Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New York Window Shopping!

Fabric district aside, me and the girls couldn't wait to hit the stores! New York City is the ultimate shopper's paradise where east meets west resulting in a population of brand names representing the best of what the world has to offer in fashion. Of course all of the favorites are omnipresent: GAP, H&M, Zara, Dior, Armani, Chanel, etc.... However this is the land of Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and of course, the larger than life New York department stores. As such, this was our focus as we went in search of the quintessential American style.

My dolls heard a rumor that Coach handbags was selling a Barbie style handbag at Macy's. They knew exactly where to look and made a beeline for the counter selling....keychains. There it was...the tiny tangerine leather satchel complete with a raspberry tassel and  a tiny tag authenticating the brand name....all for the modest price of $40.

Once that purchase was out of the way, we were on our way. Here is the best of what we found.

Dolly Coach Bag!

Donna Karan Madison Avenue Boutique

Singer/actress, Jennifer Lopez's fashion store on Madison Avenue

New York Dolls
We thoroughly enjoyed the windows of Lord & Taylor. Foot tall figurines were used cleverly to display jewelry.
Jewelry display at Lord & Taylor store

Full sized versions of the dolls were then created to show off fashions.

But what would the trip be without a trip to the world famous toy store, "FAO Schwartz." Okay, so it's not as luxurious as it once was, however, it was worth the trip just to see the Tonner dolls on display as well as the Barbie Collector line of dolls.
Tonner Dolls

Tonner Dolls

Silkstone Barbies

Elizabeth Taylor Barbies
As fast as our trip began.....everything came to an end. We had a great time in the Big Apple.
We love you, New York!!!!!
Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist

All images and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2013. Please do not reproduce without prior permission.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New York: 7th Ave Shopping Spree

I suppose if I hadn't lived in New York prior to this trip, I would have gone the traditional route of site-seeing must-haves. But I did live there and I didn't begin this trip with site-seeing because I am a die-hard fashionista and I couldn't wait to hit the stores......particularly the fabric and trim shops in New York's famed Seventh Avenue.....a.k.a......the Fashion District.

Lots of things had changed since I last set foot in that hustling bustling part of the city beginning with first stop: M&J Trimmings located on 1008 Sixth Avenue between 37-38th Street. This was always a source of fascination for me. Buttons, trims, ribbons, rhinestones, glitter and feathers in little boxes stacked from the floor up to the ceiling all crammed within the tight confines of a narrow, wee shop. Well....things are still chock-a-block from floor to ceiling, but the store has grown in size and now occupies four times the space I once knew. Double, triple OMG!!!! My first trip there left me so overwhelmed, I couldn't buy a thing! I think the key to success here, is having an idea of exactly what you have in mind to make. Otherwise, you can always shop online at www.mjtrim.com.
A small corner of M&J Trimmings. There is much, much more!

This is the bead and trimmings neighborhood which means you'll find nearby stores for ribbons, zippers, feathers, crystals, beads, chain, and jewelry making supplies.

I also enjoyed Toho Shoji New York at 990 Sixth Ave between 36-37th Streets for jewelry making supplies and findings as well as Pacific Trimmings at 218 W. 38th Street--another shop with floor to ceiling trims & ribbons as well as zippers of all sizes and colors. There are numerous other places of this sort in the same neighborhood. Be prepared to be overwhelmed!!!

While you head to the fabric shops be sure to look down at the ground from time to time. Seventh Avenue has its own "Walk of Fame." There are plaques embedded in the sidewalk with the names, sketches and design philosophies of famous men and women who have left a mark on the New York world of style.
Fabric junkies--get your fix here!!!!

The fabric stores in the district have changed as well. Many of my favorite shops of the past
were gone, replaced by others selling gaudy, cheesy fabrics. While this was a bit of a disappointment, it did make the few good ones really stand out.
Easy to lose your way around the store here!

Anyone within viewing distance of the hit cable show, Project Runway is familiar with the store "Mood Fabrics" situated at 225 W. 37th Street. Usually when a place has become so hyped up, I stay clear from it, fearing high prices and limited selection. In the case of Mood, I can honestly say, it is the BEST shop for fabric on Seventh Ave. The New York store does not have a street presence. You have to take the elevator to the third floor. However, when you arrive, you will have another mind-boggling of goods stacked from floor to ceiling---but this time---over THREE FLOORS!!!!! Quadruple OMG!!! Every imaginable fabric, color, print. The main floor has cottons, silks trims, books, notions; upstairs has woolens, knits, menswear's fabrics, downstairs has leather, suede and upholstery fabrics & accessories. You almost need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs to remember where you've seen something. The sales clerks will cut swatches for you and in the store, there is a 1/2 yard minimum. Prices were pretty decent (about what average fabrics stores charge). Again, I was overwhelmed and left with nothing on the first trip. I went back twice more before I could decide what to buy!!! Fortunately they, too, have a website where you can shop online at: www.moodfabrics.com.
She could not pass this up at Elegant Fabrics.

Beaded appliques and trims at M&J trims

Lots of lace trim

Lots and lots and lots of trims...perfect for dolly!

Slightly smaller with only a single sales floor, is N.Y. Elegant Fabrics at 222 W. 40th Street. This store specializes in high end designer fabrics. It's a little pricey, but the fabrics are gorgeous. What was REALLY nice is that they have already pre-cut swatches. Though I was too intimidated to buy anything the first time in the store, I was able to collect swatches of fabrics I wanted to buy, take them back to my hotel to figure out what would look best on my girls. There is no online shopping here, but if you go to New York, this store is definitely worth visiting.

The store offered her a fidelity card which is also good for online shopping.

Reptile embossed leather remnants downstairs at Mood.

Gorgeous silk jersey will make slinky dresses for our girls.

Same thing with Peron fabrics (257 W. 39th Street)...the smallest of all the better fabric stores, thus easy to navigate. They've been in the neighborhood for years. The selection is not as grand as the other two shops. Nonetheless, what is there is high quality and worth stopping to look.

Had to drag this one out of the store clutching black tulle with sparkles!!!!

Hey folks....we're not finished yet. Next: we take you window shopping, so stay tuned!
After 20 kilometers of walking, her feet are sore!!!

Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist

All text and images property of Fashion Doll Stylist. Please do not reproduce without prior permission.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New York, New York!!!!!

Such a good town, they named it twice!!!

The girls are in New York City for the week.

During our time there, we'll be meeting up with old friends for drinks and meals, shopping 'till we drop, taking in a bit of culture, and walking from one end of town to the other.

And.....we'll be scouring the city looking for things and places we think you doll lovers might find interesting. We intend to hit Seventh Avenue's marvelous fabric stores (including Project Runway's favorite, "Mood"), the infamous trim shop, "B&J", and.....FAO Schartz, the toy store dreams are made of! And Tiffany's....the store my dreams are made of!!! There are the landmark department stores to revisit, new boutiques to discover and famously dressed store windows sure to provide lots of fresh ideas.

We LOVE New York! And we'll love bringing you a doll's eye view of our trip.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Blues Brothers

As summer draws to an end, the guys are busy looking for fashions to carry them from late summer to early Fall.

Blue is not only a big trend, it's a color that lends an air of cool sophistication that works from day to evening. Here are three looks that are not only classy, they are easy to make for that special plastic guy in your life.

Richard's coat (inspired by Dior Homme Fall '13) made of navy cotton backed vinyl, was made using the shirt pattern we created in an earlier post. I simply squared off the (originally curved) hem, then extended by an additional 2.5-inches. The buttons are tiny "brads" that resemble buttons. (Poke a hole, pop them in, then spread out the wings.)

Zak's royal blue suit was inspired by the Lanvin Summer '14 catwalk show. I used a cloth napkin which has the look of linen. The pattern was made from the post "Such a Good Sport (Jacket)." In this case, I cut a front facing (retracing the shoulder neck point, around the neck and down the front ending after the curve at the front of the jacket) so that the lapels would be cleaner. After stitching this to the front jacket piece, cut diagonally across the top edge, then turn right side out, pulling out the lapel point and press well. This only works if the fabric is thin and can be pressed flat. As usual, I used iron-on interfacing but it was cut away so as NOT to include the part of the front that will be folded back as the lower lapel.

For Lee's outfit (inspired by Raf Simon's Fall '13 collection), I made the "sweater" from a man's dress sock. We've already created a sweater, however this one is fitted and has a turtleneck collar. I draped the body on the doll, tracing his torso with pins then marking them.
In this case, You can either create a turtle neck from a rectangle of fabric you stitch on afterwards, or you can create a "funnel" so that the collar is in one piece. Whatever you decide, he will not be able to get in and out of his sweater unless you figure in a center back seam. My doll's sweater closes on the center back seam with hook and eyes. It's not perfect, but it's a quick and easy way to get the look and get the doll out of the outfit.

Psssssttttt. The girls on the move again! They're in New York all next week. Stay tuned!!!!

Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Twist and Shout!!!

In today's world, interesting fabrics, colors and surface treatments is what drives fashion trends forward. The fact is....everyone pretty much wears the same basic garments. What differentiates one brand from another, what distinguishes a trendy garment from the mundane, lies in the texture, color and, more importantly, the surface treatment of the textile base.

A little more than 30 years ago, the international world was rocked by the arrival of the Japanese designers who brought with them, a new sense of aesthetics. "Interesting" replaced "pretty" as fashionistas were introduced to unorthodox textural fabric treatments ranging from irregular pleating to ripping, stenciling, braiding and the like. Though Mariano Fortuny, known for his permanent embedded pleated silks used in the couture salons 60 years prior, it was designers like Issey Miyake who brought pleats, bubbles, wrinkles, rips to the wardrobe of the average person.

Today, I pay homage to Issey Miyake, best known for his experimental garments which are never dated. And, who is best known for his Pleats Please line. Today's exercises combines super simple silhouettes with twisted silk. Using this technique, we take a flat surface that would otherwise require darts or seams for fit, and we transform it into a 3-Dimensional material that naturally stretches over the body's curves. There are two ways to approach this project depending on how simple or complex the garment is you wish to create.

For my first gown, I take a rectangle of pure silk. China silk is best because it is fine. However stay away from polyester blends as they will not hold the pleats. Wet the silk thoroughly. Make tiny pleats by gathering your fabric back and forth with your fingers until you have a wad. Then twist and twist and twist this wad, allowing it to curve into a ball (left photo). Secure using string or twist ties. Allow to dry. When it is completely dry, carefully unravel (right photo).

The dress without the scarf.
My first dress is nothing more than a tube, which means it only has one seam. For the first dress, I wrap the doll in the fabric, pulling one end over her shoulder (l). Pin in place. On the other side, make a slit under her arm, long enough for a decent armhole (c). Turn the fabric under on top of the shoulder and join the front to the back. You will also hand stitch the dress down the other side from the armhole to the hem. The dress closes on one shoulder using a tiny strip of Velcro (r). There is no seam in the back. I had extra fabric which I used as a scarf and wrapped around the doll's neck.
Pleated silk has a very vegetal look and feel.

The second garment is a tunic, worn with silk pants and a kimono. It is a simple tube. After pleating the fabric, fold in half and make one stitch.

A simple twisted silk tube can be used for a variety of garments

However, if you want to make more complicated garments, refer to the second technique. Here, I've featured an oversized shirt. I wanted the shirt to maintain fairly "normal" proportions. So I took my original pattern, added 1/2-inch to each front pattern and 1/2-inch on both sides of the CB. You are not obliged to do this if you want a skinnier fit.
The garment is assembled first, then it is pleated. Here, I've added a matching skirt.

I've altered the pattern by adding more fabric in the yellow areas.

Put together, sew and finish your garment FIRST. Next, twist the sleeves into knots. Then, beginning on one side of the shirt, pleat the fabric as describe above. Then twist the entire shirt into a ball. Secure with ties or strings. Allow to dry. When dry, carefully undo the twists. You can do an all over "pleating" or apply this technique in areas, according to your design. An all-over pleated look might not be to your taste, so I've included a photo showing the shirt belted, and worn over the one-piece pencil skirt, here cut in tangerine leather.

Sew the garment first. Begin twisting the sleeves.

Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist

All images and pleats property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2013. Please do not reproduce without prior permission.