Category Archives: Fashion dolls

Steampunk Couture

Back in July we were given another and one of the last challenges on Couture Doll Shops.  This one was on the current Steampunk craze.  NOw I love Steampunk, and there are so many different genres of it, I had to decide which way to go.  First thoughts would have been using one of my larger BJD’s to model, but I had just got my new OOAK Numina from Paul Pham and really wanted to use her.

Victorian and historical clothing are one of my favorites to design- funny how I never really paid attention to it when I was younger and going to fashion schools. One always appreciates the past as they get older.  I think I am also much more into fashion in a different way than I was back then too.  I can see the influences past and historical fashion has on current designers- although some of the greats (John Galliano, Christian LaCroix, McQueen) are not showing designs at the moment, two being out of work and the last having passed away.

Anyway, I wanted to Victorian influences as the base of my design.  Stay with the true Steampunk origins.  Lots of research of Steampunk went into finding out what Steampunk really was- so many blogs and websites.  It really is quite interesting.

I decided on a a corset, jacket and short skirt with a bustled back.  I didn’t take too many pics while making it but did take some- so here’s how it went.

Making the Corset

Trying to do something a little different than just a corset so I decided to quilt the fabric like I have in some previous designs:

I used my basic corset pattern drafted a while ago but had to fit it to the Numina body.  Muslin sample:

From the fabric stash (since I am trying to use up the fabric I have on hand) here are the fabric choices for a old Victorian feel

Ivor silk brocade, tan and ivory herringbone twill with just a touch of rose stripe, and a rust colored crossdye silk taffeta.

Quilted taffeta for the corset

First I quilted the taffeta then cut out my adjusted pattern pieces diagonally on the fabric.

Because the quilted taffeta has a stabilizer for the quilting I did not need to interface the body but did interface the lining.

Corset taking shape

corset lining in ivory brocade

Finishing the corset up, the top and bottom are banded with bias cut strips and hand sewn on the back.  Antique brass eyelets for lacing are added and the corset it done!  Now onto the skirt.  My time is starting to run out………

Finished corset with banded edges

Corset back with eyelets and lacing

Assembling the Skirt

The skirt I made out of the ivory brocade, a basic mini skirt, and added a drape like the Victorian fashions, in the taffeta.    The train I drafted by hand,  cut it out in muslin to make sure I had the right shape and sewed it up in the taffeta with the brocade lining it.  This I hand sewed on to the back of the skirt.

Skirt with drape

Train ready to be hand sewn onto skirt

The last part was the bustle and this was a little tricky to figure out.  I din’t want something super large and wanted something light enough that could also be removes.  I also wanted to use lace.  The brocade was just too heavy to do a full bustle out of.   Again I drafted a shape out of paper to test it, cut it out of a nylon tulle and sewed layers of pregathered lace onto it.  Finding the right lace at the right width was a challenge,  I liked how it turned out though

the top was banded, then attached using snaps

From here my time was really short and I made the jacket without pictures.  It was lined in the ivory brocade.

A top hat was also made and I’ll add a tutorial for that later.

Love how the photo shoot turned out.

Steampunk Couture

Steampunk Couture can be viewed and purchased at Madeleine Rose Couture

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Be Mine- Valentine Customer Appreciation Promo


Yes CDS is at again, and this time with a Valentine Promotion for the customers at Couture Doll Shops. Actually anyone can buy any of the great items that are special for Valentine’s Day that are being offered at many of the shops at Couture Doll Shops
They are also doing a fun Scavenger Hunt and prizes will be awarded to the winners. Bummer that I can’t play- I love searching for stuff.
Check out more info on this at the CDS Blog
So here at Madeleine Rose Couture I created a little gown for my CDS Shop for my new favorite Divas, the Numina, but it will also fit Jamieshow bodies as well (which by the way are fabulous too, I have to get a pic of my Margeaux posted on her new bod)

Valentine gown on Numina

Be Mine features a delicious concoction of candy pink silk charmeuse, bias cut to drape and swirl, a one shoulder gown with deep wine velvet bows and red, red blossoms accenting the shoulder.

It is available in the boutique at Madeleine Rose Couture

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CDS- Haute Couture Challenge

It’s time for another Challenge!

This time it’s a Haute Couture challenge- oohhhh right up my alley.
http://couturedollshop.blogspot.com/

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’s 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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Urban Geishas

Madeleine Rose Couture

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Doll Photography-What Works for Me-part 1

Taking pictures of our dolls has become a favorite past time of many collectors. I am constantly seeing beautiful photographs on the doll boards, Flickr, Picturetrail, personal blogs and of course the doll magazines-Hautedoll and FDQ. There are a few collectors that stand out; the hauntingly beautiful images Michelle Blankenship(Visibly-Vintage) creates with Superdoll’s Sybarites (I think she should create a calendar or coffee table book of her pictures), Alex Forbes(Alex’s Attic) with many different fashion dolls, Paul Pham(Dollcis)-the creator of the Numina dolls, Grey and Asher, to name a few.

Photo by Michelle Blankenship


Couture Salon photo by Michelle Blankenship


Numina Asher

Numina Asher photo by Paul Pham


Numina Grey

Numina Grey photo by Alex Forbes

As an artist, I am always trying to perfect my photos to these artists level, and to showcase my designs in the best possible light(pun intended), as well as be creative in the process.

So here is a little tutorial of what works for me so far in taking pictures. I am no expert, and am always trying new things. Perhaps you can pick up a few tips that will work for you too.

Gathering Up Your Equipment
Camera-Well of course having a good camera and lens can make a huge difference in the clarity of your pictures-but if you don’t have access to one, there are some point and shoot that I have seen take great pics.
Tripod-A good sturdy tripod is a must to prevent camera shake. I use mine all the time.

SLIK Tripod 400D

Backdrop-There are several different ways of doing a backdrop. Some prefer light tents

Light tent from B & H Photo


I have one, but don’t use it too often. What I use is a large foam core board I scored to make a three fold. So those foam core presentation boards work well to drape fabric over for your backdrop. You want to make sure it is tall enough though to end at least 8-12″ above your subject. Use fabric that is not shiny(unless you are going for that look in your picture)and will absorb light to create a softer background. I find using satin reflects the light and creates a distraction from your subject. A velvet type fabric will absorb the light and create a softer background.
Lighting-Probably the most important part of photography is getting the right light. Lighting creates the mood for the picture, whether you want a crystal clear bright picture or something a little more artistic.
I am constantly trying to find the right lighting. I mostly use a 500 watt tungsten light with dome that has different diffusers on it to create different moods. A good at home set up could be the metal clamp on lights you can purchase inexpensively at a home improvement store.

Dome lights and back drop


On the above setup- you want to have your lights set a little more in front to light your subject properly. I don’t have anything to attach mine to but wanted to give you the idea.
Make sure you use a true white light-your basic soft white lights you use at home will create a yellow cast to your pictures. Two of those clamp on lights should do the trick- one on either side aimed at your subject. Ott lights are another option that work well for a true light.
Know Your Camera-Read the manual!!! You need to know the settings on your camera and what they do to take great pictures. Of course we can all just use the auto setting-but then the flash may pop up and wash out the pic-no, the best photographers rarely use the flash on the camera. If anything, they will use a speed light or external flash. I like to use the settings for the light I am using and no flash.

I am finding a P(program AE) or AV(Aperture priority AE ) setting is good to start with. The three things you may want to know about on your camera is aperture(F-stop, how open the lens is to let light in)ISO(What ISO denotes is how sensitive the image sensor is to the amount of light present) and shutter speed(the amount of time the shutter is open). Another is your white balance(whether you’ll get the right color or a (yellow or blue) color cast). You can always correct WB in a photo editing program. Finding the right settings for your light source and what you want is a lot of trial and error I find as well. Especially if you are just beginning. Like I said, I am no expert- just passing along the info I’ve discovered so far that works for me.

So gather up your equipment-get to know your camera- and come back for part 2!

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A New Challenge

Now that the CDDC is over, things got a little back to normal. Just a little. I was busy designing and sewing 1920’s style dresses of my daughter’s elementary school play- the Velveteen Rabbit. They turned out cute- I had a lot of fun doing the research.

Aunt Rosemary's dress


My daughter did great in her part as head narrator, and no, she didn’t get to wear one of the dresses, but I had to make vests for her and her 2 co-narrators. (my daughter is the tallest one)

Narrators and Velveteen Rabbit


So now what? Well the CDDC creators have a project- the CDS- Couture Doll Shops- “Welcome to a new concept in couture doll merchandise and services. Couture Doll Shop features high fashion designers as well as other special doll services – all through individual merchants. Here you will find fabulous one of a kind outfits as well as many other items and services in this one convenient location.”

I will have a shop there with Madeleine Rose Couture. I have been busy revamping my website, adding Paypal buttons for shopping ease and streamlined the navigation. I love the new look and feel of it.

So CDS has proposed a challenge to the merchants;A Red Carpet challenge. It won’t be judged (darn! just kidding) but I love a good challenge. I can’t give all the details at the moment(like when all this will take place) but I can share the challenge at the moment. You will all just have to check back with me and the CDS blog to find out more.

The rules:

1. The Challenge
Besides Fashion Week, one of the most important fashion events is a Red Carpet event. Yes, no matter which award is being presented, all eyes are really on the fashions worn at these events! Now is your chance to have many eyes from the doll world on YOUR fashion!! Never underestimate the power of the internet, dahlings! Pull out your best silk, satin, or whatever you think “makes” it on the Red Carpet! You are going to be offering up a NEW item, and you are not going to have a long time to make this item. But you will have as much time as the CDDC designers had for those challenges; it can be done – so no excuses, my pretties!!

2. The Colors
The hot color we’ve seen on the Red Carpet this year, to date, has been purple. And purple is the MAIN theme color for this event. Now don’t go turning up your noses, divas, because there are lots of colors in the purple family – from burgundy to lavender – so there is bound to be one you can adapt to a vision I know is brewing in your delightful design mind! AND, to aid you while still enabling me to line up this collection by color, I’m also going to allow you the use of luscious creams and/or blacks to be used as an auxiliary color. Auxiliary means either/or cream or black; and that either color cannot overpower the base color! Any questions, please email me, because I do NOT want anyone disqualified. Remember, this is for fun and to help us open our shops with a bang!

3. Styling the outfit
ALSO, for this event your model will be untraditionally traditional. I already know each of you has an untraditional style, but I would like you to create the traditional long gown – your models are NOT going to a cocktail party. Let your presentation represent YOU……..but just in a loooooooooooooong version!

There is to be NO JUDGING of your outfit of any kind!! So no inside views, AND if you are an OOAK artist, you may present your item as such – non-removable fashion is the norm in the OOAK venue. If you just sell furniture, trot out a piece; and the same thing goes for shoes, wigs or jewelry. From toddler to high fashion and anything in between – every effort will be made to put YOU, our shop owner, in the spotlight on this particular runway!!

4. What You May Submit
Each of you will see your doll actually “come down the runway” thanks to the magic of our photography specialist; Larraine. She will truly work her magic to put these designs in just the right setting! That is why we have specific guidelines, and pictures that do not meet the criteria will be returned to you, and no one really wants that to happen – so please listen up!!!

Pose your doll or your item to sell it! Use props you feel appropriate ON the doll. I say ON because
props must be shown on the doll or item itself – it cannot be sitting off to the side for us to
properly spotlight it.

You must photograph your doll or item in front of a prop-less, plain (one neutral color)
background!

So am I up for it? You Bet!!

Stay tuned for more……..

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CDDC- Challenge 8 Around the world in one Fashion!

The final challenge:

Challenge Eight: December 13, 2009

Due: January 3, 2010

Around the world in one Fashion! – Like Susie by R&D Fashion dolls, your model is a world traveler. On her arrival at her destination, it appears that her luggage went to Hoboken instead of with her. Now she must use what she is wearing to make a transition from day to night, but she needs that transition to reflect the city she is visiting. Please choose your city and don’t forget to tell us in your description what city it is. You should also give the judges a good description of how your style fits your city. As this is the last challenge this is your time to really show us YOUR style.

Guest Judge: Rudi Teruel

December 15-The Beginning
After the last challenge and what had happened, I even wonder if I should finish since I have no chance of winning or even getting second place now. But since it is the last challenge, I will persevere and finish the contest. I’m not a quitter no matter what.

So here we are. This is going to be a hard challenge. I really have to nail this one. To win this last challenge would be great, I would be the only designer to have won three challenges. And then there is the people’s choice award too- which I totally forgot about. So here is a new goal and motivation- win the final challenge.

So-back to the challenge. Day to Night. Most of the time the fashion mags suggest changing shoes, adding jewelry, changing a top. Well, we are limited on that. No changing shoes or clothes. She needs to use what she has on but she can leave pieces off in her hotel room. Thank goodness for that.
So I figure this needs to have a street vibe, layered type of outfit. I guess I need to pick my city of destination first. I looked at some books on street style in different cities, along with on the web. I’m finding some common trends throughout-leggings or skinny pants/jeans, tunics, trenches or jackets, big bags (thank goodness for that, she can keep some extra jewelry and an evening bag in it) and scarves. The one city which has it’s own vibe is Tokyo- certain looks- Shibuya, hime-kei, harajuku and gothic-lolita. Definite costume looks.

Shibuya Fashion



Hime-kei (princess style, casual princess fashion)

Hime-kei (princess style, casual princess fashion)



Gothic-Lolita

Gothic-Lolita

well you get the idea. I was thinking maybe Tokyo, but some of the designers had mentioned harajuku on the board before this challenge was announced. So I think there may be a few already doing Tokyo.

December 17- Still no City
The other city that interests me is Paris. Or London. In London anything goes from what I have seen. Paris- the heart of the fashion world- she would be able to incorporate runway. London street wear is, well, gotta do more research on that one.

Because I want to do a street style vibe- I need a model who can carry it off. I looked at the guest judge’s website to get an idea of his style. Oh I shouldn’t have done that. I fell in love with one of the RanDAngels. The Naked Truth collection in brown eyes. She is so cute- looks like a miniature of my beloved BJD’s. She’s got that youthful look I’m looking for and she’s a good price.

Well I ordered her and got her within a week. Not sure if I like her jointing, the resin-polyresin-seems like it will break easily. She’s still really cute though. I changed her eye position and added a brown banged wig. I’m going to look for another wig with bangs and curls for the night look. I also need to take pictures to see how she photographs and stands.

My new Katia

Katia stands well

Isn't she cute!

I think she will work out well. If not, then I’ll probably go with Bebe(Santa Baby Sybarite) again.

December 21-Fabrics
I pulled out my fabrics tonight. I plan on using a floral silk chiffon, black lace by Vivian Tam and either a light peachy pink or light lime green silk/cotton sateen. They all look really great together-I love mixing & matching different prints and textures together. When I think about it, this challenge is really up my alley because of my collections, and retail merchandising background. Takes me back to my visual display roots. I’m working on my design and have an idea of what I want to do.

Fabric and accessory selection for Challenge 8

Jan 1, 2010-Finally Getting Something Done
Worked on the jacket today-It’s starting to come out pretty cute I think. I got the dress done in the floral the other day, it turned out really cute but the lace one I had planned didn’t turn out at all. What I want to do is a lace dress that can be worn underneath the floral- with it’s lace peeking out, for day and for evening reverse them so the lace is layering over the floral. So I either need to change it a bit and forget the lace or come up with a new dress. I could probably do a tee over the floral dress with a belt and leggings, make it look like a skirt. We’ll see. I’m finishing the trench first.

Jan 4-Nothing Like The Last Minute
Of course I was down to the last minutes again. This time I cut it closer than I ever had. I got the trench finished-turned out great. I lined it from a vintage kimono panel. Decided on a tee, and embellished it with a graphic print and Swarovski crystals. Made a metallic gold faux leather satchel, and finished maryjane style platforms. The whole look put together was very cute-young, modern with a street vibe layering look. Katia, my new model was great. The dress was nice too- but I forgot to add necklaces to the night look so I think it looked a little plain. Needed that extra oomph. But I realized that after I downloaded the pics and I needed to get them sent off. That is what you face when you procrastinate! I should have known better than to wait until the last minute. I ended up settling on Paris and here is a little story that went along with it:
Katia isn’t new to having her luggage lost en route. So she knows when traveling to make sure she has pieces on that will take her from day to night. She starts with the street wear look of layering, an embellished graphic tee over her dress to make it more casual for day wear. Underneath she wears black leggings, and over it all a stylish, modernized trench from the Spring 2010 collections. Katia accessorizes with mary jane stylized platforms and floral printed mesh scarf held closed by her grandmother’s cameo brooch. She also travels with her beloved metallic gold leather satchel that hold a few extras for her transformation to night.
Once in Paris, she checks into her hotel to change for the party that night in honor of the new Spring Couture collections being shown this week. Katia quickly fixes her hair into a little more wild do. She switches her leggings to mesh anklets, and removes her tee, and scarf. Her dress, that was underneath the tee, is of silk floral chiffon, bias cut with a draped neckline and spaghetti straps. It has a cute ruffled hemline which from underneath peeks out black lace. Katia dons her trench once again, this time adding her cameo and a few other brooches to dress up for nighttime. Unfortunately, she left in such a hurry, she forgot her necklaces! Oh no, she hopes the brooches are enough for the Paris crowd.

I had to come up with something about the dress being plain! Needless to say, I got my pictures done and sent in with 10 minutes to spare to deadline. Now we wait.

Challenge 8

Dress alone

Trench closed and belted

The pics are up first thing. Larraine has done such a super job in having this whole competition on time and organized. I would definitely do another with her because of her professionalism. It’s really been a fun experience.
So there are great entries. Everyone put great effort out there and it’s tough. #5 is amazing and really hits the mark on the day to night dressing. I really think that is the one that will win. #4 is really good too. I feel mine is so plain now, not enough creativeness, but we’ll see. I really hate waiting sometimes.

Jan 10-Drum Roll Please
The scores are up this afternoon. Dal Lowenbein-entry #5-won Challenge 8! Her second challenge in a row. I knew she would. Great Job Dal!
And to my complete surprise I came in second! Who would’ve known? With the other great entries I really didn’t think I would score what I did, but I’m not complaining. Here are the judges scores and comments on my last entry:

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

I absolutely adore your work on this challenge! Your coat and dress are just beautiful! You have done a wonderful job on the transition but I don’t feel that you have reflected your destination city as clearly as others have.

Diana & Janet: Theme: 4, Originality: 3.5,
Creativity: 4, Construction: 4

Diana:
Bravo on the trench coat and also the dress! I thought these two pieces were especially nice. Although the look did change, the garment pieces themselves didn’t actually change, and it would have been more imaginative if they had. I also thought the grandmother’s brooch was an excellent touch.

Janet:
All the pieces were well made and looked lovely. I was looking for a greater change and I would have made the lace bottom a slip for daytime, and allow it to hang longer in the evening, for a glamourous look.

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

Perfect combination of pieces to apply the transformation from day to evening. Great description for a gorgeous outfit! The satin trench is a pretty shade that tones well with the floral chiffon. Love the black lace petticoat frill, only obvious when the tights are removed.

Rudi Teruel: Theme: 5, Originality: 5, Creativity: 5
Construction: 5

This one works for me as well, the design reflects the doll of choice – youthfulness, fun, frilly… and still carries the air of sophistication – just as most Parisians do…. also refreshing to see something young and very modern done creatively.

Total Score:75

Rudi hit it on the mark. That was exactly what I was going for in my look, and the reason I choose his doll to model it. I had the design in my head before I even knew who was going to model it and his RnD Angels were the perfect models. I as right about her resin though- she did end up getting a few chips in the process, and one at her eye when I went to fix her eyelash. Bummer. But, she was really fun to design for and am hoping to do more for her. She’s just like my BJD’S.

So, the final results of the Couture Doll Design Challenge are:

Winner: Emilia Nieminen

Second Place: Dal Lowenbein

And the People’s Choice Winner: Lori Lyon
I won the people’s choice!! Yipeee!(although completely flabbergasted)

This has been such an experience, and yes, I would do it again. It pushed me to do things I may not have normally and tested my designing and endurance. Sometimes you wonder if you are good enough or not and this definitely did that. With the time limits and themes, you just had to ‘Make it Work’. I know I grew as a designer with this experience and I thank each and every one of you for your support.
Now it is back to real life, although I have some great ideas for collections and OOAK’s, so please continue to visit my blog to keep updated on what’s new!

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