Daaa Daaahhhhh …

Posted in Design Process, Designers, The 1930's on April 14, 2008 by sparklyjo

Here are the first two dresses.  I have started at the beginning.  These are for the 1930’s.  The first dress was worn by Marsha Hunt in “College Holiday”.  The dress is described as being made of Daffodil tulle with Gold sequins.  It was designed by Edith Head.


The second dress is from one of my Favourite films of all time, “The Women”.  This particular gown was worn by Joan Fontaine.  It looks like it is made from silk taffeta, I am assuming that the trim would be red, it’s hard to tell in black and white, but I am thinking that it’s red.  It was designed by Adrian (Gilbert Adrian).


Just in case …

Posted in Design Process on April 12, 2008 by sparklyjo

You though I have been yapping a lot but have nothing to show for it.  Well, my fine indian friend, here is a wee snap of one of the pages of basic blocks (or Slopers as you guys in the US call them).  This is one page of many.  I am ready to make some toiles now so we can see if the blocks(slopers) fit and where the adjustments need to happen.


Themes …

Posted in Design Process on April 11, 2008 by sparklyjo

I do have an unpublished post that is driving me nuts.  I am having problems nailing down the films I am going to dissect, but I will do that soon and post the “lucky” films here.  : ) 

I also thought it would be easier to tackle if I nailed down themes to look for at any particular time.  So I thought I would go for something spectacular first, Evening wear.  


Lots of fab frocks, lots of bling, lots of glam, sparkle, pizazz and shine.  That’s the first port of “theme” call. 

Over the next week, I will be selecting the frocks.  I will also post a picture of the dresses, a couple of sketches of each one and the doll that it’s for.  That should keep me out of trouble for a bit.  I will do a seperate post for each one.



The Process …

Posted in Design Process, Designers on April 7, 2008 by sparklyjo

I have another post that I have been dragging up and down form the site over the past few days, so while I work on it, I thought I had better stick something in its place.  I have a great book that I read form cover to cover when the mood takes me.  It took me today, and again I read it.  The book is about Princess Diana’s Wedding dress.  Now, before you go sticking your fingers down your neck and making a gagging noise, hear me out.  That one particular dress was looked at by millions and millions of people around the globe back then (1981) and up til now I don’t know how many millions since have since it. It has caused some division.  Some folks love it.  Some folks just hate it.  Either way, it was THE dress of the 1980’s.   It defined the era.  The book is called ” A Dress for Diana”, by David and Elizabeth Emanuel.

I’ve done some homework for you, Amazon has it.  Why is this book so good?  It’s good because it goes right into the guts of the design process.  Step by step, what the Emanuels did to create this dress, how they came up with the ideas, the fabrics that had to be commissioned, the logistics involved in making the dress, everything that wen into making that dress (and the rest of the bridal party) is all there.  You even get to see the calico toiles.  It’s a great book for anyone interested in Fashion and the evolution of a specific garment.  It’s incredibly useful.  I have decided to go the full monty on this particular project.  And this book was a great way for me to get all fired up and mentally ready!


For us doll folks, it was also interesting to see the miniature version of the dress that Elizabeth Emanuel made,  I couldn’t work out the scale but oh boy, it’s a really beautiful job.

Ballet …

Posted in Ballet and Dance, Clea Bella on April 4, 2008 by sparklyjo

There will be a couple of ballet frocks as well.  I have got hold of a Clea Bella, thank you pointy toes.  I am on the hunt for a Robert Tonner NYC Ballet doll as well.  There are some ballet movies out there and you guessed it, these girls will be wearing some outfits from those films.  I think the first one will be Don Quixote. I am also thinking of making some ballet outfits from my favourite manga, “Swan”.  The good folks at CFX put it out, beautiful pics, I’ll add some here.  From now we will move on to a post about the patterns I am already making and a wee chat about George Cukor’s “The Women”..

Kick off…

Posted in Design Process, Ellowyne Wilde, Franklin Mint Elizabeth Taylor, Franklin Mint Scarlett, Somers & Field, The 1930's, the 1940's, the 1950's, the 1960's, the 1970's, the 1980's, the 1990's, Why and Wherefore with tags , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2008 by sparklyjo

 The first thing I do, is work in my journal.  I used to think that journalling your ideas was bollocks, but that was before uni.  Now, I am never without a journal to put my design ideas in.  Nothing beats getting your ideas and inspirations down in a single place that you can refer to whenever you want (or need to).  So, I went and got me a moleskine. You can grab whatever you want, truth be told, I have bunch of journals (all sorts), that I have used down the years. My preference is Moleskine, you might have something else. It’s all good. The dolls I am using for this project are all 16” dolls. I really like to design for this size, you can detail and drape without it looking stiff or weird. I wanted dolls that had faces that captured the eras I have chosen. Here is a wee run done of my mannequins, in era order.   

1930 – 1949 : Franklin Mint Scarlett  I gotta tell ya, when I got this doll, It just made my jaw drop. It really does look like Vivian Leigh. Woo hoooo!!!! I was so glad. I had purposefully chosen her for this project, the pictures all said I was on the right track and now I have her, I am ready to get moving. I chose this doll because of not only the impact that Gone with the Wind had on the Pre-War world, but also how Vivian leigh is intrinsically linked with that time because of that film. When you look at her face, you think of bakerlite radios and rationing. She embodies that era so magically. It was a no brainer, the clothes from that period will just look right. It won’t matter that it won’t just be crinolines or bustles. Shoulder pads and fabulous jaunty hats will also look amazing. 


1950-1962 : Franklin Mint Elizabeth Taylor.This doll has been retired for a while now, so the best look you will get for her will be at your friend and mine, Ebay . I was lucky, I bought mine for under $100.00. BUt I haven’t seen that repeated since. Why did I choose this doll for this era? Well, I have a bunch of Gene’s. A whole bunch of ’em. Some I love, some I don’t. I made some patterns for her a while back. Shocking sway back and tricky to pattern make for. But that’s not it. And please be aware that this is a personal opinion. The face paint scared the bejiggers out of me. Talk about cold. Gene has a very cold look. The paint on the eyes wasn’t too crash hot either. I have seen the new one and I am afraid that it’s more of the same but up dated. This is my opinion, so don’t chew me out. Like I said, I have a bunch myself. I am talking about using a doll that will be relevant for this project. Gene just isn’t right. But the Franklin Mint Elizabeth Taylor doll is. For exactly the same reasons as I choose Scarlett, are the reasons I used for choosing the FM Elizabeth Taylor Doll. Her look is the glamour of the fifties, down to the hair, everything.


1963-1979 : Somers & Field : Daisy This was a no brainer. I have four of these lovely dolls, and the look is just wonderful. I chose Daisy over Willow because I like the fact that this is a bit of a Brunette-arama, and because the doll looks very exotic. The face paint is really 1960’s, so she will look amazing dressed in anything from that period (including period films made then as well. Think of Sophia Loren in El Cid. You get my drift). Anyhoo, they can’t be bought. Knickerbocker went bust just before we could sort out a deal for some of my designs. It sucks but what can you do. Try ebay, I was going to post a link but there isn’t anything there at the moment. It’s a case of trying. It would be great if Doug James could resurrect them, he has done a contemporary range CED DOLLS . But I don’t know, I like the 60’s girls better.


1980 – till present : Wilde Imagination Ellowyne Wilde  Yes, there are a bunch of contemporary dolls out there. Yes, some of them you would be probably screaming at me that Fashion Royalty, Barbie, Tyler Wentworth et al, Alex et al, The Sybarrites and any of the other would be better than Ellowyne. Maybe you would be right, but, this is my gig. I choose. And Ellowyne I believe, is going to be the best choice to cover an almost 30 year era. I am very happy with my choice. I love the doll, I like the joints, the fact that is almost an ABJ doll, I like the face paint. The body proportions, ad while she isn’t as realistic looking as the FM’s for instance. She got the big hair needed for the 80’s, and with a bit or redux, bingo, 90’s chic and new millenium pizzaz.


The first lot films I will be looking at will be: The Women (1939), The Opposite Sex (1956), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), The Stepford Wives (1975). For the 1980’s, I am going to be departing from my own format here, because I can, and reproducing an Emmanuel Evening dress + one or two from North and South Book II (The tv series). From the 1990’s on it’s the fantablulous Moulin Rouge. That’s a pretty hefty lot of films there. Anyway, I am off to start making some blocks form my measurements of Ellwyne and Scarlett. I’ll put all the measurements on the site when I get them all done, and the blocks so you can use them. I am going to be covering some ballet costumes and design as well. More about that next time.  

What’s it all about …

Posted in Why and Wherefore with tags , , , , on March 31, 2008 by sparklyjo

 Hiya.  this is the bit where I tell you what this blog is all about.  And why. And all the other stuff.  ; o )   I suddenly decided the other day, that the thing I used to do for fun has now become my work.  After many weird twists and turns in my life, I now find myself writing with my sister, with an agent, getting our books looked at. I am busy. I have a little three year old daughter who fills my life in ways I never imagined. I live my life at a million miles an hour. I have an Honours degree in Fashion and Textile Design. I loved it.Lately, I have had an itching to do some design again. It now turns out that this is the stuff I want to do for fun. So what I have decided to do is indulge myself utterly. I love movies, any era. So long as they are good. I love design, see the latter, and my guilty, guilty pleasure … fashion dolls. So I am sticking the all together.  What I will be doing in this blog, is looking at specific films from specific eras (with one or two exceptions). I will be talking about the designers of the costumes in those films, and then re-creating one or two of the key ensembles for a modern 16″ Fashion doll. Every now and then, when I can be bothered, I post patterns that you can use for your dolls. But, don’t expect a religiously blogged blog. This is going to be touched when I can find a window.Some times, it will be updated daily or weekly, other times, months will go past before something goes up. Designing and professional pattern making is a tricky thing and it takes time. It can very fiddly. But … I am going to go and get a bunch of measurements so i can start the ball rolling. I am supposed to writing a script but here I am writing about dolls, go figure. In the next post, I’ll talk about the dolls I am going to use and the films I am going to cover.