Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Diane on Whidbey Island

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I love this suit from Diane on Whidbey Island.  She does a wide range of gorgeous dresses, suits, and gowns for our favorite fashion doll diva inspired by great Hollywood films, iconic fashion designers, and the Theatre de la Mode just to name a few.  Be sure to visit her blog and visit her Gallery of Past Creations to view some of her fabulous fashions.  Diane on Whidbey Island Blog

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Now that Gene Marshall is retired, I find I am drawn to the early Ashton Drake dolls.  Although they are not articulated, they still have a beautiful, graceful quality about them.  At times I am tempted to replace the bodies with the newer articulated Integrity body, but for now I will keep them as is.  And Ashton Drake did the best period hairdos!  Blue Goddess Gene is my model/muse.  I believe Diane designed this suit to coordinate with the hat and purse which are from one of Ashton Drake's hat sets. The necklace is from Ashton Drake, and the bracelet and shoes are from Integrity.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Straw Hats

Straw hats were originally designed to protect the wearer from the ravages of the elements.  Straw was widely available and low in cost.  For your viewing enjoyment, here is a parade of vintage 1940's era straw hats from my personal collection.  As always, click on any photo to enlarge.

Although I prefer to work with Ultrasuede or wool felt when making hats for dolls, I did this straw hat a few years back for the 11.5" size diva.  OOAK ensemble from The Couture Touch.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Who doesn't think of Lauren Bacall in the 1944 film To Have and Have Not when thinking of a classic 1940's houndstooth suit. 

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart
To Have and Have Not, 1944

Houndstooth is a variation of a simple check pattern that uses the twill weave to produce a special effect.  It comes in many color combinations but the classic is black and white.  I love the use of an unexpected color such as jade green with the black and white check.

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This is a prototype of a circa mid-forties suit that is based on a Simplicity pattern.  I didn't like the fit of the original pattern so I started from scratch and drafted a new pattern to get the look and fit I was going for.  This pattern will eventually be used for a striped suit.  I decided to use some left over jade wool crepe fabric from another project and combined it with the black and white houndstooth crepe fabric.  This style jacket often closed at the waist with either a simple button or with self-fabric ties.  In this case I used a vintage button as the closure.

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Underneath the jacket is a linen dickey which were popular in the forties, and a great way to eliminate bulk.  The embroidery on the front of the dickey is actually from a vintage lace piece that a friend gave me.  Of course every great 40's suit must have a matching topper.  This one is made from Ultrasuede and banded with the black and white houndstooth crepe.  The velveteen bow and veiling are from a vintage hat.  The black and white Ultrasuede gloves are reversible.

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Integrity's Silhouette of the Fifties Ivy Jordan is my model/muse.  She is my favorite fit model as she looks great in any era!  The purse is borrowed from an OOAK ensemble for Barbie doll, and the shoes are from Integrity's Gene Marshall collection.

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Houndstooth is not just for clothing.  It also looks great in accessories.  This 1940's tilt topper is a great example.  From my private collection.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reproduction Barbie in Randall Craig

One of my favorite Barbie reproductions (Picnic Set) in separates by Randall Craig.  Hat and purse from Mattel.  Click photo to enlarge.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's all in the Details

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One of the hallmarks of vintage clothing, particularly in the mid 1940's, are the fabulous details such as pleats, tucks, piping, embroidery, and applique.  A great example is the applied binding utilized in this miniature 2-piece day suit designed by Dolly Cipolla for Ashton Drake's Gene Marshall Collection.  The costume is called "Press Conference" and is circa 1944.  The contrasting banding draws attention to Gene's slender waist and hips.  For this photo shoot, I used the tilt hat from Ashton Drake's Star Wardrobe brown accessory collection and added the ribbon flowers from the original hat.   USO Gene is my model/muse.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The 1940's Short Dinner Dress

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I have been yearning for a basic 1940's era dress for my Gene Marshall doll to go with her beaded gauntlet gloves.  A few years ago I purchased a late 30's dress from a flea market with the idea to use the fur trim for a Gene outfit.  As it turned out the rich brown pebbled rayon crepe of the dress was the perfect color for the beading on the gloves.  I used Perfect Pattern's Style 6 for the bodice and drafted my own skirt design.  I used some of the fur trim from my flea market dress to make a coordinating hat.  It also turned out to be the perfect match to one of my fur drapes from PD Root.  The shoes are borrowed from Integrity's Cocoa Crisp Gene Marshall ensemble.  My model/muse is Ashton Drake's Creme de Cassis Gene Marshall. 

The mid-forties featured many feminine dresses with soft drapery and pleating.  They were the perfect style for rayon fabric which became king as silk was difficult to obtain throughout the war.  I found two vintage patterns that highlight this popular style.

Vogue 245

Vogue Patterns stated that these wonderful dresses look just right with the man in uniform.  They are easy to get around town in and it's not too much for dinner or the theater.  Photo by Frances McLaughlin.  Dress by Henry Rosenfeld.  Marvella pearl choker.

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Here is a stunning Adele Simpson design for Himelhoch's in Detroit featuring a dramatic asymmetrical line of beige rayon jersey on black crepe.  The fabulous fur hat is by John-Frederics.  Ad from Vogue 1945.