CARNIVAL 2017!!!

We are taking a short break from all the serious fashion happening all over the globe at this moment to give a nod to our Caribbean friends celebrating Carnival or Mardi Gras. This is always a fun little project that takes me back to the four years I spent in Trinidad. So, put on some music from "down in de islands," gather your dolls, some feathers, beads, bikinis or bodysuits and lets have some fun.

This is a fairly naked look, so even though for this year's edition, I'm using a full bodysuit that completely covers the torso, the doll appears to be nude with embellishments tacked onto the skin. To get the most authentic look there should be some sort of head gear and some sort of footwear stuffed with feathers. I decided I wanted to use a sheer bodysuit as my palette. (For my post on bodysuits, click HERE.) Since that particular pattern was created for use with a stretch material, the fabric you choose should be stretch. But if you use a fine tulle, and lay your pattern on the bias (diagonally), it will be enough to get the doll in and out of the sewn outfit.
For this costume, I chose black tulle because the doll's skin tone is quite dark, however, if you use a light toned doll, choose a color that matches her skin tone.

Using the pattern for the maillot bathing suit (for that tutorial click HERE), I've cut a single layer of tulle which I hand sewed together at the side seams. I wanted to make something with "jewels."
Auto-adhesive rhinestones is an easy bet. You can place them strategically over the body. Another option is to sew tiny seed beads. Of course, that is a bit more time intensive. What you should NOT do is to use glitter on tulle. In the above photo, I have used a combination of stick-on jewels and hand sewn seed beads. To be honest, I began by trying to glue large flake glitter. By the time I could remove the bodysuit to remove the protective plastic on the doll's body, most of the glitter fell to the ground. I added beads to cover the residue of glue. But the more I worked, the more glitter fell off.

Another effective way to do this is to use organdy pre-embellished with rhinestones. This material has a finer weave so it doesn't stretch as well as tulle. If you are still tempted, make sure you allow enough side seams allowance and don't expect it to fit as snugly on the body as bias cut tulle or jersey. Even with this limitation, I was still intrigued because this gave me a head start on my glamorous project. Using self adhesive rhinestones, I simply tacked on extra the jewels.

Nichelle's crown is a Barbie tiara that I have simply glued on rhinestones and added a tiny tuff of black feathers. I've attached white feathers to the back of the waist using a method described towards the end of this post. You can always sew the feathers directly to the back of your costume, but I will probably use this bodysuit for something else later on.

Bird Land
Back to my basic black tulle bodysuit. Again, feathers are an important part of a Carnival costume. For a 12 inch fashion doll, you don't need very many for the body of the costume. A small package of loose feathers is more than enough!
Step by's how I made her feather bodysuit. 1) Starting with a sheer bodysuit, sew in place the first feather (pointing downwards). 2) I added the second feather (pointing upwards) by tucking the stem behind the first one so you don't see it. 3) A third feather is placed on the other side of the first one (pointing down). 4) And a fourth (pointing upwards) is sewn in place slightly off center. 5) I placed a tiny dab of glue over the stem of the last feather. 6) Place a last feather over to conceal everything. 7) I placed two feathers (pointing downwards) at the small of the doll's back. I then added a couple rhinestones over the stem. 8) And I final rhinestone in the front. The sides of this bodysuit remains nude and allows the doll to get in and out if it.
I used one of the masks we made last Halloween. (Click HERE for that tutorial.) I've embellished her Barbie shoes with bits of ripped organdy and added a tuff of feathers to each shoe.

EZ Does It!
No time to do this? Don't feel like sewing? No problem! Take an existing bikini or swimsuit and simply dress it up.

The headgear is as simple as adding auto-adhesive rhinestones to a Barbie tiara. No tiara? All you need is a little bit of a pipe cleaner and a shiny doily. I cut off a few medallions and glue them together. You can tie this to the pipe cleaner using a thin craft wire or simply glue it. Add a rhinestone or two on the front and dolly is transformed into Carnival Queen!

Shake a Tail Feather
Most craft stores around the globe sell marabou feather boas which is all you need.
1. Fold them in half, then fold in half again.
2. Tie together in the middle.
3. Using a twist tie or a thin wire cut to hug the doll's waist from side to side, slip this through where you tied the feathers together.
4. Place around the doll's waist and squeeze until it fits. You can also use ribbon and work this into the overall design of your costume.
5. Note, to pull off this look, she's wearing a headpiece, lots of sparkly beads or rhinestones (right out of your own jewelry box) around her neck and, in this case, boots stuffed with a few feathers tucked in!

Wishing all our friends in the southern hemisphere a very happy, joyous and safe Carnival!!!!

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