Saturday, April 11, 2015

"Marnie" Honeymoon Ensemble

This is my latest commission that I turned into a larger project.  One of my dolly friends send me the DVD for the 1964 Alfred Hitchcock film "Marnie" a year or so ago.  I made him the white dress a while ago and this is my version of the taupe honeymoon ensemble that Marnie wears in the film.


This outfit is made out of the same taupe wool that I used for one of the taupe "Something's Got to Give" prototypes.  I guess I bought a lot of it because I am making my first suit for Trent out of it too.  The fur is the same, but I didn't use the hair clippers on it.  I actually think I ruined my hair clippers trying to clip this faux fur for a different outfit.

Of course I had to fancy things up, and made another outfit using the same pattern.
I like to show the versatility of a pattern.

I added 3" to the bottom of the coat, and didn't use the facing pattern so the pink satin lining would show.

A bias-cut satin trim and a bow were added to the sheath.

To purchase the taupe outfits click here.

To purchase the pattern click here.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

"Something's Got to Give" Suit Part III

Whew!!!!  I am finally finished with the cream suits! Happy dance!  I figured out this morning that by the time I finish the yellow jacquard suits that I cut out to make for the next doll convention this summer, I will have made 20 of this style.

What started out as a commission and two patterns for Gene and the Franklin Mint Marilyn Monroe doll turned into extra suits, a new doll and a third pattern.

After I finished the cream suits to fit Gene, I worked on two suits for the FM Marilyn doll.  I had made the pattern to fit her a few years ago and all I did to alter it was lengthen the jacket a little.  There was a hiccup though, I was using a different cream wool than I had used the last time, and it didn't have as much stretch to it.  I was surprised what a difference that made.  The jackets were way too tight.  I was really bummed and wasn't sure what I was going to do with them.

I decided to try one of the jackets on a Tyler doll and was pleased how well it fit her.  The next thing I knew, I'm on eBay looking at Tonner's Marilyn Monroe dolls.  I ended up buying a nude Tonner Marilyn to sew for.  Her body is a little curvier than Tyler's but the jacket fit her well too. 

FM Marilyn got new jackets and Tonner Marilyn got new skirts.  I now have three different sized suits in this style.

My FM Marilyn's original wig ended up in the garbage.  I didn't like how puffy it was.  I bought a new wig for her and totally jacked it up.  Wig 2 ended up in the garbage also.

FM Marilyn is borrowing an Antoinette wig for this photo shoot. 
It is the right color and length, but I wish it wasn't so thick and straight.

I will be honest, I don't love this version of Marilyn, but I am glad to have her for a model.

She can't hold a candle to the real Marilyn.

To purchase the pattern for the Franklin Mint Marilyn click here.

To purchase the pattern for the Tonner Marilyn click here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Something's Got to Give" Suit Part II

I can't believe how much time has passed since my last post.  I kept planning on posting, but then I would tell myself to wait until I finished this project or that project.

Even though I still haven't finished the large batch of awesome outfits and the patterns that I made last year for Sandra Stillwell's convention in New York, I decided to tackle a couple of commissions that I had been waiting to make.

I made this suit back in 2012 as a commission for the Franklin Mint Marilyn Monroe doll.  I chose to make it in a cream wool with cream velboa fur.  Finding non-wavy velboa is not easy and I feel lucky to have found it on-line.

I had always intended to make it again for Gene and the Tonner dolls.  Another customer wanted me to make it for him, but he wanted the fabrics and fur to be more taupe in color like in the movie.

I have been looking for the right taupe fur and suiting since 2012.  I finally found a nice taupe fur, but I decided the fur was too fluffy for this outfit.  It was still all I had, so I started looking for the suiting next.  Oh my goodness, taupe is a hard color to match!  I bought two different pieces of taupe suiting and decided to make the suit in both fabrics and let my customer decide which one he liked the most.
I still didn't know what I was going to do about the too-fluffy taupe fur when one day an idea popped into my head.  Was it possible to trim the fur shorter using hair clippers?  I found some videos on youtube and decided to give it a try.
Here are the results:

When I found this light-weight wool and a fabric store in Portland, Oregon, I was thrilled.  It was the perfect match to the fur!  This taupe has a grey-green tint to it, I also loved that it was a nice quality wool.  The suit turned out darker than I would have liked to be.

Honestly, the colors in my photographs looked better than they do in real life.

My other taupe looked more like the color of the suit in the movie.  I didn't love how it matched the fur at first.  I kept getting thrown off by the green color of the fur.  The more I looked at it though, the more I preferred it and so did my customer.

Again, the colors look better in these photos than they do in real life.

I still wanted to make more of these suit to sell to my other customers, but after trimming the cuffs, collars, hats, and skirt trims with hair clippers, I decided I did not want to do that on a larger scale.

Clipping the fur was very time consuming, messy, and made my nose itch.  I decided to go back to my trusty cream wool and cream velboa fur.

I came up with a way to make the hat adjustable to fit over different hairstyles.

Trent wanted in on the photo shoot because he is new.  He is looking very dashing in this suit stolen off the back of a Tonner James Collins doll.

I will be making this suit to fit the Franklin Mint Marilyn doll and also to fit Tonner's Marilyn doll soon.  I will also be making this suit up in pink and yellow jacquard.
To purchase this pattern click here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Wallis Simpson Wedding Dress

When I was asked to create Wallis Simpson's wedding dress for a commission a while ago, I was not sure I would be able to do it.  My favorite fashions come from 1947-1962.  I do not know much about the 30's at all.

Wallis Simpson was an American socialite for whom King Edward the VIII abdicated his throne so he could marry her.  They were married in 1937.

Wallis' gown was designed by Mainbocher and was the color "Wallis blue" to match her eyes.

The dress over time faded into a lovely ivory color, which is the color we decided to make our dress.

The commissioned dress is made out of a beautiful ivory silk crepe de chine that I picked up in NYC this past summer.  I made it to fit Tonner's Antoinette doll.  I had never sewn for this doll before.  She is smaller in the bust and bigger in the waist and hips than Gene.  Antoinette's figure is probably a lot closer in proportion to Wallis' figure than Gene's is.

The original dress had sleeves, but I chose to make a sleeveless dress to be worn under the jacket, to reduce bulk.

There were some beautiful details on the jacket too, that I was unable to replicate.  For more photos and information about this dress click here.

I wish I had a better wig for my Antoinette doll.

Believe it or not, the skirt was the hardest part for me to figure out.  I cut it on the bias, and flared out the bottom of the skirt.  There is not enough weight to the skirt to really get it to hang the way I want it to.  One of the many challenges of working in miniature.  I also learned the hard way not to stretch the fabric when you are sewing on the bias.

Of course I had to make the dress again to fit the Gene dolls.  Here is my "Evening Mist Zita" playing Wallis.

Wallis' hat kicked my butt, I was not able to make a little hat with feathers on it.

I ended up making a hat out of Ultra-suede, tulle, and beads.

Since I liked the wedding dress so much, I decided to see what it would look like with a shorter skirt.  I really love how this suit turned out.  I made it out of a beautiful blue double silk georgette that I had bought on-line years ago.

The blue is an unusual color, I had a hard time finding buttons and material for the hat that matched.

I ended up using crystal beads for the buttons, and tulle for the hat.

I only had tulle to work with for the hat, so I was inspired by this photo that I found on-line.

To purchase the pattern for the Antoinette doll click here.

To purchase the pattern for the Gene doll click here.