Saturday, May 14, 2016

Stardust Memories

A few of the girls are in France for the Cannes Film Festival and somehow I got roped into making a few dresses for them! (Yes, they have more than enough clothes already but you know how it is....they say they can't be seen in the same dress twice!) Nonetheless the seeds of this project were originally planted in my mind upon the sight of a black Versace gown Jennifer Garner wore at the last Oscars Award Ceremony.
Jennifer Garner in Versace (center). My rendition using beads (left). The same dress but with black glitter (right). Glitter works better in this case!
The dress had beads over one breast and in my attempt to recreate the look, I added beads to mine. But the scale was off. The beads were simply not small enough. This haunted me which prompted more research as to how I could more faithfully reproduce the look.

In the three and a half years I've been making these tiny clothes, what I've learned is that scale is important, but achieving a look often times involves.....illusion. There's lots of glitter on the streets of Paris. It's mostly contained to sneakers and T-shirts, but looking at it had me thinking that for the doll, the tiny sparkles could be interpreted as...BEADS! And yes, glitter is messy (but not always), and yes it can look really tacky very quickly. But by exploring the possibilities, I discovered that glitter can be used to create a sophisticated high fashion garment for the12 inch glamour girl.
There are three sizes of glitter: Super fine--just the right scale for doll shoes and accessories; Regular size--usually the cheapest, this is great for giving the illusion of tiny rhinestones--and; Large flakes--not easy to find, not so easy to glue, but gives the illusion of small sequins a doll's dress. There is also a way to work with glitter without the mess...iron-on sheets of fine glitter. It's really best for cutting out shapes or trims than using over large areas of a garment..

To keep glitter looking fashion rather than kiddie crafts, consider using unexpected fabrics like neutral tone wools, cotton or linen or go overboard like I did by putting glitter on shiny or sparkling fabrics. Here, I've used stretch lurex. As for glue, do NOT use craft glue as it will harden the fabric. Textile glue is better. If you can find it, there is a textile glue specifically designed for applying glitter.

For the first dress, I made a sheath dress out of grey wool.

1. I stitched one side of the garment together and turned under the hem. Mark the area of your design with tape.
2. Working quickly, spread the glue over this area.
3. Generously sprinkle the glue.

4. Allow to dry and shake off the excess.
5. Remove the tape. I used a soft brush to remove stray glitter from the body of the dress. Finish sewing the dress together.
6. I made leggings out of lurex to accessorize the dress.

My red carpet gown is both glamorous and easy to make.

1. It begins with a strapless sheath. I have added glitter to the dress down to the top of the hips. And I have added small straps made from glittered lurex strips.
2. I cut a full circle skirt from the lurex. There is only a slit in the middle the size of her waist circumference and it is cut down the back seam. Nothing is hemmed so that the fabric blends in with the dress underneath. Should your lurex fray, use a bit of fray-check product.

3. Create a pleat by grabbing a bit of the fabric from the left side of the doll and wrap it to the right and pin.
4. You can add as many pleats as you want simply by repeating step 3. Here, I've made three pleats. Hand stitch them to the dress underneath.
5. Here is what my dress looks like in the back. You can leave it open or stitch down the center back seam, leaving an opening near the waist, closing it with a hook&eye.

Since Veronique was appearing on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, I added a small rhinestone brooch on her hip.

If you hate the mess but love the sparkle, iron one glitter is worth a try. There is a uniformity to this medium that you will either love or not. Here, I wanted to maintain the purity of line with this tunic and straight skirt.

1. Again, I put together a shortened tent dress, sewing one side then turning under the hem, but leaving it flat. I do the same for the skirt.
2. I try the outfit on the doll to determine how deep the border should be.
3. Using tracing paper, I draw the shape of the border, then put my draping on the back of the glitter sheet and trace. Cut it out.
3b. You can create any sort of design you desire. For the lurex dress to follow, I created this star.

4. Follow directions for your glitter sheet. For the one I bought, the glitter is placed shiny side up on the right side of the garment.
5. It's then flipped over and you iron everything together on the wrong side of the garment. You may have to iron longer than the instructions require.
6. Here is what the skirt looks like. Since you don't see the entire skirt, it is only necessary to put the glitter on part of the skirt.

Voila the result. I've kept it simple. Silver on beige sand on the beach!

Here, I was more creative. I drew a huge star which I placed on one side of a lurex shift dress.

When I place to two techniques side by side, you see the difference. The loose glitter has a more "organic" or uneven look (though I could have added a second layer of glitter). It also looks more like tiny rhinestones! The iron-on glitter is finer, sharper, almost as if the design was woven into the fabric.

This is a bra and leggings that I have quickly draped a piece of black satin over Anna's form. The black glitter on black fabric gave me just the right discreet look of beads I was shooting for. I used the wrong (less silver) side of the lurex for the leggings and added a light layer of black glitter.

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  1. Dla mnie każdy strój to Kreacja godna Mistrza! Wspaniałe pomysły! Ciekawe fasony! Rewelacyjne projekty!
    Pozdrawiam bardzo serdecznie!

    1. Olla wrote:
      For me, every costume is a creation worthy of the Master ! Great ideas! Interesting styles ! Excellent designs !
      Best wishes!

      Olla, you are so kind. Thank you for your beautiful compliment.

  2. You always do such a great job of capturing these styles in miniature! I hadn't known about the different types/sizes of glitter, so this post was especially interesting - I loved seeing how you work with it! :)

    1. Thank you jSarie. This was a real journey. I made a lot of test samples on fabric swatches which I perhaps, should have shown. The end result was better than I had anticipated.

  3. I love your dark skin dolls - they are amazing! You have again great ideas (this idea with brocate is great!) You made bautifull outfits for dolls! Congratulations my dear!

    1. Thank you, Aya. I love my dark skinned dolls. The doll companies don't make many of them. But when they do, they are usually extraordinary.

  4. These outfits are truly amazing and beautiful! I am in awe of your talent and creativity. And the fact that you share your techniques with us is wonderful......thank you!

    1. Thank you, Chris. I was blessed with a wonderful career in fashion and from the start, was always encouraged by loving parents. In a tiny way, it is kind of an extension of that career and a way to "spread the wealth" with others.

  5. These are beautiful dresses. You have so many great ideas.

    1. Thank you, Jaye. In a way I am designing for myself. Often, I imagine an event then imagine what I would want to wear.

  6. This are amazing! I'm hopeless when it comes to sewing, so I really admire people who can do this things. I didn't know about those glitter sheets, very interesting. The fine glitter I think it's the one used for nail art, am I right.


  7. Il faudrait vraiment que j'essaie un de ces modèles. Merci pour ce partage, cela me donne pleins d'idées.


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