Sew Crafy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Anybody seen my bedazzler????

Challenge 3 may seem easy at first glance. Magalie Dawson is our guest judge this challenge. Our clue is Embellished - Our guest judge this week is known for her fabulous embellishments. Use your creative skills to create an outfit that is the epitome of perfect embellishment.

Well, let's see how easy it is. After all, the dictionary explains both of the keywords quite simply:

epitome = typical or ideal example

embellishment = a decorative or fanciful detail that makes something beautiful

So all we have to do is add a detail that is the ideal example of something that makes a garment beautiful - right?? Could it really be quite that easy?? Somehow the word challenge doesn't suggest easy to me!

You see, fashion has its own unique considerations when defining things. Also, people differ by taste on what they would consider the epitome of anything - especially in fashion. Therefore, when designing garments, a designer needs to be aware of what dictates the proper use of embellishments. From my research embellishments are not just defined as adding design interest, rather they specifically are also defined as items NOT necessarily required for the proper construction of a garment. Case in point could be the use of a fly in a woman's trousers; it has no function; it is simply an embellishment.

And, I've found nothing to indicate that all embellishments are created equal. Embellishments vary in that some can be very nice, others can be quite bold, and an overabundance can be downright gaudy. Embellishments are truly the bells and whistles of fashion, but careful attention must be paid to avoid staggering over into the gaudy category. Sometimes the less is more rule needs to be factored in!

Embellishments can also give off different vibes. Some may subtly enhance a creation, while others can serve to contrast -- some providing vivid and even sharp contrasts. In using them we can be over the top or patently mild, working ever so carefully to achieve what the judges will be looking for. And so it is whenever one chooses to enter into a design competition. Guidelines must be met and specific tastes satisfied. Frustrating though it can be at times, the essence of this challenge is to add an embellishment that is not necessarily required for the garmment's proper constuction while also being interesting. Not to pay attention to these guidelines can be fatal!

We can use embroidery, bows, cord, rhinestones, and even designs actually overprinted on fabric as embellishments...and so much more. Beads, appliqu├ęs, fur and lace all come to mind as being marvelous embellishments! But, again, what distinguishes the equality (desire) to use a certain embellishment really relies on what we want the embellishment to actually do, and that is what will also be judged in this challenge.

Also, when choosing our embellishments we might want to look to items that are normally not considered embellishments; rather, they are generally considered notions. One may not think notions would NOT act as embellishments because their reason for being is usually to add an easier way for garments to function. However, well-known items such as zippers, buttons, bias tape, interfacing, and the very thread that holds the garment together, can cross over into the category of embellishments! Think of that well-placed zipper that doesn't function - it has been put in a strategic position merely to tease us in a manner that will make our garment more interesting.

In the final analysis, what is important is that we always keep in mind -- for both designing and this challenge -- is that embellishments are NOT required for the proper fit or construction of a garment; they are that extra gem that enhances its quality! Are you up to this task??

Now, here's a little insight into our guest judge this week, Magalie Dawson.

It's hard to think of Magalie Dawson without MHD Designs immediately coming to mind. Her love of dolls and creating beautiful doll clothes has been apparent in every eBay ad or item shown on her web page to date. Here is the link: MHD Designs

On her web page you will also find a wonderful Q&A interview that will tell you her background and other information I would normally include in a bio - so I won't try to improve on perfection; just go here: About Magalie Dawson

What I will elaborate about, however, is the experience I have had as her customer. The care Magalie puts into her pattern descriptions is as great as the care demonstrated in her pattern pieces. For one thing, you get step-by-step illustrated instructions! You also get direct access to the designer should you find yourself still having a problem understanding any phase of her work!

But what sealed the deal for my admiration was the fact that these patterns actually fit the dolls they are intended for. IBelieve me, I know of what I speak, having struggled too much with commercially made patterns for doll clothes - both modern and vintage - that simply do NOT fit!! When using Magalie's patterns, I actually felt her with me every step of the way. She was teaching and encouraging me with her attention to detail!! She was inspiring me not to fail; rather that I needed to at least try new things!!

So, I would simply say to those designers who really wish to do well in this challenge: all you need to do is look! Look at the designs she has given the doll design world for your clue, because no one really designs things they don't like! No one manipulates fabric quite like Magalie Dawson, either! Perhaps you may find an embellishment she's used for her style that might fit in with yours; or perhaps you may find a clue in another judge's choice of embellishments!?! Just as long as what you see fits into YOUR design esthetic also, it should work - so I encourage you to do just that - Make it work!!

Blogmeister's Observation: From comments I've read on the CDDC Board, it's apparent some of you are 'fraidy cats when it comes to actually cutting beautiful fabric you've collected. To you I'd offer some sage advice from one of my elderly Aunts: "What are you waiting for?? If you save it tooooooo long it just may end up being used by your significant other's NEW know, after you are gone!" LOL Seriously, you don't have to pay attention to my Aunt; just listen to these words from Magalie:

"I always use the type of fabric I intend to use for the finished design so I can see how it will fall, thus creating my prototype."

" It doesn't take yards and yards of fabric to sew for dolls, so mistakes are not too expensive, and you learn a LOT from each effort. Besides, I truly believe that there is always a way to turn a 'mistake' into a 'success'."

Enough said??

****Now A Word About One Of Our Sponsors****

We are happy to have FDQ, Tonner Doll Company, PB Factory, and Jude Designs as sponsors. Here is an announcement and some information from one of them

What does a personal trainer and a couture doll designer have in common? They are both professions of the talented Tamara Casey, owner of Designs by Jude. This fitness guru came into the doll world after discovering the doll market on eBay where she was selling videos and exercise equipment. With the support of her family - two sons and a husband - she began doing OOAK dolls; balancing her time between painting, sewing and drafting doll clothes patterns. Never had she imagined she would have spent her days playing with dolls! But her continued flow of return customers over the past six years have soldified her role in the doll business!

Tamara works under the company name of Designs by Jude, and has maintained both a doll store on eBay and a website presence. Here are the links:

Designs by Jude

Doll Stuff by Designs by Jude eBay store

In December of 2008, she really expanded to a full fledged pattern and notion business by acquiring the intellectual property rights to what had been The Fletcher Pattern Company, developed originally by designer Gary Fletcher. How fortunate was the doll world to have had her step in when Mr. Fletcher decided to move his career in a different direction! Today her website is a blend of both companies, and also features other doll items including shoes, jewelry and accessories. And, she continues her personal goal of providing great service, variety and quality products.

CDDC is proud to welcome Tamara Casey/Designs by Jude as one of our valued sponsors. And we'd like to take this opportunity to reveal the part her company will play in this competition.


Tamara will be providing a pattern in pdf format for each of the 8 challenge winners. Whether the winner receives their first pattern from this talented designer's stores, or if it will add to their collection of her works, we are sure this new prize will be a delightful surprise - and, hopefully, an incentive to push the boundaries of each contestant's talents even further in each challenge!

Look for further details about this new development on the CDDC website.

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