as a single piece in the back with a keyhole over the torso in addition to the ones over the hips. My sheath fitted perfectly---that is, until I cut the holes over the hips. I had to make a lot of tiny stitches to hold it to the figure for the photo shoot. Moreover, my dress has darts while the original, which I believe was cut from a silk crepe, does not.
If I had the time, it would be interesting to find another alternative by draping a new pattern directly on the doll's figure.
My doll Samantha was not happy when she saw me choose the bubblegum pink Prada dress worn by Katy Perry. The dress was a banal slip dress, blending into the actresses natural skin tone. "So bland!" lamented Samantha. I made the 1/6 scale version using the wrong side of a silk satin.
Karen was rolling her eyes at first over the Ralph Lauren's blue 2-toned gown worn by Kate Winslet. "B-O-R-I-N-G!!!" she cried. While this look works for a more intimate affair, I personally feel that a Hollywood fete commands a more glamorous gown, even if you do it through accessories. I remained faithful to the overall spirit of the Ralph Laurent gown. I used rayon-lycra jersey for the body of the dress and silk for the triangular insert and trim.
But to bring more "excitement" to the look, I added a cocoon made from polyester organza (another fun, instant glam fabric to be the subject of entire post in the near future).
And then there was that Stella McCartney white silk jersey gown worn by Taraji Henson, star of the hit TV drama series "Empire." And yes, Taraji did look wonderful in the dress, and the long train does add a certain amount of glamour, but jersey is well....a bit overdone.
My dress for Yvette really has little to do with the McCartney dress other than the fact they are both white and have trains. I started with a foundation underneath then used a woven lightweight polyester to drape a more interesting neckline. I even took liberties with the train, fashioning the top edge into soft ruffles. The end result is softer, like whipped cream over the body.
Lessons to be learned here: Dresses with lots of gathers and fabric must be simplified to reduce bulk. When translating a full scale outfit into something significantly smaller, consider fabrics best scaled to the doll, even if it means a less fancy fabric. It is more important to capture the "look" or the spirit of the original dress than to attempt a line for line copy! And one more thing...don't be afraid of a challenge. You learn through your mistakes!!!
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