Monday, January 30, 2012

A New Hat from Aunt Amanda

I don't know why I have been in such a hat making mode lately, but there is no better way to refresh an outfit than with a new hat!   Madame Alexander's "Aunt Amanda Fairchild" fashion doll wears a navy tweed suit that is made from the exact fabric used in Ashton Drake's "Travel In Tweed" Gene Marshall suit ensemble.  As I never liked the fit or the quality of the fabric used in the collar and cuffs of the "Aunt Amanda" jacket, I decided to make a hat out of the jacket to match Gene's "Travel in Tweed costume.

Ashton Drake's Violet Waters models my "new" Travel in Tweed costume shown with the skirt from the "Aunt Amanda Fairchild" ensemble.  I like the longer length and slimmer lines for a change. 

I covered a buckram shape with fabric taken from the back of the jacket keeping the princess seaming in place.  Unfortunately the seaming is hard to see in the photo.  Vintage berries and lots of veiling fashioned in a "birdcage" effect complete this circa 1944 hat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chocolate Truffle

"The woman who knows how to change the trimming on a hat or make a new one can always have smart millinery to go with her newest costumes or accessories.  From fabric left from a garment she can re-cover an old hat or cover a new shape to make a hat to match."   Excerpt from The Complete Book of Sewing by Constance Talbot, 1943.

Most sewing books at the time included chapters on restyling and remaking garments and accessories.  You could even take an at-home course in hat making.  One of my favorite vintage finds is a book called "How to Make and Trim Your Own Hats" by Vee Powell.  It is soft covered and originally cost $1.00 to purchase in 1944.  Included is a chapter on rejuvenating, re-trimming, and remaking last year's favorite hat.

So where is all of this leading to, and what does it have to do with a Chocolate Truffle?  A recent post at The Studio Commissary had me searching for the 2001 Ashton Drake Madra Lord costume called "Chocolate Truffle" to see if the hat had changed color.  It had.  Not that there was anything wrong with the new color, a dusty slate blue, but I felt this chic outfit needed the more vibrant, jewel-tone, shade of teal.  Well I'm sure you know what happens next.......

Integrity's Deep Rose Madra Lord looks smashing in this rarely seen costume designed by Jim Howard.  The new hat color picks up the color of the tiny teal dots in the dress print.  The fur muff is from PD Root.

Madra's new silk hat utilizes the tip (top portion) of her original hat.  For the sides, I used a new piece of buckram cut to the measurements of the original.  I was lucky to have the perfect color already in my fabric stash.  The hat is trimmed with a simple but elegant fringed, self-fabric bow.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What the Stars are Wearing

Chic Gene Marshall pairs the fabulous leopard plastron and gloves from D.A.E. Original's "Charmed Traveler" ensemble with the black crepe dress from Ashton Drake's "Dark Desire".   Note the elegant color combination of black and brown.  The fur muff is from PD Root, bracelet from Facets by Marcia, and shoes are from Integrity.  Miss Marshall's hat, belt, and earrings were made exclusively for her by The Couture Touch.

Jose Ferrand, one of the designer's at Monolithic Studios, created this striking suit for the new film "She Went To Reno" starring Madra Lord.  Director Ivy Jordan wears the circa 1940's striped suit with a dramatic fur cape from Dimitha.  The handbag is from Integrity and the OOAK hat and gloves are from The Couture Touch.  Suit is from Ashton Drake's "Top This".

Monolithic star Madra Lord proves she can pull off the menswear look just as well as Dietrich and Hepburn in this classic wool plaid pantsuit from Ashton Drake's Star Wardrobe Collection.  Her striped shirt is borrowed from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr "Just My Type" suit ensemble.  Shoes and cigarette holder are from Integrity.  Black velvet beret and earrings are from Ashton Drake.

Additional Credits:

Table from CED.
Phone from Ashton Drake's "A Hot Day in Hollywood" accessory set.
Salon chair from Haute Doll.

The models:

Gene Marshall is Ashton Drake's "A Lady Knows" with her bangs removed and enhanced with an Integrity articulated body,  Ivy Jordan is "Moss Rose" Ivy Jordan from Integrity, and Madra Lord is "Metropolitan Madra" from Metro Dolls.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

From the Monolithic Studio's Costume Vault: 1940's Daywear

We are opening the costume vault at Monolithic Studios to share some fabulous 1940's daywear modeled by three of the Studio's brightest stars:  Gene Marshall, Ivy Jordan, and Violet Waters.

Director Ivy Jordan wears the iconic red crepe suit from Brenda Starr's "Reporter In Red" film.  I love the clean lines of this funnel neck jacket.  Jewelry and hat from The Couture Touch, embroidered gloves from the Star Wardrobe Accessory Collection by Ashton Drake, and the handbag from Sandra Stillwell's "A Woman of Means" Adrian ensemble.

Gene Marshall wears the flirty tweed peplum jacket from the 2005 Decade of Dreams Gene Convention paired with the skirt from Ashton Drake's "Fashion Plot" costume, and the blouse from "Hello Hollywood Hello".  The fur muff is from PD Root, hat from Bogue's Vogues, and the gloves and earrings are from Ashton Drake. Feather pin and purse are from The Couture Touch.

Violet Waters in the smart, 2-pc ensemble designed by Dolly Cipolla, and originally worn by Gene Marshall at a "Press Conference" announcing her upcoming USO tour.  Violet makes this costume her own by adding the delightful hat from Madra Lord's "Top This" ensemble.  I removed the original grosgrain trim from the hat and replaced it with a peach braided trim and matching tassels.  The fur drape is from PD Root, handbag and cuff bracelet from Integrity, shoes and gloves are from Ashton Drake.

Gene Marshall in another Brenda Starr ensemble, "Just My Type" tweed suit paired with the corsage and handbag from Ashton Drake's "The Perfect Gift", fur drape from PD Root, and gloves from Ashton Drake.  The scarf and fabulous fur and felt tilt topper are from The Couture Touch.

Gene Marshall shines in the D.A.E. Originals top from their "Starmaker" evening ensemble paired with a wine velveteen skirt.  Fur and gloves are from PD Root, shoes from Integrity, purse from Ashton Drake, and the fun tilt hat from The Couture Touch.

Additional Credits:

Brenda Starr costumes are by Robert Tonner
Gene Marshall and Violet Waters dolls are from Ashton Drake
Ivy Jordan, Lady Director, is from Integrity

Friday, January 6, 2012

DIY Project: A Whimsical 1940's Cocktail Hat

These whimsical cocktail hats were all the rage in the early 1940's.  In '41, Paris was showing little hats that resembled nests fashioned with tiny stuffed birds and fabric fruit.  These delightful hats are also very easy to make for your favorite fashion dolls.  In the example shown above, I used 1/4" wide black, textured trim for the base and added a bird that I purchased from a craft store.  The veiling and marabou feathers were salvaged from an old vintage hat.

To get started, you will need to gather a few supplies:  scissors, straight pins, scotch tape or Fray Check,  needle, thread, glue (I recommend Fabri-Tac by Beacon), and assorted trims.  Most of these items are readily available at your local fabric or craft store. You can also check out eBay and the Internet for vintage resources. I often check local flea markets and antique malls for vintage veiling, feathers, birds, millinery floral, buttons, and jewelry pieces that can be utilized as decorations.

Click photo to enlarge

You will need approximately 1/2 yard of cording or narrow braid trim for the hat base.  If needed, apply a small piece of scotch tape to the ends to prevent raveling.  You could also use a dab of Fray Check and let it thoroughly dry.  Begin winding the braid slowly into a spiral shape, pinning as you go.  Once you have reached your desired size, trim ends and tuck underneath the base.  With a needle and thread, either whip stitch or simply run the threaded needle through the spiral a few times in different directions to secure.  If you use a textured braid and matching thread, your stitches won't show.   Not handy with a needle and thread?   You could also use glue to form the spiral.  You now have a flat cartwheel shape that is ready to trim.  Trims can be attached either by stitching or gluing.  I usually start with veiling that has been whip stitched to the base, then begin layering on additional trims such as birds, feathers, leaves, etc. 

Our fabulous cocktail hat is the perfect accessory to Madame Alexander's 2001 "Afternoon Out" sheath ensemble.  Gloves, purse, and shoes are from Ashton Drake, Bracelet from Facets by Marcia, Fur drape from PD Root. 

This fanciful concoction is also the perfect topper for "Just My Type" tweed suit from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.  Gloves from Integrity, purse from Tonner, fur from Bandolier Morado by Sandra Stillwell.  My model/muse has been Ashton Drake's "A Lady Knows" Gene Marshall enhanced with an Integrity articulated body. 

In this example, I made bias strips from the fashion fabric using a 1/2" tape maker to make a bias binding.  The binding is then folded in half and rolled as shown.  Don't be afraid to experiment with different materials and widths for your hat base. 

OOAK Cocktail Ensemble by The Couture Touch
In a private collection

I hope you have as much fun as I did creating your own unique cocktail hat for your favorite fashion doll diva.