Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Vintage appliques.

On Costuming With Style, I have posted another use of appliqués . The one used on the collar is a very old vintage piece with jet beads. Not easy to find. It was so delicate and more or less just falling apart , that I had to pretty much re-bead it as I was sewing it to the collar piece I designed just for this propose.
One can use old pieces and they shouldn't be passed up because they look tattered.
  By following the sections that are in tack, you can secure the parts that are not, to a new ground. It will pretty much come out like it had looked years ago. I always save beads that have fallen off old pieces, or that are a found item, un-repairable, or un-usable and to fragile. Nothing need go to waste.
There is an old adage I follow, that goes like this.
"Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or do without."
So many today have forgotten this, but I think in the future it will come back into use, due to the times.

The piece around the bottom of the skirt was something I found that was obviously old. Velvet with a beaded and crocheted net and tassels attached. I've not seen many pieces like this, and it worked well, by sewing it down around the bottom of the skirt and then up in the back. Your piece will pretty much dictate how you use it. The color, shape, and design should guide you. I could have just sewn it around the bottom of the skirt. But that is pretty much predictable, and I wanted something to attract the eye when looking at the back of the dolls gown. Don't forget the back of the dolls dress, it's as important as the front. Until next time,
  Use a different accent, even if it's old.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Another way to embellish a doll dress, is to use any number or form of appliqué's. They come in all kinds of materials from cotton to beaded & rhinestones, and a few in-between .  One can even design one's own and make them, then apply them to the doll's dress. On Costuming With Style, I have used some  appliqué's that once graced a dance costume of mine. They were to pretty to leave in a box. Check it out then come back to see what else is to be said about this subject.
    These days you can get any number, size, color, style and made from all kinds of materials. They can be small or large, plain or decorated in a number of ways. What is needed here, is some sense of what you want to say with them. The green velvet gown screams opulence. Had they been white, it would have been bridal. Tiny and colored, more then likely whispering  lingerie.
  Where you put them is as important as how many you use. If you combine more then one design, at least have them look similar in style. A square design doesn't really go with a more rounded look. Color is also important. Don't mix ecru with white. At least stay in the same color path as the material used for the dress, or a neutral shade also works. One can get white appliqué's and dye them to match or recombined with colors used.
  A word about nylon, it doesn't dye well. So try for cotton, if your going to go this route. Always sew by hand. Machine sewn just doesn't look good. You can even sew a plain one down and embellish it with ribbon roses, beads etc. There are many ways to use this concept, and no it doesn't have to be only on the bodice or the skirt. Even tiny ones can be scattered about the skirt.
  Be creative.
Try a different accent!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year!

Minuets away from a new year and I have uploaded an example of using lace on a dolls dress. Please go to my blog "costuming with style". I finished the wedding gown for my vintage Gibson Girl.
See if you can find how many ways I used lace on this dress, and how it all goes together in the vintage Gibson style.
Link in the left hand column. Please come back and post your thoughts. I would love to hear what you think of this gown.
Have a wonderful new year and may it be better then the last one.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

More than a ruffle….

There are many ways to use lace on a doll's dress, however it is more than just a ruffle at the bottom.
You can gather it, pleat it, lay it flat and use as a decorative motif { know as appliqués} or, cut from yardage to cover the whole dress. I always line the dress when it's made from an allover patterned yardage. I don't like raw edges showing. But that's just me.
   One can also combine lace with other things to create a pleasing design. Such as sewing a gather lace {and never use a pre gathered lace. It's to bulky to work well.} However one can remove the binding from a gathered piece of lace by pulling the thread at one end and unraveling it. Then you can gather it down on your dress, and cover the raw edge with ribbon, sewn on top. Or sew several rows of lace, one just covering the top of the layer below. Then use ribbon , braid, rickrack, or another piece of lace with two flat edges called insertion lace. The flat edge covering the gathered lace edge.
  One can even embroider a design of a couple of different stitches and different colors to cover the raw edge or on top of the ribbon covering the raw edge. We'll get into embroider at a later time. Next on the list is using several different kinds of lace and layering or stacking them one on top of the other in a stair step fashion. Victorians loved their lace, and there are many fine examples in books and museums.
  By spending some time looking at different designs the needle experts of the past used, it will give you a better idea and inspire you to try your hand in a more intricate design.
One can hand create lace by crocheting a design, and also knitting a lace. There are many books with simple designs I am sure one can master very quickly. It just takes making the effort. And always that reward of seeing your own creation. Something to take pride in, for sure.
  I might add here to take a delicate approach when using lace and keep your stitches under control, with a fine touch. It never pays to be sloppy. Just a bit more time.
  And it only takes practice.

Until next time…. try a different accent.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A little lace

One of the very first thing most often used to embellish doll dresses is lace. You can buy it by the yard, in fabric yardage, in appliqués, and it comes in many many style and colors. One can spend a lot of time just talking about lace. So what is it,  exactly?
  Lace- a delicate kind of network, used for the ornamenting of female dresses.
    It first began in Egypt, more in the form of a net, then what we are use to today. In time it evolved into different forms divided by countries, and fashion styles. And of course, money. {Only the rich could afford lace and it had to be white.} From that very beginning lace making has been described as being a form of needle work. So what is needlework?
Work executed with a needle; sewed work; embroidery.
So does this mean any form of needle? Knitting needles for example?
 For my purpose, I would say yes. Anything made with any form of needles, including crochet hooks, and tatting. {I'll explain about that at a later time}.
  The subject of embroidery by it's self is another very large area of discussion , so lets leave that for now and get back to lace.
  Lace consists of two parts, the the ground and the pattern. The ground is plain, and the pattern is the fancy stitches that create the design.

  Lace work listings:
  Point or needle made
  Oya- Turkish crochet
 Chinese Tissues

Places known for their lace.
and nowadays, Ireland as well.
  I don't plan on going into these lists any further but only to show the wide range depending on the area you where in or going to. Lace was traded a lot from country to country, allowing for many different designs and creation.
Today one can even learn lace making {with bobbins, needles or hooks}, and not be left to only what can be found at the store. I've tried my hand at Torchon lace made with bobbins, twisting the threads into designs and patterns.
  I am beginning to learn Oya lace or flowers. This is created with needles and knots.

I would have to mention bridal lace as part of this subject, as so many gowns have lace on them as well as other decorations. Used more here, then in any other item worn by women {unless you count lingerie}.
  Widening the picture still more, is the art of combining lace with other forms of needlework.
  If you have every had the chance to see, hold or feel old lace, you will wonder at the making thereof.
I have a collection going back over 100 years old. Not a lot, and someday soon I hope to use it in a doll dress. I've been holding onto it for far to long, it's time to use it.
  Each area splinters into different designs created to identify where they were from.
  How one uses lace on a dolls dress is best served "pleasing to the eye". One can over do it, and then I've seen some with the wrong size, pattern or kind there of in too little and to much.
Try experimenting with different pieces of lace worked together. {patchwork, layer ,rows and single} And don't forget colored lace. One can even get lace with elastic built in so it stretches.
Try your hand at lace making, there are many books and much to be found on the internet. It's really not as hard as it seems. It's what use to be called "fancy work". Meaning it takes time and patients.
Use ribbon to trim the lace edge, or embroidery and you will have taken the use of lace one step away from the ordinary. From time to time I will mention lace in combination with something else, but for now it is it's own show all by it's self.
Reference -
History Of Lace by Mrs. Bury Palliser

Until next time…. Use a different accent.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Start at the beginning...

  Before I begin something new, I like to do a little research, and I start by looking up some words associated with what I want to learn. The dictionary is good for more then just spelling. And I hope you will see my point when you have read this post.
  We are looking into the art of embellishing doll clothes.

Embellish - To make beautiful, to adorn, beautify, to decorate.

Embellishment- The act of adorning. That which is embellishes . That which renders anything pleasing to the eye or agreeable to the taste. Adornment, ornament, decoration.

 OK… so now we have a couple of more words to look up.

  Adorn- To beautify, to decorate, to set off to advantage. Embellish, to add to attractiveness of / by dress or ornament.

Ornament- That which embellishes or adorns. Something which added to another thing., renders it more beautiful to the eye.

Ornate- richly & artistically finished

Decoration- To deck with something becoming or ornamental, to beautify, to embellish.

Beautify- to make or render beautiful, to adorn, to decorate.

Beauty- An assemblage of perfections through which an object is rendered pleasing to the eye or the mind. loveliness, grace, elegance

So here we have a connection foundation upon which to build. We all know what it means to embellish something, and have a pretty good idea what is and isn't connected to that art. I find it interesting to see how these words describe and connect to one another, although they don't mean the same thing. But they all describe what we are about to venture down a rabbit hole to find.

Some of the arts I am fairly good at doing and some like most things, one has to practice at in order to  remain good. I don't do some of the things as often as I would like to do, so some ideas that I will generate will be up to you to find out all the in and outs on how to do it. With the internet and so many books available I must leave some for you to work on or I will never get though the very long list I wish to present for you further consideration.
  Also as I am working on a slim body 18" doll, and everyone else will have their own dolls to work on {both side and shape} it will work out better for me to just share the embellishment and leave it up to you to choose the pattern on which you want to work.
  I have not found a way to make anything available for download from this blog. If that changes in the future I will count that as a plus and of course use it.
In  the mean time, choose your own patterns and doll with which to work. I will try to provide links to how-to's  that will explain techniques for you. I think once you start to look, you will find lots of references in your own books.
  So, lets get started with the very next post. I hope to keep things in some semblance of order and group things together. I can't however make it a promise. lol.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Just a little shift to the right...

Well, I wanted to make this a blog everyone could use. So I decided to shift the view to a doll everyone can use. The slim little girl 18" body. Just a bit slimmer then the American Girl dolls. The best part of this while you can make your clothes up to fit this doll, if you have a dress pattern you like and wish to use the techniques to make clothes for a different doll I believe it will be possible. However I will be using my doll as the base to work from, and show the designs on. She will be big enough to allow for almost everything, but still small enough to work with. And this is a very popular doll to dress.
  My clothes designs will fit any slim doll like
Carpatina, Just Pretend, Idolls, Stardust Classics, Magic Attic, Hartmann.
Feel free to enlarge or reduce to fit your doll. So now I just have to figure out how to set up a download.