Sue Townson

Challenge One

This challenge was quite exciting as I really enjoy more casual clothes for the dolls. Gowns are a bit overdone though they have their place.

I have been very excited by Peter Pilotto and his new collections. He uses print in a new and innovative way which links intricate prints with sportswear.

I found a gorgeous silk print which was small enough to give the abstract feel I was looking for. My first plan was to make a pencil skirt and sleeveless top but it looked a little dowdy so I changed the skirt to shorts. I added black trim to the edges to give more of a sporty look.

I was trying to look for a swimsuit/wetsuit look for the top. I gave it princess seams and picked out the neckline, seams and hemline in black trim. The zip at the font gives it a very modern feel.

The outfit looked a little basic so I added an anorak. Using the zip design from the top as a base I made up the anorak in green cotton. I lined the hood in the same silk as the top and shorts. Side pockets and a front pocket add to the sporty feel.




Photography Challenge



Challenge Two

At first I was very flummoxed by this challenge. As a lady of a certain age and disposition video games are not really my thing – so in aid of research I approached the next generation. My daughter and son-in-law  explained to me a little of the history of video games. He was quite shocked to find out that “tennis” the earliest game appeared when I was about 21. I did remember it, though I have to say I wasn’t a big fan. Ok so moving on we discussed Pacman, the Mario Kart phenomenon and various fantasy games – especially his favourite, Zelda. I looked at various images around the games and decided to keep it simple.

I chose Ms Pacman as a readily recognisable icon even for someone of my age. Yellow is a key colour for the new season so I was keen to interpret the concept in yellow. Obviously the iconic shape made me think bubble skirt.... To give it a couture edge I worked on a basic round necked bodice shape. I manipulated the darts to give the deep V needed for the cut out mouth shape. To enhance this shape I made the V in black silk and the side and back pieces in bright yellow silk. I made cuts into the armholes to produce another V shape. The bubble skirt was constructed in the same yellow silk and I manipulated the gathers to give a V shape inverted in a front pleat. The length was micro short in order to keep the look youthful and flirty. Pearl beads up the front suggest the little icons she gobbles up as she moves around her maze.

Accessories in black and pink punctuate the outfit in a bold Betsy Johnson kind of way. I kept true to the original Ms Pacman by making a bright pink ribbon for her head and a black and pink purse to complete the look.

I added black tights and black and pink boots already owned to complete the accessories. Plus a bubble cut hairdo for Lady G in runway platinum blonde.

Again I made the pattern myself – I am finding it easier to make my own patterns than search and adapt the pattern market.
I put myself into the beginner group – even though I understand pattern making and can make my own patterns, as I have made very few outfits and do not sell or make clothes for anyone but myself.



Challenge Three

I spent a long time thinking of how to mash together 2 completely different designers. I thought of the different signature looks of designer houses – classic styles, tailoring or deconstructed looks, simple or embellished -  French Italian American English and Japanese, plus typical types of fabric used by the fashion house - lace/print/knit/red.

Eventually I chose to go for an iconic style and “mash it up” with a very distinctive print, whilst retaining touches of the first designer house.

The Dior new look has probably along with the Chanel suit been the most influential shape of fashion in the last century.

I own a pattern called Le Bar by Lori Lyon of Madeleine Rose Couture which was published through Affordable Designs. This pattern has a strong resemblance to the Dior new look of 1947. I decided to use this for my design. I adapted the skirt pattern to suit the soft chiffon silk print used. The stiff pleats of the original design did not suit the soft fabric which was very difficult to shape.  I also made use of a lace trim for the petticoat which I bought while in Paris. I shortened this to fit the dress as the piece was too long in its original form. I also made a lace tabard to go under the jacket. I handstitched pieces of antique gold lace with golden thread. Dior goes for a very nude kind of look so I laced the two sides tied together with golden thread to look like cord. The jacket was from the commercial pattern, I adapted the skirt and petticoat and made the top and headband myself.

Dior uses luxury fabric and lace intensively. It is a classic fashion house which tends towards a traditional neutral colour palette To mash it up as the challenge demands, I thought how to make this classic luxury style look like it had a place in the wild casual and very distinctive print of the Italian fashion house Pucci. Pucci immediately makes one think of strong vibrant colours, very stylised patterned fabric, in beautiful  fabrics. It is still a luxury house but with a more relaxed casual feel.

I had some Pucci fabric already from a personal sewing project a few years ago in both silk and chiffon. I decided to attempt the jacket in the silk print and the skirt in the chiffon. The Dior side shows through in the shape of the outfit, the lace underskirt and lace top. The Pucci influence in the colour and print.

For accessories I have made a Pucci co-ordinating scarf headband  and used already owned shoes by Tonner Doll Company in gold. Hose is neutral with gold spots made by Superdoll of England.

In my photographic challenge, Sydney shows off her beautiful lace whilst her Pucci inspired outfit is discarded on the floor

Pucci and Dior.


Photography Challenge




Challenge Four

For inspiration I looked at gowns designed by the great names of Hollywood design - Irene Adrian and Edith Head.
I found the designs very interesting – very much of their day and iconic for the great movies. There were some with very classic  features -  gowns were  often strapless, with chiffon overlays and beautiful embroidered details. I read that Adrian looked to show power dressing in his costuming of the stars – women making their mark in a man’s world. 
There were so many possibilities with this challenge. I decided to go for a simple classic design keeping the silhouette straight, the neckline strapless ,and the colour evoking both power and a sense of old movies. I decided to use an almost monochromatic look to evoke this look.  Power-dressing in shades of  black through blue-grey-silver  to white.

I made a princess seamed bodice and a straight skirt in a black silk. To draw attention to the star’s female form,  I added stripes of  coloured silk from under the bust to the hip areas. The stripes make an ombre effect giving a very modern feel to the dress. The dress has a strong silhouette evoking both masculinity and femininity. The plain back is finished with a row of 3 bows. I have added an extra back view to show the bows and how the colour lines match. This gets a little distorted because of the stand.
Silver and crystal accessories give off the Harry Winston look for Sydney. I made a tulle wrap with silver dots.  The shoes were adapted from a pair of silver court shoes and the clutch bag made from silver pleather. I had made these  previously to the competition. The jewelry – necklace earrings and bracelet are  by Facets.

In the 2 artistic photos we see that with the ultimate eye candy on her arm, Sydney would wow at any Premiere. The second picture shows her standing on her balcony of the yacht – waiting for her champagne to toast a brilliant evening.


Photography Challenge



Challenge Five

I wanted to move away from the traditional kimono to make a more western style outfit. I chose to make a bias cut one shouldered dress, in lime green silk chartreuse using a pattern by Madeleine Rose published by Affordable Designs. I added the kimono sleeve to this.  I then made half of a traditional short kimono in white rose textured fabric. Tied across the body using one section of the rose fabric, it brings the eastern traditional kimono look to the western glamorous evening gown. The fabric itself lends itself to moulding on the body and is hand sewn. The silk dress was lined in china silk and the jacket was unlined in the body part as it was fabric roses on tulle, whilst the sleeve has a lining of white china silk.
The lime green and white remind me of the freshness of Spring. The white flower fabric reminds me of Cherry blossom which is a tree originating in the Orient and enjoyed the world over. Earrings by the late Joe Tai and shoes and parasol by Superdoll.  Fabric blossom in hair to complete the homage to Cherry Blossom Season.


Photography Challenge


Challenge Six