Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Flaky Pastry

My dolls are looking forward to summer parties. So I thought, this would be the perfect time to explore another one of my favorite fun fabrics...Crystal Polyester. Also known as Polyester Organza, it's the kind of fabric that when wrapped around the shoulders of dolly, it instantly transforms any dress into high fashion drama. It is a sheer, sometimes iridescent, material with a natural "bounce," and the best's pretty inexpensive!!!

A few seasons ago, there were a few dresses on Alexandre Vaultier's Haute Couture catwalk that I felt lent themselves to this fabric. And so with this post...which admittedly is a tad bit long (but filled with pictures)...I show you just a few of the many things you can do with this marvelous material. Think pastry.....with light and flaky layers that curl, that puff up and float effortlessly!!!

But first let's start with something really easy. How about an evening wrap that looks as though it floated down from the heavens.

 Creating this is easy.

1. Create a tube by cutting a length of fabric and fold it in half. Stitch along the top.
2. Turn right side out and press so this seam is now runs down the middle.  Using the center seam as a guide, make a running stitch down the middle.
3. Gather by pulling the lower thread on one side, then on the other.
4. Adjust so that the gathers are fairly even.
5. You can take a small strip of fabric or a narrow ribbon and sew it along the gathers. This will help to stabilize the gathers and it provides a way to close the shawl.
6. Dolly can wear it as is, but I wanted the poufs to overlap, so with tiny, random stitches, I tack the poufs together in a few spots.
From front to back, Olympia shows you the final result. Super simple! Super dramatic!
But you came looking for French pastry so let's indulge in a buttery yellow delight. Shakira's "millefeuille" marigold dress is easier that it looks. It's a great project for a rainy day that with its many layers requires a bit of patience. This dress is completely made by hand. Take your time. It's worth the work!

In my last post, I showed an alternative method to finishing the edges of polyester fabric with a flame. For this exercise, the flame sometimes curled the edges which adds to the look. Don't worry about trying to be perfect. Don't beat yourself over any "mistakes." The more "organic" it looks, the better!

We begin by making a foundation garment or a sheath dress (though you can make any basic garment you want). Chose a color close to the color of your organza and choose thread that matches perfectly as well. Cut 1 to 1 1/4" (22-30cm) strips of organza on the diagonal. Don't measure. Estimate. The strips will be somewhat irregular which is what you want. One by one, bit by bit, holding each strip with two hands, quickly zip the edge past the bottom of the flame to seal the edges.

1. To start, I begin at the bottom of the dress.
2. The first strip begins and ends at the center back.
3. Another, somewhat longer strip is wrapped around the dress a few times, keeping each layer close together.
4. Here is how this looks at the back. At this point, you should hand stitch everything (using a back stitch).
5. I take another strip and pin from one side to the other.
6. Now this is when things get interesting. This time, instead of wrapping to the back, I loop it and pin back over to the other side.
7. Then loop back over and pinned in place back to the other side.
 8. With the extra, I make into a "curl" and pin in place. This is a good place to stop and stitch down your layers, thus far.
9. This is what my skirt looks like on one side.
10. Turn the dress to the back. Take another small strip and pin down, side seam to side seam.
 11. From here, you can use longer strips and simply loop back and forth from side seam to side seam. Again, stop and stich down.
12. End with a single layer. When clipping the strips, cut at an angle, and run a lit match quickly past the edge. If your strips aren't long enough. Don't worry. You can simply cut another piece and keep going. The whole point is to create the look of flaky, uneven layers! Note how I have stopped just shy of the waist.

 13. Now, let's go back to the top of the dress. Another strip is pinned near the neckline. Note how it extends a bit towards the back and has been cut at an angle.
14. I pin a second layer.
15. And a third.
16. Now because the inspiration for this dress has a curve in the layers, I curve each strip to one side and over the waist to the opposite side.

17. Adjust the layers, then stitch in place. You can keep doing this until everything is covered. Each layer will become progressively smaller.
18. If you see any space, you can always cut a tiny bit of the strip, fold in half and slide into the spot and stitch down.
19. Go to the side of the dress still exposed. Fold the other layers over so you can work better.
20. Begin to add more layers. Her I added a wide strip which covers this part of the dress and pushes the other layers to the front.
21. You can add another layer. The important thing is to cover the foundation completely.
22. Turn the dress to the back. I don't know what the back of the original dress looks like so I made the decision to keep things simple. I added strips which cover a complete side.
23. Same thing for the opposite side. When I stitch this down, I stop at the waist because I want to layers to curl upwards.
24. The back is closed with hooks and eyes. One tip: before you get too far with the back, stop to make sure the doll can get out of the dress. Make any adjustments before you finish adding the strips.
Like a gorgeous yellow rose, Shakira's dress is interesting from front to back.

I wanted to incorporate that same idea into a design for a jacket.
As a base, I used a simple basic (dartless) jacket. I decided to make my jacket from the same sheer fabric! Like this you don't have to worry about seeing the fabric beneath. You do see the stitches to some degree, but again, the organic nature of this look forgives all.
1. I sewed a strip that begins and ends at the center back after wrapping around the front and neck.
2. I sewed a second layer and then a third in the same direction.
3. Afterwards, there is a small space under the bust near the arm. I looped a tiny strip and stitched everything down.

I didn't do anything at the back because I like the idea of the seeing the doll's back through the jacket. On the other hand, I took a bit of the fabric and wrapped it a couple times around the hem of the sleeve as a cuff.

If this is going too far over your head, we can do something much more simple!
 1. I cut the strapless sheath from two layers of crystal polyester. But for the opera coat, the pattern couldn't be any more simple.

1. Lay the doll down with her arms outstretched. Draw a T shape around her
2. This is your pattern. Top part of the T cut on the fold of the fabric. Cut a slit on the top and a vertical opening down the front.
3. Sear the edges and you're ready to go.
4. Okay, so here is my kimono.
5.  Cut up a few scraps. This can be random. Or you can plan shapes if you like. For this exercise, I've simply cut a few squares and seared the edges.
6. Pick each scrap up and form into a ball.
7. Pin onto the robe.
8. Continue until you are happy. I decided to keep the interest on the shoulders, so I stopped here.

7. Put the robe on the doll and adjust the poufs until you are happy with the look. Then tack each pouf down with a few stitches wherever you have placed a pin.

And here we are. Nadia shows off this spectacular look from front to back.

If you fell in love with the simple kimono, you can simply use the pattern for an understated look. We can also decide to stich down the arms and sides without cutting away the rest of the fabric. Here, Liu wears a short version of our kimono, this time cut from a glitter organza.
The pattern is the same as the red kimono, but shorter.
The dotted line shows where we sewed after allowing for the neck and center front cut. I added a small strip around the neckline which ties into a bow around the neck.

You can even get more simple!
 Stephani shows off a simple evening coat that can be worn over a simple black dress or something more "couture." It's a big rectangle of organza folded in half. I wrapped it around the doll's arms in the front then made hand stitches to form "sleeves" of sort. In the back I pinched it into giant asymmetrical folds at the back. There are no rules. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Simple drape into something vaguely interesting and stitch to hold your creativity in place.

No matter how you turn her, she looks fabulous. The best's one of those looks that is super easy, not expensive and can be done in minutes!

A rose by any name.

All images and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2016. Please do not reproduce without prior permission. Thank you.

Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist
Like us on Facebook:
We're also on Pinterest:
Come show us your stuff on Instagram:


  1. These are awesome! Thanks for these gorgeous tutorials!

  2. Organza to piękna tkanina i bardzo dekoracyjna, ale uważam ją za dość trudną w krawiectwie... może to tylko moje zdanie.
    To nie są sukienki, to są przepiękne kreacje! Zachwycające!
    Pozdrawiam serdecznie!

    1. Olla wrote: Organza is a beautiful fabric and very decorative , but I find it quite difficult in tailoring ... maybe it's just my opinion.
      These are not dresses are beautiful creations! Stunning !
      Best wishes!

      Thank you for your very kind words, Olla. Organza is really not made to use for tailored looks. It should be used more for whimsical garments. For Haute Couture, the designer is not obliged to abide by strict rules of pattern drafting. But rather, it is used for more decorative garments and is handled by any means possible! I apply the same philosophy for my dolls. They love their tailored clothes, but for eveningwear, they enjoy the fantasy of looking like high fashion princesses where dresses are like spun sugar.

    2. Masz rację! Fantazyjne upięcia z organzy dają niesamowite i piękne efekty! Marzy mi się suknia z tak wspaniałego materiału dla moich lalek.
      Pozdrawiam gorąco!

    3. Olla wrote: You're right! Fancy upięcia organza give an amazing and beautiful effects ! I dream of a dress with such a wonderful material for my dolls.
      I greet warmly

  3. Gorgeous! If my Dasia was articulated, I would definitely make her something like this. I may try the first piece to see if she can pull it off.

    1. Thank you, Vanessa. Here's a secret: the pouf stole (1st item) is a miniature version of something I made from my senior prom, inspired by a photo I saw in Vogue! The difference is, I made it in silk organdy. (Remember, you can only flame sear the edges of 100% polyester, never natural fabrics!) You can always adjust the size of the pouf to suit the proportion of Dasia.

  4. Flame sealing - what a great tip, thanks!

    And if I start thinking of all organza-featuring outfits as pastry-dresses, I'm blaming you! ;)

    1. least this pastry doesn't have calories!! (LOL) This is, in reality, a "poor man's alternative" to a laser cutter which cuts and seals at the same time. I've seen videos explaining how you might do this with a wood burning or soldering tool, but then I decided to opt for something within reach of everybody everywhere...a lit candle. After playing with this for awhile, I really really like it and I just may spring for a good quality hot knife since it can be used for all sorts of polyester fabrics! (I flame sealed the edges of the white pajamas in the previous post!)

  5. I loved this tutorial. I agree that a simple piece of organza around the shoulders elevates any dress but these are so much nicer.

    1. Thank you, Jane. In the very beginning of my doll collecting, long before I knew there was such a thing as Fashion Royalty dolls & their magnificent wardrobes, I would drape fancy scarves around the shoulders of my Barbies and call it "Hanky Couture." At some point, however, you want these things to morph into REAL clothes. So I decided it was time for me to put the pedal to the metal and make actual garments with this fabulous fabric!

  6. Wow, this was great! These designs were definitely "yummy"! (sorry, couldn't help my self). Loved the tutorial! I may just have to try one of these!

  7. Thank you, Phyllis. I hesitated between calling it "Puff Pastry" and "Flaky Pastry" because everything is so light, fluffy and delicious! Once I figured out how to finish the edges of the layers, this was a lot easier than I originally thought! And of course the ideas started flooding in. The best part was seeing the results.

  8. I love your new ideas! My favorite is the yellow (flower) dress! Your doll looks like a yellow rose flower :) soo beautiful :-) And sooo original idea! Good job!

    1. Thank you, Aya. The yellow dress is also my favorite. The funny thing is that, while I was making it, I did not see the dress turning into a rose until it was finished. If I had more time, I'd make more of these.

  9. These are simply (not to be confused with simple) incredible! Such whisps of tissue paper effect or "flaky pastry" as you describe these lovely fashions. I love them all. My favorite two are the yellow "Rose" and the lavender jacket. They are all very innovative and yes, pretty! - Olympia

    1. Thank you, Olympia. I bought the organza a while ago before really thinking about what I'd do with it. I'm glad I finally figured it out though I wish I had more iridescent organza. But yes, I'm very happy with the results.

  10. All great looks! I have a huge chunk of burgundy organza that didn't work for anything and my only idea was to make petals out of it for pins (me sized) or to stitch on skirts (doll sized).

    1. Thank you BlackKitty. That burgundy organza sound beautiful!!! There are so many things I'd do with it. I'd love to do a petal skirt. But I'd like to see you simply have a wonderful time time with it by creating a big cloud of organza to toss over the shoulders of your Tonner Precarious Wild Bird doll!!! Construction wise, it really doesn't have to make sense. Just have fun !!!

    2. Well, when you put it like this I have no choice but to follow your suggestion :) I'll let you know when I have something ready.

  11. Omg!!! These look AMAZING! You are so talented April, and how do you have the patience & time to do all of these? You must have some of the luckiest & happiest dolls ever lol . :)

    1. Thank you for your kind words. It all starts with one idea or one dress. Then other ideas come into my head. The fun part is seeing how each outfit comes out. That gives me the energy to do more!

    2. You are very welcome! And you are lucky to be in Paris as you can call what you make for your girls Haute Couture since it does mean hand made /sewn in Paris! :)

  12. P.S. Even if I cannot recreate any of the amazing work you do, I really do enjoy your blogs! :)

    1. Thank you. That is such a compliment. But do try to make something..even if it's the simplest outfit!!

  13. Waw ! J'aime vraiment. Il faudrait que j'essaie d'en faire d'autant plus que j'ai déjà le tissu. Merci pour ces magnifiques créations qui sont toujours très inspirantes.

    1. Merci Shasarignis. J'adore ce tissu. On peut s'amuser bien avec les belles résultats !!!

  14. April, wow! So many gorgeous looks. Organza is such a beautiful fabric.

    1. Hi Sarah. Thank you for your kind words. Each time I see this fabric, it's hard to pass by without buying some. I'll probably make a few more dresses for the girls for summer!

  15. WoW amazing <3 <3 I love this yelow one <3 <3

    1. Thank you Urszula. Glad you enjoyed this post. Big hugs.


We love hearing from you. Your comment will be published shortly.