Sew Crafy

Monday, November 29, 2010

Aren't Prizes GREAT!?!


A Doll's Christmas Tree......

I just received a picture of this wonderful prize Larraine Elcock will be receiving for her At Home Challenge win!!  Isn't it great?    
This was made by Ina Murphey, and it features over 100 tiny ornaments.  

I've selected a picture with a doll in it so you can more easily gauge its size.  Without the doll one could very easily mistake this for a life size Christmas tree!!Good things do come in small packages! 

Congratulations for winning this, Larraine - and my hat is off to Ina for creating it.  If anyone else would like to share their prize wins, be sure to drop the blogmeister an email.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saluting the winners and adieu..........for awhile!?!

 It's never fun when something we REALLY enjoy comes to an end, but we always knew we only had a set number of challenges, and then our winners would be announced.  Now all that is left to do is salute those winners....well, almost.  I would be remiss if I failed to give a nod to all the contestants that continued to create throughout this process.  It takes a special person with lots of perseverance to do this - so, to you, I tip my hat!!

For the rest of this blog I'm going to let the winners speak for themselves - each of them has prepared a few closing words, and have selected their favorite pictures to provide you with some wonderful eye candy!  So sit back and enjoy!!


Yana's designs will be featured in an upcoming issue of FDQ Magazine. From Tonner Doll Company she will receiveEvocative Antoinette, LE 150, Tonner Direct Exclusive, and from Integrity Toys, she'll enjoy Erin "Picture This" Convention exclusive. Finally, from Couture Doll Shops, she will be given a shop on this new doll mall for six months to showcase her work.

Some words from Yana...I live in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Chelyabinsk lies on the border between Europe and Asia. This is a big industrial town like Detroit in the USA. I have a university degree in ecology. At the present time I’m raising two children. I had a son Ilya (4 years old), and a daughter Anastasia (10 months old).

I like realism in doll clothes. I'm constantly trying to use new patterns, materials and accessories. I try to avoid repetition, and am not interested in making copies of my fashions .

This contest was a big test for me, because I concentrate on the classic fashion of the fifties in my practice.   Also, the level of skill and creativity of the contestants was very high.

I found it very difficult to understand the requirements of the contest in the first two rounds, and I lost a lot of points. After that I reviewed all the judge’s comments, and discovered I could change the situation. So I must give many thanks to the judges for their comments.

It was a great school for me. Deconstruction, Steampunk, and Gothic fashions expanded my perception.  I became a different person after this competition.  I feel empowered for the next dolly project!  And I now have a lot of friends around the world. Thank you all….Yana

Congratulations to our Second Place winner:
Irina Koroleva

 She will receive Glowing Muse Basic Honey Antoinette (includes 3 wigs) and Juxtaposed Outfit Only to fit Antoinette from the  Tonner Doll Company, and Veronique "Stylish Escape" from Integrity Toys.

 Some words from Irina...I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer from childhood, but worked for about 10 years in IT/Telecom. And I am happy, that my dream has come true now.  In the last two years I have finally  been making my fashion designs, but I do have some experience in a sewing fashion for myself that I translate for dolls.  I haven’t a favorite doll model - I sew for Sybarite, Momoko, Fashion Royalty and Tonner dolls. Each doll needs an individual approach.
I prefer a complex and rigorous construction, but often I like to use very complicated embellishments such as beads and embroidery. My style in couture is the sensuality and aristocratism.
 To view my work you can visit my website which she hopes to have translated into English the first of the year, and you can read her blog here.

It's unbelievable! I still can't believe I have won this place - it is best gift to my birthday that will be 19 November. Fantastic!  This season turned out to be very interesting but also difficult for me and for all of us - both physically, psychologically and emotionally. It was a real challenge and I was happy to accept it and overcome all the obstacles.
Thank you guys! Thanks to all of you - the judges, organizers, sponsors and fans. We did it!  We are the champions!!! I love CDDC, because it helps to be beyond possible and to perfect skills. Thanks to all of you - the judges,
organizers, sponsors and fans…
Congratulations to our Third Place winner:
Julia Mezrina

Her rewards are Antoinette Intoxicating Outfit Only and Antoinette Flirty Shoe Pack from  Tonner Doll Company, and Veronique "Onyx" from Integrity Toys.

Some words from Julia...I still can't believe that I've won the third prize in the CDDC. Only less than a year has passed since I re-discovered fashion dolls for myself and started sewing for them, so this award is really far from being expected. I applied for CDDC mainly in order to test out what I can do. 

The contest itself has been an absolutely fantastic experience for me, but sometimes I really had a hard time combining my full-time job as a web designer with making challenge entries.  Unfortunately, my site is currently under construction.  It’s so hard to design for yourself – especially since I’m the nightmare client any designer is afraid of!  But you can view my past work on my Flicr account.   

Now after the contest is over I'm left with a completely new attitude towards designing for dolls.  I'm taking it seriously, not as a 'cute hobby' as I did before. Maybe one day I'll start up my own brand of doll clothes and jewelry, who knows!?!

I've learned a lot from the judges' comments and I'm extremely grateful to them, as well as to all who organized the whole thing.  I never ever regretted I was in! Now I definitely should take some time to get used to life without CDDC…Julia

Susan Grindstaff
Prizes include Haute Traveler Susie from R&D Fashion Dolls as well as Adel "Soul Deep" from Integrity Toys.

Some words from Susan...Overall, CDDC was an interesting, fun experience. This was my first time competing, and it was a real revelation, teaching me a bit about competing in general, and what is expected of you.  Judging art is one tough assignment, so our judges were really some brave folks, and I thank them! 

I see fashion as an independent art form, and to me couture needs to be above all – unique.  Currently, I sell my fashions at VivaLaPosh, and if your cup of tea is a bit of romanticism and drama, be sure to check out my current offerings.

For those who didn't win anything, I hope they realize that their work is as worthy as ours who did. It's all subjective. Anyone can learn to be a better seamstress;  the trick is to avoid mimicry and to stick to your own artistic
vision, whatever that may be.
  Thanks for a great experience!…

Anna Lipka
She will receive In Focus: Digital Photography for the Doll Collector from Pat Henry and Lillith "The Great Pretender" from Integrity Toys.
Some words from Anna...I'm fromPoland, and my two great passions are dolls and sewing...good thing those can be combined.  I began with this hobby 5 years ago when, while moving, I found my old Barbie doll from childhood.

You can check out what I am currently selling on eBay in my shop, and you can see my past work on my Flickr account

I´m delighted with this contest, which has pushed me beyond my limits and brought so much pleasure. Many thanks to everyone who made this happen!...Anna
Uh, oh!!  With this last winning announcement, we end this season's blog for Couture Doll Design Challenge.  But do not despair, aspiring designers, there are already rumblings of a CDDC3!!  And how will you know if that's going to happen?
  1.  Have faith.  2. Watch this blog.  We'll be back if ANY news is forthcoming!
  And, in the meantime - enjoy your holidays,  and don't forget to always enjoy anything you do relating to your dolls........and couture doll fashions, of course!! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Never a bridesmaid; always a BRIDE!

The winner of challenge 6 is a newcomer to the world of doll couture, Svjetlana Turk, whom we have all come to know as Lana. Looking at her wonderful interpretation of the avant-garde bridal challenge along with her other entries, it becomes instantly apparent that this designer brought some great skills with her when she began her journey into designing doll couture. 

Although she is a chemical engineer by profession, she is definitely an artist at heart.  Lana has been sewing since she was 5, and has designed for real people as well as dolls. However, she says creating for dolls allows her to fantasize and realize her true dream, that of being a fashion     designer. 

Not content to just design and sew couture doll clothing, Lana also does doll repaints, and makes accessories that include shoes, hats, and jewelry. She is constantly working on improving her techniques.

This wife and mother of two beautiful daughters is a Christian artist who enjoys sharing some of her tips an techniques on her blog. She has a new website where you can see her latest creations available for sale. She is also one of the newest members of the CDDC sister site, Couture Doll Shops. She hopes you will visit her often as she is always working on new creations. Congratulations, Lana, your bride is definitely ready for her nuptials to begin. 
It's been a long journey for those competing in the Couture Doll 
Design Challenge again this time. And I 'm happy to give kudos to Larraine Elcock for making this possible again. I am sure all would agree she has continued to give us a quality competition with fair judges and interesting challenges. So even before we announce the final winners, one's mind races to the inevitable question - will there be another CDDC? This reader/writer would cast a resounding yes vote if she had an opportunity to cast one! 

I'd also like to give a little nod to those people in the gallery who secretly played along, entered at home challenges, or helped make bigger decisions by voting for People's Choice winners. And the At Home winners who will be taking home gift certificates are Larraine Elcock and Durelle Brown. Thanks go to Ina Murphey, LaPetite Fashion Promenade, and Mike Austin, Mike's Creations  - two of the very talented shop owners on Couture Doll Shops - for providing gifts for these winners.

Well, that's almost it for your blogger for this CDDC - I say almost because the final blog will feature all the final winners and their prizes - what fun!!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Yana Emellyanova nails the prize for the Steampunk Challenge making this win number 3 for this talented contender.  But I have to say, she also had some staunch competition.  These designers certainly stepped up their game.

She nailed military Steampunk spot on.  The jacket and pants of her uniform styled fashon were made of silk taffeta, blouse of cotton, and the corset of painted lace.  It also featured all the gadgets we normally see with this style.

I must say I could pick out Yana’s outfit as well as several others.  I’ve come to know the style of particular artists, a style that wasn’t so evident when this competition first began.

But it is in the styling that a designer makes their mark.  Don’t you think of specific things these designers have used time after time while still managing to give their designs a fresh face year after year?  You know, the likes of John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood, Betsy Johnson, Dian Von Furstenberg.  Whether you like their designs or not – you can always pick them out!!  It’s a thrill to see these new designers accomplishing their own style.

Speaking of style, it’s hard not to think of Robert Tonner – goth for dolls and real life clothing.  And this year we are delighted to not only welcome back the Tonner Doll Company as one of our sponsors, but to also have Tom Courtney, Art Director, as one of our judges! 

The Tonner Doll Company never fails to delight us.  From their online presentations of new dolls through Tonner Direct to their Tonner Doll Collectors' Conventions, there is always a way for doll collectors to experience doll beauty with them!!

I say "them" because it does truly take a village to bring to the public all the wonderment Robert Tonner can imagine for us.  Shining bright as a legend in our doll world, Robert Tonner is the ultimate face of this great dynasty, but his "village," or staff members, are some of the wonderful people from his company we have also met at conventions or online along the way.  You really didn't think Robert, as he is affectionately known by doll lovers, could do all the jobs necessary to bring his many visions to realization, now did you? 

One such member of Robert Tonner's winning team is Tom Courtney.  Tom is a fun-loving, hard-working, crew member who is also a fellow doll collector.  Like many of the designers in our Challenge, Tom not only collects, he also enjoys designing and sewing for his own dolls whenever his busy schedule allows him this pleasure.  Among his other avocations are cooking, gardening, and photography.

 Tom’s professional life began after college interning for the Department of Navy as a Contracts Specialist, culminating in a 12-year career of cost analysis, negotiation, and procurement of computer equipment, machine tools, and navigation components for the TRIDENT Missile Program. Shifting his focus to the creative, Tom joined Tonner in 2000, and while there has handled production management, marketing, advertising, visual merchandising, web development and most recently, Art Direction. 

Many people think Tom designs for Tonner, but in truth, he has never worked under the Design Team. As Art Director, Tom is responsible for the visual promotion and consistency of Tonner Doll via its printed materials, website, photography and trade shows. 

It hadn’t been very long when we had this interview that the Tonner Doll Company had moved its offices, so I wanted to know how Tom was enjoying his new digs.  I was delighted when he answered, and gave me this interesting tidbit.  “Tonner has gone through many changes during my 10 years; but the most interesting has been moving to the historic Bank of New York building in uptown Kingston this past April,” he explains. “We all love the new space…and truly believe we have a couple of ghosts we inherited via the building!”  Hum….I wonder if the Tonner crew took them along with them to Burlington, Vermont for their recent 2010 Tonner Halloween Convention themed Mysticism & Mayhem??

I also couldn’t resist asking my fellow doll aficionado about his own doll collection – what he collects, what his favorites are, and where he keeps them all.  Like most of us, he was happy to share!  Tom has collected dolls for over 25 years; gathering such notables as Barbie, Madame Alexander children, Tonner’s Betsy McCall and Mary Engelbreit, and an extensive collection of various fashion dolls.  “In the past three years, however,” Tom says, “Alice in Wonderland has been a large influence on my collection; I’ve been collecting both artist pieces and vintage souvenir dolls sold in the Disney parks.”
Tom doesn’t display them all at home, though – space there is limited and reserved for special artist pieces and his Alice figurine and teapot collection. “My office at Tonner has become my ‘serious’ display space for my favorites these days,” Tom explains. And what are those favorites, I asked? “Right now, I am loving Tonner’s Scarletts – Harry Potter, and Alice. Also, Tyler Wentworth will always be my favorite fashion doll,” Tom replied.

Having seen some of  Tom’s wonderful sewing, I asked what dolls he had designed clothing for – as a hobby, of course – to which he replied:   “I have designed clothing for Barbie; Madame Alexander’s Cissy, Cissette and Wendy; Tonner’s Betsy McCall and Mary Engelbreit child dolls; Gene, Tonner’s American Models, Kitty Collier, 16” and Fashion dolls such as Tyler and Antoinette.”
And most don’t know, at one time he even accomplished a human scale Gone With the Wind gown for a friend.   Scattered throughout this interview are pictures of dolls Tom collects, gowns he’s produced (including the GWTW life-sized), and a very good picture of our most talented and real live doll, Tom Courtney.  CDDC is indeed lucky to have him as one of our resident judges!

And how about this last challenge and its judge??  Our final guest judge is the winner of last year's CDDC, Emilia Nieminen.  Her fabulous designs and the wonderful creation of those designs brought her to the win.  So I think it’s quite appropriate she guest judge the final challenge.  This challenge is to create the piece de resistance of any runway...the bridal gown, but a very special bridal gown.  The designers are to take their gown to the cutting edge of fashion by making it extremely modern and avant garde.

She certainly knows avant garde as well as every style in the challenges that were thrown at her last year.  So that makes it even more interesting that she didn’t plan to be a designer. Her Bachelor’s degree is in business and she has a Master’s Degree in Chinese language.  And as a child she preferred the whims of a tomboy to that of a girl who plays with dolls.

Rather it was her interest in her school’s theater group that laid the foundation for her taste for historical elements and her flair for the dramatic.  She even spent a semester studying fashion drawing in Shanghai University because she loved designing wedding gowns.  She feels it’s the one day when people dare to dress up and wear something special.

Her interest in dolls was sparked by a shopping trip with her sister who introduced her to fashion dolls.  After a few shopping sprees on the internet. and a few dolls purchased, she begin to dress these diminutive divas and she was hooked.  She says developing a personality with the doll helps her decide which style will suit her best.

So there you have it, a judge who has a vast knowledge of wedding ensembles as well as avant garde.  This winning combination should lead to some interesting comments as well as some helpful guidance from this judge.

And now I feel it important to talk about a past judge. This year we lost the incredibly talented Joe Tai.  His battle with cancer ended in September.  But weren’t we fortunate to have him with us for a time – a time where he not only gave us incredible fashions, but also dolls, shoes, and jewelry?  I interviewed Joe during his judging CDDC last year, and he was extremely happy to be a part of this endeavor.  We at CDDC were extremely happy to have him. and will always think of him in the fondest way. 

 Goodbye, Joe Tai, you will be missed!