Sew Crafy

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clearing the cobwebs


Being chosen to compete is one thing; being ready to compete is another! We might expect the contestants to be busy clearing their workspaces and finishing up any projects in progress while anticipating the first clue being announced September 6. But it will take a bit more preparation to get ready for this event. Let me elaborate.

“We are looking for the point between commerciality and creativity”

-El Delgado Buil

1. Some may want to take a few moments to consider what they will actually do with these 8 challenge items when this competition is over…besides the possibility of having them featured in FDQ magazine! And, it may lead some to feeling they must compromise their creativity if they choose to produce either saleable clothes, or clothes geared toward getting high points from the judges. However, in this competition, to do that is to go away from the reason for such challenges.

Remember, this competition, by its very name, requires couture designs. Couture is often used as an adjective by fashion reporters when they mean haute couture; i.e. an exclusive design. However, a more definitive explanation of couture, for this competition’s purposes, is high-quality, often custom-made piece(s) of clothing. And, I think, it could also be expanded to embrace clothes that give us a sense that a particular designer has breathed their unique style into their well-made garments. This is a criterion that blends commerciality with creativity successfully!

What one really needs to remember is YOU are the designer of any article of clothing that carries YOUR name. Putting your design sense in first, then considering other possibilities will always get you in it to win it!! Stay true to YOUR creativity and the commercial acclaim YOU desire will surely come.

2. Next, let’s consider the doll(s) you may want to use as your muse. Whoever is chosen, one big consideration is that your design needs to be balanced by your model – in other words, you need to make the model match the design so she melts into it rather than makes her own pronounced statement – be sure she clearly enhances YOUR creation.

Of course, there are many of you who will simply choose to use your tried and true friends – Barbie, Fashion Royalty, Ellowyne, and Tyler all come to mind. But, just in case you might want to explore new possibilities, we’ll be looking at a few of the newer “models” we’ve recently seen on the doll runways.

First of all, how could we overlook the new mannequin or regular

version of Antoinette, Tonner gave us?

Antoinette has 14 points of articulation, an all-new face and body sculpt, and newly engineered joints which allow her to beautifully show off modern and couture fashions; she was introduced at IDEX 2009. She may be preferred as a blank-faced hanger by some; while others will embrace her because she has the ability to be transformed into a mini-me of a top model! To each their own – what YOU feel is right for YOUR designs is the correct version!

Gene and her counterparts, Violet Waters and Madra, became fully articulated when Mel Odom merged with Integrity. Recently, Integrity delighted little doll collectors by developing a 12” version of Gene for their Hollywood Royalty line. Information I’ve read indicated there will be 3 versions, but I was only able to find 2 of these beauties, which may indicate that one might be a W Club exclusive.

Jakks Pacific’s recently released their
Juku Couture
line. According to their promotional fact sheet, the dolls are inspired by "the limitless possibilities and fashionable combinations that mismatching and layering pieces offers girls to express themselves," Juku, or Harajuku style, originated with fashion trendsetters in Harajuku, Japan, and is now favored all over the world, There are four dolls being releasedc- Audrina (preppy), Hayley (sporty and sweet), Kana (artistic), and Jun (eclectic, girly) – and the dolls have multiple points of articulation.

Wilde Imagination continued to delight us with their Ellowyne offerings including their new basic dolls, a line of Wizard of Oz dolls, along with a wonderful new vinyl Evangeline Ghastly. Yes, this new version is vinyl and reasonably priced, and comes with either rooted hairl or with interchangeable wigs. Perhaps this haughty diva will spark someone’s interest!

Horsman brought us Urban Vita; the doll they feel is more poseable than any doll in her category. With 19 points of articulation, 16” Urban Vita is available in the buff or dressed versions, and comes with either blonde, brunette, or red hair. Horsman says, “Ball jointed dolls are strung with elastic which tend to spring back, whereas the Urban Vita dolls have mechanical ball joints to ensure that the joints hold their position.” Will her p
ainted eyes, rooted hair, or dual feet that can wear flat or heeled shoes, tempt you?

The Ashton-Drake Galleries offers up a preppy teen in Delilah Noir. This 16" collectible doll features multiple rotating and articulated joints, so she can be easily posed in almost any lifelike position. She is a wigged doll, has inset eyes, and appears comfortable in either her flats or high heeled boots. Yes, this doll comes with her own wardrobe, but is always ready for a new fashion.

Okay, I could look at dolls all day; but I think you get the picture. Whether you select a newer model, use your older version, or incorporate some of both – it’s obvious you have plenty of choices!

3. The next item is drawing your sketch, and won’t apply if you don’t want to draw one. Some people simply prefer to let a garment flow out from their thoughts or to drape and play with fabric till their designs are revealed. These techniques aren’t something I can explain. But if you are interested in making a drawing, and don’t want to start from scratch each time or have limited drawing skills, perhaps you’d like to try using a croquis. The original definition of a croquis is a rough sketch; but modern designers have come to know them as the human form already drawn – a drawing they don’t have to do; literally just add fashion and you’re done. There are many wonderful sites that provide free ones. Just type croquis into your search engine of choice, and you’ll find yourself delightfully surprised at your choices!

4. Slopers and patterns would then be your next logical choice to conquer. This next stage would include you putting together a sloper. A sloper is the most basic of patterns, used by apparel manufacturers to both style a garment and ensure the same fit for each piece made. What you will do is measure your doll’s exact measurements, then draft out some basic pattern pieces. Some of the most obvious would be a blouse, a pair of pants, and perhaps a very simple sleeveless dress. From there you will be able to develop patterns for each of your designs by using these basic pieces and adding items such as collars, cuffs, and other embellishments that are suitable. If you are concise, this basic sloper can carry you through making any items you desire to draft for that particular doll. And, remember, we can use several dolls if we desire in this competition – so each one will need its own sloper!

5. Next, it’s fun time! Let’s revisit our fabric stash and make some decisions! Of course, we don’t know what each challenge will bring, but we can still set some guidelines for what we might want to design. Will your collection have a Mod or Mandarin flair? Will you be featuring pastels or jewel tones. And do you have appropriate thread for the fabrics you “might” use? Yes, it’s also time to review your trims, buttons, embroidery, paint sticks, dye, or whatever else you usually employ to get a job done! Of course, your choices may change from your initial preview as the challenges are revealed, but isn’t it fun to actually know what you have collected??

6. Do what YOU do to get inspired. I don't know what inspires YOU; each of YOU are such true individuals! Go through your stash, look at the latest items going down real runways, watch design shows, catch up with fashions from doll companies, and even watch movies that feature fabulous designs - and these can be old or new! It's okay to treat yourself to all the fashion you can stand while waiting for the first challenge. YOU never know when the flip of a hem, a well placed button, or some fabulous nuance might inspire YOU!

Go forward, Fashionistas -- be brave, and don't let anything deter you. Take this opportunity to be critiqued by professionals in your industry, and use it to better perfect your craft. CDDC, by its very name, is a challenge, and to win it you must embrace it as one. Be ready for all the fun creating something uniquely YOURS will bring. And, most of all enjoy the challenge!!!


  1. OK I am SOOOO ready...I can't stand it! Is it Sept YET????? Cat

  2. Cat, I SOOO understand where you are coming from!

    This is a LOT worse than talking in front of everybody at a Barbie Convention at a Live Auction!


  3. While I have enough to keep me busy for the moment, my mind keeps wandering back to this challenge and what I am going to be doing with it. I have chosen my model and bought a few extra bits of fabric and bits &bobs, so I guess I am ready. Sandy W

  4. Great job on the blog.. Blog Mister....! You are helping to motivate us and inspire us!!! Thanks and ...