Up and Coming

Just a quick heads-up to let you know we’ve got some new things in the works! First, we’ll be doing custom work in January and still have a couple of spots left. If you’re interested, send us an email (melodyvalerie [at] live.com) or “convo” us on Etsy to discuss the details. (Our labor/patterning charges start around $75 for a dress, and you can see some examples of our past work by clicking on the “Custom” tab above).

We also have a surprise in the works — hopefully we’ll be able to tell you more about it in a week or two!

Until then, have a happy end of 2011!

–Lisette

previously

the Middy Dress, completed June 2010

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Hand Sewing

Yesterday we gave the studio a much needed clean — there are no longer any resident piles of fabric on the worktable!After that I started working on some hand stitches, which Melody and I thought you might like to see. This first one is the ‘catchstitch’. It’s useful for hems or for attaching skirts to bodices, since it’s elastic, but strong.

 

 

Next up: the ‘overcasting stitch’, which is primarily used for finishing raw edges. It’s stitched about 1/16″ of an inch away from the raw edge. While it can be time-consuming (each stitch must be made separately), it’s the preferred edge finish for couture since, to quote Claire Shaeffer, it’s the “flattest, softest, and least likely to show on the right side of the garment”.

 

 

Here are two different, but related stitches. The ‘fellstitch’ is on the left; the ‘slipstitch’ is on the right. Can you tell where I switched from one to the other? (I marked it with two small cross-stitches.) On the right side, the slip- and fellstitches are nearly identical.

 

 

But on the back, the fellstitch and slipstitch are instantly distinguishable! The slipstitch (left) hides extra thread within the fold of the fabric on the right side, whereas the fellstitch (right) lets the thread show on the back of the work. Because the slipstitch requires an extra step to hide the thread, it takes a little longer to make. The fellstitch is one of my favorites, especially when the back won’t show! But the slipstitch is better for hems or other applications where you need the stitch to be almost invisible on the front and the back.

 

–Melinda and Melody

Christmas is coming…

Just a quick reminder — there are lots of lovely hats and coats in the shop, and they’d make fabulous Christmas gifts for the special 18″ doll in your life. (Just click on the button to the right to get there!) Imagine her delight when she finds a real Melody Valerie hat in her stocking! =)

Order by Dec. 19th for Christmas delivery!

–Lisette

a fabulous new couture sewing book!

Yay! We finally got our hands on the new edition of this gorgeous book by Claire Shaeffer (Revised & Updated Couture Sewing Techniques). So far, we’ve only got through the first bit — there’s a lot to absorb! It’s directed towards sewing couture for adults, not for dolls, but I’m learning all sorts of things.

What makes true haute couture different from high end, luxury ready-to-wear (like the sorts of garments you find in a really nice department store or designer boutique?) You can usually tell by looking at the price tag — haute couture can range from $8,000 for simple day dresses to $500,000 for an evening gown! But you’re purchasing more than a dress: couture is “strong, innovative design” (p. 9), made from extraordinarily luxurious fabrics (which can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars a yard!), stitched into a truly custom-fitted garment. Houses give each client multiple, precise fittings, and also go to incredible lengths to translate the proportions of the original design to the client’s figure perfectly.

True haute couture is also largely hand-sewn (whereas luxury ready-to-wear is usually machine stitched). The advantages of hand sewing? The seamstress can control the fabric more accurately, reach tinier spaces, and shape the piece as she works. Hand stitching is also less likely to damage the fabric, if it needs to be removed. But I’m getting ahead of myself! I’ve only skimmed that chapter — and there are some new hand stitches, as well as new ways to use familiar ones. I know it’ll take me some time to digest it all, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted. =)

Melinda

PS– If you want to read this book for yourself, you can find it online at http://www.threadsmagazine.com or on Amazon.

Resin Beads

Forget about the world for a minute — just Etsy alone is full of delightful surprises. I’d never heard of resin beads before, but there they were on Etsy’s front page! Aren’t they beautiful? I just can’t get over the rich color and the luster. (Item by dotedesignbeads)

And a quick search for ‘resin beads’ showed all the many finishes it can have; clear, smooth, matte, the list goes on!

 

(Red beads by TheBeadsofDreams; purple beads by Aprishasparkles).

How about resin plus mother-of-pearl flakes? (Item by BeadFrenZ)

 

 

And these are just awesome! (sterling silver plated over resin beads; item by OriginalCynMV)

–Melinda

Our contribution to the Christmas Shipping Rush!

We spent most of the morning yesterday packaging up orders and getting them all ready to go. Then we sallied forth with our piles of parcels — those of you who ordered from us on Saturday should be receiving your new hats, coats, and scarves soon!

And, for those of you who are still thinking about ordering, there is lots of lovely stuff left in the shop (have I mentioned how much I love wearing the Amelia? So snuggly!) Order before the 19th for Christmas delivery! Because, don’t you all know somebody who would love a piece of Melody Valerie for Christmas? =)

–Lisette