Sew Crafy

Friday, October 16, 2009

Steppin' Style!

"I won Challenge 2- I am in complete awe- because there were some really good designs there. I’m happy, especially since I went so back and forth with this design. I guess you should always stay true to your design aesthetic and inspiration. It paid off." ~ Lori Lyon

Again, I was not surprised when I saw Challenge 2's winner was Lori Lyon! Not that everyone didn't step it up for this challenge - kudos to all the designers. But, since this challenge was inspired by the shoes of it just had to know this special pair made by the designer would not escape the judges. This, coupled with a stunning Dior-inspired outfit fashioned from gold/rose crossdye cotton and gold micro sequined mesh, rocked our runway!!

If you'd like to read more about Lori Lyon and her process, be sure to check out her very informative blog.

And, getting back to allllll the designers....I'd like to take a moment to appreciate how professional and courteous each and every designer in CDDC is! It's not easy to put forth your vision each challenge! Harder still is facing the judges - with the added pressure of internet time to get your comments back. Those who choose to take this process for what it is intended learn and grow from it - and I think you are all doing a fine job at that. Thanks for a stellar challenge with scrumptious eye candy!!!

And speaking of those judges..........this week I'm featuring one of our regular judges; well actually a pair. These two sisters make up 1/4 of each designer's points. They are Janet Ellis and Diana Wieler, and are sisters who work together under the name of La Boutique. Their designs have been featured in Haute Doll Magazine and Fashion Doll Quarterly, and they are best known for their Purse of the Month Club.

Janet is the seamstress/ garment designer of the pair and Diana is the accessorist who makes the leather handbags and shoes. Although the two have been collaborating on doll ensembles since 2003, it was four years ago -- in 2005 -- that the sisters found their niche with the Purse of the Month Club.

Each month Diana recreates a well-known designer handbag in miniature, and Janet designs the doll garments to complement it. Customers on the mailing list can choose from the purse, fashion separates or a complete ensemble for their girls. Recently, the sisters have expanded their repertoire to include sizing for the 16" beauties.

Janet has been professionally trained in tailoring, and half the year works at the well-known Shaw Festival Theatre, leading one of the costuming teams. Diana has long experience in both miniatures and leatherwork. Together they share an almost-fanatical attention to detail, and admiration of the designers who make the world of fashion so much fun.

If you'd like to see more of their work, check out their Picturetrail album.


BREAKING NEWS - Today we are pleased to announce a new sponsor, The Tonner Doll Company. How could we go wrong with a company whose motto is Believe in the Power of Play®?? It is, indeed, hard to imagine all the many wonderful characters under this company's widespread umbrella not being in our lives (and our doll cabinets)! How exciting that our first place winner and runnerup will receive their Private Affair Tyler and Dancing With Carlos Sydney!!

Robert Tonner, the driving force behind this company, is no stranger to the world of couture. Freshly graduated from Parsons School of Design, Tonner was invited to join Bill Blass, and soon became one of the company’s top designers. And, unless you were living on a deserted island, you knew his name - he was regularly featured in Women’s Wear Daily, Town & Country, New York Magazine, The New York Times, and Vogue. He had a “contemporary classic” view of how a modern American woman should dress then, and still does today. He shared his fashion vision when he decided to go into the collectible business.

In 1982, due to his love of doll collecting, Robert decided to try his hand at doll sculpting. His efforts were rewarded when , in 1985, he received a glowing review, from an esteemed panel of judges at the National Institute of American Doll Artists Conference in NYC, for a model-like fashion doll he had entered for critique. From there he turned more of his attention to his doll designs, and in 1991 he left the fashion industry.

His decision was rewarded, and here are a few of the things he has accomplished:

-His creations added to the permanent collection of the Louvre Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, France

-Partnering with Miramax Fims, he created dolls based on the films‘Chicago’ and ‘Ella Enchanted’

-Paramount Pictures’ Dreamgirls continued his trend of beautifully costumed dolls inspired by the cinema

-Developed character figures based on the movie from Summit Entertainment,TWILIGHT

-Worked with Warner Bros. on its Harry Potter™ Collection, The Wizard of Oz™ and DC Comics’ DC STARS™ Collection featuring famous DC Super Heroes such as Supergirl™, Wonder Woman™ and Superman™.

-Teamed with Marvel Comics to introduce licensed likenesses from the film, Spiderman 3, in a complete character figure collection

-Released new collections based on Disney film properties Pirates of the Caribbean and the Chronicles of Narnia.

-Purchased the Effanbee Doll Company and its rich legacy as one of America’s oldest doll companies.

-Has served as standards chairman and president of the National Institute of American Doll Artists (NIADA).

-Regularly aligns his company and creative spirit with a variety of charitable initiatives including the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR), England’s Action against Addiction and Broadway Cares/Equity Fighting AIDS.

Tonner’s top line, Tyler Wentworth®, is based on the life of a New York City fashion designer and her exquisite wardrobe; and she is the doll that has brought many fashion doll collectors to the Tonner Doll Company initially. But what made them stay was the ever-evolving fashionistas including different ethniticities and sizes - all with those wonderful Tonner-inspired fashions. In fact, he even designed a special doll, Antoinette, especially to be used as a mannequin. Her face is blank, so she is also a favorite of repaint artists! Yes, Tonner certainly continues to stay on the fast-track of dolldom even after being in this business for 18 years.

One of the most fun things Tonner fans enjoy is his fun-filled doll covention. Don't miss this event scheduled for May 2010 in Lombard, IL! For more information about this great doll company or registration for the convention be sure to check out the official Tonner website and be sure to check out Tonner Direct for actual doll purchases. If you sign up for their email list you will always be in the know! Thanks, Tonner Doll Company, for supporting CDDC!!!


  1. How exciting that Robert Tonner has joined in as a sponsor! And both Dancing with Carlos Sydney and A Private Affair Tyler are gorgeous dolls--they will make fabulous prizes for the winner and runner-up of this competition. Congratulations!

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