Tonner Edward Cullen OOAK Repaint

This is probably one of the best sculpts that Tonner did. I wanted a gentler Edward, one like Heathcliff, a dark side but still you could see a loving face. I gave this doll a major haircut and sculpted the hair with gel and dabbing of hairspray. Held by little rubber bands as it dried, but taking them off so they won't leave a mark on the hair. By sculpted that means arranging the hair so that it looks proportional to the face -- less doll-like. The eyes appear blue here but they're actually black with some greys and whites. And of course those little points in the black that glisten. The hardest part for me were the lips. It is hard to find the right solution or mix of paints to capture the actor's lip color (which was actually stained/tinted red) in the film. The sides that frame the face have been painted on too. Edward's face is not rectangular in Twilight but rounded at the top because of hair that falls to the side of his temples. The eyebrows were brushed with a ratio of 3 parts water 2 parts paint then it progresses from there. I wish I had more patience and new brushes though.

Well, hope you like him. = )

Tonner Bella Swan OOAK: Finale

In the previous post I mentioned I wouldn't touch the eyes, but friends said I had to to give the eyes "more soul". I always encourage comments and criticisms. How else can you grow? And there are some things that your eyes don't see after staring at a piece of work for a long time.

I still have to practice on blushing -- major. And still working on perfecting some strokes, so bear with me.

Here's Bella! Again, the hardest parts are always the eyes. The sculpt eyelid as I mentioned before has a deep crease, me thinks too deep that the paint just flows into it. But looking at the pictures of the actress, that eyelid is not too pronounced and just a thin line that hovers over the eyes. Well, the pictures arent so clear, but I just had to line it very thinly, and which eventually gave me a migraine the entire afternoon, haha! The nose -- ahh well, that's another difficulty. Tonner seems to have very pronounced noses with their dolls -- at least from what I have. Some of the repaint artists who have done Isabelle, Noel Cruz and Isabelle and Laurie Leigh (who, I believe re-sculpted the Bella nose) did excelllent in their Bella noses. Wish I had their patience.

If you have the Tonner Bella doll, you'll notice that she is a bit heavy on the hips -- to think it was supposedly a mold for a teen body, she seems to have given birth already to her vampire child. This makes the doll head a tad too large for the body, or so I seem to see.

I am pondering on a body swap with a Tonner Scarlett, but that would mean buying another set of clothes for the Bella doll. Since the dollar is too high for my Philippine peso, I might as well learn the value of contentment.

Here is Bella -- now.

Tonner Bella Swan OOAK

This is Tonner's Bella Swan doll which has been again, amateurishly repainted by me. I decided to cut the hair using a "thinning scissors" (let the scissors bite at a certain length and then pull). It took some time to get out of the Scarlett mold. I also wanted to see if I could repaint another doll. It took time studying Kristen Stewart's features. Her eyebrows are thin out, and there isn't much of makeup. I wanted her young and innocent very much like the Twilight character.

Why did I choose the Twilight dolls, well admittedly, I loved the idea -- not much the story, more the movie. At 43 there are things that want to make you feel young again. This is one. No matter how idiotic it may seem to some people haha. = )

The sculpt is rather difficult when it comes to the eye area. I think Kristen's eyes are pointed towards the ends and the eyelid area of the doll was rounded. It was hard putting the eyelids. I also tried putting in some brown in the eye but this seemed not to work well as the character's eyes are predominantly black. The hardest part is the chin area. Kristen Stewart's chin is pointed but I think her jaw wasn't as strong as the sculpt of the doll (I think the Antoinette doll of Tonner seemed to capture the chin I was looking for). The lips are darker on the upper and lighter on the bottom. I also think the nostrils shouldn't have been that large and thinner on the bridge -- something that the Tonner Scarlett seems to have as well.

Well, I'll try to post more photos soon. I had my eyes refracted and needed new glasses. Repainting can take its toll on the eyes. It's difficult now.


Over the years I have been told, "Diane, you are so creative, you should be a fashion designer."

I learned in college that I am not a fashion designer. I can't make up new fashions off the top of my head. I think I am creative, but not inventive.

I am a good copier.

I am good at looking at a design and figuring out how it is put together. Unless it is draped. That still eludes me. When I see a drawing or a photo of an outfit that I like. I start thinking about how I can make it, and miniaturize it. I sometime will make something that is a composite of several outfits that I like, but usually I just copy what I see. I never claim I make the design myself, if I was inspired by Dior, I give him credit. Most fashion doll collectors love copies of real fashions and costumes, I know I do.

The other thing I hear a lot besides "You're crazy!" is, "You could make so much more money sewing for humans."

I don't agree with that at all. First of all, I love sewing for the 15"-16" fashion doll. I think they are the perfect size for me. They are big enough to get detailed without going crazy like I did sewing for Barbie, and small enough that I can get an outfit out of a small piece of fabric.

The other thing I love about sewing for dolls is they have perfect figures. Everything looks great on them, they never loose or gain weight, and they don't mind standing around naked for days or getting poked with pins. I would much rather sew a gown for my dolls than an ugly bridesmaid dress.

Also in my experience, people don't want to pay what it is really worth for a custom garment. Some even think it should be cheaper than what they find in the store.

I use to make a lot of clothes for myself until I had my children. The body has never been the same since! It also doesn't save money sewing for myself, and the fabric selections in my area leave a lot to be desired.

If I weighed less, and had a place to wear them, I would make myself Marfy clothes. I love many of their designs. But I'm a mom of 3, and live in a town where if you don't wear your PJ's to Walmart you're dressing up.

I think I will stick to sewing for the dolls.

My dolls in Haute Couture: a photoshoot for Grazia India magazine!

A while ago the editor of Grazia India, Nadnini Bhalla contacted me about doing a photoshoot with my fashion dolls for the magazine, with them wearing miniature outfits created by Indian fashion designers. She said she loved my Vogue mock up covers and wanted to make something in that context for the photoshoot. Of course I agreed and started planning the whole thing. After a while, the outfists arrived. Opening the garment bag of each one was a surprise: the worksmanship was incredible. The designers, with only a basic pattern to help them had made miniature miracles. Some of the outfits had miniscule accessories with them, which made them even more incredible.

Turmeric sequin ball gown and gloves, Lecoanet Hemant

Not all the outfits were made in the exact doll sizes I had provided. Some were too big or too small to fit on either 12" dolls or 16" dolls. But with the help of pins and proper posing, all of them were finally photographed by me with my dolls wearing them. From a huge number of photos, I picked soem and sent them over to have the magazine editors finalize the selection and layout. When this was done, it was ready for printing. The issue was out in May and it was a huge 12-page spread exclusive. I am publishing the results here and hope you like them! In future posts, I will feature each and every dress seperately, with facts about the designer, the specific dress and also photos of the original outfit on the runway. Enjoy!

Jumpsuit, Raakesh Agarvwal; Bubble-hem dress, Sitara By Manjaree; Bambino-print maxi, Kallol Dutta

Bubble-hem dress, Sitara By Manjaree

Ombre pleated gown, Nachiket Barve

Ruched Dress with circuitry sleeve, Prashant Verma

I would also like to thanks Nandini Bhalla (senior editor), Nidhi Jacob (editor) and Rajni Phatak (accounts) for their incredible help and collaboration and coordination of this dream project! Grazia India is in great hands!

Lame origami gown, Varun Sardana; Lime one-shouldered maxi, Gauri and Nainika

Ball gown with rosette train, Preeti Chandra

Sheer knotted dresses, Anuj Sharma

Tie-dye sleeveless jacket and top over satin pants, Savio Jon

Sequin strapless dress, Namrata Joshipura

Textured prom dress, Alpana and Neeraj

The shoot was also published in an indian blog about fashion, High Heel Confidential. The photos below of the magazine pages scanned are from that blog as I still have not received the magazine to scan them myself.

All photographs for Grazia are not to be published in any other form, in print or electronically without permission from the magazine and me. Photos published by special permission of Grazia Magazine.

Tonner Edward Cullen Portrait: Be-Dazzled!

"Dazzle" is a term used in the Twilight story by Stephanie Meyer to describe the unexplained attraction Edward Cullen creates for anyone.
The portrait is Edward exposing himself to the sun -- in the story, vampires who expose themselves to the sun reveal their real skin -- iridiscent like sparkling diamonds.
Tried to capture that here.

My eyesight has gotten worse because of repainting. More photos to follow.

Clang, Clang, Clang Went the Trolley!

This outfit has some history. In 2003 when I finally decided to sew for Gene, I was totally inspired by the Judy Garland film "Meet Me in St. Louis". I have always loved this movie, it is my favorite Judy Garland movie ever. I love the story, the music, and the costumes.

I started by sketching all of "Esther's" costumes. I wanted to make all of them, even the underwear. I thought long and hard about what fabrics I would use for each outfit. Is the Christmas dress made of velvet or satin? How am I going to make the Halloween blouse? Will I ever be able to find fringe for Esther's party dress? I started looking around for fabrics and trims for her wardrobe.

Six years later, I have finally made my first miniature costume from the film. The trolley costume is my absolute favorite Esther costume. I love how she stands out from all the other actors in the scene. I can't imagine wearing that many clothes during the summer in St. Louis though.

One of the reasons it has taken me so long to get around to making this outfit was I needed an "Esther". I didn't have a Gene with long red hair and bangs. For a brief moment I considered using a wig, but I couldn't find the right one. I decided too late that Hibiscus would have been great as my model, but by then she was sold out and I was unwilling to pay the prices she is going for. I finally decided to buy an early Wu Gene with the long red hair.

I brushed her hair out and straightened it. Here she is looking like Lady Godiva sans the horse.

I let her hair dry and then cut it shorter. I pulled the front back and the poofed it a little on top. Presto! I now have my faux Esther.

The most challenging thing to make was the pleated, plaid skirt. I had two different fabrics, a cotton plaid and a silk plaid. I made the first skirt out of the silk. I loved the silk plaid, but the plaid was bigger and after I pleated it, I decided it didn't look like Esther's skirt. Next I tried the cotton plaid. The size of the plaid matched the film's plaid better. I ended up making the pleats by edge stitching every plaid. First on one side, and then I would flip it and sew the other side. I had never done anything like this before. I ended up with an accordion pleated strip of fabric.

It took forever to sew! But I am happy about how the pleats turned out. The skirt is stiffer than the one in the movie, but sometimes you can't replicate everything perfectly in miniature. You have to find what works.

I hope you enjoyed my saga of the Trolley outfit. I plan on making the tennis, Halloween, Christmas, and dinner dresses soon. I am still on the hunt for the fabric and trims for the blue party dress and the blue wool coat.

Modes Royale

Over a year ago, I discovered the Modes Royale patterns. I became an obsessed woman trying to track down pictures of the patterns. I was so excited when I was able to buy a whole bunch of scanned catalogues on CD. I have found many outfits I want to recreate.

Here is what I have done so far.