Friday, March 19, 2010

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.


  1. I'd like to point out that in the photo descriptions in my album I did explain what need this outfit fills for Sonali.

  2. Heh, next time I won't wait until the last minute to finish my ensemble. I couldn't get my camera to focus for the non-artistic shots!