Inside “Cadewyn”

As you probably know by now, Cadewyn, our third fall design, is live on eBay until this coming Saturday night! If you’ve looked at any of the pictures, you’ve probably already seen the stunning nylon fabric it’s made of (I just can’t get over its lovely steely green/blue/black color, and the way that it’s both soft and crinkly at the same time).

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(click on the image above to view the auction)

So, what I thought I’d show you tonight is some of the details that went into making this truly unique dress. Working with the nylon — and building such a complex design — did present its challenges, but here are some of the highlights from the build.

First, I wanted to show you the front lining. This pic was taken before it was joined to the back lining. It’s just so spectacular all by itself, and not at all the kind of fabric you’d expect, looking at the outside of the dress.

inside lining cadewyn

Next up, a couple pics of the zipper. We at Melody Valerie love invisible zippers — they’re so clean and tidy — but Cadewyn required a slightly different technique from what we normally do. In the end, we opted to bind the raw Center Back edges (on either side of the zipper tape) with some narrow pieces of silk bias. Isn’t it gorgeous??

inside zipper binding cadewyn

And I was super pleased with how the top of the zipper came out; with some careful clipping and hand-stitching, it’s almost like the zipper just melts into nothing after the top stop. (Don’t worry, the tape is totally secure. 🙂 )

inside top of zipper cadewyn

Last but not least, I wanted to show you something you might not have realized was there: three layers of tulle ruffles. Yes, that’s right! Lurking beneath the giant tulle side skirts (did you know there are 16 layers of tulle in each?), there are several ruffles helping to support all the layers. This pic is of the understructure, before adding the giant overskirts.

inside tulle ruffles cadewyn

And as if that wasn’t enough, each under ruffle is finished along the top edge with a piece of silk ribbon! It came out so nicely — but it made me a little sad thinking that that nobody would see it, hidden beneath all that tulle. But that’s partly what this post is about…

Anyway, just remember the auction is ending soon — so if you’d like to have this piece of artwork arriving on your doorstep, don’t miss your chance!

Finally, a heartfelt thank you for following along — we really enjoy being able to share this with you all!

Melinda and Melody


“Cadewyn” is now up on eBay!

Did you get a chance to see the listing yet? “Cadewyn” is a pretty incredible dress, and Melody and I are both quite pleased with how it came out. It’s a lot more drama than we’ve done before — but hey, what fun is life without a little drama? 😀

Cadewyn cover image

Click on the picture to visit the eBay listing, which will run until next Saturday, Nov. 2nd, about 6 pm PST.  Don’t miss your chance to bid on this truly unique evening gown — it’s a great blend of punk and glamour. Not something you see every day!

Thanks for joining us for all the fun, and happy bidding!

Melinda and Melody

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Betsy: inside the materials

Hello all!

I fully intended to get this post up earlier in the week — but it wound up being a pretty crazy one (involving some pattern work — Ardith and Betsy’s patterns are both coming along nicely and should be out in the near future — and a great work/design meeting with Cinnamon from Liberty Jane). All’s well that ends well, though, so here are some of the juicy details about the materials that went into making “Betsy”.

This fabric has been in the Melody Valerie stash for a year or two now, just waiting for the right moment. It’s such a soft, soft jersey knit (I seem to remember it being a bamboo-blend — super luxurious) and the color is divine. It’s got a great hand, and a nice touch of stretch; and (what’s better) it snaps right back into shape. (There is very little worse than a knit that stretches out — only to stay that way. 😦 )


But probably the most fun part of this dress was picking out the embellishments. This was the perfect excuse to order some genuine watch parts from Etsy! Nothing like watch gears for a truly steampunk dress.

etsy steampunk watch gears image

It was fascinating to sift through all the little pieces, and pick out the ones best suited to the dress. Some of the pieces are so tiny — truly incredible!

Local craft stores provided most of the bling, chain and filigree work — I enjoyed trolling the aisles, looking for just the right colors of metal, and pieces that were detailed enough to be on doll clothing. (A lot of lovely pieces that look great on people are simply not detailed enough for doll-scale work.) So I was thrilled to find some little beauties — add some Austrian crystals, and together, they really make the dress pop!???????????????????????????????

Anyway, that’s the backstory of some of what went into making “Betsy”. The auction will be live until about 6 pm PST tonight — don’t miss your chance to bid on this piece of artwork!


“Betsy” now up on eBay!

Betsy Cover Image

“Betsy” is our second design in our Fall 2013 collection — and it’s now available on eBay! Click here to see the auction…. it will be live until about 6 pm next Saturday, Oct. 19th.

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This dress was an exciting adventure in knitwear, but we have even more exploits up our sleeves — there are still two more dresses in the Fall 2013 collection to come! Be sure to subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already — you can also follow along with the fun on our Pinterest page.



guess what came in the mail?

new twill labels

That’s right! Our custom printed twill labels just came! They’re tiny (only 1/2″ wide) — just big enough to ‘sign’ each dress, just small enough to be 18″ doll scale.

And in case you were wondering — yes! There will be one in the next Fall 2013 dress (which goes live on Saturday night….so exciting!)

new twill label in dress


Ardith: materials up-close

First off, may I please say how grateful and stunned I am to everyone who has bid? Wow! Thank you so much!

Second, I thought it’d be fun to take a little field trip, so to speak, while the auction was up, and tell you more about the materials that went into this dress.


Other than the fabulous, softly metallic pleather (which was a kind gift from someone — I’ve been hoarding it for years now, just waiting for the right moment to use it), “Ardith” is made entirely from silk habotai, or “china silk”. We’ve used silk habotai here at Melody Valerie before — it continues to be one of my favorite materials for a lot of reasons.

  • First off, it’s lightweight — it takes a lot of layers before things really get bulky! That’s definitely a feature.
  • It’s very soft and smooth. Petting it feels amazing.
  • The fabric itself has a surprising amount of body for something so lightweight, which means it will keep its shape while still being floaty and ethereal. Holding a silk habotai doll dress is an amazing experience — rather like holding a cloud!
  • It comes in nearly hundreds of colors, so it’s easy to find the one you want for your project.
  • Last but not least, it’s super easy to dye! I didn’t realize this going in — since most natural fibers will take dye, it was a reasonable guess — but I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and well the fabric responded to the dyebath for the ombre treatment. Only a second of immersion, and the cool moonlight gray fabric warmed up to the palest purple. The darkest layers of skirt were probably only in the dyebath for about 5-7 minutes. Compare that to 10-30 minutes, depending on the fabric you’re dyeing and the depth of color you want to achieve.

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In short, silk habotai is an amazing material to sew with — and if you are thinking about it, you should try it!