Fabric!

We are back from vacation! We had a nice, relaxing time (and found a really fabulous fabric store—I bought two lengths of wool that will probably wind up in the fall line) but I, at least, am glad to be back in the studio working again!

This morning I went to the fabric store I normally patronize. (Yes, I do go to a lot of fabric stores. I’m the chief fabric buyer around here; Melody helps sometimes, but usually it’s up to me.) I was seeking not one, not two, but three, different, matching fabrics—a lace, a chiffon and a backing fabric—and it took me a very long time to decide which three to get. I kept on finding pairs of two that matched, but somehow, the third fabric was never quite the right color. After I had spent probably fifteen or twenty minutes deliberating, I finally decided on a set and went to go pay.

Of course, the lady helping me asked the question you always hear at fabric stores: what are you making? One of the other employees overheard that I was making a doll dress. She nearly jumped at that, for, as she explained, she had a big bag full of scraps sitting in her car, and she was looking for someone in the doll clothes line of things to give them to. Would I like them? After all, I’m in the doll dress business….

I’m often a little taken aback when people offer me fabric scraps.  True, it is free fabric, but it’s more pleasant to use big, brand-new lengths than to try to squeeze your pattern pieces into whatever odd shapes are left over. And I have no idea about the kind of fiber I’m getting; polyester is all very well, but it’s everywhere, and it’s usually not as nice to work with as some of the fancier stuffs.

The ‘free fabric’ argument and her enthusiasm won out over the voice of caution. I agreed. (I could always give them away to somebody else, anyway, I told myself.) She ran out to her car, and almost before I could say “Jack Robinson” she’d returned with a large paper bag marked, appropriately, “For Doll Clothes”. I took it home and was pleasantly surprised this afternoon when I started going through its glories. She fit all of this into one bag, plus some more!fabric! 005

As you can see, she put in lots of thread and bits of ribbon along with all the fabric (and yes, she even put in the scissors!)

Some of the pieces were quite large—about a yard or so each; it made me wonder how they qualified as scrap! A couple of them will work nicely as backdrops for future photoshoots, and others will probably find their way into dresses eventually. fabric! 007

She put in a lot of velvet, all in delightfully rectangular pieces. (This means I’ll likely be able to figure out a way to use them; the usual triangular, stringy shapes left over from a project are just so frustrating to use that I usually ignore them.) There’s also a fabulous piece of burnout velvet, with circles and squares, and one piece of sparkly, vinyl-y fake leather (Lisette jumped on this one and now has a burning desire to try making ice skates, as this is exactly the kind of stuff she thinks ought to be used for the boot!)

fabric! 014However, all other scraps aside, this fragment of printed cotton really takes the cake. I mean, seriously, knights in armor on a harlequin background? I have no idea what people used it for (a little boy’s quilt, maybe?) It made me do a double take. Not the kind of print you see every day!

Some of the fabric I just won’t use, so I’ll pass it along to somebody else. But overall I was pleasantly surprised about the variety and quality of the scraps. It was a generous and amusing gift, and it made me smile as well as offering me a little bit of inspiration and some materials to use later.

Now, to figure out where to keep them all…!

Melinda

One more thing

which I forgot to mention! We’re going to be gone on vacation starting tomorrow! Don’t worry, though, it’s only for a few days (we plan to be back by the end of the week). We’re going to just go somewhere and hang out and do nothing…hopefully we’ll get to go to an amusement park for some roller coasters, and maybe swim in the pool at our hotel, find some used bookstores—and, hopefully, a couple of fabric stores! At the moment, I’m looking for some lace in nice colors, and if I come across any I think I’ll just snatch it up.

Anyway, there won’t be much action around here next week because we’ll be gone, resting up and relaxing! But after that…look out, world! We’re going to come at it hard with lots and lots of ideas!

See you later!

Melody

The Sea

This is an idea I’ve had in my head for a long time now, and I think it’s time I let it out.

Sea waterI’ve wanted to make a dress that looks like the sea, with its deep variations of green and blue, and its little crests of white. It will probably call for some silks in blue green hues, some stiff and some a little more supple—and over top of everything, a bunch of white chiffon, gathered and bunched into little bits of white froth at the bottom of the hem.  (This picture was taken off the Strait of Malacca; I found it on Wikipedia because I just wanted something to show you what was in my head! If you want to see it for yourself, go search for ‘seawater’.)

Iceberg at Baffin BayThis picture is also from Wikipedia—it’s an iceberg in Baffin Bay, which I think is between Canada and Greenland. The first time I saw this it almost scared me. Somehow, I want to combine this drama, this calm and striking beauty, with the froth of the first picture! I think it would make a very interesting dress indeed…

–Melody

An update

Hello everybody, Lisette here. It’s high time somebody wrote about what’s going on over here!

The short version of the story is, not much is happening right now. Our studio just got painted, so for the last couple of weeks all our stuff has been in turmoil and is only just now starting to settle down back to normal. So, obviously, we haven’t been able to make any dresses lately. And it’s been hard to be creative at all, since we’ve been so busy moving things in and out of the room, cleaning out the stuff we don’t need anymore, and then rearranging it all again, that we haven’t had much time for anything else!  However, the studio looks really fabulous, and it’s much tidier now than it was, say, the week before the spring line launch!

Other news: Melody’s cousin, Kirsten, is moving in! We’re all very excited. She came during the launch to help out, and found she liked it so much that she decided to stay. She claims she’s tired of the snow in Minnesota, and that the fishing here is really great. So that makes four of us dolls here! We’ve been having lots of fun going on adventures to the park, having picnics, and enjoying the beginning of summer. And Kirsten is really good at hand-sewing (her stitches are incredibly tiny and precise) so Melinda is glad to have her around.

Melody has taken me to the library a couple of times to start garnering ideas for the fall line, but she won’t start designing in earnest until later in the summer. I love going to the library–there are enough books there to keep me busy for a lifetime! Melody is really good about focusing on what she wants, though. Last time, she looked through a couple of books on famous fashion designers and came home thinking very differently about the fall line. We’ll just have to wait and see how much of that really rubbed off!

Anway, that’s pretty much what we’re up to these days. Melody says she’ll write a post the next time a good idea for a dress hits her.

Talk to you all later!

Lisette