Further adventures in China silk

China silk is something I’d heard about for years, but hadn’t tried until very recently (scroll down a bit and look at the Rosella dress — the aqua accents are all China silk!) I was delightfully surprised at how responsive and easy-to-use this traditional lining fabric is. For one, it’s super lightweight and yet manages to maintain a decent amount of body. It’s slippery, but not uncontrollable; crisp yet sinuous. Holding a pile of this fabric is a bit like holding a cloud. 

Lavender gray china silk

Because it’s a lining fabric, it’s also a little see-through. That was just about perfect for the Rosella dress (the green undersleeves really needed to be somewhat sheer) but with a little help, nothing says this lining fabric can’t become a star fashion fabric in its own right!

So, when we were commissioned to make Coral this lovely little frock for  a Christmas Eve fête, I couldn’t help wanting to use China silk! Here’s the inspiration photo:

 Coral Christmas Eve dress

Coral is fond of gray, but this dress was to be a more purple, “dove” gray than the original inspiration dress. So, with the aid of the internet, I found a china silk in just the right shade and cut it in a double layer. We were off!

Coral Christmas Eve dress

Coral Christmas Eve dress

Coral Christmas Eve dressCoral Christmas Eve dress

Coral Christmas Eve dress

Coral Christmas Eve dress

Isn’t that fabric just delicious! We could have used a taffeta, or possibly even a silk duppioni (both very crisp fabrics) — but the china silk does a fabulous job of holding the pleats while still retaining a gentle fluidity. Mmm mmm. Love that fabric… what would it look like if you layered it over, say, cotton shirting? Or gathered it into bubbles? Or…?

Melinda

More about the Rosella Dress

First, here’s hoping everybody had a delightfully merry Christmas!

Second, we’ve finished the Rosella dress (we still have to make the cape, though). Hooray! Here are some pictures:

Rosella Dress

It’s so deliciously princesssy that we could hardly restrain our delight! And Myrna (who is modeling in these pictures) has refused to take it off….

back

The main fabric is actually our favorite cotton/silk blend sateen (dull side up) with this beautiful diamond-patterned silk lace on top.

  pretty 

bodice closeup

Don’t you love the trim? Believe it or not, it’s just fabric. We took the aqua accent fabric (china silk, if you’re interested) and made bias tubes, about 1/8″ to 3/16″ wide. Then we stitched it to the dress at 3/8″ intervals, gathering it as we went. Super cute!

I’m hoping we’ll start the cape soon (a very simple little number), so there will be pictures of that forthcoming…

Melinda

the Ivy Cape pattern is here!

Well, if you’re on the Liberty Jane mailing list (which I highly recommend joining, if you haven’t already) you’ve probably seen this:

AG Ivy Cape cover

(click on the image to visit its page at www.libertyjanepatterns.com)

Ta-Da! We’re thrilled this pattern is going live! If you wanted to try sewing a Melody Valerie piece but felt a little intimidated, this just might be the project for you. It goes together much quicker than a dress, and the all the finishing (except for one short seam) is done by machine.  And I’m super excited about the miter on the inside — it’s the fancy little point where the lining joins the outer, right at either corner of the cape, and it’s gorgeous!

Also, as if that wasn’t enough, this fabulous pattern is also available as a pattern for 16″ Ellowyne Wilde dolls! This was my first time working with Ellowyne, but I have to say I really enjoyed it. She’s such a lovely doll, and also large enough to sew comfortably for. 

Ellowyne Ivy Cape pattern cover

And finally, some more lovely shots from inside each pattern for your viewing pleasure…

 AG Ivy Cape other images Ellowyne Ivy Cape other images

melodyvalerie

–Melinda

 

~visit www.libertyjanepatterns.com to view more info about these patterns or to purchase and start sewing today!~

Meet Rosella

One of my favorite parts about custom work is all the randomly fun things we get asked to do! Anybody out there play King’s Quest in the 90s? I’d never heard of it, but a quick Wikipedia search suggests it was (is?) wildly successful.

Kings_Quest_Logo

Rosella is the intrepid heroine of the game, which, as near as I know, consists of a series of adventures and puzzles. (If this is right up your alley, feel free to chime in, in the comments…)

99px-RosellaKQ4fancydress

In the third and fourth games, Rosella wears a lovely white gown. There isn’t much to go on from the graphics… but then again, sometimes less is more!

105px-RosellaKQ4

Based on these two pictures, and the timeless, fantasy vibe of the game, we decided to go for a general medieval princess feel, with nods to the Italian Renaissance (the gracefully pleated back shown below is super I-Ren, btws).  We’re stacking ivory lace over soft white cotton, and adding little bits of aqua accents. Simply yummy!

italian-renaissance-gown

There will also be a cape; very basic, but very scrumptious, in this  gorgeous crushed turquoise velvet. It’ll be an ensemble fit for a queen…

turquoise velvet

… which, after all, is the point.

We’ll keep you in the loop as this story unfolds!

–melinda

Christmas Clothing in the Etsy Shop!

To ease your holiday shopping, there are now some Melody Valerie Christmas 2011 pieces available in our Etsy shop! Great Christmas gifts for the doll couture lovers in your life, shipped to your doorstep for under $45…

The Amelia hat: adventurous, nostalgic, and did we mention cozy?

Amelia

the Jane hat: festive elegance that smacks of the early 1800s

Jane

the Mandy hat: Really, does a hat this fun need an introduction?

Mandy

As always, you can view the listings for these items (along with a fabulous jacket and a few remaining dresses from our Fall 2012 collection) in our Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/melodyvalerie

Let the festivites commence!

Melinda