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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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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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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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CDS-The Other Red Carpet Challenge

You can read what the challenge is here

February 22, 2010 The Making of An OOAK Gown
Red Carpet again. Well I guess with the Oscars right around the corner it seems fitting. And Purple. Hmmmm. Guess I’ll have to pull out my purple stash that I don’t even know if I have. Purple is not a color I collect too often. But I do believe I have some; an orchid color silk velvet and vintage pale lavender beaded silk; a deep lavender silk charmeuse I could use with a black lace. I immediately think of Dior’s Spring 2010 RTW collection with the lingerie inspirations.

Dior Spring 2010 RTW

Dior Couture Fall 2009

February 23, 2009 On with the Design!
I start fitting a bodice to a Syb but there is Psyche (Numina Grey) looking at me-“When are you going to do my gown? You know the crossdye orange and ombre mesh?” Yes I know. I’m dying to use this fabric but it is not purple. But, the fabric shop did have it in a purple tone, didn’t they? If I remember correctly. I’m going to have to check that out.

February 24, 2010 Idea Changes
I ran down to the fabric shop after work today and picked up the purple ombre mesh. It has a lot more brown in it than I remembered but I still think it will be pretty. Now to find a coordinating fabric for the bodice.
While I was going through my fabric bolts I ended up finding (buried under some other taffetas) a bright purple crossdye that blends in great with the mesh. I forgot I had this one! Now I will be able to do sister gowns: one in purple and a similar style in the oranges.

Ombre mesh and silk taffeta

February 28, 2010 Fitting the Bodice

I started fitting a bodice to Psyche. For this I am going to use an existing corset pattern I drafted a few years ago on the Tyler bustform.
I sewed up the corset in muslin and tried it on Psyche. It’s a little big in the chest but the waist length is good. I’m going to pin in where it is big and mark it it on the muslin. I also want to change the front seamline a bit, so I am going to mark that as well.

Muslin toile on Psyche, adjustments marked.

Back view. You can see it's a little large


Now I am going to cut along my marks, and take apart the corset where there are seams along the marks as well as cut away the seam allowances.

When I cut a pattern, I always make a couple copies (I have a 4-in-1 copier at home, makes it very convenient for pattern making).
Placing the cut muslin pieces on top of their corresponding paper patterns, you’ll see where to draw new lines.

muslin pieces on top of their paper pieces


From here I true up the seams and and seam allowance. I’m also changing the bottom line from a V to a curved drop waist.

truing up with a french curve


seam allowance added and bottom adjusted


matching the seams and notching

March 2, 2010-Going Straight to the Fabric
From here I would usually make another toile to check fit on the revised pattern, but I have enough fabric to do another if it doesn’t work. Besides,(and I know this sounds a little conceited) but I am pretty confident in my pattern making skills that the fit will be pretty near perfect.
So here it goes…. I’m underlining the pieces in a stiff cotton underlining instead of the usual woven fusible I use.

underlining basted on the taffeta

Here the seams are stitched and pressed open; topstitching is going to be applied for decorative purposes and to hold the boning. I’m using a Sulky rayon embroidery thread and an edge stitch foot to get a precise top stitch. I set the needle position to 1/8″ away from the seam and the edge stitch foot fits neatly into the seam.

edge stitch foot and topstitching

corset with topstitching


See how great the topstitching is? From here, boning will be inserted after the bra cups are sewn in.

Bra sewn in-boning inserted and checking fit. I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turning out. Psyche is too- she can’t wait to strut her stuff on the runway.

checking the fit before lining is sewn in.

March 5, 2010-Starting the Skirt
Tonight I sewed in the lining. I’m dying to get the skirt started though. Drafting out a skirt on tissue, I’ll use this as a guide and stabilizer to sew the ruffles on.

corset almost finished- lining sewn in


tissue skirt pattern with guide lines drawn

I want this skirt to be flowing- not stiff so I found some mauve tulle that will work well for the underskirt the ruffles are sewn to. Plus I’ll be able to see the guide lines rather than having to draw them onto taffeta.

lines drawn for ruffles and tulle base pinned on top


First row of ruffles- I’m using a 5:1 ratio for the ruffles and am starting at the bottom. I managed to get two rows sewn on tonight.

first two rows of ruffles sewn onto tulle underskirt

March 7, 2010-Skirt is Finished
I finished sewing all the ruffles this weekend. Seven rows of tulle confection. I have already attached it to the corset and decided to have the corset lace up the back. It has turned out gorgeous and Psyche is thrilled. Now it’s onto the accessories.

ruffles getting sewn on- skirt is pinned to the corset at this time

March 11, 2010 Finished!
The accessories I decided to make were a silver faux leather clutch and matching crystal heeled sandals-in which shoe making needs to be a another tutorial. So here is the final gown-Passion. Psyche looks so great.
Close up of Passion
Full gown
Crystal heeled shoes

This will be on the CDS (Couture Doll Shop) blog fashion show and for sale on my website Madeleine Rose Couture

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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-Are you WoMEN MAD?

Well here we are at challenge seven, just this one and one more to go.

Challenge Seven: November 29, 2009

Due: December 12, 2009

Mad WoMEN – Our guest judge this week is the owner of the fabulous Dressmaker Details. This line is famous for it’s fantastic cocktail fashions with that 60’s flair. Your challenge this week will be to design the perfect cocktail fashion for your model, who by the way will be wearing your design as she guest stars in an episode of the wildly popular TV series Mad Men, entitled, The Cocktail Party.

Guest Judge: Steven Fraser

Another 60’s inspired challenge? Well at least I’m in the mode for it and I can be much more creative with this one. Cocktail huh? Looks like 60’s cocktail seems like alot of sheath dresses and bateau necklines. I’ve never seen Mad Men-I’ll put it in Netflix queue and check it out. At least I have some great props- including a cigarette and cocktails (if I can just find them! LOL).

November 30th-Research
I spent the morning going through vintage patterns, Mad Men images, L’Official mags from 1960 and some of my designer books. Getting a feel for 1960 cocktail dresses, dresses with coats or short jackets. Sheath style or semi full skirt, pretty simple in design. Lots of brocade, beaded bodices, and fur.

I think I need to figure out my model. Trapeze Sybarite-I used for the first challenge- has that 60’s look to her. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if I used an Fashion Royalty doll (12″) or Barbie? No one would expect that from me. Only thing is, I’m not inspired by them and my clientele is for the 16″ girls.

I’m also thinking of using Psyche (Grey) again. She kind of has a the 60’s inspired makeup but not as drastic as Trapeze. Besides she won it for me in challenge 2.

I have two designs drawn out, one with two neckline variations. I have to think of color- one of them I think would be superb in a kelly green silk taffeta. I’ll have to take pics and see how it photographs on Psyche.
The other is a deep red silk chiffon or grey silk chiffon with black velvet bands.

Two designs for Mad Men challenge

second sketch for challenge- neckline variation

I also took some pictures of Psyche in the color fabric I would like to use to see how she photographed in it. I really like the red but am leaning towards the design I would do in green.

Kelly green taffeta

deep red chiffon with taffeta under

I ordered some new wigs, two in shades of red, so they might look awesome on her in the green taffeta. It would be very Mad Men, kind of like Joan, but I need to make sure I keep it different as well. I don’t want to do a character on Mad Men, I need to create a new character that is guest starring.

December 9-Progress
I got my patterns drafted and now it was time to make the toiles. I’m not sure about this skirt style now that it is made up in muslin.

I’m thinking it might be a little ambitious and too busy for the sleek style that the Mad Men fashions show. If I take out some of the ruching- it may start to look like Joan’s green dress.

Joan's green dress

Maybe I shouldn’t even use green, but it just looks so great with the carrot red wig. I guess I could try grey, but I’m running out of time to be so indecisive.

December 10-Crunch Time
I researched some more and more and more. The images I could find and what I have watched off the show (mostly beginning of S1) the fashions are pretty simple. So I really need to stay simple to an extent to stay in the theme of the show. I don’t know how that will score in originality and creativity points though. I don’t know how one can do vintage design and still make it original.
I’m worried about being too simple but that’s what won me the Audrey challenge. I’m wondering if I should go with the red chiffon now-because it’s a little simple but yet has some difference. I should just whip it up and see.

December 11-Decisions, Decisions

I came up with another design. Took the ruching out of the skirt and placed it along the bodice. Started draping the fabric around the doll with to get an idea.
Draped fabric, red wig
I like this, slim cut with interest at the top.

December 12-A Very Bad Morning
Today was the morning of all mornings. Yesterday I got quite a bit done on my dress, since I finally figured out what I was doing. When I get up in the morning, I usually look at the work I did the night before because my sewing table is right outside my bedroom. Well, I took one look at my doll I was using,(she was lying on the table) and her wig was gone!! My little kitten(who is now 6mo old and getting into everything, as of this writing she has also lost one of my chipped off doll fingers I needed to glue back on) took it off her head. I’m pretty sure it was my kitten because I heard her messing around my sewing area early this morning after I kicked her out of my room.

Now I can’t find it and that was the wig that made my whole look. Hopefully my daughter will be able to find it-it’s her mission today.
Then to top it off, I spilled a little coffee on my dress that was lying on the table. Not my morning! I’m hoping it doesn’t stain, although silk taffeta-oohhh. So again I am going to be rushing last minute to get this done. I will be so glad when this contest is over. I had debated whether to compete or not, wondering if I would have the time.
I’m just hoping we find the wig and it’s not torn apart.

December 13-Finishing

I spent the day finishing up the dress and making the accessories. I went with some black Chinese dragon print brocade for mules and a clutch. I made some gloves with some of the individual fingers separated because I really hate those mitten style ones and Grey has such beautiful hands. But boy were those a b!@#*to make. And they are kind of bulky so I won’t use them too much.
Got my pictures taken and submitted with less than two hours to deadline.

December 14-Designs are Up
The designs are posted, and there are some really good ones in there. Emilia’s is very unique- funny I have that same brocade-I looked at it once for this challenge but really had wanted to do a bright color. #6 is really nice too and right on target with the early sixties vibe. Kathi’s is really nice and her construction is perfect. So this is going to be tough-I really don’t envy the judges.

December 15-A Little Problem
I received an email from Larraine today. It appears that I am in violation of one of the rules #2. Designers must submit original designs. Commercial or any other type of purchased patterns are not allowed. Anyone using patterns will be removed from that individual challenge; subsequent use of patterns will require elimination from the CDDC.
It is the original part that concerns her. Four of the designers had contacted her about my design being a direct copy of a dress from this site that was posted on the CDDC group.
Oh no, what am I to say- It does look like a copy and I didn’t even realize it. I had failed to differentiate what I had seen with the images I designed in my head. This is going to cost me this challenge probably. I should have recognized the resemblance, but with the pressure of the time and my brain being on design overload I failed to.
Maybe I can still defend myself.

December 17-Another New Design
I was so busy yesterday Christmas shopping with my husband, I didn’t have time to do anything about my design. For the moment Larraine and I agreed to keep the images on the site-I was hoping the judges would still score, but she told me a few of them felt uncomfortable scoring it. They were all very saddened by it but were equally impressed by the design. Even though I couldn’t work on anything yesterday it still tugged at the back of my mind. I was kind of sick to my stomach all day knowing that all this hard work is being thrown away. I was also thinking about what I might be able to do to save it still. I’ll change the design around some to make it no longer look like a copy but still keep the look I was going for. If I use the original dress and just change-using the original as inspiration maybe the judges might give me a chance.
The new dress:

New Challenge 7 design


I kept the pictures the same to keep the essence of my original submission. I even had a really cool story that went with my entry:
The Cocktail Party- It’s 1960 and famous french fashion designer, Chantal Delacroix, is launching her first perfume, Mysterieux, in the United States. She hires famed advertising agency, Sterling Cooper, to develop the advertising for it’s debut. In honor of her arrival in New York, Sterling Cooper is throwing a grand cocktail party.
Chantal arrives in a beautiful green silk taffeta, slim cut cocktail dress. The drape seems to roll up around the body and ends in a train effect in the back. It encases one shoulder leaving the other bare with but a single strap ending in a bow accenting the bodice. Fully lined in white silk taffeta. Her accessories are black Asian printed silk satin mules, with a matching clutch lined in the same green taffeta as her dress. She also arrives in black gloves that she removes shortly after arriving to the party. Chantal Delacroix is Numina Grey by Paul Pham.

Larraine agreed to discuss this with the judges so now I just wait.

December 18- The Final Decision
The judges need to stand by their decision-it needs to be disqualified other wise it will show special treatment. It is unfair to the other designers for a new submission because I had already seen the other designs by now. Not that it put any influence in my new design choice. I would not have let it- I stayed with my own aesthetic.
I understand and respect the judges decision. I figured it didn’t hurt to try. I’m hoping this doesn’t put me back too far. I know I have no chance of winning this competition now- which is too bad because I have worked really hard and really embraced this competition to my surprise. I know a lot of the designers probably even wondered why I entered.
I did it on a fluke, my family is always asking me why I don’t try out for Project Runway, so this was the thing that was similar but in my interest. I wasn’t sure what I was in for-it has proven stressful, fun and challenging. I have met some new friends in the doll world and I hope to keep in contact with them even when this is over. And hopefully Larraine will continue with another contest and maybe I’ll be a judge-that would be interesting too. Maybe she might consider that.
I did get scored on my design from two of the judges even though these score will not count. I finally got solid 5’s from Shane and I was very happy about that for some reason.
Here were my two scores:
Shane: Theme: 5, Originality: 5, Creativity: 5,
Construction: 5
A gorgeous fashion, meticulously constructed.

Steven Fraser:Theme: 5, Originality: 5, Creativity: 5
Construction: 5
Beautifully made, great attention to detail and scale, even the revised one was just as good, amazing talent under pressure.

Well, now I am in 8th place with a total score of 435. Even if these two scores could be added I would be in 5th place with 475, one under Kathi.
I’m sorry that this happened but you live and learn.
I’m still continuing since there is only one challenge left to go.

Cocktails Anyone?

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