Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

From my doll family to yours, we wish all of our friends a very Happy Easter.

The holiday came very early this year, a little too close to Paris week. But, the new girls in the house got into the box of head gear and started their own "Easter Parade." So today, we're presenting a few of our favorite Easter hats from previous posts.

The tutorials on how we made the wide brimmed picture hats can be found by clicking here.

And there are other posts on how we made hats from existing elements which you might like by clicking here and also here. Enjoy.

All images and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2016.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dolls Eye View: Paris Fall 2016 Trends Part II

If you liked the last post, you're simply going to LOVE this one. The girls found LOTS to love, LOTS to wear!!! Moreover, many of these looks are super simple to make, using as a base, many of the basic patterns. The key to making them work is styling--the choice of accessories!

Uptown Girl
These are classy, classic looks with just the right embellishment to make it really special. A little fur on the hem of the sleeves; lots of pearls drip from the shoulders of a narrow tweed dress. For the dolly version of the Chanel dress (the opening photo), I ended up making two. The first one I lined which proved to be a huge mistake. The fabric was thick and even though I used China silk for the lining, the end result lacked the long, lean essence of the original look, even when I tried it on the skinniest of dolls (the Barbie Model Muses). I started again, this time without the lining. I fitted it to conform to Dorian's body, added more length at the hem and designed a wide belt that was similar in style to the original.

Nite to Day
Another black and white theme where black dominates and white is used as an accent color. Noteworthy: long gloves and pants with high waists!

Brilliant Idea
Yes, there is an abundance of black and safe, neutral tones this season. So when color is used, it comes in big, bright tones like fuchsia, mandarin orange or royal blue.

Easy Does It
There is a loosening of body strangling silhouettes. Coats, coat dresses, tops and skirts are cut with enough volume to glide over the body. What this means for you....fewer darts to think about when cutting this look for your doll. If your eye has problems adjusting to these new shapes--consider a narrow belt to mark the waistline! Note: Longer hemline lengths!

This is a story of color and texture that takes its hint from the sky encountered at night and the wee hours: "White witches" fog that enwraps a figure out for a midnight stroll, the twinkle of the stars above....consider sheer knits and sequins while at the fabric store!

Grace pulls off the look in her dolly version which includes a sequined jumpsuit and a black crepe bolero jacket. She insisted on the hat which added an extra swag.

Angel Food
Soft, glamorous and graceful, it's like fashion that floated down from the heavens. Tulle, silk, chiffon in white, light beige or blush...again, this is a look that promises to be very popular. Fit and flare silhouettes reign supreme. Dress your doll like the princess that she is!!!

Black Swan
Same principal, but in this case, the look fades to black for a more dramatic effect. Noteworthy here...fabrics with embellishments and skirts that flare out over the hips.

More regal looks, simplified for modern day tastes, look for more bare shoulder styles and looks with lush embellishments or accessories.

For Samantha, we took a square of taffeta and crushed it to her upper torso, then added "straps" of ribbon.
For Monica, the look began with a strapless sheath dress. We added a bit of heavy cotton lace trim from the top of the bust to the neck then topped it off with a bit of faux fur around the neck.

I will admit, I am intrigued by this silhouette. Curvy Barbie seems to have inspired other doll makers like Robert Tonner who just introduced a line of curvy 16" Tonner dolls and fashion designers including Balmain who have cut clothes to give the illusion of more voluptuous hips! To get this look, I padded Roshumba's little hips with cotton balls and tape, then draped a basic sheath dress pattern, tapering in towards the hem, directly on her in muslin. The straps and pocket flaps were added afterwards.

Fashion month is now over and having looked over the catwalks of New York, London, Milan and Paris, here's a quick summary of what you should be making for your dolls. Hemlines are getting longer. Silhouettes have loosened up as looks, for the most part, are less fitted and more fluid. There are still some narrow pants, but all in all, pant silhouettes are getting wider. Typical for a Fall/Winter season, consider the eternal neutrals: black, white and grey, though a pop of color here or a muted blush tone there provide more eye opening alternatives. Where accessories are concerned...if you can only make your dolls one item.. let it be a wide belt!!!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016


We stand in solidarity with our Belgian friends in condemning the senseless, ignorant and deplorable acts of terrorism like the ones carried out in Brussels this morning. To the Belgian people...know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Doll's Eye View: Paris Fall 2016 Trends, Pt. 1

Paris is in turmoil. The French capital hasn't completely recovered from last November's terror attacks. Two major fashion houses are operating without artistic directors while rumors circulate about the departure of designers from other firms. Unemployment is high, retail sales are low....but the show must go on.... The good news: fashion week was nine days long...plenty enough time to stroll through the good, the bad and everything in between. As usual, Paris is a laboratory where designers often experiment with new concepts as well as offer a new twist on old favorites. In this, the first of two parts, the girls show off their picks for the trendy side of style.

The first major trend we noticed was the move towards longer hemlines. Add to that, looser styles from free flowing skirts to wider pants and you've got silhouettes that are the direct opposite to those figure choking clothes that have dominated the market for over a decade. Coats and jackets have broader shoulders. Pants are cut in straight, loose shapes. Wide, body cinching belts are a very big accessory for next Fall. We kid you not. There is a lot of black and grey. Perhaps a nod to the current morose environment that has engulfed Paris since last November.
In the Trenches
Trench coats, bathrobe coats are cut in generous proportions. Aside from the sheer comfort of an oversized coat, the look allows for lots of drama as it falls off the shoulders to reveal the neckline of the dress underneath.
We were inspired by both the oversized trench shown by H&M and the styling of Balenciaga. Karen wears an amply cut bathrobe coat over python printed trousers. I started out with the intent of making a trench, but after adding in the necessary volume to pull off the look, I decided to leave off the front panels take a somewhat simpler route by opting for the bathrobe style coat. Another consideration was my choice of fabric....a cotton moleskin which though luxurious (providing such a sumptuous look to the drape), is a tad thick.

Nouvelle Afrique
Africa continues to provide a wealth of inspiration to fashion palettes, particularly within the Parisian fashion community. Leather tops are cut into abstract shapes then reassembled into art wear over asymmetrical skirts. Black is mixed with brown to create an earthy, raw look. Animal prints are "the new black" and those 3-D reptile scales rippling over a basic sheath are, in effect, a series of layered circles. Even Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent had fun by adding "gorilla" fur sleeves to a simple leather dress!

Day to Nite
The black and white theme we saw last season, continues. White is the dominate color which transforms the black into graphic abstract shapes. This all translates into dramatic look for daywear.

At the house of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing produced a curvy, bold collection inspired by Kim Kardashian. Monica (pictured above) was intrigued by this curious garment. Not really a coat, but much more than a vest...I used a basic sheath pattern (with opening in the front) cut from a wool crepe, to which I added a very large picture collar. Underneath she wears a sleeveless funnel neck jumper. The sleeves are detachable (tiny tubes).

Digital Chatter
What this season lacks in color, is made up in busy, very busy patterns and prints. The silhouettes remain quite simple. When shopping for fabrics, remember to look for monochromatic micro prints or broad brush stroke abstract patterns.

Flora & Fauna
What is curious, is how designers are now incorporating floral prints into winter collections. It's as if to say, style knows no season. (Clearly they've never been to the Midwestern US in January!) Note, too, the shirtwaist dress has returned as a fashion staple. The girls also thought leopard spotted prints mixed with lace was pretty interesting.

Pop Start
Plaids, tweeds or fashion basics jazzed up with "pop star" details or an eclectic blend of colors. The girls liked the oversized checks, plaids drizzled in fringe or a simple look where bright pops of color sparkle behind shimmering metallic and basic black. These are simple looks with very interesting details.

On the surface, the original look featured in the Saint Laurent is nothing special. However, having attended the shows of late Couturier, I recognized the thought behind the current designer. Yves Saint Laurent was a master colorist, often employing unexpected combinations of colors within the same garment. The individual pieces are simple: a princess line collarless jacket, a basic shell, a sarong skirt and a super-wide belt caught with a leopard spotted kerchief. St. Laurent's muses were mostly gorgeous models of color like Jourdan featured here. And often, accessories included some sort of hat!

Orient Express
On the subject of patterns and prints....look for paisleys, oriental scrolls and similar patterns from exotic lands of Marrakesh, Casablanca, , over wrap dresses, hoodie coats or even velvet appliques over the torso of a full, ankle length evening dress.

Origama Mama
In this series, the dresses look more like craft projects employing origami, snowflake cutouts. Think fun, festive.

Strip Tease
Fringe is still with us. In this case, it comes in the form of dresses in leather or technical fabric cut into wide slats.

Coming up next: We look at the more elegant side of Fall 2016 trends in Paris.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Doll's Eye View: Milan Trends Fall 2016

It took me and the girls a while longer to analyze what we saw in Milan. There were more choices in Italy (as opposed to London), but those looks tended to be, once again...basics. So I suppose the message her is the return to a simpler life where silhouettes are less complicated and we can, once again, allow ourselves and our dolls to get lost in the details. In some cases, it's all about styling...taking something simple and transforming it into high drama through a bold choice of fabric and accessories.

Chex Mix

Big checks, oversized houndstooth and plaids, these look immediately drew our attention. What's so much fun is the fact that most of what you find in the fabric stores are already out of scale for the doll, which in this case.....will be perfectly suited for this season!


Animal prints...spotted cats in particular...have become the new neutrals. They work all by themselves or teamed with nearly any other color! Once again, we're looking at very simple garments here.

The Cloak Room

Coats are both beautiful and functional...cut with plenty of volume to glide over dolly's shoulders no matter what is underneath! What is new here are the broad shoulders signaling the return of 1980's all star styles!

Madame Jolie

These are graceful, elegant look. The jacket is supersized and worn as an overcoat or...transformed into a coatdress! The cut of the coat also takes its lead from the Jackie Kennedy days of the early 1960's.

Knit Wits 2.0

Sweater dressing has hit the European shores with a bang! What's great is that it is not confined to traditional cardigans and pullovers. You can buy socks or knit caps from the dollar store to create big dresses, tops and cardigans or slouchy sweaters worn over a lace, gathered skirt!

Veronica could not resist this cut and sew knit romper (short jumpsuit) worn with black fishnet stockings and boots.

Warm & Fuzzy

Fur, feathers and faux fur....the best way for dolly to wear this is in touches....wrapped around the throat or around the head (as a detachable hood) of a simple dress; following the zigzag movement of herringbone over a coat; or cut into one big, fluffy bathrobe!

Latoya took the sheath dress we made a couple months ago and added a furry hood and a matching purse to pull off this snow bunny look.

Winter Garden

Often we are confused by clothes that look more Spring than Automne. But here, we applauded these old fashioned rayon floral border prints, slightly muted for a cooler season. What really makes this work are the prissy little 1960's styles which are nipped in at the waist and flare over the hips in A-line silhouettes.

The fabric store nearest me did not carry the rayon border prints I had hoped to find so.... I achieved the same look through decoupage. I cut out pieces of a floral pattern from some old upholstery material I had on hand and glued this to solid black cotton. The dress was sewn only at the side seams before I attached the flowers. You can apply an anti fray product to stabilize the edges of the print. Just be sure to give everything a good pressing after you have glued the print to the dress.


The girls chose this set of looks for their vibrant prints. In a season full of grey and black, they were happy to see a few sparks of color. Look for vibrant prints. Again, keep the silhouette simple!

Suits Me!

The jacket+pants or jacket+skirt takes on a variety of lengths and looks. Very new this season is the super long, lean jacket worn over the classic trouser.

The Slink

Again, the best looks for eveningwear keep it simple. The devil remains in the details of subtle laces, discreet velvet embellishments. The slip dress and the sheath is the only way to go!

Up next: Our last stop is in Paris. Throughout the nine days of Paris Fashion Week, the girls came away with a great deal of looks they were excited about. We'll be presenting those in two parts!!!

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