Hommes Fashion Tutorial: The Jacket

Here I am, back from my business travels, it was tough (too many meetings, too few time to rest or think or eat properly during the day.....luckily we managed to have a couple of nice dinners), but  now it is going to be a bit more relaxed....hopefully. This is the last instalment of the male suit tutorials.

Last but not least, let's see how to sew a jacket. After several mistakes I came up with this simplified pattern, which fits pretty well. It is partially lined and doesn't look as bulky as IT jackets do.

We shall need cotton or gabardine, and satin for the lining, thread and pins!

Again to draw your pattern you can use these tips from April's Blog

As you see the pattern is quite simple, the only "complicated" parts are the lining of the lapel and the collar.

At first I did a partially lined lapel, but it fitted awfully, so I devised this

The fit is good now whe mus sew the back together:

Nice enough

Now the collar, you have to take the measurement on the doll:

This is not the "elegant way" to attach the collar, but it won't show and it is neat enough:

As you see it fits nicely

The sleeves shall be lined too, as it will be easier for the doll to wear the jacket on long sleeves:

And here's Goffredo in his complete Tobacco Road outfit!

Hope this tutorial is clear enough, please feel free to ask any questions, I'll do my best to answer you!


Travelling dolly: Odette in Kos (a well deserved vacation)

This time I'm not going to tell you about a trip I've made. And I'm not going to tell you about Sasha's fabolous adventures in some faraway place.
Each year Sasha (at the end of summer) accompanies a group to some seaside resort on the Mediterranean (in Greece, Turkey, Crete or Rodhes), I usually don't go with him as the end of september is not a good moment on my job. (This trae for instanc e my agenda was already hall filled by the e e of June!) So each year he comes home with some backgrounds for the girls.

I haven't used any of them until now (except for the Marsa Alam pictures in the Odette in Egypt posts), but Odette and Carlo had a very stressful summer (with those neighbors who wouldn't be a bit stressed?) and they were due for a vacation.

I know, I had to start their Mexican explorations, but that will be a full fledged, multi-instalment trip, this is just a summer distraction!

Furthermore, even vacations in resorts have their charms, so I've picked Kos as their destination.

There's not a lot to be said about the vacation, apart from the fact that people is very ospitable, food is great and that if you like swimming there's no sea like the Mediterranean (IMHO).

Odette and Carlo begin exploring the resort, nice walking paths surrounted by bougainvilleas

And look at the  beach over there!

Quite an elegant pool!

They decide to have some lunch before going to the beach

Grilled fish! 
Odette changed in a more comfortable outfit and they are off to the beach!

Fishermen preparing their boat? no, just tourists.....

The sea is simply amazing!

And one last shot in the pool

But who's that girl looming in the background????

You'll find out soon enough!

Kisses Billa


A New Soul: Aurelia

Hello! First and foremost: I've been out of town the whole week (in Milan) and I'll be in Rome next week and in Florence the following one. So I want to apologize to all of you for not being able to comment on any blog. I've been reading you while commuting in between meetings, but it's very unlikely I'll be able to comment until the first week of october.

I'm going to keep up posting as I planned ahead the posts.  Sometimes life (work) gets in the way of dolls, this is very annoying but unavoidable!

As promised, in early June "Rare Appearance Dania Zarr" arrived home.
Everybody has already seen tons of pictures of this doll, as she was a huge success. I've been waiting for a FR2 Dania of my liking for  a while, and I admit I was stunned by her.
She's a perfect doll, nice dress, great accessories, and a wonderful screening. People said she looks like a cross between Jaqueline Kennedy and young Elizabeth Taylor. I can understand them as she has the elegance of Jaqueline and her colours are very much Liz.

To me, she looks like an Aurelia!

In order not to show you the deboxing pictures of this doll for the umpteenth time, Aurelia is going to go lead us for  a shopping walk in Osaka and Kyoto (pictures by Sasha).
Osaka isn't exactly a beautiful city, compared to the other Japanese towns is too dirty. But the Dotonbori district, famous for his trading centers and nightlife. It is nearly 300 meters long and it is filled with restaurants and shops.
Here Sasha tasted the renowed Takoyaki (Osaka's octous balls), but in spite of his love for Japanese cuisine (we've been eating tons of sushi since his return) he was not impressed, but they are worth trying anyway.

Even if her dress is beautiful, I redressed her. I wanted a more modern look for her. I had this fashion ready, and I think that it is very much in her style.

entrance to the Dotonbori district (alongside the Dotonbori canal)

These pictures are from Kyoto, these are the wonderful restaurants you can find near the train station.



Kyoto has been the capital of Japan for more of a thousand years, and it's a beautiful and elegant city, filled with tipical discricts, faboulous temples and sanctuaries (you can see some of them here)...stay tuned for more about  Japan!


Hommes Fashion Tutorial: the vest

As promised, here's the new chapter of the Hommes Suit Tutorials.
This is the vest from the first of the Tobacco Road collection outfits (which will be ready sometimes in the winter I hope)
This time I made an express post, with a collage of the steps for each part of the vest. In order to make the pattern I used a ready made IT vest, you can also start from this tutorial by April to design one of your taste. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

This is going to be a lined vest, so you will need cotton, satin linin, thread and a lot of pins !

The front, as you will see my vests close in the back, Mattel style, as I like a perfect fit on the front:

The back. This is made of a double layer of satin, for thickness as we'll have to apply our press studs there. We don't want the fabric to fall apart at the seams, do we?

Putting together the whole thing, adding some fake buttons on the front and studs at the back (remember to try it on the doll in order to get the perfect fit):

Et voilà, Goffredo is super handsome in his new outfit. Love this style!


End of summer

Summer is nearly over, I haven't been able to get the cover for september ready on time, as you see in spite of rainy dais we are still spending all our spare time at the beach.

But come september I'll be able to get my editorial line back on track, so you'll see some travelling dollies, fashions and tutorials.

Meanwhile I'll try to keep up with the schedule of dioramas and new outfits!

This month I'll be seldom at home, as september is a very busy month for my work, but at worst this means that dioramas will have to wait just a little while.

See you soon

Kisses Billa


Tagged! Liebstar award

Smaller places graciously nominated me for the Liebster Award. the tag-line of this award is "discover new blogs!". In fact thanks to these tag games I discovered a lot of wonderful blogs!
So first of all I want to thank Smaller Places for giving me the chance to partecipate to the fun!
Then, let's have a look at the rules:

Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog. 
Give your readers eleven random facts about yourself.
Answer the eleven questions from the person who nominated you.
Nominate eleven bloggers to receive this award.
Invent eleven questions for your nominees.

Eleven random facts about me, I'll try to tell you something you haven't found out yet, 

1. I'm a crazy reader. I can read a 300 pages book in one afternoon. Sometimes I even understand what I'm reading. I like novels, history and philosophy.
2. My favourite sport is swimming, I also run,  play tennis, and everytime I see a ball I must play a bit of soccer. I'm not any good at any of these sports!
3. I love doing things just for the fun of it. Apart from my job,  I'm not really a competitive person (this drives Sasha crazy when we play cards)
4. I'm curious like a monkey. I have to learn anything that catches my imagination, even if I don't have any use for it!
5. I don't like driving but I have to learn to! I've just ordered a Jeep Renegade and I want to be able to drive it! I'm telling this to everyone so I'll have to keep my word!
6. My favourite food are:  
Lasagna al forno

Spaghetti allo scoglio

Cima alla genovese

don't ask me what's inside it!

7. My secret dream is making a world tour that would last at least a couple of years. My wildest project is to write a kid's novel and being so successful to be able to retire and make the world tour!
8. Sasha suggests me to tell you that I'm very sweet but crazy as a bat!
9. My most prized possession is a little  travel icon that we bought in Damascus 6 years ago
10. I'm a Sampdorian as Sasha is
11. At times I've got a mischievous sense of humor. I love the Marx Brothers!

The eleven questions (great questions Smaller Places!)

1.What's the oldest item in your immediate environment (room, house, office, up to you)?

The oldest item in my immediate surrondings (house) is this tower
But nearby (I mean within a 1 km radius) you can find plenty of old villas and palazzos (dating from the 18th century), for istance there are the two villas where Charles Dickens and George Byron stayed during their sojourn in Genoa. I'm lucky as this is a neighborhood with a lot of gardens and parks and very close to the sea (20 minutes by feet)

2.When has a project exceeded your wildest expectations? How?
I'm not easily pleased with the outcome of my projects, I think the one that really exceeded my expectations was the wedding dress I made for my niece Carlotta's birthday last year

3.Chocolate: white, dark, milk, or none at all?
Dark. 90% cocoa.

4.If you could have dinner with three fictional characters, who would they be?
Baudolino (the main character from Umberto Eco's eponymous novel)

Prince Myshkin (the protagonist of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot)
Violet Crawley the Dowager Countess of Grantham (from Downton Abbey)
it would be a crazy dinner! LOL

5.What's your all-time favorite movie?
Easy one: Sunset Boulevard (but there are many, many more!)

6.If you could choose a career other than your actual one(s), what would it be?
Something involving travelling and making people happy, the travel guide I think.

7.How many cats is the optimum number?

I would say one. At a time we had two and we really coulnd't manage. Then we discovered I was alergic (I was suffering from asthma attacks)  and my grandmother adopted the cats. We adopted a dog.

8.What is the most versatile tool in your arsenal?
My hands!

9.Winter person or summer person?
Summer. I function better from 86F up.....

10.What do you most wish you could organize properly?
Everything! but I think the thing I'm worst at is at is keeping my stack of fabrics in order...

11.What do you do to find inspiration?
Browse the net, follow fashion collections, watching how people is dressed, watching old movies....sometimes I dream things.....

Let's go ahead with the nominations. Of course, I'd love to see your answers but this is just an invitation:
1. D7ana

2. Lisa
3. Marta
4. Roxanne (I'm missing you!)
5. Cindi
6. Shasha
7. Jaye
8. Ana Paula
9. Brini
10. Dani
11. Muff

Invent eleven questions....
1.  Have you got a secret dream or a wild project?
2.  When has a project exceeded your wildest expectations? How?
3.  Chocolate: white, dark, milk, or none at all?
4.   If you could have dinner with three fictional characters, who would they be?
5.   What's your all-time favorite movie?
6.   If you could choose a career other than your actual one(s), what would it be?
7.   What time period would you most like to live in, other than the modern one?
8.   What is the most versatile tool in your arsenal?
9.   Winter person or summer person?
10. What do you most wish you could organize properly?
11. What do you do to find inspiration?

(I know the layout of this post stinks, but something happened and I didn't really manage to fix it)

Now, back to work on photomontages and dresses for Poppy!
Kisses Billa


Express post: my first (and only) American Doll mini!

Today at the beach some kids were holding a yard sale, a good way for parents to get rid of tons of old toys during the summer season, and look what I found for 50 cents?

She's going to be called Adelaide

I've been thinking for a while about adding a kid to the crew, for diorama purposes, and there she was, waiting for me. She was all alone in the middle of monsters and mini cars.

The thing that impressed me most, is that I've been reading Farrah and Barb posts about American Dolls and I never saw any of them in shops here in Italy, so I had to double check to be sure.

I can understand people talking about "rescuing unloved dolls". In fact she's in perfect order, her hair are a bit bushy but I believe she can be easily fixed with a gentle brushing.

Now she needs a good washing, some love and new clothes and shoes....she's goint to fit perfectly as the younger daugher of Luchino and Costanza
And she's going to be as spoiled as her big brothers!

Honey, I promise you, next time you're going to make a new movie!
A kid upstairs?!?!?!? Are you JOKING?!?!??!!


Summer Fashion Collection: the Girls in Japan!

Last spring Sasha went to Japan, I couldn't go with him this time, so he gracefully agreed to share his pictures for the Blog.
As you know I've been working on a new summer collection for the girls for a while. I saw these pictures from Etro's 2015 summer collection, and I thought I could pick some ideas for a sort of ethnic collection for the girls!

The girls are thrilled, as they haven't got much attention lately, but only on the blog, as I've been playing around and photographing them for a while. Until I think I came up with the right poses (as usual I ended up watching at Avedon's pictures of Twiggy and Verushka). I think Sasha this time outdid himself....

These Japanese Temples and Sanctuaries, with their elegance, make a perfect setting to display this collection.

For the dresses I used mostly viscosa, jeans, silk (I will not try again until I'm better with viscosa) and an acrilyc fabric in a Missoni fantasy. The final result is very different from the Etro designs, apart from Camilla's and Giada's outfits, but I just needed an theme to start with (I had "girl's fashions cramp" after spending so much time on the guys' suits!)

Let me know which is your favourite, I'm still looking for the "perfect look" for these girls

Agata: Temple of the Golden Pavillon - Detail of the Garden

Camilla: Temple of the Golden Pavillon

Caterina: Miyajima island -  Floating Gate to the shinto temple of the God of Seas

Cecilia: Kyoto -  Kiyomizu Buddhist Temple

Giada - Kyoto:  Kodaiji Temple's garden

Veronica: Kyoto:  Kodaiji Temple's garden

Vittoria: Kyoto:  Kodaiji Temple's garden