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 πŸ™‚ 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.Β 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!Β Not to mention, the skirt has to be flowy πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚


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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚



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 πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading,




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

Janet Jackson 06-07 Concert Clothes Done!

I’ve come to the end of this project. It took some time, but worth every moment spent I think, when I look at the outfit as a whole.

This outfit is going to someone with a gorgeous custom Janet doll to wear it. I sadly, don’t have a Janet but Basic Jon said she would step in as model πŸ™‚

Here’s what I was emulating, one last time!


Without further ado, here’s a look at the final….





I was told that the collector for whom I’m working, has , what with one thing and another has been waiting some time for this outfit to be a reality. I was happy to tackle this project and I just hope that it was worth the wait!

I’ve got some new projects lined up already, so best get working! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚


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Posted in Antoinette, awsumgal outfit, doll, doll clothes, doll outfit, OOAK, replica, Tonner, Uncategorized 4 Comments »

Janet Jackson Concert Clothes WIP 6

Today is Janet’s shirt and the finishing of her belt and boot covers, now that my zippers from Zipper That Doll have arrived (Thanks Leeann!)

Let’s start with her boot covers πŸ™‚ I’m using a faux suede for these. They are lace leaf/feather topped and the perfect lace was elusive to say the least! I checked all my favorite haunts, of course, to no avail. I spent hours online, searching. I started looking at international ebay and other shopping sites. Not everyone describes things in the same way, and sizing isn’t always available either! I knew something appropriate existed because I had a piece. I just didn’t think I had enough. I’d had this for years, I think it was something from my Mothers’ stash…. Clearly, I was going to have to make this piece work!

Ok, so here’s the bit….


I’m going to have to cut it apart, of course, and sew it onto the lace piece. I added some silver thread and a few silver beads too.


There! Ready for zippers πŸ™‚ Just a quick fit test first…


I’ll put that aside for a second and move to the belt. This was a fun piece to recreate. Lots going on here. The basis is a cotton woven multi strand affair. I have treated the ends so that they will stay together and not fray and the rest of it will all be sewn. The discs have a baby soft suede backing so that I can circle them with silver beads. I found a nice irregular cube to go in between the two discs. A trio of pretty smaller silver round edged beads flank the discs.


Just checking against the original…..


Feather charms….


And the other side of the belt…..



More feather charms πŸ™‚


And three more for the middle and a fastener at the back and the belt is done – woot!

Janet’s shirt is next. I’ve chosen a tissue thin silk and cotton blend fabric for this. It’s hallmark is the really wide lace edged collar and lacy cuffs. Β As I gathered images of this outfit I came to realize that Janet has at least two different versions of the shirt. Very similar, not exactly the same. Both feature the statement collar and lace edged cuffs, so mine will too πŸ™‚

Below, I’m prepping the lace cuffs for the shirt. Prepped separately, it will be sewn to the shirt when finished.








The shirt above needs an ironing to be sure, and it has no lace on the collar as yet, but it does what I want it to do! The real shirt has elastic along the lower edge, no doubt to guard against an unplanned wardrobe malfunction, so mine will too. I don’t want myΒ shirt to ride up either!

Next time, this complicated outfit will be finished!

Thanks for joining me,


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Janet Jackson Concert Clothes WIP 5

Janet’s outfit is in full swing around here! We’re getting further into the fun stuff. Now that the vest is done and all beaded up, it’s time for the jacket. I sewed up a version of the jacket in a linen of a good colour, but I didn’t like it.

Not –Β at – all πŸ™

The fit was off, for one thing, but that’s fine. Tweaking is par for the course. Of greater concern was the fact that I didn’t like the look of the linen. It was too idk, rustic? It has too much varigation in tone and altogether too much texture for me. Anyway, pfft! Outta here, lol!

So I swan-dived back into the sea of fabric that hides my studio on some days, to find something better. Find something I did too! A delightful crepe backed satin in champagne. Now I haven’t lost my mind or anything, I’m not using the shiny side, I’m using the back side. There is no reason not to use the backside of fabric. Sometimes that is the only way to get the exact look that you want!


The outfit as a whole is taking shape now, finally.

Time for the jacket beading….


Sleeves first πŸ™‚ and then on to the front….


I realized that in order to dress the doll effectively and without putting too much lateral pressure on the delicate beads, I needed to add a cuff opening to the sleeves. There will be a lot of feathery lace on the shirt sleeves that will have to get in there too.

Speaking of feathers, I am using feather charms for Janet’s belt, but was finding it difficult to find ones small enough. I found some I thought would work well, and they would have, but then, I found some smaller ones, and now I’m even happier with them ;0


You can see in the above pic that they are quite a bit smaller!

Here’s how the main elements of the belt will look…


I have some off white cording that looks just like the real belt and a few other findings and so on, so I’ll be tackling the belt next I think. Just the belt, shirt, boot covers and necklace to do. Sounds like a lot, and I guess it is really, but I think it will go fairly quickly…. ONWARD!

I found a great trim for the really wide lacy shirt collar! There was a shop out in the country near the lake where we spent many a gorgeous summer weekend. This place was liquidating old sewing department store stock. Woolworth’s maybe? Probably from the seventies or some such. Something like that. They had hundreds of spools of various laces and trims, many of which aren’t manufactured any more. Much to the chagrin of my beloved companions, I would drag us all in there and peruse the bins of spools of trims. Heaven! I found many things there, lots of which I still have. The perfect solution for the collar was one of these vintage finds. I gave it a clean, thinking it was a little darker than I wanted. What a difference! I didn’t realize just how yellowed this vintage trim had become. (Now I’ll need to wash it all, lol!)


This nice clean white trim is now worthy of Janets’ shirt πŸ™‚

That’s where I’ll pick up next time. Thanks as always for visiting!


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Janet Jackson Concert Clothes WIP 4

Well hi there!

This is WIP 4. If you’re still here, you’ve got sticktoitiveness πŸ™‚

With the patterning done and refined with my muslins it was time to sew it up in the actual fabric. Let’s start with the pants….

I mentioned last time about the look of the dolls joints in stretchy fabric and how i didn’t like that so well. My commissioner wants as much flexibility and pose-ability as possible, so I came up with a win win πŸ™‚ I’ve done the pants in a knit with stretch, but I’ve self lined them to give them some heft and structure without any compromise to stretch and pose-ability! Woot! Of course this necessitated a pattern adjustment form woven to knit.


They’re a little long, but they are as yet unhemmed…..

On to the vest πŸ™‚


Starting with darts of course, cause that’s what you do! I always press the darts for the cleanest look. The bottom leading to the point will be a more pleasant curve when lined…

Speaking of lining, it sure doesn’t look like much in mid turn, lol!


I swear though, there is a vest in there somewhere :/


Ah yes, there it is – and some pants too!

Time to give the vest all of it’s fun bits. Let’s start with the buttons. I’ve adapted fancy head pins for her buttons because they look the most like the full sized ones.


Bam! There they are. (It’s always so much faster on the blog than it is for real. Like all those cooking shows where they put the raw roast in one oven and then pull out a fully cooked one out of another 10 seconds later πŸ™‚

Buttons need, well you know, buttonholes πŸ™‚

Here’s a look at that:


Some overedge stitching and boom baby,

All buttoned up πŸ™‚


And now for the beads I spent so much time making. Side not, I haven’t stitched up the side seams of the vest yet because leaving these open allows me to start my threads from the inside. No tails hanging out all over the place! When the beads are all on and I’m finished fooling around in there, I’ll stitch up the side seams.


These beads are finicky! They are too narrow holed for any beading needle that I own, or have ever seen! Of course, I made them, so I can’t complain too much. As a result, I need to thread my fine beading needle for the silver small seed beads and the stitching in the fabric and then unthread the needle and hand string one of the homemade beads and then thread the needle again and well you know, repeat. It’s a little time consuming I’ll admit, but it looks pretty good!


Enough chit chat, back to the beady saltmines, there’s work to be done πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading and enjoy your day!


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Posted in Antoinette, awsumgal outfit, doll clothes, doll outfit, Janet Jackson, OOAK, replica, Tonner, Uncategorized No Comments »