Penelope – ooak Monster High Skelita Repaint and Redress

Good morning doll lovers,

I’ve just finished, in honour of the changing seasons around here, a repainted and redressed, fully body blushed Monster High Skelita doll that I have named Penelope.

She’s not unhappy about her current bodily situation, but it does get a little lonely especially when her friends are not about. So, she wanders the cemetery at night with her lantern, looking for lost friends….

In process…

So, sometimes I take copious quantities of photos as I work, and sometimes, well I just forget. If I’m working and I don’t have a lot of time and I’m on a roll, I just keep going and then lament the fact that I didn’t pause and take some shots. But, well, it happens….

I did take some shots as I made the lantern though :) And I have some NWS (if you can call a skeletal nude not work safe?!) shots of her full blushing/paint job sans vetements.

The Lantern:

It is made of water colour paper that has been cut and painted and varnished. Inside is a little candle with a long wick of black,blue, yellow and orange made of stiffened cotton, painted and varnished, acetate that has been painted with the yellow glow of the candle forms the “glass” and a decorative ring handle on the top so Penelope can carry her lantern with her wherever she goes.

First I decided on a design. I wanted something mildly medieval and a little goth. It couldn’t be too very intricate cutting wise due to the scale, but I wanted some visual interest of course..


After all the cutting came the test fold to make sure it would go together well… I’ve left tabs on here and there for gluing :)


Before putting it together permanently, I wanted to get the painting done. Apart from being easier overall, it made painting the inside feasible (I mean what old lantern is white inside?) Also, glue doesn’t take water based paints so well, and I didn’t want random white bits on my old medieval type lantern, so paint first and then glue!



I’ve painted the candle to look as though the light from the flame decreases towards the bottom of the candle pillar. I’ve added the cotton which will be stiffened and then painted in what I hope will be realistic flame colours :) I’ve added a piece of wire to my chosen pretty ring carry handle which will keep the handle securely attached to the lantern.


Here are those NWS body shots. ;)



You can see that I have painted some mossy bits on her here and there. She’s been wandering the cemetery for a Long time! She also has a few well placed tiny bug friends on her, which she doesn’t mind at all. They give her someone to talk to while waiting for her other ghostly friends to come out.

Penelope’s hair has been modified as well. The random orange and blue locks original to her were carefully removed along her front hairline, and this has been rerooted, lock loop sew in method, with the same hair fiber in the same colour with the exception of course of her white streak which is mohair. The flower is a permanent addition.

The dress I’ve made for her is a lovely medium ecru fabric with lots of petal texture. It has factory applied petals and blooms all over. I have strategically added a few here and there for more balanced look. The attached bodice is a simple chiffon crossover with a sewn on flower decorating the waist. The same kind of flower that adorns Penelope’s hair. There is an attached petaled fabric fall that affords lots of posing options. The dress is easily removable and fastens with two snap closures. One at the waist and one at the back neck.





Penelope does not have painted catchlight in her eyes. Her eyes have been finished in a 3D gloss to catch the light naturally wherever she is displayed. (There is someone out there claiming to have devised this type of eye finishing and claiming it as his own. Well maybe he made it up on his own and maybe her didn’t. I don’t know, but I do know that I do it and have done it for years and lots of other great customizers do it too! So there’s that!)

Currently this lady is available on my Facebook page, but I’ll be moving her to ebay probably later today and will update the blog with the listing info when I have it.

Thanks for dropping in :)




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Posted in awsumgal accessory, awsumgal outfit, doll, doll clothes, doll outfit, Monster High, OOAK Monster High, Repaint, reroot, Uncategorized No Comments »

7 Year Itch Dress for 19 Inch Marilyn – Done :)

As promised last time, the dress is complete!

Waist size was confirmed, yay! Zipper inserted, this baby is done :)

Here are some final photos. Again, this is going on a sculpture so my American Model lady is just showing it off for me ;)




One more with the removable underwire :)


Well, there you have it! All finished and off to it’s new home.

Thanks for reading!


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Posted in awsumgal outfit, doll, doll clothes, doll outfit, Marilyn Monroe, replica, Uncategorized 2 Comments »

7 Year Itch Dress for 19 Inch Marilyn Wip2

Good morning!

I’m almost finished with this project. I hope to put the finishing touches on it today.

When I last posted, I left you all with the pleating, looking unshaped and purposeless. Now things have taken shape :)

Some of the bits are done and partially put together….

Here it is on my doll. Caveat here, my doll, although she’s 19 inches tall is not the girl who will be wearing this dress. My doll is smaller in the waist and bust than the sculpture is supposed to be, so it hangs off her a little in places :( We can’t all be Marilyn!

19Marilyn5wip2wThe pleats looks a little odd in front because I’m trying out the wire structure I made to make the dress look like it’s blowing up around her. Like this:

19Marilyn4wip2wOr this:


The point here is that it can be posed to the owners desire. Within reason of course, nothing is infinite!

The wire contraption is just flexible wire (strong enough to hold the weight of the skirt) sewn onto a piece of canvas. It fastens with a simple snap and is a separate piece from the dress.

When bent upward, the wire holds the skirt up and hides nicely in the pleats :)

The finishing parts are left to do, the strapping across the front and the bow tie (not to be confused with a bowtie – different thing entirely, lol) I’ve begun the tie…



Still have to insert the zipper. The sculpture will be standing with legs apart, but I don’t know how far apart, so a long zipper should accommodate that. I’m still waiting on a confirmation of the waist size of this sculpture, and I don’t want to sew the zip into the back until I have that….

Except for the zipper, everything is hand sewing, so off I go to get that done. Next time you see this dress, it will be complete :)

Thanks for reading :)




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Posted in awsumgal outfit, Historical Fashion, Marilyn Monroe, OOAK, replica, Uncategorized 2 Comments »

7 Year Itch Dress for 19″ Marilyn Sculpture

Happy Saturday morning folks! Hope you’ve got great plans for the day. The summer is winding down around here, so get out and do something fun, (right after you bookmark this blog, lol!)

Today I’ll be working an a Marilyn Monroe 7 Year Itch dress. You know the one, the subway grate scene on that hot night in the film? The pleated one? Yup, that one…..


I have made doll versions of this dress before, but this time is a little different. This time it will be for a sculpture, not a doll. My client is having a sculpture made. She’ll be 19 inches tall and will be proportional to Marilyn’s actual measurements.

I researched Marilyn’s measurements and although they changed over the years a little, and there seems to be a tiny discrepancy with regard to her actual height, I was able to find them online in a couple of different places. I also have a few books about Marilyn and the her designers. There is a lot of literature on that “silly little dress” as Travilla (the designer) called it.


His dress, he can call it whatever he wants!

As a point of interest, the dress isn’t even white, it’s bone, or cream. White didn’t really appear white so well on film. Apparently, white looked grey and dingy, so the bone coloured dress gave a more pleasing white on film, which is what they were going for. This version is white, but not bright white, just a soft neutral white.  I have chosen a silk/cotton light semi sheer fabric for this as it will pleat beautifully. (I discovered that the designer had fabric specially made for this dress. He specifically wanted some man-made fiber content, which he didn’t normally use much, so that the pleats would stay.)

So, I’ve begun the work on pure math and numbers to this point because I don’t have the sculpture in hand, she may not be finished yet even. New size, so new pattern. The sculptor is crafting the figure to have Marilyn’s real proportions. So I’ve taken her actual height and the height of the sculpture and gotten a percentage which I then applied to her bust, waist and hip measurements. Because this dress has the pleated flared skirt, the hip measurement isn’t all that critical. The most important is the waist because that’s where the dress fits closely. Even the bust cups have ore leeway in terms of size because they will be gathered along the bottom edge and the tied at the back neck, so that affords some size flexibility as well.

All of this is important because I don’t yet have confirmation of the position, the stance, of the sculpture. Are her hands down? or up? Are her legs together? or apart? This will have an impact on how much of the dress can be closed at the back and how it fastens. So I will do what can be done without that knowledge and go from there.

So here is the pleated skirt section in process. I’m doing it by hand with my trusty iron. Note that I have already hemmed this. prior to pleating :)


I have done this pleated skirt in an arc before, but it’s tricky that way because the grainline doesn’t arc (of course) so parts of the pleating are more difficult to pleat perfectly. I’m going with a straighter pattern piece here for a better pleat. The fabric is semi sheer and I don’t want to line it, as that would interfere with the pleated look (even if I pleated the lining), so I want a fair amount of pleat overlap. The real dress is three layers everywhere, except the skirt, which is two. My version will be lined everywhere except the skirt and have an extra layer in the pleated bust to waist section.

Here it is all pleated….


The other little gotcha is that the client wants the hem to appear to be blowing up around her as if she’s on that subway grate. But we’ll get to that when the time is right. I have a couple of ideas :)

I’ve gone ahead and pleated a piece for the bodice between bust and waist as well.


I have also drafted and cut the bust pieces and the back bodice bits. There is a little more that I can do before the final size confirmation, so I’ll go and do those things while I’m waiting. (Gathering the bust cups and lining, prepping the waist tie…)

That is all for now. I’ll get back to work so there’s more to show next time!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!




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Posted in Marilyn Monroe, OOAK, replica, Uncategorized No Comments »

J-Lo 2000 Grammy Dress

It is said that J-Lo lit up the internet after she appeared at the 2000 Grammy Awards wearing this gravity defying bare almost all little number because so many people were searching for her image in the dress.

I’ve been asked to recreate it on a small scale for a 17 inch tall Tonner Antoinette doll. This dress is what I like to call a “fabric dependent” piece. The fabric is a unique printed silk chiffon, that even if I could find the real fabric somehow, would be in the wrong scale for the doll and wouldn’t look right anyway. Without a suitable fabric to work in, the project will ultimately fail. So I’m careful what I promise when agreeing to this kind of project. I certainly don’t want to disappoint my commissioner!

Here’s the dress (in case you’ve had your eyes closed for 15 to 20…)


Apparently, there was a little double sided tape involved, but I digress!

It’s a beautiful Versace dress that helped launch Donatella’s career after the death of her brother Gianni.

The search was on for fabric. It took a while of scouring the web and my local fabric stores and anyway else I could think of. Buying pieces like this online is problematic. Many stores/sellers don’t give you an accurate representation of scale which is so important when working small and you often can’t tell what kind of hand, or drape the piece will have. Sometimes I take the risk that the piece will be wrong and sometimes it is. I try to be mindful of that, otherwise I wind up storing a lot of fabric that’s wrong for me.

But, joy of joys I found two that were plausible, not perfect mind you, but one of them was pretty close in feel. It was a tropical abstract leaf pattern in a chiffon. A little less blue than the original, but I knew I could help that along by strategically overpainting the material.

I draped the two over a doll – my Sybarite rescue, as it happens :) In this first example, the colour is pretty good, but the abstract dots are wrong. There’s nothing really tropical about this, but did I say the colour’s good?


The second example is the abstract tropical. In this example, the print is better, but the colour is a little washed out and it’s not blue enough. Since I can’t do anything about the print of the first example, but I can help the colour of the second example, this is the better choice IMHO. My savvy commissioner picked the second fabric.


With a fabric found and decided upon, I set to drafting the pattern for this dress. It remarkably tricky to achieve a tight fitting dress with so few places on the body where it actually comes together! Not to mention, the skirt has to be flowy :)

With the fabric being scarce and this being a new pattern, I made a muslin first, to test fit.


It has some merit. It’s a reasonable start point. The neckline is altogether too high of course, but more importantly, the hang at the front is wrong. The hips need more space. Also, the skirt is too short at the back and doesn’t quite have enough sweep either. So back to the pattern paper for refinements!

When I was happy with the pattern, it was time to work with the final fabric. I decided that the easiest way to over paint successfully would be to cut the pieces out and overpaint before I sew. That way, I don’t waste a lot of time painting parts that won’t be used and presew keeps my doll clean and paint free, and it keeps the pieces flat, making them easier to paint.


I tested three different products to overpaint. Drawing ink, fabric paint and artist acrylic. The drawing ink bled quite a bit, so no, probably not. On to the fabric paint which by the name one would think it would be the best choice, but this particular type is quite thick, it wants to be 3D (it’s probably quite good at that) but it doesn’t thin well, and I don’t want 3D here… So last test, artist acrylic: it thins, it can be built up, mixed almost infinitely. It doesn’t bleed, will never transfer to the doll. Yup, this is the one :)

The differences are pretty subtle, especially in photos, but, I’m happy with the shift towards blue of the overall look. So much so that I punchd up the greens in many places too. I spent about three days just painting the various bits. I’d get into a zone and think, just a little more here, just a bit more blue there…


The piece on the left is overpainted and the bit on the right is not. It needs more, you can see how it would be tough to stop, lol!

Now it’s looking more pleasing :)


After it’s all painted it’s time to sew. Construction mapping on this piece was fun! There is an order of operations at play for best results. This order of operations type stuff tends to run through my mind as I’m waking up. In that hazy pre-awake state where all the great ideas come from. When I’m working on something, that’s where the answers lie. If I’m in between projects, it’s where the best ideas for the next one make themselves known…..

Anyway, back to J-Lo




It’s coming along. Some refinements and tidying need to happen and it needs another pressing. You’ll notice that she’s wearing a blue panty underneath. When I researched the dress, it seems that Vercsace designed this gown to have a nude panty with a jewelled crotch underneath as well as the jewelled brooch fastener. J-Lo apparently opted not to wear the nude panty with the jewelled crotch. Good call J-Lo! I like the blue panty better too :)

After much hand work, the dress is finished. Here are some final studio pics for you.



Don’t want to forget to mention the should sparkle and of course the strategically placed jewelled brooch :)



Well, that’s it for now! The J-Lo dress is on it’s way to it’s owner and I’m on to another project,

Watch this space :)

Thanks for reading,




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Posted in Antoinette, Custom Fabric, doll clothes, doll outfit, OOAK, replica, Tonner, Uncategorized 2 Comments »