Silk

We at MVC love to use silk—it’s lustrous, warm, natural, and wonderful to work with. But it’s a bit of a mystery to some people, so I thought I’d share a few interesting facts about silk with you. Hope you enjoy!

1) People often think that anything shiny is silk. Not necessarily true! Usually shiny fabrics are satin, which is a weave pattern. Silk is a fiber, and like most fibers it can be woven either into a satin or into some other kind of fabric. This makes it possible to have silks that aren’t shiny, and satins that aren’t made of silk. Confused? Here are some photos:

the Madeleine dressthe Crimson Bouquet dressThe Madeleine dress was made of satin—and yes, it’s shiny—but the fiber woven to make the satin was not silk. By contrast, the Crimson Bouquet dress was made of silk… but the fabric wasn’t shiny? Yes, it does get confusing. But the bottom line is, shiny does not equal silk.  

2) Silk is a natural fiber made by silkworms; to get the threads that are used to weave the fabric, people unwind the silkworms’ cocoons. Usually this yields a single, thin, straight strand. But silkworms are social creatures, so sometimes two of them will make a cocoon together. When it comes time to unwind the cocoons, the two threads get rather tangled, and the resulting thread is somewhat knotted and lumpy. Weaving this lumpy thread gives you silk duppioni (also spelled dupioni, doupioni, or doupion), from the Italian word for twin. The tangled bits of thread turn into beautiful, light-catching slubs in the fabric. (We made the Crimson Bouquet dress from duppioni: the little variations in the fabric are the lumps from the two tangled threads…)

3)  A single strand of silk can be anywhere from 1,350 to 4,000 feet long!

4) Silk loves dye. This means you can get silk in fabulous, intense colors that you just don’t find in other fibers. Flaming orange; deep, complex turquoises; clear blues… the list goes on! plaid silk doupioniembroidered duppioniblue painted silk charmeuse

 

 

 

 

painted silk charmeuseThis last sample, a handpainted silk charmeuse,  shows you just how crazy the colors can get! If you’re interested in seeing more silks, please poke around on www.thaisilks.com. They have quite a few, and that’s where I found these four samples. You can also visit your local fabric store and start reading the bolts—usually they’ll list the fiber content, and that’s also a great way to learn about fabrics. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these facts about silk! It’s really a wonderful fiber, and I know I’m growing to love it more and more each time we use it.

–Melody

Advertisements

Camp Artek Uniforms

Camp Artek UniformsWe just finished another custom project! This one is a set of two 1960s uniforms from Camp Artek, a Soviet camp by the Black Sea. It was a different sort of project than we normally do, but we all enjoyed the change of pace…and the uniforms came out tremendously cute! Click on the picture to get all the information about this project.

–Melody

Fabric Depot

We had hoped to post a little more about the surprise we’d hinted at last time, but it’s taking longer than we anticipated to get it ready for you all! So it will have to wait for a while.

In the meantime, I (Melinda) am here to tell you about my recent trip to Fabric Depot (www.fabricdepot.com). Please turn on your imaginations while you read this post—I didn’t have the presence of mind to take any photos, so I’m afraid imagining this experience along with me is a bit of a necessity!

So, think of everything you know and love about fabric stores—silks, quilting cottons, corduroys and wools, home decorating fabrics, flannels, printed cottons, scary weird shiny costume fabrics, fancy going-out-to-the-theater fabrics, home decorating fabrics, needles, thread, snaps and thimbles, random and possibly useful sewing gizmos, and buttons—is your imagination working yet?

Now that you have thought about everything you know & love in your favorite fabric store, take your mental inventory and imagine the selection to be twice (or, dare we say three?) times as great. There is a slight possibility that Fabric Depot might not be the largest fabric store in the nation, but it sure beat anything I’ve ever been to before! Several aisles of bridal and special occasion silks (crazy beautiful plaid duppioni anyone?), and row after row of cottons in nearly every kind of print imaginable! (They were even organized by subject: birds, wild animals, airplanes, babies, alphabet, 1860’s historical, cooking…you get the idea!) It was very inspiring and a little humbling.

Of course, after gazing in delight at the miles of bolts of fabric in the very high-ceilinged store, I headed to the clearance section. I am happy to report that I found a most beautiful fabric there—one I’d been dreaming about (rather off-handedly, yes, but it was in my dreams nonetheless). Of course I snatched it up, and I’m quite sure you all will get to see it in March when the spring line comes out!

I found some lining I needed (a beautiful cotton/silk blend), did a bit more shopping for the spring line, and then hit the winter fabric section.Herringbone twill from Wikipedia Commons That’s where I found something that looked like a tiny herringbone twill (herringbone twill is a kind of weave, and it means the threads in the fabric make tiny chevrons. I found a picture on Wikipedia Commons, so you can give your imagination a little break…) Anyway, this fabric only looked like a herringbone twill. In reality it was a gorgeous, lustrous gray-green corduroy with the twill pattern printed to perfectly align with the wales (wales are the little  ridges corduroy makes). I had to get some. I have no idea what I’ll use it for…but I simply couldn’t resist!

It was almost time to go when I hit the buttons section. I’ve never been much of a button person, but after this trip I think that has changed. I have never seen so many wonderful buttons in one place at one time! The display of Dill Buttons (www.dill-buttons.com) was especially wonderful. They have lovely, detailed designs, perfect for dolls, and the buttons do not look cheap at all upon close inspection. To make things even better, all their gold buttons are plated with 24k gold! I was delighted and bought quite a few. I know you all will see them in the months ahead!

When I finally left the store, I was quite a happy camper. I had a blast at Fabric Depot and I know I will return if I ever get the chance…

—Melinda

Two things of interest

Finally, the new customer page is up! Here’s the link:

http://www.melodyvalerie.wordpress.com/news/welcome/from-our-customers/

Or you can just go find it from the “Welcome” page. Don’t forget to send us your photos and we’ll put them up, too!

In other news, we sold the last Snowflake dress yesterday! This one is destined for Canada—how exciting!  Samantha is going to update the widget later on today…

Stay tuned—we have another surprise in the works, and are hoping to tell you all about it within the next week!

–Melinda

New Photo Page

Since it has been quite a while since we posted, and even longer since we put up a picture for you to look at, and especially because this post is all about pictures, here is a photo for you! One of our customers sent us this last week—her Rebecca doll, modelling her new Crimson Bouquet dress.

Rebecca in Arizona, wearing the Crimson Bouquet dressOf course, we were delighted to see this photograph. The joy of seeing other dolls across the country wearing and enjoying our dresses is something we have yet to get over!  

So, as part of the ongoing site re-do, we are starting a new page for photos of dolls wearing Melody Valerie Couture, and we’d love your help to do so.

If you have a favorite photo of your doll in her Melody Valerie dress and would like to see it on our new page, please send it to us via email at melodyvalerie [at] live.com! Please be sure to include your doll’s name, and, if you don’t mind, the state or general region in which you live, for the picture’s caption.

Thanks everybody! We can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

—Melody

Sold Out

I just went to the post office this morning and mailed the last two SchoolGirl dresses. Melody and I were astonished at how quickly they sold out—-thank you everybody for your interest!

We’re always happy and sad at the same time when the last of a dress is sold. There’s something mysterious about having put that much time and love into a creation, and then knowing you’ll probably never see it again. But of course, we’re thrilled that so many dolls are wearing our designs! And they’re going worldwide, too, which doesn’t usually happen! The first two were bound for two different cities in the state of Ohio; the last two are going to Arizona and England. We’re all very excited to see what the new owners think of them!

Melinda

A PS on Etsy logistics

Hello Everbody!

I just thought I’d explain how we list dresses on Etsy, because it gets a little confusing sometimes!
We have multiple copies of each dress, but we only list one copy of each model at a time in our Etsy shop. So when a dress sells, it doesn’t usually mean the dress is entiely sold out, it just means that we have one copy fewer. Check back in a few hours to see if we’ve updated the shop—-and if you’re really set on a certain dress, contact us and we’ll make you a reserved listing!

Thanks for your patience—I know this system is a little awkward at times!

—Melody