Monthly Archives: July 2010

CDS- Haute Couture Challenge

It’s time for another Challenge!

This time it’s a Haute Couture challenge- oohhhh right up my alley.

The Challenge: Haute couture is the creation of exclusive, custom-fitted clothing. Clothes that fit to one person’s precise measurements are the norm. It is also defined by the opulence of fabrics used, the fabulosity of cuts performed superbly, and/or the rarity of the elements used to develop it. Haute couture is definitive; it is something you just know when you see it. And, haute couture‚Äôs exclusivity makes the privileged few who can afford it go mad! Hum…….Could haute couture also drive doll collectors this crazy? Well, we hope not – at least that isn’t our intention at all, dahlings!

So for this challenge I immediately think of the new Dior collection-and a design I have had for a while that just never came to be completely. I had started the pattern for it and was going to originally make it in blue, but gray would work too, wouldn’t it?

Dior Haute Couture Spring 2010

Dior Haute Couture Spring 2010

And who would be the perfect model for this challenge? Psyche-my FDQ Numina Grey, of course. She wears the color gray so well.

Psyche- FDQ Numina Grey

Wednesday, July 7
I’m using the idea of my Victorian riding habits as a base, but will use a shorter straight skirt and do some bows and flowers in the back.
I was able to get the skirt done pretty quickly since I started this thing pretty late with only less than a week before due date.

skirt almost completed

skirt back with bow

Thursday, July 8
Now the jacket was going to be a challenge. I can use the jacket pattern from my CDDC challenge 2 as a base, but I will need to change the collar on it.

collar done

Got the base of the jacket done today, tomorrow I will need to get the lining in and finish it. Time is running out. Doesn’t look like I will be able to complete the corset like I had hoped. Oh well, I’ll make it for the sale of this suit.

Jacket almost finished

Friday, July 9
Today was a busy and exhausting day. I don’t know why I wait until the last minute to do these things. Wait! I know why- because I procrastinate!! Well that and I always have so much on my plate. We did take vacation, and I have been redoing the bathroom so, this had to wait a little bit. I did get the lining finished and the suit is complete. Now on to the hat! in which this will be a whole tutorial.

the back- still needs the flowers for color

Sunday, July 11
I didn’t get a chance to work on anything yesterday. So today is finishing touches. Finish the hat and make the shoes. So here is the tutorial for making a silk top hat:

Silk Top Hat tutorial

Got my pics in- now it’s just the waiting game………

Friday, July 23
I woke up late this morning-started my coffee and immediately went to the computer to see who won this challenge.
Surprise! Surprise! it was me! I really thought Mike and Ina were going to win. I thought they had a great entry with the Avatar inspiration Gaultier used. Every one did a great job and overall the whole purpose for this was to draw attention to CDS-Couture Doll Shops.

Well I can’t wait for the Cami doll- I really liked them when they first came out- let’s see what I come up for her!

As for the Haute Couture Challenge outfit? Well it will be available for purchase on my website later today.
The Boutique at Madeleine Rose Couture

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Let’s Make a Silk Top Hat!

Here is the tutorial, as promised, for making the silk top hats from my riding habits and the new L’habitude en Soie Grise.

Black silk top hat

I used the book ‘The Art of Making Miniature Millinery’ by Timothy Alberts as a reference. This is a great book to have along with his ‘The Art of Making Beautiful Fashion Doll Shoes’. I have used both these books as reference in my OOAK designs.

SO to start-first you need to come up with your pattern and shape of hat. Sorry I am not providing a pattern for this as all dolls have different sized heads. There are basic parts of a hat: the brim, which is the outer part that usually protects our faces from the sun, and the crown. This hat is in three patterns-a crown consisting of the top connecting to a band, and the brim. Measure your dolls head to determine how large you band will be. Add about an 1/4″ to 3/8 for extra room of the wire and fabric if you want it to fit down around her head. Make sure you do the measurement with her wig on if she wears one. Cut a rectangle out of brown paper of this measurement length plus 1/4 seam allowance by however high you want the hat to stand. Now whatever the circumference is of this band, you will cut either a circle or oval for the top of the crown (cut it slightly smaller to allow for the wire sewn around it. I used an oval shape.
The brim will have a circle (or oval) cut out in the middle and then the desired width of the brim cut around. (On the inside of the brim you will need to add a seam allowance for sewing it onto the band) I used a center back seam on mine to make my brim curve up a little bit before shaping the wire after it was completed. All these pieces should be cut out of brown paper first so you can tape it together to determine your hat shape will work. No pics of this as I had an existing pattern I used.

Hat pattern out of manilla paper

Now that we have decided our hat shape, we need to gather our supplies! What you will need:
Buckram-I get mine from Judith M Millinery supplies
You can also purchase it from Doll Artists Workshop

Millinery Wire-19 to 22 gauge works well. You can purchase this at either place above.
Tie Wire-a very thin wire used to join the millinery wire into the shape of the hat.
Needle Noose pliers
wire cutters
bias cut muslin strips 3/4″ to 1″ wide
Cotton Flannel-in white for the mulling process
Grosgrain Ribbon-1/4″ for inside brim
Silk for lining inside crown
Trims- for decorating hat
Sobo Glue
Fabrictac glue
The buckram does have a grain, cut out pattern with grain up and down.
Cut out pattern pieces once the hat pattern is complete with fitting and seam allowance. Mark center fronts and backs.

pieces cut out in buckram


Spring your wire and shape around the tip or top of the crown. connect together using the tie wire.

Buckram piece with wire ready to be sewn

Using double thread with thread conditioner, slip stitch the wire around the outside edge of the top buckram piece.

wire slip stitched around edge of hat tip

Now stab stitch the center back seam of the band. Make sure it fits smoothly around the tip with the wire.
Measure the wire around the outside of the brim, join together using tie wire. Do the same for the inside of the brim along the seam allowance. Slip stitch the outside brim wire around the brim; stab stitch the inside wire to the underside of the brim along inside line (the seam allowance will be clipped and turned upward-away from the wire to be connected to the band).

pieces with wire sewn on ready to be sewn together

Now comes the fun part where your hat will actually start taking shape. Slip stitch the band to the top or tip(as in millinery talk) matching your CF and CB.

top sewn to band

Fit the brim inside the band and stab stitch those together around the base matching your CF and CB. Your hat buckram base should look something like this:

buckram base with wire

Now we are going to bind the edges of the hat to cover the wire. Take your bias cut muslin strips and gently stretch one strip around the tip and band- cut to size. Using Sobo glue glue this strip around the tip and band to cove the wire. The bias cut should make it to kind of fold over the edges when stretched.

strips of bias cut muslin

muslin glued around wire edges

The mulling process begins-you don’t necessarily need to do this part, but I think it makes for a much smoother surface of the hat. Cut out of your flannel: one tip, one band and two brims with no seam allowances. glue these to their corresponding buckram pieces to cover the hat nice and smooth. It can get a little messy with the glue.

the mulling process finished

Out of your fabric you will cut a tip with SA and two brims with SA. The band will be cut on the bias with seam allowance all around.
Sew a running stitch around the top piece of fabric. Place it on the top of the hat and pull the stitches so it conforms around the top of the hat. Smooth it out on the top and stab stitch in place through all thicknesses.
top and brim pieces sewn on
The brim will be sewn on-the top first. Stab stitch it to the base of the band through all thicknesses-curve the edges over to the bottom of the brim. A running stitch will again make this process easier. Slip stitch it underneath to the flannel. The bottom piece of the brim will be stab stitch around the base of the band again thorugh all thicknesses and then the seam allowance will be turned under and a very small invisible or slip stitch will sew the edge to the top part around the outer edge of the brim. Look above at picture.

Now I was in a hurry to get this hat finished for the challenge so I failed to take pics of the rest. The band will be fitted around the band of the hat-press under the seam allowances on both long sides- fit it around the hat and mark the seam. Stitch and turn right side out. Very carefully fit it over the hat into place around the hat band. the lining is pretty basic, out of silk or cotton sew one tip and band together to make an inside lining- place inside hat and stab stitch in place along with the bottom of the band around the base of the hat.
Glue a piece of grosgrain ribbon around the inside edge to cover stitching and finish it off. On the outside glue your ribbon around the base and add trims to your desire- use Fabrictac glue for this. Shape the brim as desired- I turned mine up like a top hat has.
Voila! your hat is complete.

Finished hat

You may need to use small pins to keep hat on doll’s head.


Filed under sewing, tutorials


Yesterday I made a trip down to San Diego to a BJD get together and to help celebrate my friend Ellen’s B-day. It was a great time, I haven’t been to one in quite a while and it was nice to see everyone again. Ellen’s request was that we bring our Lishes.

The Lishe table

There weren’t as many dolls this time as there usually is. But there were some pretty ones none the less…

My friend Raymond's beautiful Elf

This little cutie just wanted to play

And then Ellen brought one of her Minifee Lishes to sell. Well, she said I had to have one to design for because it was hard finding clothing for them and it would be great if I could sew for this size too. As this little beauty sat in front of me saying “take me home” I contemplated a new doll size.

Minifee Lishe

I had no shoes whatsoever for this size doll and would I be able to find any? Eyes? I have no idea what size she takes at this moment and 7/8 wigs? Do I even have any except for 1? Hmmm this would be a little investing, not to mention another doll to sew for.
She definitely started growing on me. I mean I love my Regan (SD size Lishe) and a miniature one would be soooo cute. So Ellen and I decided to do a payment plan.

All the way home I thought about what I was going to make her first-I couldn’t wait to get into my stash of wigs and eyes to see what will work. She happened to be able to wear the 16mm eyes I had and I found another 7/8 wig that fit her well. I did buy a couple pairs of minifee shoes Luts had left along with a couple more wigs. I think I might get a few more pairs of eyes also-would like to try some 14mm on her.
I also had to change her eyelashes- I think she looks much more glamorous now. I’ll have to make an 18th c gown for her too.

Introducing Mika:

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