Sew Crafy

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Ribbon Runs Through This Fun Challenge!

Your challenge this week is to use only ribbons to create a fabulous design. You may choose to create daywear, night wear or casual wear for this challenge. Remember it must be couture.

In 2005 I began to see a place for high-quality ribbon on the runway.  It was at the heart of a trend to a natural look with an emphasis on femininity and pure cuteness.  This is not to say ribbon hasn't been an influence in design work since it was developed; I'm only saying there was a great resurgence in its use at that time.

Designs rocked both the Paris and Milan Fall/Winter runways that were styled with prim and proper ribbons.  By the time the Spring/Summer collections aired, it was ribbons that accentuated many styles.  They were worn like belts, decorated hemlines, and were being used as trim to add a touch of softness to even more previously trimmed down items.  I found myself perfectly delighted that someone had updated something as mundane as a trench coat!  

Today ribbons continue to embellish and influence many garments world-wide.  Although ribbon is said to have originated in France, it's been hard to keep them down on that highly fashionable farm once the world started to re-appreciate them so much.  New colors were added as this trend grew, and soon more designers and suppliers were looking at varied patterns, different types of fabrics, and anything else to update old ribbons and make new ribbon styles unique.  All the best wanted to develop ribbons that were unique enough to be incorporate into many clothing designs or ribbon supply inventories.  

Like their real life counterparts, our dolls seemed to clamor for some ribbon action of their own about the time of this re-appreciation.  One really important difference, though, was the way ribbons could be used in doll clothing design.  Not only could ribbon be used to make a convincing obi sash, purse strap, or headband for one's latest dolly hairstyle; these models were also of a size where ribbon could conceivably be used to make an entire creation - or a creation could be made by incorporating more than just one type of ribbon.  The fashion world hasn't shown any lack of enthusiasm for beautiful ribbon worked into designs, and I doubt this trend has reached the end of the spool for dolls either.  But wouldn't it be nice to put it to the test?

Steven Fraser - Dressmaker Details

And who better to put ribbon to the test than the originator of this challenge, noted designer and Ribboneur Extraordinaire, Steven Fraser!?!  Steven began Masterstroke Canada, Inc. about fifteen years ago to provide the world's finest ribbons and trims to its customers.  Seven years ago Dressmaker Details was developed.  He says it offers quality doll notions and trims for scale-conscious dolly fashionistas because it is "a company borne out of the many requests  for our diminutive ribbons for doll artists."  

Steven's newest line, Dressmaker Details Couture, was also specifically developed for our small mavens of fashion. He says "DDC is a return to a bygone era of doll fashions; it evokes memories of a time when even the minutest detail was not overlooked from the loops of ribbon to hang a strapless gown, to the tiny compact inside of a miniature patent leather clutch.  It's all in the details!"

Steven Fraser came to CDDC as a guest judge, and we're quite lucky he came on board as a resident judge, and is back with us for this edition.  This master constructionist doesn't just talk about details being important - he proves it in all of his designs.

So I assume the questions our contestants will have to ask themselves as they develop an outfit to satisfy this challenge might include:  1. Can I go a bit out of scale and garner high points from this judge?  2.  Would my fashion be a good fit in a Parisian-style doll couture salon?  And finally, 3.  Do I have the right ribbon to get on with this challenge!?!   I also assume they need to get on with it FAST, because time's a wasting now that the challenge has hit the internet - well not that fast.  They may want a little insight as to who their guest judge is first!!

Dal Lowenbein - Dal's Dolls 

 "I am unafraid to challenge myself. I believe that is what life is for. Growth, joy and beauty!" What doll designer, really any type designer, could go wrong with a motto like this one from Dal Lowenbein? She's been entering doll design competitions and blogging at least four years, and it appears she's managed to grow and win and enjoy her time. Read Dal's blog if you'd like to know more about her journey.

  We were fortunate enough to see some of her very challenging designs when she did a stint in a CDDC competition. There she managed to impress the judges enough to place second overall. But we hadn't seen the last of Dal, because she's been nice enough to come back and guest judge from time to time. That's the case in this remarkable ribbon challenge, and I think she's a perfect guest judge to analyze how these contestants tackled it.

  You see, Dal can and has won many challenges BUT she's also felt the sting of less than stellar marks when she hasn't gotten it quite right. She's been there and done that from both sides of these competitions, so I don't think I'm wrong advising the contestants to read carefully and appreciate what she says when she steps up to the plate. You can always get a "Wonderful; I love it," on any item when you show it to Mom just as you run the risk of getting a heckler who will say "It's awful," when you show something where comments come in unsolicited. It is far different getting it from someone who cares.......specifically someone like Dal. She has a good heart and a keen eye - and she'll be using them both to try to give you constructive criticism that will help you grow and improve your couture doll designs.

This year again we have a wonderful group of designers!   I don't think we have any worries about them getting on with their designs or learning from the process.  In fact, I know some of them could hardly wait to be selected for the competition, so I'll bet they are really happy to now have the first challenge.  So now here for the first time on the blog, specifically for our audience's viewing pleasures, are the new (and some returning) designers who want to push their limits to design something worthy of challenge win(s).   

As you read their information below, I think you'll see how very much these contestants appreciate the type of venue Larraine Elcock has developed with CDDC.  The resounding reasons most say they want to return or enter CDDC is because the challenges allow them to push their boundaries way past where they were originally, and both the contestants (and audience) have lots of fun seeing each challenge revealed.  I'm glad they're not all about being serious or competitive; they - like Larraine - seem to remember that no matter how sophisticated our efforts get, when playing with dolls we should at least have a little fun.  Hum….very intriguing…let's move on and meet these interesting designers!    

Aly Greaves

I am a costume designer for the theatre in Chicago. 

I have been collecting fashion dolls since 2001.  I enjoy using the small bits and bobs left over from my costumes to create one of a kind pieces for my little plastic actresses.   

Anita Stoklosa

Doll Collectors know me as Anicetta.  I'm from Poland, and sew mostly for Silkstone Barbie and Fashion Royalty.  I make sure that all my outfits are made with the highest standards, with lining and professional overlock finish on the edges before it is labeled with my logo. My creations have unique hats made of felt, trimmed with feathers, beads and ribbons.  Because of my love of dolls I decided to study Art at the Silesian University where I have an opportunity to deepen my knowledge and perfect my skills.  CDDC is another opportunity to do this too. 

Anj Calvo

I am a doll customizer in the Philippines. I go by the name Gabooche online.

I love customizing dolls, particularly celebrity dolls. I almost do everything to these dolls - from repainting, re-rooting, and designing and making their clothes and accessories.


Anna Kawka

I'm from Poland.  I hope to have enough time to finish all the  challenges from CDDC this time, but my first priority is as a housewife and a mum of two great boys.

My biggest passion is sewing doll clothes; all dolls I have in my collections are bought for sewing so I have many types and brands of dolls.

Anna Lipka

I'm from Poland. My two great passions are dolls and sewing.

I'm very happy when I can create new fasions for my dolls.

I enter CDDC with the hope it will bring new experiences and new challenges that will be visible in my designs.          

Dagmara Morcinek 

I’m a thirty-something wife and mother of two wonderful daughters.  Since I was a child I have always been interested in  sewing. 

I start collected dolls three years ago. I began making a doll house in 1/6 scale with furniture and other accessories, and then was successful doing repaints and restyling dolls as I believe I am little art talented.   I sew OOAK outfits that even include shoes, and am in the process of opening my own OOAK fashion business for dolls.  My favorite dolls are from Integrity Toys, especially Fashion Royalty, Poppy Parker and Avantguards.   

Elena Peredreeva(Tselisheva)
I live in Yoshkar-Ola, Russia. By profession I am an accountant, and I create outfits for dolls as my hobby. I have sewn for dolls since I was five.  I began with small Russian dolls, later Barbies, and now I am passionately in love with Fashion Royalty dolls.   I  have collected them since 2007, and most of my fashions are made for them.   My favorite fabrics are silk, leather and ultrasuede. The same way I like different kinds of embroidery, silk ribbons and beads, but have never used these methods of decoration in doll clothes before, but I am hoping CDDC will present an opportunity for me to explore new things.  

Gordana Niemela
This is my second CDDC and I am loving it!  I love to design and sew for a variety of girls -from casual to ultra formal.

I have been sewing and designing since 2003. I attend the occasional Doll Convention, and have won several awards. I sell on e-bay and my website is Glamour Goddess Designs.

Elena Prokhorava
I live in Russia. and I collect dolls and sew clothes for them.  This is my main hobby, but I also really like to draw, and many of my things at first appear in an album in the form of drawings.

For a long time I have dream of participating in the CDDC competition, so I am very happy to have been accepted to participate.   

Huckleberry Jackson

I'm thirty-something and truly international.  I was born in Luxembourg; with my mother being from there, and my dad is Portuguese.  I studied in Brussels at La Cambre, and now I live in Berlin.

Back in fashion school I began draping on dolls because I didn´t like drawing.  For me this was an easy way to quickly get an idea of what a certain volume could look like.  Later I realized how much I actually liked working on the tiny scale.

I´ve collected Blythe and Silkstone Barbies, but my collecting was totally changed when I discovered Fashion Royalty dolls.  Their posability and attitude were just what I´ve been waiting for my whole life without even knowing it!  I especially love the picture taking part with them; there is always this moment when a doll wears my outfit and I have found the perfect pose and light; it's then I can feel the magic happen. 

Irina Koroleva
I live in Moscow, Russia. 

I have collected  fashion dolls for five years.

In my collect are Sybarite, Momoko, Fashion Royalty and Tonner.       

Jason Kramer

I have been collecting and designing for fashion dolls for the last seven years, and have taken part in a few design competitions.

My collection consists mainly of Tonner 16" fashion dolls, with a few Barbies and Fashion Royalty as well.

I work full time as a Costume Designer for a company that specializes in competition costumes for High School and Independent Color Guards and Dance Teams. I love finding inspiration in contemporary fashion for my work as well as in my doll fashion designs. I am so eager to take my work to the next level, and have been quite impressed with the CDDC challenges the last two cycles.  I am very excited to push myself and am ready to step out of my comfort zone, and take part in a competition with clear direction and interesting challenges!

Julia Mezrina

I'm a twenty-something web designer from Izhevsk, Russia. I collect Fashion Royalty dolls, and I've recently got my very first Sybarite. I made clothes for my Barbies in my childhood, but only started sewing for my dolls again about a year ago.  I'm not a gown person,  and do prefer classic suits over evening gowns for my dolls. I was lucky enough to be among the CCDC contestants last year and to win a third prize -- absolutely fantastic!

 I've learned a lot from that challenge to improve my skills and met some great people.  That is (obviously) a lot more important than any prize could be. At this time I'm also looking for more things to know... and fun, of course!         

Mark Padilla

I'm in Petaluma, California, USA.  

 Sewing for my doll Ellowyne is a great passion of mine, and an awesome creative outlet for me.

I regularly post my pics on my group doll blog, Doll Observers. Since my first participation in the last contest, I have been waiting on the edge of my seat for the next installment of this wonderful competition. I learned so very much and had so much fun! 

Julia Rebeskova

I live in Russia, in the city of Tolyatti. I am  twenty-something, I have a nice family consisting of my husband and two children.

I started collecting dolls about a year and a half ago, and very much like to make clothes for them.  I like to think out new images.  I am looking forward to this competition.

Maria Ustynovska

I live in Odessa, Ukraine country.  My 2 year old daughter and my dolls are the most important things in my life. Since my childhood I have been fond of dolls, and in 2008 they became a big part of my life. This life has carried away in me a whirlpool of wonderful with mini people.

 Now I am fond of FR, Tonner, and the Sybarite especially. I like to sew for them very much. My dream is to begin my own line of dolls and clothes for them. All my experience I took from my Mum and my father. She has taught me to sew alone without a teacher, and he is an architect and painter, so he taught me how to draw. Now that I have graduated drawing school, and am also Iearning sculpture. This year I will go to the school of art for theater, and my specialty will be costume design. I believe the level of my knowledge and my experience will help me became a famous costume designer

Mark Tinkey

I have worked as a costume designer and actor for 16 yrs.   

I was the winner of the Judges Choice in advanced design at the final Gene convention.
I also have designed OOAK pieces sell at auction for up to $1500. 

Natalia Sheppard

I'm a thirty something lady who in 2006 (4 years ago) came to USA from Russia but hope to maintain a dual citizenship in both countries because I consider myself a citizen of each of them.

I  started making clothes for dolls when I came to America. I graduated from Professional Technical Specialized School where I studied design and was taught to construct and make clothes for people.  Design and construction obviously were not new to me.

Terry Barner

I have been primarily a repaint artist, but I have created some OOAK dolls and some fashions for about 15 years.

I have a passion to create and find a great deal of peace when I get to do that. 

Sometimes time has no meaning when I get involved in a project.     

Valentina Churkina

 I am just in to the thirties, and I am an attorney living  in Moscow, Russia.

In my childhood I enjoyed sewing clothes, and  finally my old love to sew clothes is back, and  I'm happy to be designing and sewing clothes for my favorite dolls - FR, AG, Barbie/Silkstone,  and Pullip.           

Viktoria Kolmychek

I'm a doll lover from Moscow, Russian Federation. Two years ago I started my doll hobby, so I have been making doll clothes for one year and a half.

I prefer to work with Tonner dolls, both classic and the Antoinette line. I love classic Tonner dolls for their femininity, and they look so great in classic designs! And I can make the shortest dresses for Antoinettes

I use only the best fabrics for doll dresses.  My credo is: "Even plastic dolls prefer natural silk!"  I work at an online store as an editor.         

Zenia Komar

I am twenty-something, and I was born in Ukraine, Lviv. Now my husband and two daughters and I have lived in Poland the last six years.

My passion is sewing for dolls.  I like it and try to do it in every free moment. My works are not perfect, but I am still learning. I want to take part in the competition so that I can be challenged and have an interesting experience.

Lana Turk

I love making One of a Kind fashions for a variety of collectible dolls ranging in size from 11" to 22."  I also make OOAK Artist dolls, dressed repaints (mermaids, fairies, warriors, steampunk, gothic, etc.), and a wide variety of jewelry, hats, shoes and other accessories.

All my doll clothes are handmade and of excellent quality. They are designed and sewn by me personally. I also take personal requests for fashions, repaints and jewelry.

This is my second season doing CDDC challenges, and I really enjoy it.  Since the last one I have become one of the newest shop owners on Couture Doll Shops with my shop titled Doll Couture by Lana on Designer Drive.  

Alena Mokhan 

I’m twenty something and was born in Belarus, but now I live in the USA. Thanks to my mom I had very early interests in crafts. After graduating from the Belarussian State University I started to create dolls from polymer clay and doll clothes for American Girl, Tonner McCall and Barbie. 

It’s so wonderful to link your job with what you love to do. Of course, I have a great helper - my little son! When I need his advice he does his best! And I'm so happy that I have a chance to participate in your great competition of doll clothes designers.

 Breck Sullivan-Carpenter

 I'm from Connecticut, USA, and began sewing and playing with dolls when I was 5. My creations for Barbie, made from Mom's scraps, often featured a Southern Belle theme. I know I spent hours fitting those huge belle skirts to the doll's tiny waist. In high school I was introduced to theatre, and became involved in both acting and costumes. In fact, I have spent over 25 years designing, and have even worked on Broadway where I was a draper/first hand in the early 80's. I hold a degrees in both theatre and psychology. I'm really a closet doll and fabric lover who likes to have fun - and I am really looking forward to the challenges!

 Susan Grindstaff

 I come to sewing and design work naturally through the influence of my talented mother who worked as a seamstress to help support the family. In fact it is from her that my passion for creating something unique and original was derived. I spent 15 years designing for real people before I discovered how versatile and rewarding it could be designing for our diminutive divas – and I love it. I design all my creations, and make patterns for each one, too.

I did CDDC last season. It was an interesting, fun experience, and I was happy with some wins as this was my first time competing. It was a real revelation, teaching me a bit about competing in general, and what is expected of you. I am continuing to sell my design work at Viva La Posh, and look forward to these challenges.

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