Monthly Archives: October 2009

CDDC Challenge #3-Embellishment

Oct 6th

Em-bel-lish: v. 1. To add beauty or ornamentation; decorate. 2. To heighten the interest of by adding details.

Here is our new challenge given Oct 4:
Embellished – Our guest judge this week is known for her fabulous embellishments. Use your creative skills to create an outfit that is the epitome of perfect embellishment.

Hmmm, I don’t really embellish my designs much-well at least not for the 16″ divas. Now my BJD’s I’ve been doing the silk ribbon embroidery and the 18th c gowns which in the 18th century embellishment was the thing.

My first thought of inspiration for this challenge was to check out my files and books on LaCroix. One of my favorite designers, his use of embellishment, fabric mixing and draping is unsurpassed. He, in my eyes, is a true genius in the fashion world.

Original inspiration design

Original inspiration design



My other thought is to also go through my historical books, especially ‘Historical Detail of the 17th and 18th Centuries’. Wow, the embroideries, trims and fabrics are amazing. Slowly, ideas start forming in my head, maybe mixing a little of my SRE with free motion machine embroidery appliques, 18th c fashion…… to the sketchbook!!!!
18c corset
18th c stomacher
Corset third quarter of 18th c
18thc gown

Oct 7th

Started gathering up fabrics today. I have some brocades, tapestry types and lace. Nothing is really coming together yet, not sure what I want to do the skirt in. So I decide to check out a couple fabric stores.
I only made it to one store and found a tan with light green, pink and light brown check heavy taffeta type fabric. I have some damask and other tapestry fabric that I think might blend with this. And my gold lace that I plan on doing applique with will look good too. Unless I decide to do the pink and gold lace I have. We’ll see after the base is done.

embroidered birds and butterflies maybe?

embroidered birds and butterflies maybe?

So I now have my preliminary fabrics, I start drafting a base pattern for my muse. For this challenge I decide to use Antoinette- I just got her after being preordered forever and soon discover her body is completely different than any of my other dolls. First step now is a basic sloper! I got that done tonight- so I think I will call it a night for now.

Oct 12 9am

I worked most of the weekend on the corset. The fit ended up a little smaller than anticipated but will still work I think. It depends on how much of a perfectionist I am going to be with this. I need to finish the bottom edge today and figure out how to put the sleeves in. Probably hand sewing which I hate to do. The silk ribbon embroidery though, turned out very nice. Overall I am liking the look so far. I wish I would have thought out the construction on this a little more, but when you do your own patterns it is always a trial and error. I just don’t have the time to spend on too much error. Like Tim Gunn says- “Make it work”!!!

Oct 12 6pm

The sleeves just aren’t working out. I didn’t think through construction and the armholes are too small to try to hand sew for it to even look presentable. I tried satin stitching around them-it is ok but not up to my standards. I’ll go forward with a mesh top underneath instead of just sleeves and work on the skirt. Hopefully I will have time to redo the corset. Maybe without straps this time.
first corset

Oct 14 9am

I managed to make a little top instead of sewing sleeves to the corset. It turned out very cute but something is still not right. I worked on the skirt most of yesterday and that isn’t turning out like I planned either. UGH!!! I hate when this happens but it can’t turn out perfect every time. I think the corset is throwing me off. Right now it looks too Ren Faire. I am going to work on a new one today and streamline it more. For one, make it strapless, and change the bottom of it. Maybe that will help. I should have just gone with a wedding dress- but I am sure someone is doing that. I mean, how perfect is a wedding gown for embellishment?

Oct 14 9:47pm

Worked on a new corset today. Got the whole thing done-SRE and beading. All I have to do tomorrow is the binding on the bottom.
I have also played around with skirt some more and now I think I will go short. It seems more playful especially for Antoinette. I kept looking at all my LaCroix files for skirts and I’m really liking his shorter fuller skirts. So I have a few ideas to play with. I also did a gold lace top- but I like the black with pink embroidery and to do black tights on her with the lighter muted pastel colors. I think it needs a sleep on it again. Ideas always come to me in the middle of the night. (Doesn’t provide very good sleep sometimes though.)


Oct 18th 10:45 pm

Just sent my pics off. Whew! Again, sending them in at the last moment almost. Well, I ended up going short with the skirt and love the way the whole thing turned out. My daughter really likes it too-especially how I did her hair.
Hair styled
Hair back

I mean, I pretty much went all out on this-styled it to a T. Very LaCroix, I think. I spent all day making shoes- sculpted heels yesterday and made a mold. Casted two heels today and finished the black satin pumps because I pretty much have no shoes for Antoinette.
She was pretty fun to design and sew for and very fun to photograph. I just wished she would stand a little better on her own. Now I am inspired to do some more things for her.

Now that this challenge is finished, I have the daughter’s Halloween costume to sew.
Wish me luck on the Challenge and the Halloween costume(on getting in finished in time!)

Oct 25 9am

The scores are in. I didn’t win or come in second. But I did come in third and am now in second place overall. Not bad. This next one is going to be tough- but the whole competition is pushing me to lengths I haven’t really gone before. I’m sure after this whole thing is finished I will have grown as a designer.
Well here is what the judges had to say:

Shane Theme: 4.5, Originality: 4.5, Creativity: 3, Construction: 5

I admit I struggled with this one a bit. I absolutely love the lines of the fashion and the embellishment is mostly fantastic. The ruching on the skirt and the delicate ribbon embroidery and beading on the corset send me. I think the embroidery on the blouse and the jeweled adornment on the corset go too far and become a distraction from an otherwise fantastic look. Finally I think I would like to see the corset and the skirt better tied to one another through a slightly higher level of matching or complimentary colors.

Diana & Janet: Theme: 4.5, Originality: 5, Creativity: 4, Construction: 4


I was very taken with the overall effect of this outfit, and the imagination of bringing the pieces together. Great work on the corset.


I think this is utterly beautiful, and I was enthralled in the detailing in the corset. My eye was slightly distracted by the uneven finish on the delicate neckline of the sheer top. A better finish here would have taken it over the top!

Judith: Theme: 5, Originality: 5, Creativity: 5, Construction: 5

Tremendous outfit, wonderful skirt. Something different with fabulous detail.
Lovely silhouette.

Magalie Dawson: Theme: 5, Originality: 4, Creativity: 4, Construction: 4

I must have spent the most time on this design trying to decide if the mismatch of the elements worked or not. At first look, I loved it, and after I thought that the plaid taffeta did not work. But finally I saw that the silk ribbons repeated the colors in the skirt, and the mesh top tied with the black tights. The embroidery work is exquisite. I love the asymmetrical look, just as if roses had bloomed there naturally. I would have liked the mesh top to be a little more finished, but I love it!

Total Score: 71.5

After reading the judges comments, I saw the finishing on the top in the pictures, but had submitted already before I noticed it. That is the problem with waiting till the last minute. I didn’t have the time and was too tired to really take in the details shown in pics. I also wondered if the judges would ‘get’ my design. Like I said before it was very LaCroix and not everyone gets Christian LaCroix with the mixing of patterns and stuff and his use of embellishments. Overall I was very happy with my design and I guess that is what counts.


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CDDC- New Challenge #4

We just got our new challenge:

Here’s the clue: On the Fashion Edge – This week’s guest judge is an amazing doll artist. His OOAK creations are always on the cutting edge. This week you must create an avante guarde casual outfit(no you don’t have to use an Avant Guard doll) This outfit must be edgy…think Alexander McQueen.

Ok, Avant Garde. Avant Garde? Here’s the definition from
of or pertaining to the experimental treatment of artistic, musical, or literary material.

unorthodox or daring; radical.

I would look at this as being more conceptual work. I’m really going to have to do some research on this one and really challenge myself.
I think I have done some things in the past that are different, but considered avant garde, I’m not so sure. I think it means different things to different people. This is not going to be an easy challenge, but I do have ideas stirring around in my head.

Wikipedia gives a little more insight, I think.
“Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm”

Well, I’ll be thinking about this challenge, meanwhile getting my daughter’s Halloween costume done by Sat.

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Pics were sent in late last night. Glad I got everything done in time. I’m pretty happy with how my design turned out and I stayed very true to myself. Although I did have some problems in the whole process. Definitely a learning experience. I think with each challenge right now, it’s making me test and push myself more and more. I do need to work though or sell my designs!
You’ll have to wait until the judging is over to see my post on the whole process. Meanwhile you can check out the competition here:
Couture Doll Design Challenge

Wish me luck!!

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CDDC- I won!

I won Challenge 2- I am in complete awe- because there were some really good designs there. I’m happy, especially since I went so back and forth with this design. I guess you should always stay true to your design aesthetic and inspiration. It paid off.
Here are the judges comments:

Shane-Beautiful shoes and the perfect fashion to go with them.

– The handmade shoes score high points with me. Excellent research and very striking effect when matched with the garment.

– A lovely choice. Tailored jacket is well fitted and cuffs aren’t easy! The presentation also adds much to the whole look, but the work is also evident.

Judith-From the artfully fashioned shoes to the perfectly tailored jacket this outfit is a sophisticated choice for the challenge. These brilliant shoes show a very slick design sensibility …I could see them being worn to an Armani boutique opening or fashion week or the like! Love the mini sequins with the tailored jacket and the use of snakeskin to pull the accessories together is ingenious!

Joe Tai-The fabric of shoes is same as belt and handbag, and shoes are gold as skirt, highly match the whole work.

My total score was 74 and now puts me in 3rd for overall. I definitely need to keep challenging myself.

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CDDC- Challenge 2 Put Your Best Foot Forward

Sept 20th

This week take a pair of shoes/boots and design an outfit around it.
Guest Judge: Joe Tai

Design an outfit around a pair of shoes. Wow, O.K. this is going to be a fun challenge. I love shoes, in fact, I have designed a dress just for a pair of shoes more than once. Too bad I couldn’t use one of those.Bombe

Sept 21
My first thought for this challenge went immediately to a pic of Dior shoes with gold ball soles and heels.

Dior shoes 2008 Resort

Dior shoes 2008 Resort

Hmmm, I could make something similar using jewelry components. I stayed with a classic point toe mule with ankle ties but added the unconventional gold ball soles and filagree ball with rhinestone insets and a gold cone for the heel.
It was a little bit of a challenge getting the heel right, but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.

Sept 24
Now for the outfit. I wanted to stay classic-inspired by Dior and the New Look (can you tell I like Dior?). My first fabric choice was a white with gold ottoman for a jacket and maybe a straight skirt. I also had a green with gold cross dye silk organza I thought would make an interesting skirt. The doll I though of using for this look was Sybarite Swallow, with bright red hair pulled into a classic 50’s bun, but I have trouble with getting her to stand correctly, and with these shoes I could see fighting with her the whole time. She could not stand with out a stand. So I am second guessing now myself now. I want to use a doll that stands well, and I start looking at Psyche-my Numina Grey by my friend Paul Pham. She’s gorgeous, stands well with out a stand and her jointing is beautiful. I haven’t used her in a while and she starts inspiring me. Yes, she will be a good one to use.

Sept 28
I start drafting and make a muslin of a jacket for Grey. The fit is beautiful on her and I get inspired by an interesting fabric combo of a gold/rose crossdye cotton and gold micro sequined mesh. Very different, not sure if it will be too much but I start the jacket anyway.

My daughter doesn’t care for the new color combo. I am now questioning myself again. Do I make something that the judges will like or do what inspires me? The design is pretty much the same for either doll. Which will photograph better? I will probably end up making both and take it from there.

Sept 29

after much thought and sleeping on it, inspiration won out. I decided to be true to myself and do what inspires me.

Oct 1
I stayed with the gold micro sequined mesh and rose/gold crossdye. Only 3 days left to get this finished. I worked all day on the jacket and it turned out fabulous. The fit is so great on and Grey looks good in it. I did have a challenge finding the right wig for her though.

The shoes changed- I kept the same heel and soles of gold balls but did a brown snakeskin sandal instead. She can stand on her own in these and I can’t believe they turned out so well. I’m really happy with my finished look.



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CDDC Challenge 1 Make Mine Mod

Challenge 1- Make Mine Mod
Make Mine Mod – Jason Wu designed the Inaugural ballgown for Michelle Obama. Our guest judge this week is from Integrity Toys too, but his designs favour a mod theme. Let’s jump back 40 years and imagine that Austin Powers is the President of the US. Design an Inagural outfit for HIS first lady.
Guest Judge – David Buttry

I knew immediately what I was going to do on this challenge. I’m not going to write too much about it since I started blogging about this after the fact. Overall though, this was a tough challenge to dissect. Go Mod or Austin Powers style? Looking at the period of 1969- the fashions were really starting to change and go into the 70’s hippy mode. But here are the pics:


After judging I am currently in 4th place, but the guest judge-David Buttry- loved it, so to me that is what counted. I use Sybarite Trapeze, who was an epitome of 60’s chic. I can understand the comments form the other judges about the trim and slit- I finished this challenge in two days and it obviously showed. Will have to step up my game for the upcoming challenges!!

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The Couture Doll Design Challenge

If you haven’t heard from me in a while it’s because I am a contestant in the Couture Doll Design Challenge aka CDDC. There are many prominent doll fashion designers from all around the world competing and I feel honored to have been one of the ones chosen. Similar in concept to Project Runway, the contest will include 8 challenges and the designers have 2 weeks to complete each task. The first task was given on 6th of September andl ended on 24th. I will blog throughout the competition, but since we have to submit our designs anonymously I will publish my blog and designs only after the panel of judges has finished its evaluation.

You, as a spectator, also a have an opportunity to give your vote to the design you find most smashing so follow the links below and join the crowd!

The Couture Doll Design Challenge official site

The Couture Doll Design Challenge blog

My Designer Page

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