Thursday, December 31, 2015

Five Minute Couture

It's New Year's Eve and though you've been so very good to your dolls all year long, suddenly you realize not everyone has something to wear for that very special party. Okay, so they are still smiling at you, but you know deep down, they are NOT happy! Here are a few last minute hacks to get your dolls all glammed up in a matter of minutes.

Taffeta Is Your Friend

This is an amazing fabric that is a skirt or dress waiting to happen. Available in silk or polyester, it is a crisp material that holds its shape. With the exception of the opening photo which is silk, I used polyester taffeta for the rest of this project which is pretty inexpensive. The easiest and quickest thing you can make is a simple, yet spectacular skirt.

 For this skirt, I took a length of fabric measuring approximately 12x30 inches (30x75 cm).
You can pleat, scrunch or manipulate the fabric any way you want. It's like working with clay, so have fun and express that inner designer that resides deep within you.
 Wrap around the hips of your doll and pin.
Replace the pin with a rhinestone pin. For the top I simply took a small bit of fabric and crushed it, then wrapped it around the doll's bust. Add a fur boa and she's good to go! If you want to make this skirt more permanent...add a snap or hook & eye to the point where the two ends meet at the hips.
Combine with the previous project on body chains and add a shawl (simple rectangle) of fancy fabric and've got a super glam look!

If you have a wee bit of time (but not much) you can make a dramatic gown.

 I started with the basic foundation. This can be anything from a strapless camisole, a hip length top (pictured here) or a sheath dress. It all depends on how much control you want over the drapes. I then took a piece of fabric which I had previously hemmed.
Again, you can pleat, crush, or squeeze the loose fabric anyway you want right onto the foundation. Squeeze where you want the dress to fit. You can always change your mind. There is no right or wrong with this project.
Once you have it the way you want, pin in place. Then tack in place onto the foundation underneath. As you can see from the photo on the right, the fabric holds the shape and the dolls simply slips in.
I've added a rhinestone pin to the waist and a length of glittery tulle across her shoulders.

Crown Jewels

Don't have time to get to the fabric store? No problem. A bit of bling-bling in the doll's hair is all she needs for her party persona. Early we saw Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent accessorize his model's looks with tiaras. If you have or can get your hands on a Barbie plastic tiara, all you need do is to add a coat of sparkly nail lacquer to the existing finish as well as a rhinestone or two!
Or....add a bit of sparkle to dolly's hair by piling her hair into a updo then draping it with a rhinestone necklace or bracelet from your jewelry box.
 You can also use vintage clip earrings or rhinestone broaches.
You can use almost anything including a string of small seed beads!

Fashion Doll Stylist wishes every, good health, good fortune and lots of dolly love in 2016.

Happy New Year!!!
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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Chain Reaction

With Christmas upon us, I was faced with a burning question..... What to give my vinyl divas who have been spoiled all year long with designer clothes, shoes and handbags. And then it came to me.....Body Chains!!!

Original conceived to be worn over bikinis and beach wear, this harness-like, multi tiered body chain is fashion's hottest holiday accessory. Now repurposed to add sparkle and drama to party wear, Brooke Danielson, editor of, announced on her site, "Body chains are an edgy way to decorate your outfit. From delicate chains to statement pieces, it's the (best) way to spruce up the little black dress." Silver, gold, bronze or color coated, you can make them understated to peak out from under a garment, or elaborate enough for dolly to make a grand entrance! All you need is chain, jump rings, findings or bits of earrings, pendants. And don't forget the jewelry pliers (sold inexpensively at all crafts stores.)

As usual I had such a good time with this project that I couldn't stop at just three examples. I Googled to see what was out there, headed to a jewelry supply store then let my imagination take over. The end result was much prettier than I had expected. And yes, if I were 25, I would definitely make any one of these for myself!
When it comes to chain, there are many different shapes and sizes. Feel free to use a variety of different chain within the same design. The hardest part of working with this medium (for me) was dealing with very fine chain and closing the jump rings. For help with handling jump rings, JewelrySupply on YouTube offers some great advice. Click here to see.

 1. At my favorite bead/jewelry supply store in Paris, I found lots of little pressed metal charms. I put jump rings at the top and bottom loops of this charm.
2. I threaded my chain through the ring and attached jump rings on both ends and, in this case, a small claw on one end. You can also make an S ring.
3. For the moment, this resembles a simple pendant.
4. Here you can see the closure at the back.
5. At the back, you will need another bit of chain to suspend from one of the jump rings. Then take a bit of craft wire and form a figure 8.
6. At that to the end of the center back chain and add another jump ring at the bottom.
7. Since I'm draping this directly on the doll, I pinned my figure 8 at the back and the pendant in the front down to keep it from moving while I work.

8. I take the chain and drape it from the front to the back to check for length. Then double the amount and cut.
9. Thread it through the jump rings on each side of the pendant.
10. Then bring the two ends together and join together at the center jump ring on the bottom of the pendant. This allows you to adjust the drape. Because we are not using a center back closure, this means the doll will have to step into the body chain.
From front to back, this is how my chain looks.

I really love the finer chains, but just be sure you have the right size jump rings or craft wire. And I will advise that you use some sort of magnifying glass to help you along.
I love how this chain delicately crisscrosses the body. For this, I used a heavy chain around the neck (simply because it was easier to work with) and finer chains that radiate over the bust.
1. Begin with wrapping the neck with chain and cutting to fit.
2. Add your closures to each end.
3. Stretch out your necklace then plan where you will place the jump rings. You must use an even number of them.

4. Attach the finer chain from one side of the necklace and cross the body to the back
5. Attach to the last loop nearest the center back. Repeat. Then repeat on the other side.
From front to back the end result looks like this. Since it has a center back closure, getting it on and off the doll is pretty straight forward.

A statement piece adds quite a dimension to the simplest of gowns. In fact, that's the secret to dolly wearing this look well. Choose very simple garments that fall close to the body like this strapless sheath gown.
I started out with a pressed metal disk. I've circled in red where I placed the jump rings. There is one single chain up from the top. I've added an S ring. It will wrap around the neck and hook onto itself. At the bottom, a single loop of chain attaches to the jump rings on either side of the disk. Again, the doll will need to step into  this chain. Here you can see, front to back how this falls around the body.

Worn over a simple black dress, the result is stunning on Jamilia.

I found black chain and a black pressed metal disk. I wanted to make something combining the spirit of Asia and punk. This look isn't for everyone, but Liu (a Kyori Sato FR doll with a NuFace body), has a tiny bust and pulls it off.
This is essentially a necklace with a disk pendant. A double chain is added to the jump rings (marked in red) at each end of the necklace in the back. Another chain (attached to a jump ring at the bottom) runs through the jump ring attached at the bottom of the disk. This wraps around the waist and attaches to itself with an S ring (marked in blue) at the back.
Here's the front and back views of this chain.

Stunning when worn black on black.

Your doll isn't as daring as Liu? Slide a shirt or jacket over the chain and button low.

The better crafts or jewelry supply stores will carry a variety of chain including some with beads or pearls. This is a simple multi-strand chain necklace. If the other chains on this page are too complicated or too much for your doll's tastes, she can still get in on the trend by wrapping a couple of strands around the shoulders to the back.

Though I found this at a jewelry supply store, earrings also make for great statement jewelry.
I bent some simple 18 gauge wire into a neck cuff, added a jump ring then attached my "earring." I threaded some fine silver wire through the jump ring and attached a claw and loop closure at either end of the chain. This drapes over the doll's bust and around the back of her waist. Simple!
This is another view from front to back.
And then we went for high drama! Meet Grace, my newest model. This striking beauty needed something extravagant. I found a silver pendant in form of a bird.
Here you can see, I've attached jump rings to the extremity of each wing as well as where the birds meet in the center. A drape of silver chain which will go over each shoulder drops from the wing tip to the center ring. I added a small length of chain with a teardrop in the center. This can be worn either in the front or at the back. Worn as a back accent, I threaded a black satin ribbon which ties in the front at the throat. But when worn over the front of a black top, this chain is attached to my silver wire choker.

Wishing you, your families and your doll families a
Very Happy and Most Stylish Holiday!!!!
from April and her "models"
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Monday, December 14, 2015

On the Streets of Paris

The girls are getting ready to rejoin their dolly friends and family across the ocean. But before they leave, they wanted to take you on a short tour of Paris to view the Christmas sights of the city. We've taken the opportunity to focus on another source of style inspiration....ordinary, everyday Parisians!!!

Iman loved the look of a white lace skirt worn with black sweater & tights worn by a passer-by on Avenue Montaigne.

This post is not a tutorial, but rather, a styling session using many of the basic patterns already featured on this sight. In a nutshell, the major trends dominating Paris streets consists of long, leggy looks thanks to skinny jeans and opaque tights, hooded parkas, fur vests and scarves as well as boots: knee length, short booties and Uggs. Though it's not yet on the streets, sequins will be a big trend during the holidays especially when worn "casually" under sweaters.

Fur vests and Uggs (boots) are big on the streets of Paris. Here Jerry strolls through Place Vendome, the high fashion jewelry district.
But this post is not really one of words.... It's all about my dolls in on the streets at Christmastime.

Genny, clad in a hooded, quilted parka, leggings and knee high boots, stops to admire an extravagant dollhouse in the window of Pain d'Epice, our favorite shop for miniatures.

Iman stopped by Au Printemps Department store to admire its Christmas windows.
Each set of windows are sponsored by a different fashion company. These windows are by Lancôme cosmetics.

A doll takes center stage amidst the cabbage roses.

It's like springtime at Christmas in a terrifically fantasy setting!

Christian Louboutin's windows are filled with dancing show-dolls kicking up their legs.

In the Burberry windows, all of the wooden dolls here are dressed in their famous trench coats and those famous plaid scarves!

The dolls in the Sonia Rykiel (fashion designer) windows are having such a good time, dancing and strutting their stuff.
The display features stylish dolls interacting with (human) shadow figures that walk across the backdrop.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, Barbara takes a style note from the Dolce&Gabbana window display.
On the Avenue Montaigne, the high fashion district of Paris, Billie shows off the coolest new way to wear sequins...under a sweater and worn with boots.
Donyale found more dolls and stuffed animals in the windows at the department store, BHV. Their theme for this year is distinctly British!

Stopping for a pastry, Jerry poses in front of Russian tea room, Pouchkine with its very decorative store front.
Here at the Carrousel du Louvre, the glittery decorations are on the inside of the mall. Stopping to admire the lights, Iman wears a blazer, tights and boots accessorized with a fur scarf and fringed handbag.

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