Sew Crafy

Monday, February 27, 2012

Strike Up the Band - Challenge 1 Winners Named!

The Challenge winners for Challenge One of CDDC 4 are:

Beginner Category: Sue Townsend

"This challenge was quite exciting as I really enjoy more casual clothes for the dolls. Gowns are a bit overdone. though they have their place.  I have been very excited by Peter Pilotto and his new collections. He uses print in a new and innovative way which links intricate prints with sportswear.

 Intermediate Category: Cholo Ayuyao

 Professional Category: Anita Stoklosa

"I got the inspiration for this outfit in a flower shop when I was looking at my favorite flowers - orchids. They are beautiful and tempting, and I was trying to capture that in my outfit, and combine those features with comfortable, sporty elegance."

Best Photography winners have been selected, too:

Anj Calvo

 Honorable mention goes to:

Cholo Ayuyao

   and Gordana Niemela.

 Anj now will have an entry in the Photography Contest. 

Congratulations to all winners!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Make the other "birds" green with envy!


In 2011 a Finnish official's wife made a big splash on the fashion scene by wearing a dress that depicted an angry bird from the video game of the same name. To make you leave your comfort zones and think right outside of the game box that is, this week your challenge is to design an outfit that represents a well known video game. 

Now don't be tricked here into the world of costume. This is Couture we are looking for, not costume. 

Producing a costume will lose you points, so don't be an Angry Bird and Fallout on this one. You show this Little Big Planet what you can do with Mario and his pals!!!

Teija Vesterbacka, the wife of an executive at Rovio — the company responsible for Angry Birds — made quite the entrance at the Finnish Presidential Palace. This couture interpretation of the adorably addictive game featured a subtle and tasteful red bird's eye along with a long, elegant sash down the front. This made our CDDC leader, Larraine, believe Angry Birds has hit high fashion! It also took me on an interesting journey trying to ferret out more Video Games one might use as an inspiration for this challenge!

If you look at adult Halloween costume sites you can find some inspiration. I managed to find a delightful outfit for one of my faves - Ms. Pac-Man! 
Touted as a true gamer's delight; one dealer claims her man will be willing to play any game she wants when he sees her in this Pac-Man Video Game Screen Dress!!

It's a short and sweet, black dress featuring a print of the wildly popular video game! I guess her wardrobe is why she has to be manipulated around the board so fast - I wonder if she's secretly trying to keep ahead of her beau!?!

I also managed to find an internationally renowned costume designer who calls herself WindoftheStars. She dubs herself as a re-creator and Cosplay model. Gaining inspiration from the things she loves, many of her works are recreations from Anime, Manga, video games, movies, TV series and pop culture. To her, each costume is like a puzzle that requires many technical skills that are in turn shared with the community through online tutorials and panels. She has made over 50 elaborate award-winning costumes since 2004, and a few of them featured in the photo above might be your inspiration for your couture ensemble - but   they definitely deserve a look because each has some interesting characteristics.

But it wasn't until I started putting: fashion influenced by...and then the name of a particular video game into Google that I began to make real progress! Included here are a picture of Avatar Neytiri designed as a costume, and I was pleased to see the Mario Brothers well represented (see above). These are just a few simpler examples.  

Perhaps you're into the Guild Wars or Final Fantay series - if so you'll be happy that you can even see outfits on both drawn and real characters.  This transition should aid in your development of a fantasy costume to a couture gown.  Just look at thee prime examples I've included!

I'm confident you will come up with other video games you favor by using this "formula."

The important thing is to not make your outfit into a costume; rather pull out a couture garment inspired by video game clothing!  Think high class ladies that lunch when your mind's eye goes to the client that will wear this clothing. Then stick to the rules of couture!  Plan your outfit carefully. Fabric selection will be important, too! Be sure to include the finest material possible, and develop designs that have movement - and you will be well on your way to solving what to do for this challenge!  

Your choices are a smorgasbord - nothing feels wrong style-wise for this challenge!!  Your choices could range from sportswear to formal to everything in between. 

 Just make sure you incorporate your video game feature subtlely; this will be the factor that sets your outfit apart for not being costumey; rather it will shine as true high fashion! 

Now on to other matters.  The designs just came in for your Challege One, so I thought you might like an introduction to your guest judge, Dal Lowenbein!   Dal is an avid and eclectic doll collector of over fifteen years with a collection of vintage to present Japanese and American dolls. She is a long-time Graphic Designer currently designing packaging and in-store displays for LOREAL Cosmetics. With her clear eye for design and structure she loves to sew up her own doll creations but rarely finds time to sell her OOAK fashions. However, you may have been seen them in past FDQ and DollReader magazines for winning online doll fashion competitions. Dal loves gorgeous fabrics but more importantly, will be looking for clear concept of design, beautiful presentation and her favorite doll fashion design with an innovative twist.  Her blog can be seen here:

And for Challenge Two, the recently announced "Angry Bird" challenge, your guest judge is Tamara Casey of Designs by Jude. Not only is she judging, she is continuing as one of our sponsors!! CDDC is lucky to have her expertise in judging this latest challenge. She’s the consummate Jill of all trades - she repaints, sews, makes patterns, and dabbles in other new doll ventures! And she's just an especially nice person that we’ve all come to know and love throughout CDDC's existence. If you'd like to keep up with Tamara, and be advised of her latest patterns before everyone else -- be sure to join her FTK group. They have fun over there, and you can, too!

I will be joining two other judges for the Photography contest.  I think all of you know me by now, so I'll just press on and tell you about the other 2!  Phyllis Erlenbusch and Sylvia Christianson are a sister team who have a shop called Our Eclectic Closet on Couture Doll Shop. There you'll find clothing for several sized dolls. Their designs range from classic to costume to everything in between, and their current faves are Ellowyne, Evangeline Ghastly, Deanna Denton, Amelia Thimble and carved Hitty dolls.

Sylvia carves and dresses the small 6 3/4" Hittys. She and Phyllis both dress the smaller dolls and explore sewn and crocheted fashions for 16-19" fashionistas. Phyllis handles the miniature knits while Sylvia does the fine crochet work. Both share a common belief that "Our dolls - and YOURS - deserve fine clothing," so you're sure to find some very nice items in their shop.  

Not only do they sew, knit, and crochet original patterns using natural fibers (silk, cotton and wool); they also find time to offer some exquisite jewelry from time to time. All you have to do to witness their camera work is to take a stroll on over to their website which is located here

Points will derive from three main categories:
1.  Lighting source:   
Consider type of light—natural or artificial, angle of light to subject, shadows, hot spots
2.  Composition of the photograph:
Consider pose of model, use of backgrounds and props that enhance, but do not overpower, the design
3.  Focus & sharpness of the image:
 Consider camera’s point of focus, angle of camera to subject, camera movement—use a tripod if possible.

Okay, that's all the insight I can give this week; but I'll be back soon to applaud the winners for Challenge One.  Thread those needles, rev up those sewing machines, and set up your irons, contestants.  You'll want to be finished early enough to take some fabulous photographs!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Let me introduce Sporty Couture!

Welcome to all who have followed Couture Doll Design Challenge from its beginning as well as to those who are just becoming aware of this competition! This year's CDDC4 will have a radical change.  

There will be three different categories for contestants to compete in.  There will be Beginner, Intermediate and Professional categories. Beginners will be those who have been sewing for two years or less, and have only ever used commercial patterns. 
 Intermediates are those who have more than two years experience sewing, and have designed their own patterns.  Professional are the contestants that do this for a living or as a hobby but  often sell their items.
All contestants will compete in the same challenge, but with different expectations. For example, if the challenge was to produce a Goth outfit, then Beginners could do so using a pattern. The other contestants will also have rules geared to their expertise. Contestants will still have two weeks to complete in a challenge, and this is the tentative schedule:

Feb 4 Challenge 1 given; Feb 19 Challenge 1 due Challenge 2 given; Feb 25 Challenge 1 results posted; Mar 4 Challenge 2 due Challenge 3 given; Mar 10 Challenge 2 results posted; Mar 18 Challenge 3 due Challenge 4 given; Mar 24 Challenge 3 results posted; Apr 1 Challenge 4 due Challenge 5 given; Apr 7 Challenge 4 results posted; Apr 15 Challenge 5 due Challenge 6 given; Apr 21 Challenge 5 results posted; Apr 29 Challenge 6 due; May 5 Challenge 6 results posted and Winners announced.

 We have a group of quality sponsors who will be giving some really nice awards, a photography winner will also be named for each challenge, and we have another group of well-respected judges and guest judges for each challenge.  All of this will be addressed in future blogs, but for now let's introduce those chosen to compete this year. What follows is a short bio for each contestant as well as a picture of their work. 


Vicky Lujan-Gibbs

I started collecting and sewing for dolls 9 years ago, and mostly collected and sewed for Barbies.  Now I've grown to love 16" dolls, especially Ellowyne.  I started out using patterns, but have slowly learned how to design without them.   I am entering this competition to learn from seasoned designers and the judges, to improve my designs to learn further information on designing without a pattern, and to have fun designing!  I am very excited about being in this competition. You can check out Vicky's work by visiting her website.

Sue Townson

I am from England. I would like to have a go at the competition.   I have made my own patterns, and have sewn very sporadically for 3 years or so, and have participated in another competition.  I have never sewn from a store bought pattern although I have a few.  I usually draw my own or modify pieces.  I never sell anything.  I just make my garments for fun.  I have lots of ideas, but find translating them into outfits quite challenging. I need to start sewing seriously, and this will be a fun way to make me do it.  To talk dolls with Sue, send her an email.

Dmitry Puzanov

I am a young fashion designer for dolls. a I enjoy designing for dolls, and hope you like my work.  

You can reach Dimitry regarding his dolls by sending him an email. 

Agarva Moller

I started designing clothes and fabric dolls at the age of 11. As a child and teenager my passion was sewing and all crafts, practicing embroidery, knitting, or whatever textile craft I could find. My passion is fabrics and textiles, combining different fabric choices, and even creating the fabric if I cannot find what I like. After many years traveling, I settled back in Australia and discovered Adult Fashion Dolls through Haute Doll magazine. Since then I have been hooked, and have collected various wonderful dolls as my models as well as all the items I need to design for this smaller scale. I design and make in 16" and 11-12" scale. My favorite dolls to design for currently are Evangeline Ghastly, Ellowyne Wilde, Gabby and Violette, and Tonner's Agnes and Sister Dreary.  You can see more of her dolls and contact her through her website.

Theo Malloy

I was born and raised in Washington DC.  I started collecting Barbie dolls when I was in high school, and making dresses from scraps of fabric. Over the last 6 or 7 years, I have been mainly collecting Integrity dolls (FR, NF and Misaki). I also collect Momoko and a few choice Barbie here and there. 
I have never taken sewing seriously. I am more of a stylist. I have taken sewing classes but have never sewn from doll patterns. I just make things up as I go or make them from a sketched idea. I am hoping to gain a better understanding of sewing doll sized clothing from this contest,  and I hope to just have some fun. Ask about his dolls here.

Ann Minosky

I live in Campbell River BC.  I started playing with dolls early, started a couple of doll shops, and gave porcelain doll classes. I have since retired from that, but still enjoy collecting and posing my dolls.  I have just started making doll clothes again.  I have never made my own patterns, but I have sewn quite a few. I just finished a Fletcher challenge, and have also enjoyed doing one of the MHD designs where I even dyed the wig.  Contact Ann here.

Kevin Roberts

My name is Kevin. I'm from a very small town. I have always been involved in art, particularly animation and character design, so starting to sew was  something that seemed natural to try out. I've only been sewing for a short time but I have loved fashion since middle school. My first few "outfits" turned out by accident, with me just playing around with fabic and gluing everything together.  Fashion that is a little unconventional is something that appeals to me and I also LOVE color and print. Fashion that is fun and quirky is also something I like.  I'm self taught and I've never used a sewing machine in my life.  I'm also trying to learn about fabrics and what works best for 1:6 scale. Misaki is a muse of mine, but I collect a little bit of everything in every size from playline to collector and everything in between. I have yet to photograph any doll other than Misaki wearing my clothes so I am excited to do that for the first time during CDDC. The outfits I make I do not sell or plan on doing so, as I sew for myself and design what I like.  So I'm excited to have to try to appeal to a theme and to have to appeal to judges.  I'm looking forword to getting tips on construction, fabric choices and such.  Construction will be a huge hurdle for me as most of my previous outfits are made just to photograph and are not lined or even finished in the back. Having to do this will be a fun challenge!  Email Kevin here.


Joseph Coloff

I've been sewing for over 15 years, but only making my own fashion doll clothing for the past few years. My work is mostly for myself and for my own enjoyment. In 2007 I went back to school at City College in San Francisco where I entered their fashion design program. I currently live in New York City where I hope to continue my education.  This year I went to the Tonner Halloween convention where I entered their design competition, and won 2nd place for my Ellowyne Wilde entry. This has shown me that my hobby can become something more.  I wanted to enter this competition to expand my abilities, and push myself to explore and try new things. Explore more of Joe's fashions on his blog.

Jason Kramer

I have been collecting and designing for fashion dolls for the last eight years, and have taken part in a few design competitions including the most recent CDDC that challenged me in so many levels! My collection consists mainly of Tonner 16" fashion dolls (Antoinette and Ellowyne are favorites), with a few collectible Barbies, and Fashion Royalty as well. My latest obsessions include Silkstones and Monster High dolls. 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. Chat with Jason here.

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 to making their clothes and accessories.  Say hello and talk dolls wth Anj here.

Julia Peshkova

I'm from Moscow, Russia, and I have been sewing for more than 3 years. I have a little collection of dolls, and there are more than fashion dolls in my collection.  I love and sew fashions for all of them. It's my hobby, not my livelihood, but from time to time I sell some doll clothes. When I was a child, I wanted to be a fashion designer, but it remained only a dream. But one day, as an adult, I bought a doll and then discovered I could imagine fashions and sew for her.  Gradually, my collection began to grow along with a quantity of fashion-ideas.  My sewing and designing clothes improved, also. I use only my own patterns in my work because it is easier for me to use what I do myself than to use patterns of other people. Along with sewing, I like to to make OOAK dolls because I can make up the total look of my doll. You can see Julia's fashions on her blog, her Flickr album, and on her Facebook page.

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 spent hours fitting those huge belle skirts to the doll's tiny waist. In high school I was introduced to theater and I became involved in both acting and costumes.  I have spent over 25 years designing, and have even worked on Broadway as a draper.  I hold degrees in both theater 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!  To discuss fashion with Breck, click here.

Anna Kadachegova

I live in Russia in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. I've been doing fashion dolls for nearly four years.  I sew doll clothes, create accessories, jewelry, and interiors. I prefer contemporary fashion - and mostly do casual styles and evening dresses, but sometimes I create historical reconstructions or fantasy images.  I like to use various techniques for decoratinng doll clothes such as knitting, embroidery, beads, and even polymer clay.   Contact her here.

Olga Ermolaeva

I am from the very heart of Russia -- Moscow.  I make patterns myself, but do not earn money sewing clothes.  Dolls are my hobby.  I have been collecting dolls for a few years, and very much love to sew for them. I also like making miniature flowers. I did not dare to enter in the CDDC for a long time, but this year I decided to try, and I look forward to the challenges.  Olga can be reached by clicking this link.

Julia Rebeskova

Dolls are my passion. I like to create  their clothes, and I have enjoyed this hobby for about 3 years.  I have participated in this competition beore, but, unfortunately, did not reach the end. I really hope this time I will succeed.  To encourage Julia to succeed, click here.

Elena Prokhorova

My nickname is Ricky, and I live in Moscow, Russia. Most people know me as a make-up artist to bjd-dolls, but I also like to create clothes for dolls from my collection,  and to photograph them.  Participation in this challenge is very important for me because it helps me to see my success and my errors from other people’s points of view.  Talk to Elena about her viewpoint by clicking here.

Mark Tinkey

I've been sewing for about 22 years. and making my own complete patterns for about 6. I have mostly sewn for 16" dolls but have begun doing more for the FR girls.  I work as an actor, and have also done freelance costume design.   Contact Mark here.

Cholo Ayuyao

I'm Cholo, 32, from Angeles City Philippines. I'm a self taught doll artist with a strong affiliation with couture in general. I started collecting dolls more than a year ago, started doing couture after that, and then doing commissions later on when I finally had the confidence to share my unconventional way of doing doll designs.   I always figure out patterns, and just hand sew everything due to my handicap with the sewing machine.  I love embellishments naturally since my real job actually is as an Accessory Designer.  For more info about Cholo, click here.


Anna Lipka

I am a doll colector from Poland. I have two big passions -- dolls and fashion. I have sewn for about 7 years, and I have been selling my outfits on ebay for about 2 years. I am considered a professional per the CDDC standards.  Anna can be contacted here.

Gordana Niemela

I presently live in Arizona, and I think it is going to be so much fun to do this again! I have been sewing doll fashions and creating jewelry since 2003 for Sybarite, Deva dolls, Tonner and BJDs. I sell my work from my website and occasionally on ebay.  To see more of Gordana's work, visit her website.

Suyanee Wong Chotwiriyakit

I am from Thailand, and have been sewing more than ten years.  I work as a credit manager.  I have made doll’s fashions as a hobby, and I am a doll collector, too. My favorite dolls are Barbie, Fashion Royalty, and Tonner dolls like Ellowyne Wilde and Evangerline Ghastly. I have made fashions for BJDs, too. After I attended e-commerce class, I opened my ebay store, Angel Doll Fashions, in 2005, and I have received 100% positive feedback through today. I have made many couture items for dolls like Barbie, Fashion Royalty, Princess Diana, Deva Doll, Tonner Doll and BJDs from my own designs and patterns .Talk with Suyanee here.

Cynda Woffenden

My name is Cynda Lee and I am a professional doll clothes designer, I have been sewing for over 40 years, and I truly enjoy creating OOAK ensembles. I use standard patterns except when I design I usually make my own patterns. The smaller the better when it comes to creating,, and the attention to detail enhances the completed creation. I also make the nylons, bouquets, undergarment, and appliques.  I also style the hair and do anything else needed.  I hand sew, bead and use the sewing machine.  I enjoy taking photographs of "my girls" (this is what I call my dolls), and usually like to surround them with a background to finish the mood.   I have also made wardrobes for handmade dolls of nonstandard measurements and can "dress" just about anything.   I am currently branching out by learning to create with polymer clay.  Learn more about Cynda here.

Maria Ustynovska

Doll collectors know me as Marilyn Royalty. I live in Odessa city in Ukraine. I have a daughter who is almost 3 years old. I joined the fashion dolls hobby in 2008. Now my favorite dolls are Sybarite and FR. I really enjoy creating fashions for my dolls. Contact Maria here.

Now I study in Art-theater College to become a faculty costume designer. My study takes much of my time today, but I`ll try to prosper in my studies as well as in our wonderful CDDC.

Anita Stoklosa

Doll Collectors know me as Anicetta.  I'm from Poland and sew mostly for Fashion Royalty dolls. My work can be viewed on my website and on my Facebook fanpage.  I have participated in the CDDC competition since the first edition. It always has been an interesting and fun experience. I love making one of a kind fashions for my dolls.    I'm so happy that I have a chance to participate in this next CDDC, and to compete with the other doll clothes designers who are participants.
That's it for our contestants - and what a great group!! Be sure to check back weekly to see entries, check on the winnner, and to get the new challenges.  Provided below is the first challenge along with some information and speculation as to the meaning of the challenge provided by your Blogmeister.  Remember, if you don't agree with the analysis, simply disregard reading it. The final analysis of each challenge is the one given by the judges!


This challenge is sure to have you running a few laps around the internet to research this up and coming trend. Fashion forecasters have predicted that this year's Spring designs will favour the sporty look but in a couture way. Your first challenge is to design an outfit that has a sporty flair but is definitely in the couture realm. What we are asking here is for couture, not ready to wear, so be careful here to keep your design in the couture realm. Beginners may use a pattern to "design" their outfit. Even when using a pattern, Beginners, the judges will expect you to put your own signature into it. On your marks, get set...GO!!!

Sports couture as defined by your Blogmeister:

Is it merely an oxymoron coined by Dirk Bikkembergs when he teamed up with a young Aussie painter, Scott Elk, to demonstrate his vision of a sporty body in motion?  These 2 have also been attributed to having defined this hip, new theme - a theme that is dominating many Spring 2012 collections. And how divine are these collections? They are divine enough to primarily define this look for young, savvy dressers around the globe because they are the primary market that can wear them. The style and fit of most of these collections are designed to show off the tight, bright sportiness of it all.

Or, do you believe that in the early days couture actually started with sport? Some point to major fashion houses such as Chanel, Schiaparelli, Jean Patou, and Lanvin to illustrate this, noting they have always had some sort of sporty look throughout the years. They nod at Spring collections from the likes of Balenciaga and Balmain that more naturally echo a sports theme. These collectios are not your usual Spring fare; rather they feature such non-Spring like fabrics as houndstooth prints and an explosion of black leather that has been laminated or studded. 

Like the original Chanel sports lines, however, this clothing is very easy to live in -- it features actual clothing you can move in without worrying too much about abusing it like you would dressier-styled couture. In other words, these lines are definitely not what you think of when you look back at the sporty couture developed by these fashion houses for your Grandmother. This new sports couture offers a more comfortable approach to strutting your sports stuff!

Both sides make strong cases, and both speak to sports couture - so I would assume your opinion could be just as easily swayed by one as by the other, according to your specific taste. Choosing is subjective, and a matter of how you want to perceive or wear this particular type of couture. But the understanding of sports couture, in my mind, is not achieved as much by discerning who defined this classification as to understanding why it is important to the fashion world, and why it is prevalent in the Spring 2012 collectionsm and may well define Spring fashion for several years to come. 

For me, the why is based on the need for sports couture designers to assure their audiences that this type couture products are as good as any other product developed for the couture market. The primary reason? Because this clothing is made of the best quality fabrics available -- a time honored criteria for couture clothing.   Such an assurances also offer designers leeway in what fabrics they will use. Using unusual fabrics - even special technical fabrics like microfibers that are very thin but keep you very warm - for these collections will be acceptable if such fabrics pass the couture test as well. In essence it allows sports couture to evolve more radically than any other line titled sports could! 

The world's current economic state cannot be overlooked when considering these designs either. "Customers are now buying things closer to need,” stated Joseph Boitano, group senior vice president at Saks. Therefore, wouldn't it naturally follow that customers will be making big changes in their wardrobes? 

To my way of thinking they will still be buying high quality clothing because it wears well and lasts longer.   However, they could also conceivably be looking to sports couture for items that will pass through several seasons. This is because seasons aren't going to be quite as important anymore.  So why not stretch those fashion dollars into more than one season?  Looking chic while still being cognizant of a need to compensate for economic downfalls is far more important to the current savvy shopper of today, and designers will do well to satisfy this market if they want their lines to succeed.

PARIS — Mesh materials, aerated fabrics and a sense of dynamism on the runways are the counterpoint to a couture sensibility that belongs to an opposing fashion team. Sport is in the air. - The New York Times Fashion Review, 10/3/11