Saturday, October 29, 2016


With Halloween just a couple days away, I thought I'd make masks for the girls. I'm posting this early to give you time to make a few before Oct. 31 should you decide to follow along. As you know, most of my girls are quite vain, so most of them have decided to go to the party dressed as chic witches or stylish goblins. With that in mind, I designed a small variety of masks using a simple paper mache base that can be painted or embellished.

For this project you will need:
Aluminum Foil
Paper Towel cut into 1/4" (6mm) strips, enough to cover the mask.
Paper Mache: equal parts of flour, water (a tablespoon of each is enough for 4 masks), dash of salt

1. You can make full or partial masks. Choose a doll without eyelashes as a model.
2. If you don't have heavy duty aluminum foil, use two layers of the regular variety. Press the foil into the face.
3. Be sure to press the foil into the crevices of the eye sockets and along the bridge of the nose.
4. Using a dull pencil, define the eyes.
5. Draw around the face to create the shape you would like
6. For the half-mask, be sure to curve the line up and over the nose.
7. Remove the foil from the doll and cut along the outline of the face.
8. Place back on the face to check for fit.
9. Remove from the doll and cut the eyes out of the foil form.
 10. Mix together the flour, water and salt to make a paste. Then one by one, dip the paper towel strips into the mixture and lay each strips over the foil. (The foil form should not be on the doll.) Apply a second layer. Then press into the contours of the foil form. Allow to thoroughly dry. Usually I let it dry overnight.
11. Turn the mask around to the wrong side and using a sharp instrument (like the point of a manicure scissors) poke out the eyes.
12. Make the eye holes larger than the actual eyes of the doll
13. Now cut away the excess around the perimeter of the mask.
14. With an emery board or small piece of sandpaper, carefully smooth away the imperfections.
15. At this point you can paint your mask or make designs. OR.....

16. EMBELLISH! Think decoupage. Think glitter. Think feathers. And don't forget auto-adhesive jeweled stickers!
17. Start with a layer of Modge Podge or white craft glue. When dry, remove the foil from the back then decorate until your heart is content! These masks extend past the doll's ears. So I use straight pins to attach to their hair (not head). However, you can attach ribbon or thin elastic to each side, if you like. I show you what I did on the last mask of this post.

For my masks, I had fun with paper doilies, with lace, glitter, stickers and feathers.
And with these masks, my divas can enjoy not just Halloween, but New Year's Eve masquerade parties and Carnival!
Now, I realize that some of you just might want to make something more.....Halloween! So here, I finished that full facial mask you saw earlier.
1. Following the same instructions at the top of this post, I covered the doll's face entirely with foil and created my mask using the paper towel and paper mache mixture. When completely dry, I began by painting it white.
2. I drew the design on using a No. 2 pencil.
3. Then with acrylics, I painted in the design
4. When the paint was dry, I removed the foil from the inside.
5. If you extend the sides of the mask beyond the doll's ears, you can pin it to her hair. If not, you can use ribbon or thin elastic and attach to each side with a tiny brad (attaché francaise). Push through
6. And spread the wings out.

Happy Halloween!!!

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Doll's Eye View: Paris Summer 2017 Trends

Ordinarily our Paris trend report is presented in two parts: experimental and classic. But as in the case of London, many designers became lost in experimenting with new shapes and looks that we felt were difficult for the doll (and humans too)! So, exceptionally, I have consolidated everything into one report. I've said it before--fashion is about change. And moving to a new style aesthetic can be as chaotic as current politics! Designers are pushing away from the skinny, sexy looks we all have been enjoying and moving towards big, loose, and (in the words of my dolls)...somewhat dowdy! If you're 20 -something, and love to experiment with clothes a la Miley Cyrus, maybe this works. But when you are a 12 inch fashion doll accustomed to dressing drop dead's going to be a hard sell! Even worse, color seemed to be overlooked this season. Lots of black and subdued tones had my dolls scratching their heads in bewilderment. Summer SHOULD be about color! So we had to put all our heads together and scour the catwalks for interesting textures, details that excite and fashion messages that inspire to do something similar but with a bit more verve.

Left Bank
For a spring collection this looks a little overdressed and dark though we did like the concept of layered skinny dresses, more fringed denim and a Technicolor skirtwaist dress tossed over the shoulders of a little neutral toned T-shirt dress underneath. 

Uptown Girl
Meanwhile on the other side of town..... the women are back to their classic black and grey. (Great looking fall collection designed for spring ?) The girls chose these looks because they're timeless classics cut in pure lines that go everywhere.
Nadja loved this suede jacket worn with its crisscross cummerbund belt and satin trousers. The cut-outs were intriguing, but honestly, after cutting out the jacket in suede which fitted her perfectly, I was uncomfortable about going through with the cut-outs. But here is a question of trompe-l'oeil. Were those tan toned patches, strategically placed to give the illusion of cut-outs or was it skin we were looking at? Inasmuch as I had no suede left should the cut-outs not work, I chose the optical illusion and used flesh tone patches instead!

Crème Chantilly
Yum, yum dollops of frothy whipped cream applied to hemlines or covering the entire body! We loved the denim trimmed with big medallions of cotton lace. (This resembles a coat we duplicated from last season's Italian fashion week.) We love the tiers of lace dribbling down from empire waists or tacked on--decoupage style--to a simple A-line dress.
Grace's dress began with a simple A-line tent dress. I cut out medallions of lace from an old garment and tacked them on so they would flutter about. The dress opens on the side at the neck. In front of this opening, I tacked on layers of small lace trim and a little bit of tulle!

Pure and Simple
There was so much craziness going on in Paris so naturally, I went looking for something the French are great at....classic clothes in clean lines. There is something so classy, so effortless, so....French about each of the three garments above.
Brie's outfit was easier to make than at first glance. The top is essentially a sheath dress where I have stitched only the top of the darts, leaving the bottom open. A deep V neck is cut out and I cut a 1 inch strip of fabric cut on the bias for the collar. The success of this garment lies in the fabric. Choose a good quality cotton or wool.

Aztec Nation
Inspiration from blankets and tribal prints, this is a simple look perfect for early spring and summer. Think of using small scarves or men's neckties as fabric sources for geometric and abstract prints.

Let's tango, let's cha cha, let's put the spice back in dolly's wardrobe with ruffles and flounces that dance around the body in solid tones or floral prints..

Scarf Tricks
It's starting to look like summer. Easy, breezy scarf prints in silks and sheers are the way to go. Again look for scarves in vintage shops for inexpensive fabric sources!
Both Aayeessha and Tyra's dresses were made with scarves suspended from a neck ring and a single seam down the back!

Cross My Heart
An extension of our scarf dresses, here are a few more options with a twist and.... wrap around the neck! Patterned or striped silks provide a festive edge. When cut in black, the same easy look goes high fashion and classy!
Dorian wears the scarf dress, but this time it's cut from black crepe and suspended from a halter neckline. Her dress is cut in one piece with a seam down the back for this classic look. We added a jewelry at the throat and gave her a vintage "chapel veil" to toss around her shoulders. Antique fairs, garage sales and second hand shops often have "out of style" accessories that can be used for dramatic wraps or accent pieces for dolly!

Chez Maxim's
The turn of the last century iconic restaurant--where kings and courtesans dined, wined and made merry-- is the inspiration for these sophisticated vintage looks. Here, texture and fabric is key and black is the color of choice. We like the spider lace, the flutter of organdy petals against a backdrop of lattice work ribbon or black sequins on satin.
The girls and I agreed that the Alexander McQueen collection presented more interesting fashions. The theme was based on folkloric Celtic costume, out from which a number of textured ensembles emerged. Here is Sybille in a black lace with netting draped across the front. The pants are a sheer micro pleated fabric with bands of black lace. Long strands of black beads are mixed with black chain and worn around her neck.

Last Fling with Bling
Our love affair with sparkle and shine is coming to an end. A few "red carpet" holdouts did catch the girls' eyes, however. We loved the idea of a metallic corset that could be worn over a swash-buckling satin skirt, tucked under a tuxedo jacket or even worn with a pair of black denim jeans. Then again for the holidays, the girls are egging me on to make the strapless sheath covered in rhinestones.

The original "Barbarella" corset is a bit over the top. For Tamron, we toned things down a little. Her corset is made from leather which we foiled in areas then topped with a silver toned metal bird.

Here we are at another iconic site where fantasies are born....Versailles. Soft sheers and laces make for dreamy evening gowns. Silhouettes are soft and float along the body. Again these are looks with star quality.

We found the Alexander McQueen collection most interesting. And though I couldn't find the same type of lace, I chose a sheer micro pleated sheer instead and used it to cut a sheath dress with sleeves. But the real story here is the mini vest. The proportions of the one Angelina is bigger than the accident. I had thought to turn down the edges but decided against it at the last minute since I had to attach shoulder straps. Of course I'm limited to the size of studs and stickers found in the craft stores. And I wished I had a smaller bead for the trim. All that said....when I finally finished it, me and Angelina were both quite happy because it loks like no other garment in the house. The studded leather against what looks like a lace trimmed sheer nightgown is a standout!

It has been an interesting fashion month!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Doll's Eye View: Milan Spring/Summer 2017 Trends

One thing I can count on in Milan, somewhere during their fashion week, there will be pretty clothes. And spring summer trends here do not disappoint. Many of the trends we've seen elsewhere--stripes, black/white themes, asymmetrical detailing, short-shorts and maxi hems--also all woven into designers' messages here. But here in Italy, true to form, there is lots of lace for super girly styles, interesting fabric treatments for upscale looks, as well as crisp clean lines, all of which makes for timeless, keepsake fashion.

Cloak Room
Coat hemlines race up and down the leg. Our favorite is the mini length coat, belted at the waist. Here, they're shown with sandals, but we also love accessorizing this length with thigh high boots as well. If you're going to make a coat for your doll, consider making a trench coat. Here we love the foiled florals on the face of Fendi's coat. But watch out....the 1980's with its super wide shoulders has begun creeping onto the catwalks! It will take awhile for our eyes to adjust to this silhouette, but slowly, shoulders are getting pumped!
We really loved the look of the Fendi coat. On close examination, we noticed the floral decals with areas of foiling. For Estelle's coat, I selected a linen. I had a bit of cotton chintz on hand. I carefully cut out a bit of its blue floral print. The idea is to simulate a "placed motif" effect (as opposed to an all over print--which is why I didn't use the print fabric for the base of the coat). Think of this as "decoupage." Using fabric glue on the back, I applied my cut-outs to the face of my A-line coat and ironed them in place. I applied foil to parts of the floral pattern. Though I had made a belt out of the printed fabric, everything came out so lovely, I decided not to belt the coat.

Peasant Girl

A very popular look that began last summer, this year's version of the peasant dress reappears with bare midriff tops, off the shoulder puff sleeves and cotton lace stovepipe pants.

Crème Fraiche

Creamy, rich with just the right amount of swirl and tangy goodness, these are very pretty feminine dresses for late day and evening. Silhouettes are pretty much straight forward and simple. Silhouettes skim the body in light, airy fabrics or lace.
Bringing back the simplicity and grace of the 1960's, Naomi wears a simple shift dress with full sleeves. For the embellishment, we made small loops from 3mm ribbon, flattened them with an iron and stitched them in place.

The Pin-Up
These are not bathing suits! They are super-short-shorts and a micro-mini dress, inspired by the pin-up girls of yesteryear like Betty Grable or synchronized swimmer, Esther Williams!

This was such a cute look with its bra, short-shorts and shirt, we couldn't resist interpreting this for our doll, Violetta.

Towing the Line
By now, we can see that stripes are a staple for summer styles. What we like here is the simplicity of style and the boldness of line.

To illustrate how simple stripes are worn..... Billie's dress is a simple tube dress made from a striped sock! Stunning!

One of the most stylish ways to wear denim blue! From the denim top and shorts to Armani's sheer coat over sheath dress, it's the details that make all the difference. And the details here are frayed or fringed edges.
It's interesting to see how few designers incorporate denim looks in their collections. So my younger Barbies were thrilled with this look. Jerry wears a flared tunic over shorts. Denim on this scale would have been too stiff, so we used a denim-toned silk instead. (You can also use a blue cotton chambray.) The neckline and armholes have lace trim added to mimic the look of a lace shirt. What we also liked here, are the matching boots!
Fruit Punch
There's not a lot of color on the catwalks these days. But what there is that my girls liked, were taken from the colors of fruit: raspberry, kiwi, lemon, mango, tangerine....

The Gallery Scene
Soup can labels, pizza box tops, abstract etchings....everything art has been lifted from the galleries and transformed into clothing. The things to note here: again, simple shift or sheath dresses, mix and match of patterns, matchy-matchy: dress with matching handbag and shoes.

Time to cleanse the palette. Choose simple lines and shapes for a classic look that works for most dolls.
This is an easy, 3-piece outfit that simply works. This is a shortened wrap blouse, straight trousers (where I extended the waist and have not closed the darts), and a straight coat with a collar

Summer Storms
From overcast skies to ominous clouds and  raindrops on the window, the mood is subtle elegance delivered via interesting fabric treatments.

Angels and Demons
What's black, white, naughty and nice? This group of lacey dresses with off the shoulder flounces, layers of lace and punctuated waists. Note the range of hemlines.

 She's a pin-up and a devilish angel, Carmela wears a version of Ermanno Scervino's "bathing suit" dress. This is a super short slip dress that we added medallions of lace. Over her shoulders in the opening shot....a vintage black "chapel veil" made of netting and velvet ribbon!

Coming up next... the final stop of Fashion Month....Paris!

Text and images property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2016.

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