May, 2009

“Desperately Seeking Susan” WIP 4

Good Saturday morning!

Madonnas’ Susan Jacket is coming along nicely :o) This is what it should look like:

Madonna Desperately Seeking Still of Jacketmadonna_seeking_susan8

With the pattern pieces I made of the pyramid parts, I worked each separately, off jacket. That way, if I made some horrible error, I wouldn’t be harming the jacket. I could make sure the pyramid was as perfect as I could make it before attaching it to her jacket back.

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 1

The pyramid has a little bit of loft to it and so I wanted to add just a little padding underneath….. I then put it together with the gold and attached them with some red edge stitching.

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 2

I plan to put the bricks in by hand. I’ll have more control that way. I want the bricks to be as exact to the original as possible. Same number in each row, same number of rows yada yada….

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 3

So, the red edging is on in the above and the row count is there in black. Now onto the vertical brick lines and the MDCCLXXVI (1776)

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 4

The Roman numeral date is on and the bricks are almost half done…..

I finished off the bricks and worked on the pyramid top with the eye on it.

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 7

The proportions are good, I think. The gold pyramid top looks a little big but the edge stitching will make it look the right size….

I tack stitched the pyramid bottom to the jacket and will stitch it permanently when I’m happy with where the other elements will be placed.

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 8

Checking the pyramid top against the bottom making sure everything looks as it should. The top is only pinned in place in the above pic…..

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 9

Woo baby! It’s on there now :o) The radial gold stitching is on too. The eye needs a little gold highlight stitched in. Both parts are permanently attached now. The last element for the jacket is the red banner underneath that reads Novus Ordo Seclorum (intended translation-New World Order)

The banner is quite narrow, and although I didn’t want it to fray, traditional non-fraying fabrics weren’t going to make it here. I didn’t want to make it out of felt or leather for example. So, instead I found a beautiful deep red satin and fused it. This would keep things stable while I attached it to the jacket. I made a pattern piece and transferred that to the fusing. Then I attached the fusing to the satin before I cut the banner. With the fusing attached it is much easier to cut a tiny fiddly complicated shape like the rounded ribbon banner rippling in the breeze……

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 6

The piece on the jacket is the paper pattern, the other white piece is the fusing.

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 8

The fusing attached to the satin which is now ready to cut….

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 9

After this is attached I will stitch the motto in by hand.

I decided that the jacket wanted more gold glitter at this point, so I paused. I stuffed the jacket and masked the pyramid parts and gave it some more gold. Here it is drying, so the clear masking is still on the pyramid.

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna Outfit Pyramid Jacket 11

I will attach the banner next. Then sew the bottom hem, add a button, and just a little more gold to the collar and the jacket will be finished!

Then it’s on to finish the pants, the earring, headband, bracelets, necklaces, belt etc …….yikes, there’s a lot to do yet :o/

Thanks for reading and enjoy your Saturday!


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“Desperately Seeking Susan” WIP 3

Salutations! It’s an unbelievably gloomy and soggy day outside my house today. I love days like this – the perfect kind of day to get some major progress made on my project!

I have been working away at Madonnas pants and her jacket again today. Here’s how it went….

My DVD of the film finally arrived, so I was able to look closely at her costuming throughout. She wears two different kinds of black pant. One pair has piping and one does not. I’ll have to clarify which ones are required. The ones she wears most are the ones with the piping….

When I left off last time, I had the pattern for her tux pants worked out and had made a muslin. I made the adjustments that I had determined were needed and was able to add single front pleats too. I found that my little pocket flaps for the back were not little enough. (dang! Sucks to be picky, lol!)  So I recut and sewed up a new pair. Now they look better.

awsumgal desperately seeking susan wip 3-1

The above is the pants inside out. The cream coloured fabric will be the lining and the back pocket flaps are in evidence…

Here’s how they look on the doll….

awsumgal desperately seeking susan wip 3-2

And the back…..

awsumgal desperately seeking susan wip 3-4

The pocket flaps are just temporarily pinned in their approximate places. The linings not in yet and so the waist is rough edged still. The front pockets are terrific though! I’m so happy that she can put her hands in her pockets like Madonna does when she’s wandering around New York! Madonna also wears her pants rolled up a bit to show off her funky rhinestone boots. To make my pair look fabulous when rolled up I decided to add a facing. Otherwise you’d see seam allowances and frankly it just wouldn’t look as cool :o)

So leaving these with just a few little things left to be done on the pant, I moved on to the jacket. I had cut this out last day ready to sew.

I’m happy to report that it went together like a dream!

awsumgal desperately seeking susan wip 3-5

I love how the cuffs look :o) I will stitch them in place before I’m done.

awsumgal desperately seeking susan wip 3-6

I think the collar turned out really well and glitter shows well too. yay!

Before I do the finishing on the jacket I will attach the pyramid bits. That way I can hide the stitching inside the lining of the jacket. It will give it a cleaner look.

I did the sketching of the pyramid pieces on the jacket back pattern piece. That way I could get the size and placement right. I have all the pictures in front of me while I work on something like this. I find I need to refer all the time to what I’m trying to emulate.

awsumgal desperately seeking susan wip 3-7

With that done I needed pattern pieces, so I made a copy of each that I could cut out and lay on my fabric. With something so small it’s important to be as precise as possible. There isn’t much margin for error….

awsumgal desperately seeking susan wip 3-8

I’m going to be quite picky about the pyramid. I want it to be an exact replica. Same numbers of stones and levels etc.

But, that’s for tomorrow, I’m pooped :o)

Thanks for reading!


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“Desperately Seeking Susan” WIP 2

Good day doll lovers!

I have been making loads of progress on my latest project. (Susan, Madonnas’ character from Desperately Seeking Susan.) After a thorough search and much musing on the matter I have decided that the first instinct I had for the lapel fabric was the right one to go with.

Here are a couple of possible fabrics I was considering….

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan for Tyler Tonner WIP 2-1

Or maybe this one….

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan for Tyler Tonner WIP 2-2

Both are lovely fabrics, but neither of them are better than the fabric I started out with. The top one is too linear, uniform and would end up looking like gold stripes. The other one has better form but the browny mauve areas are not quite big enough for the lapel and I didn’t want any of the peacock feathers…..

After deciding what fabric to go with, it was time to add the gold to it. The swirls are really close in scale, but my fabric had no gold. This was easily (if not painstakingly, lol!) rectified with my small paintbrush and some metallic gold paint :o) Painting the fabric before construction is the way to go here, so I cut out my pattern pieces in the most pleasing area of the fabric and set to work.

These are the lapel facings…

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan for Tyler Tonner WIP 2-4

These bits are her sleeve facings The sleeve cuffs are the swirl fabric too :o)

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan for Tyler Tonner WIP 2-5

One sleeve facing is almost done in the above. Makes the fabric look quite different doesn’t it? Below are the lapels, all painted. (I’m painting the area that will show, not the section that will be inside the jacket.

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan for Tyler Tonner WIP 2-6

While the paint was drying I began on the pant. It’s a tuxedo type pant, black with light piping on the on-seam pocket edgings, outseams and back pocket flaps. It’s a pretty high waisted pant and she wears it with a black leather belt and squarish buckle, so belt loops will be necessary. I am going to line these pants (I line almost everything anyway!) because I want to protect the doll from the possible dye transfer from the black of the pant :o)

First I drafted a preliminary pattern and made a test muslin to adjust the fit…

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan for Tyler Tonner WIP 2-7

I could have made the pant without the pocket, but where’s the fun in that I ask you?

Here’s the muslin on my Tyler (creative imagination is necessary here as muslin is frankly not an attractive fabric)

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan for Tyler Tonner WIP 2-8

OK, couple things here. First, I like the pocket and the height of the waist (minus the seam allowance!) The fly front also looks good. There are changes needed though. For one thing it’s far too big in the back waist, so I adjusted the pattern accordingly. The pant legs are not quite wide enough to mimic her pant from the film and the front pant legs in particular are too narrow. This makes the back of the pant visible from the front. We don’t want that!

So I have made the necessary adjustments and will try a pair in black tomorrow. The paint will be completely dry (if it isn’t already) and I can make the jacket too! The last thing I did today was to cut the jacket out of the gold painted green main jacket fabric…

awsumgal Desperately Seeking Susan for Tyler Tonner WIP 2-9

I then pressed all these bits as an extra seal and set for the permanent fabric glitter paint.

Phew! That’s enough for today. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Thanks for reading


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New Project “Desperately Seeking Susan”

Hi dolly people!

I have been asked to recreate Madonnas iconic look from ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ This is a great film (also with Rosanna Arquette and Aiden Quinn) If you haven’t seen it, go and get it or rent it or whatever, and watch it! It’s a great film!

Anyway I have been asked to make her costume. The vixen herself is a Tonner Tyler sized doll and is being created by an incredible doll artist, so I am very excited to be a part of the project!

In case you’ve forgotten, or haven’t seen the film here’s what Madonna wears for most of it….

Madonna Desperately Seeking Susan 1

Madonna Desperately Seeking Susan 2

Madonna Desperately Seeking Susan 3

The jacket is obviously very important to her look with its’ unusual embellishments on the back, and her earring is key too, as it plays a big role in the film.

I’ll be doing her pants as well and her belt, her jewelry, lace bodice, headband, lace gloves, and anything else I can think of! My delightful client is doing a fabulous job on her rhinestone encrusted boots. ( I want some too!)

I began by poring over the many pictures my client had kindly sent me. I have ordered the movie, but as always when you really want something it takes forever to arrive……

Then I made a muslin of the jacket. Sometimes I do this straight on paper from a pattern ‘block’ but this time I went with the ‘draping’ method.

Madonna Desperately Seeking Susan 4

And the front…….

Madonna Desperately Seeking Susan 5

Then I made a paper pattern from the drape.

Madonna Desperately Seeking Susan 8

So from here I tweaked the fit and hang a little and cut a test version out of the fabric that I’ll be using for the finished jacket.

A note on the jacket fabric. Madonnas jacket is dark green and gold metallic. I couldn’t find a suitable gold/green fabric, so I found a perfect green and a gold permanent fabric glitter spray. I have tested this on some pieces of the green and it’s a dead ringer for the real thing. For the test version though I’m using it unpainted.

Madonna Desperately Seeking Susan 6

Madonna Desperately Seeking Susan 7

The gold pyramid is just for placement purposes. The jacket appears a little longer than it should be because there is seam allowance there still :o)

I’m really happy with how it’s going so far. The only thing I’m not totally happy with is the swirl fabric. The swirls are a little too small. I had anticipated that finding a suitable facsimile of the lapel fabric was going to be difficult. This one is not too bad, but I will look again for something slightly more perfect. (‘Cause I like perfect, lol!)

I have gone on to the sleeves and I’m happy with them too, so the basic pattern for the jacket is done. I will search for black/gold/tan swirl some more……. wish me luck and godspeed!

That’s all for now….

Thanks for reading :o)


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Calida OOAK Topper Dawn Finished :o)

Well after much toil, Calida is finished. I’m happy with how she has finished up :o)

I am working on her ebay listing as we speak. It should be up momentarily…..

In the interim, here are a couple of pics and her listing text for your enjoyment!

awsumgal calida ooak topper dawn done1

In a time and place far from here and now dwells Calida.
Named for the fiery mane she was born with she is both wise and kind.
She dispenses justice with an even hand but will not suffer fools.  She seeks out and destroys evil where it lives…..
To the passing observer she is gifted in the rhythms of Mother Earth and well versed in the language of the plants. She is not only the village justice, she is also their healer of disturbances of both body and mind. She reads the old books copiously in her forest cottage almost completely hidden by growth, yet so easy to find when you are an invited guest….
No one knows how long Calida has lived here, no one can remember a time when she didn’t.
On this day we find Calida in her element, foraging for the plants she needs for her work. She is dressed for a warm spring day (though in truth, she pretty much wears the same thing always) She wears a OOAK handmade dress of gauze, cheesecloth, and a stunningly pretty floral chiffon that sets off her colouring beautifully. It is long and flowing, fastens in the back with pearl type beads and hand knotted thread loops and has hand woven shoulder straps of waxed cord. Around her hips she wears a handmade real leather belt with sewn on buckle. On her feet she wears a handmade pair of slip-on gauze shoes that feature rope type soles.
She carries with her the tools of her trade – her white handled working knife and her black handled athame or blessed knife, her grimoire, her brass mixing vessel, and her gathering basket. She is particularly in tune with Gaia today as she is easily finding that which can be difficult to see…..
Her knives are wood with painted handles and brass hooks for hanging on her gold chain belt. They have been varnished for longevity. Her hand painted brass mixing vessel has also been varnished to protect the paint. Her black grimoire (notebook) is real leather, stitched, and it contains “pages” with her notations and observances. She also carries from her belt a scrying crystal to help her see that which strives to remain hidden  and to focus energy. Lastly she carries a handmade woven gathering basket that has been filled with moss and dried flowers. The fruits of todays labours in the forest.
In her hair, Calida wears a circlet fashioned from gold head pins and presenting a clear swarovski crystal at its’ centre. Though removable if strictly necessary, it would be difficult to re place and therefore I do not recommend it’s removal.  Calida also has a pink swarovski crystal on a green silk thread holding her hair back. She has curly tendrils of hair to each side of her face.
This OOAK vintage 6.5 inch Topper doll was once an Angie and is marked K10  and she stands proudly on a vintage Topper Hong Kong body. She retains the ownership of her toes and fingers. Her legs no longer hold a bent pose but, as yet, exhibit no greening.

She has received a full customization. Her original hair was carefully removed and replaced with a custom blend of red and blonde highest quality Saran doll hair using a secure sew in lock loop variant method with no glue. She has also been given new lashes in a custom blend of red and medium brown Saran doll hair using the same method.
I carefully removed all of her original paint and have given her new features with artist quality acrylic paints. She now has striking blue eyes, a touch of pink shadow, light magenta lips, reddish/sienna brows and a healthy blush. Her new colours mesh very nicely with the colours in her floral chiffon skirt. All of her paint has been sealed.
Calida listens…. then turns to head back to her cottage. She knows the weather has turned long before there is any evidence and is safely back in her cottage as the wild storm breaks overhead….

awsumgal calida ooak topper dawn done2

Here are her accessories:

awsumgal calida ooak topper dawn done3

Be sure to check out her eBay listing for lots more pics!

I hope you’ve enjoyed following along. Maybe you’re inspired now to go and make something!

Have a great day!


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