Sew Crafy

Monday, April 23, 2012

CDDC contestants who can spell W I N !!





Photography Winner: Julia Peshkova


Friday, April 20, 2012

Going ga ga over the Lady

Your final challenge will be what this competition is all about...Avant Garde(AG) and who better to inspire you to the heights of Avant Garde, but the embodiment of AG herself...Lady Gaga. This superstar is Avant Garde to the max with a little splash of fantasy to keep everyone on their toes and speaking of toes don't forget those Gaga shoes. Wherever she goes Lady G goes there in Avant Garde style. Heck I'd like to bet that she wears AG to take out her garbage!!! With that in mind your final challenge is to design an outfit that would suit Lady G to a T.

Forget that boring, simple little black dress you were planning on wearing this weekend, it's all about meat dresses, dahling. I mean, who wouldn't want to wear a dress you picked up at the butcher shop including the now-infamous meat dress meant to express the feminist declaration: "I am not a piece of meat."  For the more faint of heart there might be an outfit made entirely of Kermit the Frog dolls or even fan's faces.  Do you think Gaga dares? Hum...GaGa and dare...seems to much of this universe she invented that word.

From the woman who gave us this rather confusing quote, "People ask me why I wear veils. I reply, I'm mourning. Mourning what? Well I figure something shitty must be going on somewhere," may just come the next popular fashion line.  But she is saying that is when she has the time to dedicate to it she will do it; for now she will think about it.  Her exact quotes are “I might do something but I just really respect so many designers.  Part of me thinks it would be such an injustice for someone like me to do it on the side because so many of them dedicate their lives to it. I might do it one day but I would have to take a break from music so I could concentrate on it.”

 Let's get real, say the fashion blogs, she might say she's intimidated, but we all know that she's going to end up doing it. Don't they all? It's all about the Benjamins at the end of the day.   In fact, by mid to 3rd quarter 2011, this seemed all but inevitable, as there were rumors that Gaga was already working on a fashion line with her 19-year old sister, who just finished up her first year at Parsons!  At the time a source told Grazia Magazine, "Gaga came up with the idea of remodeling the styles of classic icons from the past.  Examples of icons she's thinking of using include Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Katharine Hepburn. 

Natali (her sister) loved the idea and she's coming up with a slew of design options, of course, everything will have their own iconic twist on it."

 Unfortunately (fortunately for some) if these rumors are true she won't dare to be doing any meat dresses, Muppets outfits, or even fan tributes, because the collection will have to be somewhat "normal" for women to actually be interested in buying them, and also innovative divas will have to be able to wear them in some sort of everyday setting.   Uh oh, guess we were wrong not expecting anything normal if she designs it.  But an educated guess would be that her fashion would not be among those found on; rather she will steer clear of the outlandish, but also won't tolerate the super safe.  Therefore, the logical category her line would end  up in, like many designers who work only for profit, would be right in the mid styling lines.   Whatever category her fashions may end up in, as long as she stays popular and keeps showing up for appearances in her true avant garde manner, I am sure there will be people lining up to have a Lady Ga Ga original - that is how wild the world is about her right now.

Of course she didn't start out as this fan favorite, avant garde dressing diva.  Lady Gaga was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in Yonkers, NY on March 28, 1986.  Her education alone is very impressive.  Having been accepted to the Juilliard School at age 11, she chose to attend a private Catholic school.  Her study of music and performing continued, though, and she actually wrote her first piano ballad at the age of 13. She attended New York University's Tisch School for the Arts. Interesting to note is she was granted early admission to the Tisch school of the Arts at only 17, and was one of only 20 students in the world to receive the honor of early acceptance.  However, she withdrew from this school where she studied music and worked on her songwriting skills "to find her creative inspiration."  It was probably around this time that she self named herself Lady Gaga.

Life wasn't easy for this now international pop star.  She worked a variety of jobs to make ends meet.  In 2005 she was briefly signed by Def Jam Records, but was dropped a few months later.  This gave her time to perform on her own in clubs, and to collaborate with several rock bands, and to begin her experimentation with fashion.   She wrote songs for other artists including Britney Spears, New Kids on the Block, and the Pussycat dolls until being discovered by R and B singer Akon. Her debut album, The Fame, was a huge success, and the single "Poker Face" topped charts in almost every category, in almost every country.  The rest is history. Now you can find her stirring up publicity and fashion interest in all things odd internationally, with the help of her own creative team, Haus of Gaga. 

So how would you dress this icon who some say is setting trends we don't even know exist yet because she is so ahead of the fashion curve?  Giant buttons, raw meat, broken up pieces of disco balls, gimp masks, and see-through granny panties come to mind.  With Lady Gaga, you think you've seen it all, and then she lowers the bar even further.  Whatever she shows up in, you simply cannot look away; surely this twenty-something diva is the only one who can pull off her fabulously, infamous style.  Just take a trip over to her blog, Amen Fashion,  and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.  If this doesn't inspire you and get your mind in motion for designing your next fashion, just Google Lady Ga Ga fashion and you'll be right on track.  Make it work, designers.

Judging this totally unpredictable challenge along with our regurlar judges, will be guest judges Matt Sutton and Matt Trujillo; two designers who actually have more predictable styles

Matt Sutton began his design work back in 1996 designing pop culture dolls such as Lucy, Audrey, The Flintstones, Wonder Woman, etc.  In fact, he became well-known for his interpretation of Tippi Hedren as seen in The Birds, and had the honor or meeting her and giving her one of his dolls.  Bob Mackie was another icon he's been priviliged to meet.  Matt presented Mackie with  the doll he'd made of Carol Burnett as "Eunice" in "the Family" sketches from her wonderful show.    Mackie actually gave the doll to Carol!   "As thanks, they both autographed a copy of Mackie's book and sent it to me-- with a photo of Carol holding "little Eunice," Matt said.  How fun for this designer.

"But my greatest muse was Audrey Hepburn, so it was only natural that I would one day re-create her show-stopping look in "Sabrina," says Matt, "for me, a true labour of love ...."  After that he discovered the Silkstones and began to move over to doing retro chic designs.  As dolls have evolved, so has Matt's preference, and today his fave is Poppy Parker.

Through the years, he has received many awards for his dolls and dioramas, including several BBMA Crystal awards.  "Each doll and competition piece were a joy to work on, says Matt, and I'm so very happy that they were received so well!"  More recently, his "competition" time has been focused on the dolls that he is asked to do for the Charity Auction of the National Barbie Doll Collector's Convention (NBDCC).  Since 2003, he has had the great honor of being part of each year's Charity Auction.  Altogether, his Charity Auction dolls have raised over $42,000!  If you'd like to keep up with Matt Sutton's latest design, you can always join his FTK Group.    You can also see a bevy of his beauties on his official website. 

 Matt Trujillo started collecting Ken and Barbie dolls in 1983. His first Ken was Sport and Shave Ken and he remains his very favorite. He reminds him of his earlier childhood favorite, Big Jim, with his flexing arms and sports theme. Yes, Ken is this Matt's fave and he enjoys customizing Ken dolls, including repainting, rerooting and most recently flocking, which reminds him of another childhood favorite, his Action Team G.I. Joes.

Matt was so inspired by Alex Pedreira's work that he attempted side glances on Ken dolls of his own.  He also designed his own look alike, pictured here, which is featured, along with some of his other great work,  on one of his fave sites, Keeping Ken. 
Matt and his group of friends on that site are bringing Ken up to date and making him more like we expect the style to be for Ken today.  Keep up with this Matt through his FTK Group.  

And that ends this blog post.  If you like the information listed here, leave  a comment so I'll know.  Have a good weekend, my dahlings.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Challenga 4 winners making headlines

Now the news is out - CDDC4 winners of Challenge 4 have been named!!  Congratulations to the winners.




Our photography winner is:


Be sure to check out all the great new dolls that are being introduced at this time of the year.   Maybe one will spark your imagination enough to think outside the box and design and sew something fantastic.  Designing and sewing are just two things doll collectors enjoy doing for their dolls.

Friday, April 6, 2012


This week the Far East inspires our challenge.  We go to the land of the rising sun and take one of the most recognizable and famous national dress to the couture realm.  The traditional Japanese kimono is one of the most beautiful forms of dress.  In this challenge you will take a traditional kimono and turn it into a couture fashion.  The gloves are off and the fans are down on this one, the judges want to see the kimono looking like we've never seen it before.

A simple definition for a kimono would tell you it is a long robe with wide sleeves, traditionally worn, with a broad sash as an outer garment, by the Japanese.  However, that would be a far cry from telling you all the intricate details and history of this garment.  Japan has a very rich textile history, a major focus of interest and artistic expression being the kimono.  I am neither Japanese nor would I pretend to have studied their culture, but from my research I understand the traditional translation means 'the thing worn' - which won't come close to fulfilling this challenge...but read on, I promise I will get there. 

The term kimono was adopted first in the mid-19th century. Prior to that the garment was known as a kosode, meaning 'small sleeve', a reference to the slender opening at the wrist. Originally worn by commoners, or as an undergarment by the aristocracy, the kosode, or kimono, had become the principal item of dress for all classes and both sexes. It is still, today, an enduring symbol of traditional Japanese culture.

However, some of the today's kimono-styled garments won't be your Mama's traditional kimono.  These are the garments I believe the task master for this challenge (Larraine Elcock, your host) makes reference to when he suggests we say 'Hello' to fashion....while also saying Sayonara or 'goodbye' to the traditional, straight-seamed garments of yesteryear.  Tradition has nothing to do with what you are being asked to create. Every day is a new day and it needs to be filled with new ideas and new looks. This process not only supports the designers, but it also effectively wows the customers and gets them in the shops more often; after all, multiple visits can mean multiple sales.  This may be a key goal for you if you now or later intend to sell your fashion...but  I digress.

Research on specific designers like Keiichi Muramatsu and co-designer Noriko Seki and designer Yohji Yamamoto, or key words like runways of Tokyo and Japan Fashion Week will reveal that the latest Japanese fashions are not just pop or cutesy.  Rather, if you look closely you may spot some elements of the kimono creeping in.  If you want to find some kind of kimono styling just Asian offbeat styling just Asian offbeat enough to wow the judges this week, you may want to just look to Oriental designers such as Guo Pei from China, who gives some of his designs a most origami twist.     

You might even want to examine the garments shown here from your own guest judge, Durelle Brown.  From one of her early original OOAK creations with non-removable clothing you see the essence of Oriental she worked into this award winning fashion.  In one of her more recent fashions you see a more modern but still very kimono-influenced styling.  This is definitely saying Konichiwa to Fashion - think deconstruction of the elements and you should not go wrong in this challenge.
Now on with my introduction of Durelle Brown.  Ever since she discovered the fun exploration into unusual doll design some collectors venture into, Ms. Brown has been wowing audiences with her multi-faceted designs.  She doesn't dwell specifically on any genre, but when she puts something out there you know just exactly the look she is going for.  Alice's Red Queen, to be revealed this weekend in an event for Couture Doll Shop, and Little Mermaid's Ariel, currently featured in an FDQ article, are two of her latest designs that are like no previous presentation of these characters - and both are designed for a most popular doll, Ellowyne, collectors love to both dress and sew for.

Her "hobby" keeps her rather busy these days designing and creating prototypes for Marie Osmond dolls to presenting detailed workshops at conventions like IFDC and Tonner, and even at the recent IDEX showing.  Yes, there is plenty to fill this designers off hours.  Durelle also works full time as a designer for Ethan Allen Design Centers, so we can be lucky to have her come in and not only help judge this competition, but to also give some insight into this challenge or a little nod of encouragement to those designers who step up to the plate when she does her comments. Let's all say Konichiwa to Durelle, too!

Not only will you be able to see Durelle's work in the current FDQ, you will most definitely see one of our sponsor's most beautiful Jamieshow doll stylings, as it graces the cover.  Of course I'm talking about George Gonzales, the driving force behind the ever-popular, ever-growing, Angelic Dreamz doll emporium.  This Grace Sculpt, featuring a Flaming Red hair wig cap, is versatile and ready for a little restyling if you dare as it comes with an additional smooth cap for wigs.  

She is called Evil I would guess because she is so wickedly fashionable.  Nothing but the latest is her black chiffon dress boasting a metallic laser-cut breast plate. Other accoutrements 
include a velveteen cape complete with laser cut metal epaulets and black feather collar as well as the deadly knife and finger holster in silver you'll see her wearing. The doll itself would be enough to make us all salivate but you'll be squealing when you see this ensemble.  She is made of the wonderful SmoothJ resin, has 19 points of articulation, to die for JS shoes, and blue green "killer" eyes...well you get the picture, dahlings -- can you say must have for 2012?? 

He was also featured inside the cover in an article titled Beautiful Villains by our sister site, CDS.  You will love revisiting his beautiful but deadly Swan.  And, if that wasn't enough, it was recently announced that George will be hosting the debut convention for his Jamieshow doll that will take place on September 28th-30th, 2012 where his storefront, Angelic Dreamz resides,  Canandaigua, New York!  You'll want to get your reservations and your plans in order now if you want to take advantage of this great convention.  Wow, we are lucky, indeed, to have this new sponsor who will be providing the Platinum Cami Basic for our First Place Intermediate Division winner. 

Another of our great sponsors is Pat Henry and FDQ magazine.  One can hardly think of one without the other as Pat is, indeed, the driving force behind this beautiful magazine that brings us all the latest doll news each quarter.  You'll want to get or renew your subscription in anticipation of seeing First place in each division being featured in an upcoming issue as part of the CDDC prize package.   She will also be presenting our Photography Winner with her best-selling book, In Focus - Digital Photography for the Doll Collector.  If you were going to add just one book to your library of helpful doll references this year, this one would indeed be the one to "focus" on.  Thanks to Pat and all our great sponsors - you really sweeten the win! 

That concludes this post, my pretties, but stay tuned - next I'll reveal the winners of this fine challenge.  Remember stay hip and chic -- and if you aren't into that personally - just be sure your dolls are.  Most of all, have a ball; doll collecting is all about FUN!