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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Unless otherwise noted, all images and text of this blog are the copyrighted property of Fashion Doll Stylist 2022. We are independent and not part of any other group or website no matter where this post or its elements appear on the internet or social media. Please request permission before reproducing any parts of this post. And please, always credit us.