Christmas Centerpiece

Christmas is one of the most popular holidays amongst my dolls. They love getting dressed up to parade around the house. They love being the center of attention. And while most can only think about the New Year's Eve Black and White Ball, an increasing number of them requested red gowns to participate in all the Christmas action happening in our living and dining room, this year.

They didn't want just any old Couture. My divas wanted that great big, red Barbie doll style dress with lots of "centerpiece" glamour. So I pulled out...Christmas fabric. You know--cheap, glittery tulle, polyester organza and red tulle--materials usually reserved to decorate tables, for example.In my mind this should be perfect for holiday gear.  But I soon discovered working with this stuff can easily turn your design into something completely overwhelming. The trick to working with it is to keep things simple. So for this project I am using a strapless foundation and evening length circle skirt as my base.

The first dress starts with a slim evening length, basic skirt out of gold lame. You make the skirt in red, but I like how the gold shines through the red and gold starry tulle.
Next I cut a circle skirt out of my glitter tulle which goes on top.
The corset is from my post "Paper Gladiators" using gold paper doilies. You could really stop here and have a fabulous flared look right there. Or push the volume of the skirt over to one side and tack on the side of one hip.

Accessory note: golden tattoos. I was inspired by BlackKitty who, a few months ago on her Facebook page, suggested using nail art as tattoos for dolls. They sell nail art here, but I haven't been happy with the designs in the stores near me in the US.

However, I found temporary tattoos by a French company, Ki-Sign in a crafts store in Paris which I liked. (You can search on for other companies selling metallic temporary tattoos.) Putting them on was a snap. The design is placed face down and wet the back. However, removal takes a bit more time. Alcohol. which removes them from human skin, didn't work so I rubbed a little oil on the doll, waited a bit then gently scraped the design off with my fingernail. No scratches on the doll, but I'd like to find a gentler way to remove them before using this product extensively.

For my next dress, I wanted something more delicate, more discreet. I had some polyester organza left over from my post, "Flaky Pastry."
 In my head, I wanted to create a Christmas rose with delicate petals over the torso of a sheer corset worn over a whisper of a circle skirt in the same fabric.

1. I begin by making a strapless foundation out of my sheer organza. I flame seal all external edges (refer to post on Flaky Pastry). Don't worry if the edges are uneven. That will simply add to the rose petal effect.
2. Trim the darts to within 1/8"
3. Fasten the back with hook & eyes.

4. Cut a number of irregular squares and flame seal the edges.
5. Pin, then sew in place, overlapping each petal with the other.

Make the circle skirt. You can either cut two layers or, like me, cut it in a single layer and slip a sheer slim skirt underneath.

Tulle is another cheap, "glamorous" material. The best is silk tulle which costs a fortune and only available at high quality stores. Otherwise, it comes in fine and course. Use fine if available because it will be less bulky at the waist and yield more volume. For this look, I've kept it extremely simply.
 1. This look also begins with a circle skirt.
 2. Next, I gathered 2x 1-1/2 yards (meters) into a ribbon, cut an inch (2.5 cm) wider than the doll's waist. This is to create a double layer of gathered tulle.

3. Put the tulle skirt over the circle skirt.
4. Tie a wide ribbon around the waist of the doll and tie into a bow in the back.
5. Take a wide length of tulle and tie around the shoulders of the doll to one side. Adjust the gathers over her torso and tack in place.
The models presenting these holiday fashions are all "Christmas dolls," gifts from my father. Opening photo is this year's gift, "Akure" (Barbie Top Model Nikki), the next doll down is Nichelle, Christmas doll 2013, (Barbie Model of the Moment) and the last photo is Grace (Integrity Toys Nadja R Out of Sight), last year's gift.
All photos and text courtesy of Fashion Doll Stylist. Copyright 2016.
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