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Happy Holidays from Madeleine Rose Couture

Les Scintillance de Rouge

A gown designed for the Couture Doll Shops Holiday Happening. I had found this red tulle with swirled ribbons and sequins and though it was pretty but wasn’t sure what to do with it.  So when the holiday happening came up, I thought this would be perfect.  I just happened to have some red silk taffeta that matched perfectly.  I was going to use it for another gown I had planned(but there wasn’t enough fabric).  I love how this turned out- it was a spur of the moment project and most of the time these turn out great.  I even experimented with glittering the mules.

I think I am going to have to try this technique with some more shoes.  I love the result!

Les Scintillance de Rouge (Glittering in Red) resides now in a private collection.

Ah, I was hoping to have it on display here at home for the holidays- but now it’s on to the next project!  And wait till you see what I have in store……..

Till Next Time,

Have a Great Holiday Season!

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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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Romance is in the Air- Part 2

So I finally am able to post the pics now, and give you a little insight to my thought process on this Romance Challenge from the Couture Doll Shops.  The entries were published in the latest FDQ magazine-Romance edition- as well as a link from Couture Doll Shops to a voting page.  Tomorrow we will find out who won the challenge by popular vote.  So wish me luck!!

When we were given the instructions for this latest challenge, I knew I wanted to use my BJD’s rather than the 16″ fashion dolls.  I needed to represent my Angel Rose shop (located in Couture Court in the Couture Doll Shops).  I have done so many challenges using the fashion dolls that my BJD’s were getting neglected.  I also knew I wanted to do something with historical inspiration, because I think the historical dress is so romantic.

First was going through my books on historical detail and fashion, and finding my fabric.  I had quite a bit of off white silk dupioni that I really needed to start using and white/ivory is very romantic and bridal.  But I didn’t want to do a bridal look per-say.  Also, white and ivory seemed very in-fashion at the moment.  I also knew I wanted to do a corset and a full skirt. 

To top it off, a bonnet made of buckram and millinery wire, covered in the matching silk with a pleated under lining and flowers. (I didn’t get a chance to take many pictures while completing this ensemble-hubby was using my camera quite a bit for his stuff) I was actually sewing this hat during one of my daughters volleyball games hoping to get it finished in time.  I’m always completing at the last minute.

bonnet partly completed

under brim pleating

I did get it completed on time and the pics taken in time for the magazine.

Romance challenge entry White Rose

Along with the photos we needed to submit a paragraph explaining what our Romance depicted.  Here’s my little romance story:

A tortured romantic soul-she wanders aimlessly, not knowing when the eras or time begins or ends, as her fashion shows in a mixture of historical styles.

A ghostlike figure forever searching for the one true love she lost….

each picture had a caption to it

A lone figure wanders aimlessly
She pauses…Does she see her one lost love?
She looks longingly at the apparition of the one she lost
A ghostly figure clad in white says goodbye…

At least it was finished for now.  I needed to move on to another challenge that was presented to us on Couture Doll Shops for another magazine and it was a a big challenge.  So of course that will be a post in the fall.  Wish I could give some sneek peeks because I think it turned out great and there’s a bonus tutorial coming with it but you all will just have to wait…..

When that challenge was finished I was able to move on to finish the last component of this one- a jacket.  Taking inspiration from the Regency era, a ruffled front, pouf sleeve jacket emerged  to be worn over the corset.  Also, new pictures needed to be taken since the other ones were done in haste.

I love how this photo shoot turned out

White Rose will be available on my website Angel Rose

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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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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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CDDC- Challenge #6- Inspired by Audrey

Challenge Six: November 15, 2009

Due: November 29, 2009

Inspired by Audrey – This week’s guest judge takes his inspirations for his incredible collections from many areas. This week you must take on a muse that has inspired Randall Craig himself. Your challenge this week is to create a design that is Inspired by Audrey(Hepburn). This should not be a remade or copied Audrey outfit, but something that you have designed that would suit Audrey’s style and be something Audrey would have loved to wear.

Guest Judge: Randall Craig


November 18th-Studying for the Challenge

I love Audrey Hepburn. When you think of her what comes to mind? Elegance, classicism, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but most of all Style. Along with her good friend Hubert de Givenchy, the two of them created a look that has survived decades.

the famous Breakfast at Tiffany's gown

I went to the library yesterday and picked up some fashion books and one of Audrey’s personal life. I have been looking through them and think I have a concept of what to do. I also had looked at runway shows of recent- especially Chanel’s Spring 2009 Couture all white show.

Chanel Spring 2009 Couture

Chanel Spring 2009 Couture

Close up. Notice the funnel style neckline

And of course surfed the net for info on Audrey. She was classic in her dress- her style emanated from within her, but quality was of most important. So I must use good fabrics and clean lines and make sure it is immaculately well made. For this challenge I will go with my muse of Antoinette again. She is perfect for this challenge with her small bustline and slim figure. My Ellowyne, Madly Sadly Plaid might be good too because of her short pixie haircut, and she is small busted as well, but I think she might be too young, not sophisticated enough for my design. The model is everything.

November 21-Getting into Audrey Mode
I watched a couple of movies, How to Steal a Million,(which I had never seen before, quite enjoyable), Charade(always love Cary Grant), Funny Face (ah the clothes) and of course the all time favorite Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I watched that this morning. I think watching these just reinforces my decision. I’m going the sixties route-anything retro is always in style nowadays.
I made some sketches and narrowed it down to two. I decided to do a coat over a dress, one is a little more stylized than the other.
first sketch

first sketch for Audrey challenge

November 23-Making the Toiles
I made a muslin of the dress-didn’t like it at all- too dowdy. Even out of the fabric it is going to lack, and besides, I don’t think Audrey would do a V-neckline no matter how small it was.

first muslin toile-dowdy huh?

Back to the drawing board. I will go with one of my other sketches now.

Audrey Challenge sketch

Audrey Challenge sketch 2

One is more stylized, probably more in tune with today, the other I think is more Audrey’s style-especially more retro feeling. I’ll make up a toile of the dresses and take it from there. I went shopping yesterday and picked up a beautiful ivory stretch crepe, because the herringbone wool I picked up at Joann’s, as beautiful as it was, I think it will be too heavy for doll scale. That is always a challenge.

New toiles of the dresses:

peg skirt toile

This one I think ended up too pegged. I love the top, it fits well and I think it will work. The skirt is cute but just not for this challenge.

This one is perfect

I took out some of the gathers and widened the skirt a bit at the bottom. I think this is what I am looking for. Clean, simple, nice fit and add a black ribbon waistband with a bow-Voila!! (of course it will be made out of the real fabric.

November 29-Finishing Up
I spent all day finishing this challenge. I wish I had the time to finish earlier instead of rushing at the last minute. But I got it done. Sewed the jacket up in one day-it was a challenge to draft the pattern for it, raglan sleeves are not easy to do the proper way and in doll size.

sloper patterns for drafting

But I have to say, I think the whole look is classic & very Audrey. I don’t know what kind of points I’ll score since it isn’t very original just classic. It’s hard when we have these vintage challenges to do- everything seems like it has been done. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Inspired by Audrey challenge #6

November 30-Challenge Pics are Up
I had finished at the last minute again and therefore my pic is one of the last ones on the page. I really want to get this next challenge done early so my pics will end up one of the first on the page.

There are some really nice entries again. I think #2 is going to win. I’m not sure who did it, but I do know which one is Emilia’s and Louos’s(since he gave a hint on the board, I can tell his style).
Anyway, #2 is very cute and inventive. Mine is so simple and classic- but then that is how Audrey was- so maybe I’ll still get decent scores to keep me in place. At least my construction is perfect. Now it’s just waiting on the scores and onto the next challenge.

December 6-Challenge Scores are up!
On weekend mornings I have a routine- make my coffee, and read my emails. Boy was I surprised when I saw the email from Larraine stating that I won challenge #6. I won? Totally unexpected. I thought for sure #2, which ended up to be Dal’s was going to win for sure. I thought it was so cute, and the cape was beautiful! Kathi’s was really nice too and classic Audrey, and Emilia’s was so creative.
I am very happy I won, I put alot of effort into this challenge and it paid off. I am still second overall with only one point behind Emilia now.

Here’s what the judge’s had to say:

Shane:Theme: 5, Originality: 4.5, Creativity: 4,
Construction: 5
This fashion meets the theme 100%. I can absolutely picture Audrey in this. It’s beautifully done.

Diana and Janet: Theme: 5, Originality: 5,
Creativity: 5, Construction: 5

Diana:
So perfect. The monochromatic effect leads the eye to the lines of the garment. Great back yoke seam.

Janet:
It’s beautiful. I like the lines in the coat the unique raglan sleeve.

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

Stunning tailored suit! A perfect solution to Audrey’s classic elegance. This design is timeless in its sophistication and perfectly contrived.

Randall Craig: Theme: 5, Originality: 5, Creativity: 5
Construction: 5

Absolutely dead-on and FABULOUS! It’s simple but not the least bit boring. The seam lines add the perfect amount of interest to a primarily off-white garment. The hints of black balance it out perfectly. The quality is stunning and professional. I can’t say enough … I love it!

Total points 78, first in challenge, second in overall competition.

I think Randall did a great job of judging and comments. A question was asked on the board(yahoo) about what to take on judges comments. As Dal said on the board, ‘Judging is subjective just as we are with fabric and design choices and even with the entries we like here in this challenge.’ And she is so right. I also think that it helps to know who your judge’s are-what their design aesthetic is, to determine what their taste is. But overall, I think you have to be true to yourself. And follow Tim Gunn when he says to the designers on PR, Edit!!

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CDDC Challenge 5-On the Red Carpet

Challenge Five: November 1, 2009

Due: November 15, 2009

On the Red CarpetThis week’s guest judge is known for his fabulous gowns. So it seems only fitting that this challenge be all about, On the Red Carpet. Design a fabulous gown for your fabulous model as she walks down the red carpet with the stars.

Guest Judge: Jim Faraone

November 2, 2009
I haven’t even finished challenge four yet and I’m starting to think about challenge 5. Ooh, red carpet. Gowns. My specialty!! I loooove gowns. The glamour, the couture, oh this is going to be fun. Now the question is- what kind of gown?

November 3-Choosing Fabric
I started doing some research on red carpet fashion, and I notice most of the actresses wore slimmer gowns instead of a ballgown. There were a few ballgowns like Dior and vintage Haute Couture designers but for the most part they were slimmer or flowy. Probably more practical. Can you imagine sitting for 3 hours in a huge skirt? Although I love doing ballgowns, I immediately think of this taupe/aqua shot silk taffeta and matching chiffon that I have been wanting to do a dress of. Someone mentioned in the boards about doing their dream gown.

Hmmm. That taupe lace I have that I have been keeping to make such a gown. I pulled it out, and guess what? It matches the taupe silk taffeta and chiffon. The chiffon appears a little more rust but because it is irridescent. It’s actually really beautiful, very different and an odd color. If I can make all of this work, I think it will be a gorgeous gown.

Challenge 5 fabric

Challenge 5 fabric choices

November 4- Choosing the Model

Which doll to use? Sybarites seem so runway and red carpet. I can pose them in such a stance to really show of a gown. And their figure! They really show off. Tonner is nice too. I think about my best girl, Margeaux. Gosh she photographs well, but I hold the fabric up to her and she just doesn’t look good in it. And there isn’t much Margeaux doesn’t look good in.
Margeaux in Asian Beauty
I think maybe Annalise. She can wear this color-she did a great job in the Christian LaCroix gown I did out of the same taffeta.
Annalise in Fleur de Lis
Wish I could use that gown for this challenge. I don’t have it anymore, but gosh did it turn out gorgeous. Now Bebe also modeled that gown and looks pretty good in the color.
Bebe in Fleur de Lis OOAK gown

We’ll draft the pattern for a Syb and it should fit a Tonner as well if I decide to use them. Antoinette might be good too, but I think I want someone a little more dramatic (and with a bustline).

November 6-Designing the Gown
I do more research of the runway and red carpet gowns. Since I decided to use the lace, I need to figure out how I want to use it. It’s actually a vest-a sample piece I bought from where I used to work. It’s paneled with the scallop so I am limited in what I can do with it. I originally was going to do a mermaid type skirt with the scallop on the bottom, so I think I will still go with that idea. I just need to figure out the bodice.

I started drafting out the pattern for the skirt- measuring each scallop and piecing it together so it looks right. A challenge since each panel is pretty much the same length and I want this skirt to train a little. I’m going to have to piece this together in the bodice or back and depending on the bodice I choose, I may have to have a longer bodice of the taffeta or chiffon. I know I want some kind of shirring of the fabric across the bodice, I did play with the idea of an all lace, one sleeved gown as well. I think it looks too common, I need to do something a little different.

Challenge5 skirt

Skirt so far

Challenge5 back panel

Back panel piece in

November 7- Changing my Mind
Such a busy day today. I’m up at 6:30 to get ready to get Maddie to her Campfire garage sale, then to Mizuno volleyball practice then to her parks and rec volleyball game. At least by 2pm we’ll be done.

I’m a thinker, visionary-I am always playing designs in my head, and can’t always get them on paper. So all this time while I am hauling her around I think of bodice designs. When I think of one- then I think of another. When we finally got home I sketched a bunch of different bodice options. Yes I think I know what I am going to do.
While we were at Mizuno I went into the CDDC website from my Blackberry just to see if maybe the scores were posted. Yes they were already up! I thought maybe it was still from last week when I saw Emilia had won again. Drats! Well congrats to her, but I missed it by 1 point!! Am I getting competitive or what? No, actually I am happy for her. I picked out her design and knew immediately I had tough competition. I had such difficulty with that challenge that it doesn’t surprise me. I am surprised the the judges got my design at all.
When I got home I looked over all the scores and judges comments. Then I start to think about what makes one better than another on the criteria of Originality and Creativity? I decide to write to Larraine and see if she can shed a little light on the difference for me. Maybe it can help me and the other designers understand what the judges are looking for.

November 9- Judge’s Criteria
Larraine wrote back to me and said that she would post on the board what she sent to the judges for their judging of Originality and Creativity. Boy was the board active today. Since I found out what the judge’s look for, I change my idea yet again. Red carpet is hard to do an original of because everything has pretty much been done. And when you think of red carpet you think best dressed not worst. I always think Oscars or Emmys, but I guess one could do short, a tuxedo, or something else as long as it’s glamorous? I’m still staying with long and elegant. That is my style and aesthetic. I need to stay true to myself. It’s the little things that will make it different (I hope).

I got the front panel onto the lace for the skirt. I’m happy that it is really blending together well and you really can’t tell it is pieced.

Challenge5 beginning

Close up of front panel pieced in

challenge5 sample

This could be the start of an interesting design?


Please ignore my messy work area. Creative process in the works.

Funny, how as you start to put something together, how other things develop. An all lace halter gown could be interesting. But I think I am still going to stay with what I have planned. I was going to do a one shoulder but after getting that judge’s criteria- I decided it’s too common. Now sleeves aren’t done very often. Everything red carpet is strapless, or like this year, a lot of one shoulder. Hmmmmm….sleeves…

Sleeve ideas

November 13-Finally Underway
The sleeves just weren’t turning out how I imagined. I didn’t go this back and forth on the last challenge. Never have I questioned myself so much on designing as I have while doing this competition. I can see what the contestants go through on Project Runway. When you are being judged on your designs, a whole lot of other elements start to play.

I did a shirred bodice first and wasn’t sure about it. Something just wasn’t right. I don’t know if it’s because I am seeing them all over the place-especially on Tonner dolls. And then I started having problems with the front panel I attached- the silver thread started coming loose and fraying from the lace. So I ended up changing the design again. I now have a taffeta corset underbodice in which I will applique the lace flowers onto and morph them into the lace skirt.

Design sketch

Corset in progress

I need to make this one work because I don’t have the time to change my mind again. I still need to work on the shoes and make a clutch since all the actresses pretty much carry one on the red carpet. I can’t worry anymore about whether I can win or not. I’m creating something beautiful and we’ll just have to take it from there.

November 14-Final Touches
Well, the corset bodice ended up ditched too. For two reasons. One is the chiffon(which is such a @!tch to work with) would not lay right on the hips. It wrinkled too much since it was cut on the bias. Second was the sleeves were too common. Saw them everywhere-on Tonner designs, on the runway, just not original enough. And after reading the criteria again for Originality and Creativity, I decided to do one of my other designs.

Final design decision

Now I am on the final touches. And this is what is so time consuming. I’m making flowers out of organza ribbon and some of the taffeta to sew here and there on the gown. I need to bead some sections- I’m not beading all of it- don’t have the time.

November 17-Pictures Sent In Just In Time
I got my pictures sent in just in time Sunday night. I spent most of the day finishing up- and not without effort. I woke up that morning with a terrible cold- my nose was running, sneezing-ugh I was miserable- and I had a work luncheon to go to. Needless to say I persevered and made it through the day, got my gown finished and sent in.

On the Red Carpet entry

The pictures are up of everyone’s designs. There is some competition again. There’s a red one that is really pretty. I think it is Louos’s. I can tell which one is Emilia’s and Kathi’s too. My husband says the only thing about mine is the color- maybe the red background I used wasn’t the best thing- white might have shown off the color better. It’s so much prettier in person. The color just didn’t photograph that well and I should have kept that in mind more when I started. I just so wanted to use this lace. Well I think I will photograph my fabric choices first form now on- and on different backgrounds to see which will photograph the best. I think that is important in this competition as well.

November 21-The Judge’s Scores
Louos’s won. I knew it would. It is a really pretty gown. Emilia beat me again-this time by.5 which now makes us 2 points apart. Here’s what the judges had to say:

Shane: Theme: 3, Originality: 4, Creativity: 5,
Construction: 5

This fashion has a tremendous amount of potential but it also has several issues that keep it from getting the top score in theme. I absolutely love the colors and the fabrics that you have chosen! The manipulation of the bodice fabric is gorgeous. As far as issues go, I don’t understand why you only chose to bead certain areas. I think this fashion calls for beading throughout the skirt or no beading at all. The floral and bow adornment at the bodice is distracting and only takes away from your beautiful workmanship on the bodice. Finally the sheer lining and lace just would not be acceptable on the red carpet unless your doll is purposefully looking to create a scandal.

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

Diana:
The muted colors are highly effective and give an additional depth to the workmanship of the bodice.

Janet:
You took a simple design and did something interesting with it. Bravo!

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

Gorgeous design in wonderful hues. A perfect cut and fit for this curvaceous model. Stunning cohesive overall vision. My only question would be, is the velvet bow a tad too big for the delicacy of the gown?

Jim Faraone: Theme: 5, Originality: 4, Creativity: 4
Construction: 4

Simple yet elegant

Total Score:71.5

As far as the judges comments, I can see now what they see. I wish I could have beaded the whole gown- it was my intention but time ran out, and I was so sick that day of the final to get pics in I just couldn’t get it all done. Looking in the pics I see about the bow. It’s funny how pictures will show things you don’t see in person. When looking at it in person, the bow doesn’t look too big. Or maybe I just like it larger. Who knows- it’s all personal taste.

This keeps me in second place overall so far. Well, there are still three more challenges left. I’ve learned alot so far, I guess if everything was always perfect, I wouldn’t be learning.

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