Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Frou Frou!!!!

In the absence of any real inspiration, we once again, retreated to our dolly textile archives and revisited another fun technique: frayed edges. We combined with an earlier theme: denim to come up with something we thought would be fun for summer. So get your dollies ready for some south of the border fun! One-two-cha cha cha!!!!

You can fray almost everything, but I love recycling old garments so once again, I cut up an old pair of my dad's jeans. The denim is thick but after years of washing, the fabric is now soft and supple. Normally you need a holding stitch to stop the fray, but denim doesn't unravel so much, especially the way we intend to use it. 

Caught Up In the Fray!

The garments we use as a base are very simple, very basic. Again, the embellishments here is the real story! This is time intensive, so pick a lazy day when you have lots of free time on your hands to create your trims and embellishments. 

Before you begin....With denim, there are two colors of threads in the weave. My light blue remnant has blue running vertically (aka: the warp) and white running horizontally (aka: the weft). You will need to chose which color you want for your fringe.
1. Start by measuring and cutting even strips of denim. In this case each strip is !-1/4" (3cm) wide. 
2.Cut as many strips as you will need depending on how many rows of fringe you will need.
3. Begin fraying each side of the strip you have just cut. Though optional (you can use a pin) a seam ripper is helpful in pulling away the cross threads. 
4. Once the cross threads are pulled up, I remove them by pulling them away with my fingers.
5. You will do this on both sides of the strip. I then fold the strip over so that the fringe at the bottom of one edge meets the top of the fringe on the opposite.

6. Make your basic garment. Pictured here is the basic straight skirt. 
7. Begin in the back at the bottom, pinning the middle (or fold line) in place. Then stitch by hand. Let the center of each strip overlap in the back. With so much going on, texture wise, those frayed edges adds to the movement. 
8. Fold over and press.
9. Repeat until you have just the look you want. 

For my first skirt, I added the fringe from the hem to the waistband. I didn't measure the placement of each row because I wanted a an irregular alignment. However, if you want something more uniform, you can always measure and mark the placement line for each row of fringe.

What is that she's wearing at the top? I started to make a simple tank top but decided to go all the way with my Spanish them by creating a simple camisole with fringe at the top and bottom. If you fray the edges as I have, the end result will be very irregular. You can visually correct that by adding a layer or two of fringe, tacked to the inside of the camisole. Take a look at our initial post on fringing HERE. She's also wearing a swing jacket with denim "roses" at the cuffs, as a corsage on one shoulder and "rose" bottoms down the front. The next project show you how...

Rose Garden
I made another camisole, this time with removal "rose" puff sleeves. The sleeves are actually small tube with several clusters sewn on. 
1. Cut a small square of denim to fit the doll's arm. Fray each end. A single, underarm seam is all that is needed.
2.Cut circles. They don't have to be perfect. In fact the imperfection will make them more interesting.When you begin to fray the edges you will discover that where there are curves, it won't fray as easily. That is ok. You just want to fluff up the edges enough to soften the cut edge.
3. Fold each circle into quarters. 
4. Pin then sew the first one on the sleeve at the point.
5. Take another frayed circle. Fold into quarters and sew the midpoint to the midpoint of the previous circle.
6. Continue adding these quartered circles until there are enough to cover the sleeve.
If you want, you can tack each sleeve to the camisole where it meets under the arms, or treat them as removable sleeves.

And now...getting back to that jacket...This is a basic jacket with straight sleeves, each trimmed with these poufs of denim roses. I used smaller circles to create the buttons. 

Feather Weight

I found this on the craft pages of Pinterest and thought they were so interesting. These are fabric feathers! Again, they are made by removing enough of the cross threads to create the illusion of feathers. Before you start, you will need to figure out which direction each color thread moves in and which color you want for the feathers. I chose the cross thread (white) which I felt had a softer, fluffier look.

1. I roughly cut leaf shapes out of the denim. 
2. With my seam ripper, I begin lifting away the cross threads. 
3. On each side remove the cross threads. With my smaller "feathers" I can remove them simply with my fingers. 
4. Work from one side to the other side, pulling the cross threads away until you arrive with a strip down the middle that is about 1/8" (3mm). 
5. If you want an even look to your feathers, you can always trim them into the exact shape you want.
6. Now that I have a variety of feathers, I can begin to embellish my garment.
1. And so I begin with a basic sheath dress
2. I pin on feathers until I have just the look I want. 
3. Hand stitch each one partially down the middle (about 1/3-1/2 the length of each feather) so that they can "flutter."
And completed dress. I made "gloves" to match out of longer tubes of denim where the edges are frayed.

And here's what it looks like from each angle.

Fancy Pants
Of course I could have stopped there, but by now, you know me.... I could have made a gown and added feathers but instead, I decided on a pair of "cha cha" bell bottom pants, instead. 
Again, I started out with a basic, bell bottom hiphuggers that I frayed at the hemline. It doesn't matter if it is uneven because the feathers will cover everything.. I made enough feathers to achieve just the look I wanted. For her top, it is a basic bodice with a square neckline. I made small "feathers" to add to the hem of the sleeves, which repeat the design of the pants.

Okay, let's hear it.....One...two...cha cha cha!!!!!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Pucker Up (Again!)

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Summer is here and my girls have quite a few warm weather galas ahead. But for awhile now I've been in a creative desert so I really had to look far and wide for inspiration. While putting together the report on the Spring/Summer Paris Couture collections, a gown by Jean-Paul Gaultier caught my eye. It was a peach silk gown with lots of puckered pleats worked in at the bottom half of the dress.. Jada Pinkett Smith later wore a evergreen version of it at the Oscars. At that same red carpet event, another dress caught my eye. It was worn by Kirsten Durtz and designed by Christian Lacroix employing the same puckered surface treatment.. 

Photo: Vogue Runway
Photo: Vogue Runway
This prompted me to go back to a post we did back on 4/24/2014, called "Pucker Up." This time around our focus is on the design of the dress employing this very fun textile technique. We combined it with another tutorial on permanent pleating entitled "Twist and Shout" (8/13/2013) which is a sort of crinkled permanent pleating, though we were able to create an adaptation for natural fabrics. You might want to take a look at either one of those posts to get more ideas as well as a more detailed tutorial on how to create the textile manipulations used in this post. But to start out, I chose one of my favorite materials to play with...something  called crystal polyester or more simply....polyester organza. Any color is fine. But if you can locate the iridescent colors, that is an added plus. 

1. For the permanent puckers, you can use almost any shape so long as is made of something not likely to melt in the oven: dried beans or peas, clay, metal or glass beads, marbles, coins. You get the picture. I cut a small strip of the organza and tied each pea with heavy duty thread.
2. When finished, wrap in aluminum foil and place on a pan in a preheated oven set at 325-350F degrees for about 15 minutes. You want to set the shapes without melting the fabric.

4. For the skirt, I folded a wider, longer piece of organza and folded it back and forth, pinning it until I finished the whole length. Then with needle and thread, I made a series  horizontal stitches to 15 the pleats in place. Finally, I took one more length of heavy duty thread (or string) and wound it around my pleated organza from top to bottom. Place in foil and pop in the oven for about 15 minutes.
5. Allow to cool down. Remove from foil and this is the result!

6. I made a strapless top out of my organza. (I flame sealed the edges with a lit candle, first.) 
7. I make a running stitch along one edge of the pleated organza, then carefully spread it over the hemline of the bodice. Pin in place and hand stitch. I placed the pleats on the outside, using thread that comes as close to the color of fabric as possible. 
8. When finished, it looks like this.
9. For the top, I made a rectangle slightly bigger than the circumference of the doll. 
10. I made random running stitches over both layers, drawing up the fabric as I went along with heavy thread. When finished, cover with foil and place in the oven. 
11. After you have removed from the oven, remove the stitches and gently spread enough to cover her top. Tack down on the top with random stitches. The piece of fabric with the "bubbles" is cut in half and used to create little puff sleeves, tacked down in the front and back of the body.

And here is our end result! 

I really love the look of the little bubbles. Here is another way I used them. The dress is a 2-piece dress. A simple top and a simple slim evening length skirt made from the same iridescent polyester organza. 

Here, I entrapped glass beads in a small rectangle of the organza. Afterwards, it was a question of tacking the morceau of fabric to the dress. I did the same for the skirt part of the dress, with a sample where I used slightly bigger beads. This time around, however, I didn't flame seal the edges of the sample, I left the edges frayed for a more "organic" look we often see employed by Dutch designers. 

I love the contrast between the surface treated parts of the dress and the smooth sheen of the untreated areas. Again, the iridescent nature of the fabric adds to the three-dimensional aspect of the design.

You can use your treated fabric as is. Or you can pin in places to control the volume in certain areas. And feel free to team up the crinkled areas with a garment that is totally different in nature, like this silk brocade bustier. In this case, I began with a length of fabric I had pleated before. The original pleats were "soft" and I decide I wanted the "tighter." So I simply bunch it up into a ball, tied string around the ball and popped it into the oven. Out came a more tightly pleated rectangle.
You can begin by making a straight or A-line skirt on which you can tack the pleated material. But here, I simply wrapped the mass around the dolls waist (opening in the back). I tacked the fabric up to itself in certain areas to create asymmetrical volumes around the hips. On top...a very simple form fitted bustier made from embroidered silk.

Using the same technique I took a rectangle of polyester organza and ran random running stitches throughout the length, gathering the fabric as I progressed. Afterwards, I gathered the mass into a ball and tied string around it before popping it into the oven. In this case, this look starts with a strapless, A-line dress I made from a cheap nylon fabric. When my organza is ready, I carefully stretched it out then tacked it onto the dress beneath, carefully seeing to it that all areas were covered. Hint: This is actually two pieces of crinkled fabric. The top covering the bodice (much tighter, smaller pleats) and the bottom, larger pleats.

The golden rule in dolly fashion design is to always use quality fabrics. There is a lot of work involved that goes to waste because the end result will never merit your effect. Well....I broke this rule not to long ago. I couldn't get to a fabric store, so I bought a cheap scarf from a dollar store because I needed purple satin. Though the design of the dress was good, I was very unhappy with the end result which So while preparing this project, my question to myself was....what happens when you take a cheap fabric and "treat" it. The answer: Much better than I expected.
This was a cheap polyester satin that I twisted and popped in the oven. The pleats came out pretty tight and wrapped around the doll beautifully into a basic shift dress! But I wanted it to have a bit more shape, so I pinned down the pleats to themselves over the stomach and at the sides. You don't want to do this everywhere otherwise you lose the "stretch" aspect of your newly created fabric.

The opening is at the back. I've twisted the dress a bit to give it a more asymmetrical vibe. The way the dress reflects the is like a piece of jewelry!
You don't have to use this technique for an overall look. You can take pleated pieces to enhance the design.
On the left side is the original dress. I decided to incorporate a bit of the crinkled pleats into the design at one side. I made a small crinkled piece and tacked it onto the side and at the back of the dress.

Here it is front to back. The permanent pleated piece brings the design up a notch.

This technique only works with synthetics. But you can get the same look using natural fabrics like this silk satin. You will need to start with wetting the fabric first with water and then twisting it. Allow to dry. 

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Tuesday, May 3, 2022


Dear readers,

It was brought to my attention that another website has been copying several of my complete blogposts and reproducing it in its entirety on their site. By the time I was alerted, I had a trip planned and have not able to address the situation until now.

First of all, I would like to personally thank the author of I-Luv-Dolls for bringing this whole sordid incident to my attention and keeping me informed over the past month. I would also like to thank the author of Black Doll Collecting for her efforts and information on combating this problem. 

Since January of this year, myself and other bloggers, have been victims of "bot scraping" by a website that professes to report doll news from around the world. Bot Scraping or Web Scraping is the practice of using programmed software (bots) to extract large amount of data or content to post on another site without crediting the source. And while all of my identifying tags were left intact, if someone were not familiar with my blog, it would be easy to surmise that Fashion Doll Stylist is produced by some sort of publishing group WHICH IS NOT THE CASE!!!!! Moreover, by publishing my blog on another site, I am robbed of visitors to this page.

As all of you are well aware, my blog which is in its 10th year, (on the Blogspot platform) is completely produced, written, photographed and published by one person....ME!!! I do not receive any money for my hard work or the materials I use in producing my doll fashions. My blog is a labor of love. I do not mind sharing my knowledge, my love for dolls, all my experiences with others. I only ask that before reproducing anything, I am informed prior and that credit is given to me. That's all.  And for the most part, whether it has a photo or a tutorial, most of the time others have complied and I thank you for that.

But in this case, I am particularly upset because the people behind this website never requested my permission or that of any of the other blog authors from whom it has STOLEN content. Moreover, it REFUSES to take down content when requested!

With that, I urge anyone else whose work is susceptible to be impacted, to read the April 6 post of Debbie Garrett's Black Doll Collecting for a detailed idea of the problem and what she tried to do to regain control of her work.

If you have a blog on Blogspot, you might want to go to the offending website to see if your posts have published without your consent. Then return to Debbie's April 10 post "Updated Settings"  for a few updated ideas as to how you might stop this from happening to you.  w

I will be publishing this first before changing my settings so that should this website decide to "scrape" this post, they will alert their own readers as who really produces Fashion Doll Stylist and how I feel about their practices. And then I will adjust my settings in hopes that it will put an end to future work being taken.

We'll return with our usual type of fashion related posts shortly.


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Oscar Buzz 2022

It was certainly great to see the Academy Awards return to an in-person event. The stars were all out in full glam mode and my girls were quick to head out to the red carpet in their own dolly versions! What we noticed about this year's trends was voluminous many of the dresses were. After two years of confinement, what better way to celebrate the world's most famous red carpet rendez-vous.

Ariana DeBose was regal in her head to toe Valentino red. Her look is comprised of evening trousers, a matching bra top and a coordinated flame red cape. Tamron didn't like the look of the molded bra cups over the breast, so we created what we felt was a more flattering version of that top. Since I couldn't see the detailing of the cape, we improvised and added a full ruffed collar. 

The comentators were every bit as glamorous as the celebrities they were interviewing. Liu couldn't take her eyes off of Sophia Carson's full tulle regalia by Italian designer Giambattista Valli. It resembles a modern version of a Dior "new look" gown with its full, ballroom skirt and the asymmetrical tulle sweep over one shoulder. 

In her nineties and still heating up the red carpet....actress and Broadway star, Rita Morena inspired our girl, Anna with this black one-shouldered gown. Ours began with a one shouldered black jersey dress to which we added layers of flounces along the neckline. I gave this version a more paired down version of the bell sleeve so as not to overwhelm Anna's tiny body. We did love the feather hat on Ms. Morena, but on Anna, we felt it was a tad bit overkill. 

While we admired Nicole Kidman in Armani Prive's Tiffany blue gown, me and the girls were not so crazy about the taffeta "tire" around her middle. Instead, we saw more promise in the Louis Vuitton gown worn by Caitriona Balfe. The original gown is cut from a softer fabric, but the one we created for Marpessa, is made of taffeta. We wanted the ruffles to bounce more around the body and we were not disappointed. This is essentially a slip dress with a train. The "surprise" is the ruffle placed near the waist which connects to the train on both sides. It results in a very pretty "frame" over the hips.

And, off to the side there she was....Zoe Kravitz looking like a modern day Audrey Hepburn in a powder pink satin gown. We loved the top with its bow tied to one side of the bodice but we wanted something a little more sophisticated than the original "prom dress" vibe. So the two-piece dress we made for Belle has a narrow sarong skirt.

We just loved the 1930's glamour girl look to Jessie Buckley's pale pink gown. We don't know who the designer was but Kym knew she wanted something similar. Since we have done this bodice treatment many times, we decided to change up the neckline treatment. The dress is a simple strapless sheath flared gown with a train to which we added satin straps around the shoulders. 

Another lady in red...Kristen Durtz shows off very pretty gown by the house of Christian Lacroix. (Haven't seen that name in a long time!) We couldn't resist trying out the technique we showed you in our post "Pucker Up." Our version: a simple strapless, flared gown with a permanent pleated fabric treatment using polyester organza tacked over a silk base. The result was spectacular! Ariana is thrilled! 

What a fabulous finish to our Oscars Red Carpet report, starring actress Laverne Cox. Getting the look for Gail was easier than it looks. She wears a simple stretch velvet gown with an off-centered asymmetrical point in the front. Over her oversized sweep of crinkle taffeta as a stole!

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