Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Suggested Photo Rubrik

For the final collection review, you will have the opportunity to add photos to any of your previous albums. While details on the final review are still a round away, here are some guidelines on what sort of photos are helpful for us to see, and offer a bit of direction for round four, or if you'd like to get started now.

First off, more is always better; it's helpful for us as judges if we can say "I'd like to see a closeup of the waist" and then be able to open the album and see that you have a closeup of the waist.

These are things I'd say are a must have:
- One full frontal nude body shot
-One closeup of any bonus element (i.e. round two, this would have been the unusual material)
- One in-progress shot, as defined by the rules

These aren't necessarily Must Haves, but they are Strongly Encouraged, and a great thing to add for the final review. They can really help highlight your design and skill for the judges, *and* the public vote, even acting as deciding factors:
-One full shot of the back
-One full shot from one or both of the sides.
- One close up shot of each detail you want the judges to see
(beading, embroidery, handmade accessories)
-Closeups of parts that might be covered by other pieces in the photo. (No point in working hard on that faux fly, for example, if it's covered by the t-shirt.)
-One shot in different lighting. It can make a real impact on the colors.
- One scrap shot

(And, the above might be must-haves for future PDR competitions, so you might consider developing the habit, now.)

These are more optional. Feeling ambitious? It might help to have these:
-closeups of any difficult elements
-closeups of any elements requiring precision
-closeups of any unique or subtle details (contrasting thread)
-closeups of your print patterns or textures
-closeups of any special techniques (embroidery)
-multiple photos of the outfit in varying light or environtments

On the other hand, we don't need gratuitous dolly photos; this is not a competition for the models too. This includes:
-Headshots, particularly if there's not an accessory in the hair.
-Shots of accessories that you did not make
-"Artistic" angles can sometimes be confusing, and actually highlight odd fit issues.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Round 2 Critiques

Before going into individual critiques the judges would like to take a moment to single out Simplicity, for their horrifically fitting patterns.

Nearly every outfit, both this round and last, that we thought has some fit issues, was made with a Simplicity pattern. While they hold the bulk of the blame, the judges do recommend test-runs with patterns. Making a muslin mock-up can help you preserve the changes you make, so that you can use the new, better-fitting, pattern again and again.

If you're lazy, we understand, but you can always take in the garment once it's constructed. This can make a dramatic impact to how the outfit looks on the doll, and suggest that you have a higher skill level (because you *will* have a higher skill level.).

This outfit looked a little too close to the original inspiration. A more modern fabric choice could have done a lot to update it and make it seem more wearable for a girl today; the brown paisley ages the look a lot. Brighter colors in addition to smaller elements, like accessories, would add originality, though the ribbons, particularly in the back, and the use of the sheer fabric over the base, add visual interest, though, and make it more memorable. We just would have liked to see that taken a little further.

Adding the tights was a really good idea; they bring the whole outfit together, and add to the 80's look, a look which happens to be very "in" right now anyway. Plus, the skirt is way too short, even for a mini skirt, but the tights reduce the potential for scandal. The polka dot pattern is a good scale for AG, but we think the top could have benefited from some straps. It's important to remember that the doll body is basically a rectangle, so things might not stay up over time. We also recommend taking a look at similarly constructed garments, even for people, before making something or considering the use of patterns (even simplicity, though again, pay attention to fit!). This can help you figure out how outfits are constructed for shape and support.

C.I. Fairfield/Childthursday
Looking at this dress, you can't really tell it's made of paper, and not just a very stiff fabric. It also found a great balance between inspiration and copy. The pleats silhouette, and color seem appropriate today, while the use of material, pattern and general concept are a bit mod. The trim, in particular, was a very nice touch; comparing the before and after pictures shows what an impact just a little bit of ribbon can make. The fit on the top is a bit wonky, though we're not sure if that's the paper, or a plump Sonali. And also, if it is the paper, well, it's paper. We also appreciate that she made a pair of shoes, and compliment her styling for the outfit.

This is another one where a more modern fabric choice or color palette could have done a lot to update the look and make it less derivative of the original. Still, the styling is great, particularly the hairstyle, which is both period appropriate and super trendy at the moment. Technically, we wonder if this one was a bit rushed; the buttons are a bit haphazard, and the fit seems a bit bulky, perhaps due to the use of a lining over hemming? While washers aren't particularly innovative or original, they were used to good effect here, as flowers, with the appropriate leaf embroidery. The cuffs on the pants were also a nice detail.

The skirt does most of the work for the outfit; the fabric is a great choice and the way it's framed by the pleats and brown tape at the hem uses it to its fullest potential. The Jacket coordinates well, especially with the repeated use of the brown trim (Bias tape?). That said, we think the simple shirt was a bit too safe. We think it needs just a little bit more, like a sleeve, or a collar, or a color. When the jacket is removed, the high waist *is* overwhelming, and the two pieces don't stand alone, though we suspect they could, while still looking fine with the jacket. The "untraditional" element was also a bit disappointing. Keys as a necklace aren't a new concept; these just happen to be in a good scale for AG's.

Individually, the elements of this outfit wouldn't be out of place today, but we're not sure how well they work together. Leggings, or a less Celtic-looking embroidery may have helped update this more. We also wonder if a different color would have been a better starting point. The black looks a little washed out, and while it helps the embroidery stand out, it doesn't really coordinate with it. But, the lacework and the embroidery do look very nice, while the keyhole neckline adds some interest to the garment. The length might seem like an odd thing to single out, too, but this dress seems to fall at just the right spot on the model.

The collar and color are good references to the inspiration, but other details, like the lines in the top, might have been overlooked if they weren't explained for us. They're also overwhelmed by the collar. The skirt, while expertly pieced together, seems incongruous with the Egyptian them. A narrower skirt, or even more of a tunic with the leggings, might have worked a but better, while still not being to referential. The collar's use of nontraditional materials works great though.

This look has a lot going for it: there's a lot of pieces, and they're incredibly well made, the colors look really nice together, and the zippers provide an interesting effect. The weak point, though, is the brown fabric used in the skirt and coverlet; it's a bit too heavy looking, and the cover is a bit drab. We wonder if a richer khaki or even a gray might have helped. Or even a plaid or a print? Still, the other colors work well together, particularly the underskirt and the leg warmers (great use of variegated yarn here!), and even the brown doesn't look terrible, we just think it could look better. The criss-cross effect with the suspenders in the back was really eye-catching.

This dress doesn't look out of place today, but we think it's more because it's so classically beautiful, than that there was much updating to the original inspirations. We are fully aware how terrible it is when the real Project Runway judges say, "You made a gorgeous dress! How awful!" and we know this could *sound* a bit like that, but we don't mean it that way. Mostly.
Still, this does feel like an "Allicapri original". Mixing the textures in the same color works brilliantly, though it might have caused some limitations to the materials, such as the lace at the waist being perhaps a bit too heavy? While the use of fake flowers on a dress isn't revolutionary, the floral straps truly contribute to the impact of the dress.

The red jacket almost references the inspiration *too much* but the rest of the outfit is just a t-shirt and jeans. Something like breeches-inspired capris could really have carried the look through the outfit, and allowed the jacket to be a bit simpler (maybe a cap sleeve) while still medieval-y. The fabric choice was very nice here. The red print looks modern, especially when combined with the black. Careful in posing your photos though, the way the arms are out makes us wonder how well the jacket fits, and the jeans have slight bit of cameltoe. Pressing the jacket could have also helped it look neater and more fitted.

The styling, particularly the hair, really helps this look shine. Without the corset, the grey ribbed fabric and the blue fabric don't seem to blend well together, but the untextured white fabric really brings everything together, and completes the look. The gathering on the skirt is an interesting effect, but we're not sure if it achieved what it was going for. A slightly longer skirt might have helped the effect stand out, and we wonder if the unaltered skirt might have been made a little too short in the first place.

We love that the shirt uses details, like the tiny neck and sleeve ruffles, and the lacing to really reference the original time period, without overwhelming a modern outfit, but wish we would have seen similar in the capris. Choosing capris over shorts or pants was a start, since they're sort of like breeches, but a cuff or button or something at the bottom could have been really clever. The purse, while it was an original use of materials, but it doesn't seem to go along with the rest of the outfit. We get that kids won't really coordinate their purses with outfits, but the "unconventional use of materials" seems like a bit of an afterthought.

This look is a little too costume-y, and we have trouble picturing a 9-13 year old wearing it to school, with the exception of the belt, which is pretty on-trend and modern looking. The neon colors do look really great on the black and white though bending the paperclips somehow might have been better, since they still look like paperclips. Choosing to edge the black collar was a good choice. Hemming might looked a little cleaner, but it also might have made it too big, or affected the way it hung, plus the circle shape would have made it difficult. Pressing the outfit might help in the future. The fabric puffs out around the seam in the back, which affects the way the rest of the outfit hangs.

Lots of pieces, here, which suggests a lot of work, but there's a little too much going on. Editing it a bit might have been a great idea, since a lot of the pieces look really great when you focus on only that piece. A third major color, or replacing the orange or red with a color further away on the color wheel, could also have helped visually separate the pieces from each other. We do like the way the bright blue, in the flowers and glasses works with the red.

While this is a very pretty dress, it seems more like a dress-up outfit than anything a girl would wear, even to a formal event, like as a junior bridesmaid. The blue overskirt brings to mind Cinderella, though the ribbon edging looks great. More details like that, and the lacing and the beading, could helped modernize this. Changing the sleeve from the pattern was a good idea, but we think you could have taken it even further, by removing the sleeves altogether, or shortening them. The neckline is one of the dress's more modern detains, but its wide shape combines with the puffy top of the sleeves to make the doll look really wide in the shoulders.

The judges did a lot of back and forth on this one! Similar looks were really popular in the 80's, but those looks were themselves inspired, even if loosely, by Regency fashion. The high waist, white eyelet and short spencer jacket were all things that were popular back then and have resurface to time, which this outfit makes good use of, but we wish there was a bit more of the designer in it. The pop can tabs were innovative and original, but other details, like contrast stitching in the jacket or dress could have really made this stand out more. Still, the dress fits well, and looks very nice on the model.

This has a really original inspiration, but we wish it looked a bit more modern. A different color/fabric choice or a shorter skirt could make this a fun easter or summer dress. The top, especially with the versatility of different sashes, though is interesting and very pretty, though the bottom and back could have used more pressing. The untraditional material was way outside of the box, but it doesn't seem to add much to the look. We also question whether human body parts are ever appropriate for clothing, being reminded of the time one of the Project Runway contestants used hair in their in their final collection. It's almost a little too strange.

On first glance, this is a classy, simple look, but the details are what really make this shine, though they're almost too easy to overlook. The embroidery on the pants, and their very straight cut, for example, can be seen as a reference to pantalettes, once its pointed out, though capri or flood length bottoms would have been an even clearer reference. The asymmetrical hemline of the shirt keeps it from being just another tank top. The wiring detail on the jacket also looks like part of the outfit, not just a random broach or jewelry piece, which brings in the hairpiece as more than just a headband.

The inspiration here is very clear, even if the process was a bit backwards. The colors look very well together, and grey and red aren't something you see together every day. The print, too, is just gorgeous, a great choice. The judges are disagreeing, though, on whether or not the overdress works best, as-is, in four panels, or if it would look better as a more solid overdress, though they agree that the skirt might be a smidge too stiff. The designer might have been going for an armor-look, but kids can be really sensitive to the way fabric falls around them, and dislike things on that alone.

Round Two Entries: History Punk & Odd Items

If you notice any errors, want to request a change to the link title, or need to add your direct link (or anything else!) email the PDR email or drop a comment.

Votes are due next Saturday (4/3) night, 11:59 p.m. PST.

70s Inspired Dress by csbsews
(No direct link provided)

80s inspired top and skirt by Sarah
scrap photo
Link 2

60s inspired paper dress by C.I. Fairfield

Rockabilly Jess by Kittycatalina
Closeup shots of materials one and two.

Civil War inspired bolero jacket and skirt by Firinel

Kate's Medieval Inspired Tunic by jchappa

Davida's Electronic Egyptian outfit by LJcatfeather

40s-50s inspired ensemble by sewingmama

Flapper inspired dress by Allicapri

Medieval inspired outfit by seaflower

Pirate inspired outfit by Heritage4

Colonial inspired outfit by numberonekitty

Egyptian inspired outfit by Holley

70's inspired outfit by Stellakelly

Medieval inspired outfit by Gomunk

regency era dress & jacket by thelight139

Lycian Punk Party Dress by the1butterfly

recency inspired outfit by prncssme

Not eligible for votes:

Jess's Samurai-inspired outfit by Curiouser

Elizabethan inspired outfit by katydid

Round one peer reviews

The following are links to the outfits from round one that folks want peer reviews on. Just a couple of ground rules:

1. No flaming. Duh. "I hate it" is not helpful to someone. Try to keep all comments helpful to the sewer.
2. To that end, for every negative thing you say, try to add something about what you liked about the outfit
3. This is all experimental and we hope it'll go well so we can do it again!

4. You can do these in a judge style the way we do, or not - totally your choice.

Without further ado, here are the posts for review:

Lindsey's Volunteer Outfit by Gomunk
Lanie's garden outfit by Fin
Chrissa's Winter Outfit by Allicapri
Sonali's Mix and Match by sewingmama
Lanie's Boston Sports Teams 2-in-1 by curiouser
Marisol's folklorico dress by jchappa
Marisol's Folklorico outfit by Heritage4.
Mia's warmups by Holley
Sonali's Pattu lehenga by prncssme
Mia's Sugarplum Fairy Skating Outfit by Stellakelly
Kailey's Ocean Outfit by Seaflower
Nicki's tiered dress by numberonekitty

If you weren't included in the above list but would like to be, you can comment below or email us and we'll edit it in (it's totally okay even if you miss the deadline; it just means you'll be added later in this case).

Note that if you emailed me and told me you wanted to be included, but didn't specify for which round, I'll assume it was both one and two unless you let me know otherwise.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hated Outfit

American Girl fashions aren't exactly hot off the runway, but some are definitely better than others. It's the "others" we're concerned with for this challenge.

You are to redesign one the outfits that you hate the most from American Girl.In your album, we want you to include an explanation on why you chose your outfit; it might be helpful to include an image of the outfit (either your own, or an AG stock photo; I've checked with SailAway and it is okay if you pull the stock photo off the AGPT website and include it in your album).

As for the relation between the original outfit and yours: we want to be able to see the inspiration but it shouldn't look too similar. Sam's bridesmaid dress, for example: we don't want to get ten lavender dresses that look the same as the original except for not being so shiny and ruffly.

We realize it will be (hopefully appropriately!) challenging to "fix" an outfit while keeping the inspiration identifiable, so we'd like you to reference the original outfit in *at least* three different ways, and explain the reference in your album. An example would be something like, "I liked that Samantha's Bridesmade dress was purple, so I stayed in that range, but went for a darker shade, because I thought it would be more attractive." or, "I embroidered the shirt, because I thought that was a nice detail on Jess's original meet outfit."

You can do either a historical or a modern outfit. If you choose a historical outfit, please keep in mind that it should look historically accurate, when compared to other outfits for that historical. It doesn't make much sense to design a bridesmaid dress for Samantha that she wouldn't be able to wear. Please include links or photos in your album that you used as reference.

Entries are due Sat. April 10th.

When you submit your entries, don't forget to note if you want it to be included in the peer review.

Also: We'll have two guest judges this round, for two extra judges picks! Whoo!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

follow up on peer reviews

Don't forget to email us if you want your round one entry to be included.
And if you want your round two entry to be included, let us know that when you submit your round two entry. (Or send us a separate email if you've already submitted it.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Peer reviews

Christine and I (Mars) were discussing this past challenge with someone privately, and it was really interesting to hear what a non-judge, someone voting who was able to split her votes, looked for in the entries she voted for, and to see how people reacted when they could split their votes and when they weren't part of making up the challenge with preconceived notions. And it occurred to me that in the discussion posts, there really isn't a whole lot of talk about what people like or didn't like about different outfits.

So we thought it would be really fun to have a peer review thread here on the blog, where YOU can be the judge. It will go up after the voting results are announced and people can explain why they did or didn't vote for a design This is entirely OPTIONAL for designers to participate in. To that end, in the future when submitting your design please let us know (by email!) whether you want to be involved in the peer reviews. If you'd like to be involved in peer reviewing for the first round, let us know by Saturday at midnight PST (so the same time as the next round is due).

When we post the thread, we'll post a link to all of the outfits that have been submitted to peer review, along with a few basic guidelines.

There are no points for this; it's just for fun/improvement/curiousity.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Public votes!

In case you were wondering, more than 40 people voted. Not bad! Any ideas on how to get more, though are plenty welcome!

In third place for three points:

LJcatfeather's Marisol's Folklorico outfit!

In second place, for six points:

Numberone Kitty's Tiered Dress for Nicki!

In first place, for 10 points:

Firinel's Gardening outfit for Lanie

And, remember, if you've even participated in this round, you get a point.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bean's Judge Pick

I am late, I am sorry, and I deserve to be beaten around a little for it.

I'm also voting for Firinel's entry. Please enjoy this bulleted list as to why:

  • Those colors are straight out of Lanie's collection, and I appreciate the thought that took. The outfit also relates directly to one of Lanie's interests, while adding to what she already has.
  • She made her own tye dye design, which took some thought and stood out.
  • It looks like something a real kid would wear!
  • I enjoy the thought that went into adding the foam kneeler as an accessory.
  • Most importantly, everything's sewn incredibly well and fits the doll.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mars's Judge Pick, Round 1

Like Curiouser, I thought this round was absolutely incredibly difficult to judge. There were a lot of really amazing and creative outfits, so give yourself a pat on the back. But sadly, I can't pick them all. For my pick, I'm choosing numberonekitty's Nicki's tiered dress. This dress is well-made and well-designed. It looks like it fits into Nicki's collection - I think I would have ID'ed it as hers without being told or seeing it on a Nicki doll, which is awesome - without being too much of a rehash of the items in her collection. All three pieces are great, work well together, and have an appropriate amount of detail. I'd totally buy this outfit from AG if they made it. Well done!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Judge's Pick, Round One: Christine/Supernonamegirl

I'm choosing Allicapri's Chrissa's School Outfit for this round. I'm not sure that hers was the best made, or the best designed or the best addition to a collection, but I do think she found the best balance between all three.

As a school outfit, it fits nicely in Chrissa's collection, somewhere between her snowsuit and her sundress, especially when you consider the jacket for crisp Minnesota spring days. There was also a lot of thought put into Chrissa's character when designing the outfit, from the faux layers, to the choice of blue, to the headband. (And I really love that headband.)

The coat, in particular, shows a fairly high skill level. It seems to fit Chrissa very well, and the lining complements the gray really well. I love that the buttons are real, working buttons (though I had to double-check a few times to make sure.).

In terms of design, the seam in the top part of the coat adds visual interest too it, while the color, and fabric choices all around, coordinate well without looking like they won't match anything else. There's a few textures going on here that make it seem very realistic and wearable, from the woolliness of the coat, to the crinkle in the shirt and plain cotton undersleeves.

Judges' reviews, round one

Hey guys! Remember to have your votes in by tomorrow night! Thanks bundles!

Lindsey's Mix-and-Match by kittycatalina

This does seem like something Lindsey would wear, but we’re not sure how much it adds to her existing collection, because it is very similar to meet outfit. The leggings remind us a bit of her tights, plus she came with a light jacket and skirt. Pants might have been a more original choice. The styling with pigtails and bow tie shows, along with the color choice of the jacket seem more appropriate on a much younger girl, though we do think the basic design of leggings, skirt and shirt are perfect for a 10-14 year old girl.

Lindsey's In Like a Lion outfit by C.I. Fairfield

There’s a high skill level here: very nicely finished hems, topstitching on the jeans, and a bias on the sleeves for the coat. However, the fit for the coat and the pants seem a little large on Lindsey. We were a bit overwhelmed by the coat, but wondered how it might look if it wasn’t so crisp and bright, and found that the mental image works a bit better. We all actually liked the prototype outfit more, and thought it was more suited to Lindsey. We understand why it was changed to match the coat, for a cohesive look, but we’ll also point out that 10 year olds just tend to wear whatever coat their moms get them.

Lindsey's volunteer outfit by gomunk
We like that this look incorporates the story, but wonder how realistic it is. Would she really have a lab coat, or would she just have grabbed an old pair of jeans and tshirt? The outfit is really well made, and the bright red of the pants seems to match Lindsey’s aestethic, but the black scrub top, while cute, seems a bit dull for Lindsey. The hat is a nice, but pretty unnecessary addition. More photos or a bit of an explanation could have changed our minds.

Kailey's Ocean Outfit by seaflower
This outfit was hotly debated by the judges, but there are a few things we agreed on. The purple fabric was a nice choice, but the teal seems to overwhelm it, particularly in the thick belt. The theme of the outfit was taken a bit too far between the shells as a necklace, as a hair accessory and on the belt, one would have been enough-or we’re getting distracted by the shells in the photos, too. Scale might be factor too, the shell on the belt would have to be very large on a real 10 year old girl. The “petals” and their edging give the outfit a really airy quality, that works great for Kailey though.

The Folklorico Costume was probably the most obvious choice for this challenge, but it was interesting to see the different takes on it. We did some research on the costumes in preparation for judging, and will be considering practicality, along with accuracy.

Marisol's Folklorico Outfit by katydid
The skirt on this seems a bit narrow for a Folklorico costume. White, though, was the most common base-color used for the costumes that came up in our research, so we know this is somewhat accurate for the color choice. The ruffles on the camisa look nicely done, but we wish it would have been pressed a little better or even top stitched, since you can see the seam in some photos.

Marisol's Folklorico by Heritage4
The zig-zag design makes this look stand out, but also causes a few problems. It looks amazing when it’s spread out and was expertly done, but we wonder how it would look in motion/twirling, and how much deviation is allowed from the traditional costumes. Our research didn’t turn up anything like the point-design, but the colors and the fullness of the skirt seem to be very accurate. We wish the skirt was gathered or centered a bit differently, because when it’s just falling naturally, the points of the design look uneven. Despite the issues, though, this look has a lot of artistry to it, and innovation.
EDIT: So it's been pointed out to us that our five minutes of Google and Wikipedia research were fail, as this type of pattern is sometimes found on folklorico dresses. So that's our bad, and well done, Heritage4.

Marisol's Folklorico Dress by jchappa
This is another skirt that is probably a bit too slim for Folklorico. It isn’t exactly narrow, so the fullness was clearly a consideration, but we wish the designer went just a bit farther with it. The use of lace and the sash in a contrasting color adds a good design element that puts a personal interpretation on it, while the color choice and ribbons along the bottom follow the more traditional route. We do wish the lace at the top was a bit narrower as it feels matronly, but that might have been a selection issue.

Marisol's Folklorico Outfit by ljcatfeather
This Folklorico outfit had the most innovative use of color, while still being pretty traditional. Our research didn’t turn anything up in this exact shade, but there were very similar pink and purple colors used. Since there’s so many different ribbons used in this one, you can guess that it was pretty labor-intesive, but it looks pretty well done, particularly in the top and sleeves. The colors of the ribbons and embroidery work very well with the base color.

Marisol's folklorico outfit by Tink
The choice of base fabric works well here, as well as the combination of ribbons and embroidery; also the choice of fabric gives it a good, light look. The “lightness” of the fabric lends itself to a dance costume, though we wish she would have amplified the crinckly effect even more by twisting it and wetting it. (Try twisting and wrapping in a stocking, then running it through the wash.) The skirt falls a bit oddly, as well, and we would have liked to have seen even more color in this.

Nicki's Casual Outfit by numberonekitty

We had a hard time finding any concrit for this one, we all like it so much! Our one suggestion is that the green top on the dress might be a little bit large for the scale of the dress. But overall we absolutely love this one. Great fabric choices, good design; everything works together without being too matchy match. It fills a need and works for the character, and looks appropriately local; we can also tell you put some thought into your outfit. We also like the smaller details you've included, like the detail on the seams where the tiers come together and the small buttons on the vest, which we think are a great embellishment without being too much. We love that the vest is lined. Good job!

Mia's Nelda's Notions Warmups by Holley

We like the idea and it's another one with a lot of thought put into it, though we suspect it won't be a major vote getter because it isn't showy. Love that you thought about getting it on over skates, and the reasoning behind your choice of colors. Major bonus points for the patch as it must have taken a lot of work. It's not perfect but we're still very impressed. We like the racing stripes on the sides and the pink lining, and how well it goes with the silver skate outfit. We do think the waist looks a bit bulky and aren't sure whether that's due to the skirt under it or not; a photo sans skating outfit might have been helpful just to show the fit better. Also, the hood is a tad pointy, but we realize hoods are hard!

Mia's sugar plum faerie skating outfit
First off, there was obviously lots of work on this one, and they were probably difficult materials to work with. So nicely done there. We all think the top needs an editing eye - there's just a little bit too much going on, especially with all the braiding ever. Just take it down a notch next time. We like her styling. We do question how easy it would be to skate in this.
Also, we question whether this truly fulfills the challenge, since we said that if you add something the character already has, you need to convince us that it adds something to the collection - and I'm not sure you did this. We even specifically mentioned Mia's collection and skating dresses as an example here.

Mia's purple and black casual outfit by thelight139
There were parts of this outfit we really liked and that we thought were well done and other parts that we didn't like so much at all. One of our main points of confusion was not seeing how this was an outfit for Mia. It didn't look like her style or her color palette, and doesn't look young or fun. It might make a good JLY outfit but it doesn't really "fit" Mia. We also wish it was in two pieces instead of one. The hem looks really wide, and it could use more accessories. Things we did like include the cute skirt, the detail on the neck, and the black pockets (although one judge suggests that they don't line up quite right with her hips). The edging on the arms helps connect the skirt to the top. We wish she wasn't wearing the scarf; it doesn't add anything and does hide the cute neck.

Chrissa's sundress by Sarah
This is a good first attempt without a pattern, we like the asymmetrical hemline. However, it needs to be hemmed at the bottom, and your top hem needs to have smaller stitches on it - it looks bad and it's likely to snag and break. You can also see the selvage on the back of the dress, which is a big no-no. We're slightly confused about why you made it for a character with boobs, as your doll certainly doesn't have them and we don't think Chrissa the character did, either. The fabric selection is good for Chrissa. Styling-wise, we like the color on the boots but they look like winter boots and therefore maybe not outfit-appropriate.

Chrissa's winter outfit by Allicapri
This outfit fills a definite need, and looks like something Chrissa would wear, especially the blue (maybe not the black quite as much but it works with the outfit). We absolutely love the headband, think it looks great and is very well done. We also like the coat although it doesn't really go with the outfit - but most ten year olds probably won't have a matching coat, so it is realistic. We wish the pants were just a little more fitted, but bravo on doing dolly pants. We do think the puffy sleeves are a bit distracting. We also kind of wish the long sleeves weren't faux to give it mix-and-match potential, but this is well in keeping with what AG has been doing lately.

Sonali's Spring Mix-and-Match by sewingmama
Very serviceable. The shrug is definitely our favorite piece, and the bright color palette fits Sonali well. We like that you did pants that weren't blue jeans to offer variety, since she already has her jean capris. There isn't a lot of WOW to it, basic pants, basic tshirts, another addition like the scrub might make it more memorable. A photo with teal shirt and shrug might have helped.
We do wonder what need this fills and how this is for Sonali (although it does look appropriately styled and colored) since what it seems like is "Sonali has no clothes. Here are clothes."

Sonali's Mix and match by Livien
It's nice that you've made a lot of pieces, but there may be a bit too much going on here. We would rather see two really interesting, well-made pieces than ten not as interesting, not as well made pieces. There's just a little too much going on here for us, though we think it might have helped to see all the pieces laid out together in one photo. You also have a couple of wonky hems, on the turtleneck and the skirt hem.
We do like your color palette, which goes well with Sonali's meet outfit without being derivative. Well done on the swimsuit, which we're sure was a pain to work with.

There was some dissent in the ranks on the next two outfits for Sonali - we know a lot of folks really wanted to see an Indian outfit for Sonali, but question the inclusion of it since there's no evidence that Sonali the character ever wore traditional outfits - where would she wear this? Especially for a kid concerned about fitting in. On the other hand, it is conceivable she'd have things like this and is fun to imagine. The bottom line is, though, we question whether traditional pieces have a place in Sonali's collection.

Sonali's kurti and pants by SailAway
We appreciate that the fabric was probably difficult to work with, so well done. We also like the lacing in the sides which adds a touch of design while still relying on the traditional elements. It's a good fit. We like that you made accessories for a head-to-toe look, but do think they're a little bit large in scale for 18" dolls. A couple of judges question the pants, though; one suggests that modern kids might wear the kurti over jeans, which might give it a more character- and age-appropriate look.

Sonali's Pattu lehenga by prncssme
This is accurate as far as we can tell from our minimal research. Great colors, especially for Sonali, and we like that you took what was otherwise a fairly generic, if pretty, brocade and placed the pattern in different ways at the waist and in the skirt, sleeves, and scarf. We also think that the beading adds a huge wow factor to the outfit. One of our mods is impressed that you got the hem to hit perfectly at the floor.
We would have liked to have seen more detail photos (notably at the waist, since we're having a hard time telling how the fit is there) and used slightly less artistic angles on your photos.

Lanie's jumper outfit by the1butterfly
We're having trouble seeing this as a Lanie outfit. The colors aren't really her style and are washing her out, and it doesn't really look like a current outfit. In general, she seems fairly preppy. The dragonfly is excellent and a very “Lanie” touch. We also love that you used recycled materials; Lanie would approve. And we think the roses are a good choice for her as well, albeit maybe not in that color. We do like the silhouette, especially the middle belt. But it looks a bit crooked (measure twice, cut once! Press! Not in that order!) One of our judges loves the shapes in the skirt but wishes they were a bit more symmetrical.

Lanie's Gardening Outfit by Firinel
Great Color choice, green and blue look amazing together, and very Lanie. The fabric choice is very good with the tie-dye, and we like the pants...or at least what we can see of them (we wish we could see the top in one of the photos. It fits right in with Lanie's collection.
However, we have the same concern that we have with the Mia skating outfit above. What does this add to Lanie's collection? She already has a gardening outfit, and we question whether this is better, as it looks hotter (jeans? Two layers on the top?) and doesn't have a useful included hat (we do like the useful included kneeler, which Lanie might wish for when wearing white shorts).

Lanie's Boston sports team outfits by Curiouser
The navy tshirt is particularly clever and reaslitic, and modern, but the white tshirt's saying does evoke baby onesies, even without knowing it was one. Good for a recycled materials challenge. We don't know if Lanie is a sports fan at all but we can imagine she is.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Judge's Pick, round 1: Curiouser (guest judge)

As one of our three winners last year, we've asked Curiouser to guest judge this first round of outfits. Her comments are below.

Thanks a lot. And I mean that in a very sarcastic way. There are so many great outfits to choose from and I only get to pick one. Thanks. Couldn’t most of you have just blown the challenge so the winner would be totally obvious? So, how do you choose a winner in this type of contest? Do you go with the best concept? The best execution? A bit of both? What about marketability? Do I want to own the outfit? Is there an outfit that looks well made, fits the challenge, and I’d like to own? Yes, several of them do. In fact, if AG were to produce all of these outfits I’d be very broke for a while.

Okay, here goes, I’m awarding my guest judge points to Firinel’s gardening outfit for Lanie. Why this outfit? First, I LOVE the colors. Blues and greens are my favorites so she caught my attention quickly. (I’m all about color.) I just love the tie dye blue, the shade of green, the way the green matches the crocs… I just love the color combination and the fabrics chosen. Secondly, everything fits great. (Are we REALLY supposed to believe that Fin is a sewing newbie?) Thirdly, Lanie really needs some denim in her life. Some may say Lanie’s collection already has a gardening outfit. I think they have been deceived, I don’t know anyone who gardens in white capris. This is the outfit AG SHOULD have made. Finally, the color scheme fits Lanie’s collection. This outfit actually screams Lanie to me. As a bonus the pieces make a great outfit together, they also have tons of mix and match potential. In fact the only criticism I can
give this outfit is that I wish it had a hat to protect the fair Lanie from the sun… although I suspect her white bucket hat would match nicely.

A couple of housekeeping notes

Direct Links

I have now explained this in an entry and poked everyone who entered the first round who didn't provide a direct link. There were a lot of you.

There were also a lot of you who entered last round, period. We're actually a little overwhelmed but we're glad so many people are excited to participate. However, it does necessitate us being more crankypants on some of the stuff that takes us time.

...Like digging up your direct links.

Please provide a direct link (ends in .jpg, .png, .gif, etc.! See this entry and you can ask there if you need more help.)

If you don't include your direct link, I will be mean and not include it in the final list of entries. You'll just get a link until you mail us your direct link.

Non-AGPT and Non-AG>18 members:
AGPT and AG over 18 are both American Girl collector communities. You MUST be a member of one of these communities to participate and vote. But never fear, both are fairly easy to join, although AGPT might be a little easier for a non-tech savvy person who isn't familiar with LJ. Both are adult-oriented; AGPT is 13+ and AG>18 is what it sounds like.

You don't have to be a member of both comms, only one. They both have their own personality, so you might consider checking out the rules and publicly available info on both comms before choosing one or both.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Round One Entries: GOTY outfit

You can find more photos of the entry at the link(s). We encourage everyone to take a look; there was a lot of work put into each entry and the additional photos can really highlight the details and craftsmanship.

Votes for this round are due by Saturday, March 20th PST!

If you see a problem with your entry (or don't like the title Mars gave your outfit), drop a line to the PDR email.

Sonali's spring mix-and-match by sewingmama

Chrissa's sundress by Sarah
scrap photo

Marisol's Folklorico dress by jchappa

Lanie's gardening outfit by Firinel

Lindsey's mix-and-match by kittycatalina
Link 2
scrap/in progress photos

Nicki's tiered dress by numberonekitty

Marisol's Folklorico Outfit by LJcatfeather

Lindsey's In Like A Lion outfit by C.I. Fairfield

Marisol's Folklorico Outfit by katydid

Mia's Nelda's Notions Warmups by Holley

Kailey's Ocean Outfit by seaflower

Chrissa's Winter Outfit by Allicapri

Lindsey's volunteer outfit by Gomunk

Mia's Sugar Plum Fairy skating outfit by stellakelly

Sonali's Kurti and Pants by SailAway

Lanie's jumper outfit by the1butterfly

Mia's purple and black casual outfit by thelight139

Marisol's Folklorico outfit by Tink

Sonali's Mix and Match by Livien

Sonali's Pattu lehenga by prncssme

Marisol's Folklorico by Heritage4

Lanie's Boston Sports 2-in-1 by Curiouser
Note: Prior winner; not eligible for votes

Because it interests me, the number of outfits for each doll:
Lindsey: 3
Kailey: 1
Marisol: 5
Jess: 0
Nicki: 1
Mia: 3
Chrissa: 2
Sonali: 4
Gwen: 0
Lanie: 3

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Finding your direct link

Since I've fielded this question a couple of times now, here's a quick how-to on finding your direct link.

A direct link/hotlink is a link to your photo all by itself, nothing else on the page. It should end in an image extension, like .jpg, .png, or .gif. (My camera saves in .jpg; I think most do.)
Your direct link should not lack an extension or end in .html.

On a service like Photobucket or Tinypic, the hotlink is listed as "direct link" or "direct link for layouts". If you're using a service like Picasa, you can right click on the image you want to use and select "copy image location" - that image location is your direct link, and what we need in the email.

The reason for the hotlink is that we always put up an image of each outfit on the blog here, and in order to make that image appear directly in our entry, we need a hot link.

If it doesn't end in an image extension, it's not a direct link.
If clicking on it doesn't take you to the image all by itself, like this, it's not a direct link.

How to Vote

Winning the public vote earns the most points each round in Project Doll Runway, so participation is important!

This year, we're changing voting a bit, to give everyone a bit more say.

You have 6 votes to distribute. They must be for *at least* three different entries, but they do not have to be evenly distributed.

For example, you can give one entry 3 of your votes, another two, and the last just a single vote. Or one entry gets 4 of your votes and the other two get only 1 vote each. You can also choose more than 3 entries, up to all six going to a different entry!

If you're participating, you can still vote, but you cannot vote for yourself.

To submit your vote, email projectdollrunway@gmail.com, the board you're a member of and your username on that board, plus the entries that you're voting for. The email should look something like this:

Username: Supernonamegirl at PT & >18.

Mars: 4
Beanjbunny: 1
Curiouser: 1

If you do not specify a number for each of your votes, we'll assume they're evenly distributed.

Each round will also have few entries that are not eligible for points. They will be noted, and at the end of the post. If you vote for them, it will not count.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Round Two Challenge: Historypunk

For this challenge, you are to create a modern outfit inspired by any time period, (not just those covered by AG). We're asking you to create a modern outfit, with a twist inspired by the past, like the Steampunk movement is inspired by Victorian fashion, but still its own unique look. The key is to be inspired by the past, not to copy it.

Whether your entry features by bell sleeves from the medieval period, bell bottoms from the 70's or a metal skirt-looking thing from ancient Greece, or whatever, the outfit should be wearable for a modern doll. For example, while you can have a Steampunk outfit that you might not wear to school, there are elements of the trend that have crossed over into everyday wear, like ruffled blouses for work, or military-inspired jackets. We are looking for outfits over costumes, but feel free to take some risks.

For this round, you can incorporate your own "untraditional" materials for 1 bonus point, like how Steampunk often incorporates clockwork and brass. And, the *most* original use of materials, as determined by the judges, will get an extra 2 points on top of that.The materials don't need to reference your original time period.

Send your entries to projectdollrunway@gmail.com with a hotlink to a head-to-toe-front-facing image of the outfit, plus, link to an album with your in-progress photo(s) and any other images of the outfit you'd like to share. If you're choosing a weird time period, you might also consider a photo or two for reference in your album. (ie, for Rennaissance, you might link to some DaVinci.)Deadline for this round is March 27th, midnight PST!

(Note: you can do a Steampunk outfit if you so choose, but you don't have to! It's just a frame of reference.)