Monday, October 27, 2008


Agarva lives on the beautiful sub-tropical east coast of Australia with her partner of eight years. She has two grown stepdaughters, and three wonderful grandchildren, with two more - twins - on the way.

She started fashion design as a teenager but family circumstances made it impossible for her to continue, so instead she became a nurse.

Today she works as an information manager where all she creates is databases; it's as far away from fashion design as she can imagine! But luckily for us, she sews when she has off time.

Sewing has interested her since her childhood. She is self taught, and also loves to embroidery, knit, applique and do patchwork. She just loves anything to do with fabric, including dyeing it.

No wonder she has such a vast collection of vintage silk and other fabrics. She categorizes her style as eclectic and loves combining different styles and fabrics to created unusual looks. Fine tailoring is a passion and her outfits frequently have many details not obvious in photos.

Since the original Project Dollway Home challenges she has been focusing on her Dreary collection, and donating outfits for charity. She also recently completed some commissions for swaps. After becoming a member of the CheeryAboutAgnes group, she finally pulled her dear Agnes out of her box. Now she has started creating a family for what she has dubbed her "Dreary Down Under Clan." It is growing huge, and now desperately needing clothing. Along with sewing for these dolls she also enjoys writing them story-lines.

She did create a blog that features some of her creations from the original Project Dollway Home Challenges located here:

Her website - a work in progress - can be found here:

"It is very inspiring to work with other designers and it pushes my creativity," says Agarva. "This competion will give me a chance to create a 'look' for my Dreary family, and doing a collection is perfect for where I am." It's not surprising that her muse will be Shadi Sarka Dreary (Sister Dreary).

Her muse, she feels is one of those characters you love or you don't. So, while she would love to win a challenge, she's not necessarily expecting to. "If I end this competition with a collection that I love, and, more importantly, I feel reflects my muse - then I will be ecstatic. And that I will also make my friends and group members proud of my efforts is also important to me." She is really looking forward to seeing everyone's designs and hopes that people will enjoy her creations.


Kevin lives with his partner, sister, and his menagerie of pets that includes six cats (Mittens, Missy, TootsieBelle, Sammy, Melon and Nautikins), one old dog (PeeWee), and four goldfish. Just taking care of all of them is almost a full time job.

He grew up in the doll business. His family ran a ceramic shop and an antique and reproduction doll making/repair business. He collected Barbies, GI Joes, Matchbox cars,and Hot Wheels from an early age. His love of the theatrical was a great asset as he performed as a professional female impersonator for many years. He thinks his work has helped him in designing his doll creations sometimes. He also has been influenced by his hero, Bob Mackie.

This easy going guy has a style of making doll clothing he feels is fairly identifiable. He uses a large portion of silks and tons and tons of seed beads and sequins.

Recently he has been doing a lot of sewing and selling on eBay, and considers himself fortunate to be able to do this. His design interest has now become the Fashion Royalty sized dolls.

He's been busy making a Halloween costume for his sister, too. She loves his designs, and even had him design her wedding dress a few years ago.

Unfortunately, Kevin missed out on most of the original Project Dollway Home Challenge due to his mother's ill health and subsequent passing. But that is behind him, so he is confident he's ready to tackle this new version! "I am thinking I might just do well, if I can keep up the momentum from this first challenge now," Kevin says, "I should do GREAT!"


Gary Fletcher describes himself as very analytical and a workaholic. He feels he is a bit naive because he is an Aries; after all it is a young sign. He is a Dad, and has served in the Army as a helicopter mechanic. Although originally from Clearwater Florida, he's been a resident of Tennessee since 1981. He lives there with his friend and business partner.

He trained at IADT, a technical design academy in Nashville. There he picked up several classes he felt necessary to hone his design skills including pattern drafting, design principles, the business of design, and illustrating. However, he still doesn't believe illustrating is his strong point. He began sewing with his mother at just 11, and feels he learned a great deal from her. By 16 he was designing and constructing lavish ball gowns in a size 4 with no particular person in mind. He just loved sewing them. This was in the mid 80's and ruffles ruled. At 18 he dressed a bride and her bridesmaids. He's been staying busy sewing all his life, but he is also a licensed Cosmetologist in Tennessee.

The website where Gary sells his original designs - both patterns and some ensembles are located at

He designs and sews patterns for many of the Tonner and Wilde Imagination dolls, a company he is officially licensed for. He also stays busy working from his studio in Knoxville with mainstream fashion industry projects.

His company provides an array of services for small and upstart design companies. Much of what is done there involves patterns and pattern grading. Services such as consulting, providing garment samples, and custom design are available as well as the pattern work.

News of this competition came to him through his Yahoo group. His members emailed him, urging him to participate. He thought - why not, this might even be fun! No stress, no worries!. Gary feels "... this competition will allow me to be creative beyond what I normally do. Much of the work I do is confined to strict parameters. Its what my clients want. This competition will let me break out of the mold."

This soft spoken, overachiever definitely has a competitive nature but does realize there are some amazing artists in this competition, so I'm sure he'll be playing his best game. He says, "I love designing fashion. This has been my life long dream." Dream on, Gary!


"...resembles a tattered toothpick trapped in a hurricane." - Richard Blackwell

(His comment regarding Mary-Kate Olsen on one of his notorius worst dressed lists)

Richard Blackwell died recently -- October 19, 2008. But for over 40 years this fashion critic, journalist, and artist; who worked successfully as a former child star and former costume and fashion designer, hosted his infamous "Ten Worst Dressed Women List." He was also known for publishing the "Fabulous Fashion Independents" list and an annual Academy Awards fashion review. Two books he wrote, 30 Years of Fashion Fiascos and his autobiography, Rags to Bitches, were also published.

His designs were very sucessful, and most assuredly presented him with the credentials he felt necessary to produce such lists. Over the years "...Worst Dressed" became a very sought after list NOT to be found on. But a lot of people didn't care about their placement there; many just read his lists for entertainment. Can you imagine these famous women changing their wardrobe because of Blackwell's assessment: Cher - "A million beads/And one overexposed derriere"; Queen Elizabeth, "Was she the palace ChristmaS tree, or just a royal clown?" and Martha Stewart - "Dresses like the centerfold for Farmers' Almanac ." In fact, some people such as Mariah Carey and Dolly Parton actually considered it an honor to be placed on his list. By being mentioned, their outrageous dressing accomplished their goal!

So why would we even care about Mr. Blackwell's lists? After all, once the initial shockingly entertaining ones came out, many began to consider them to be noticeably rude, only fixating on the most popular celebrities, and geared to gaining and continuing their own popularity.

Well, the answer is really very simple. Whether we like them or not, Blackwell's lists not only include rather sharp-tongued remarks; they also contain some very factual comments. And, such comments could conceivably cause a maven to change her ways IF she gave them any credibility. And that is what I'm getting at - how we perceive the credibility of a critique is the key to the importance of any critique.

In our group we don't need or respond well to sarcastic, scathing comments from those who judge us. Instead, we look for remarks that really evaluate our work and give us some valid, constructive criticism. We need to know when something is deemed unique or outstanding just as we need to know what our failings are. "Pretty dress" comments are best left to our audience - we do appreciate and need those also, but not from our judges!!

So aren't we incredibly lucky that we have a most talented group who have stepped forward to fill the complex job of judging this project? They are:

Mia Tyler, is not just the daughter of mega-famous rocker Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and half-sister of actress Liv Tyler. Actually, she made her own place in the fashion world at the tender age of 17. Mia began appearing, on MTV's “House of Style,” a program featuring rock and fashion, and from there landed a modeling job, posing for clothing line/retailer Lane Bryant. Mia is a plus size model who believes "Beauty comes in all different packages. If you're a size 12, then you're not any less beautiful than a size 4." She continues to represent plus size beauties by gracing the pages of such well-known magazines as Seventeen, Vogue, USA Today, and Flare; has numerous movie credits, and recently published her own book titled Creating Myself.

Maren began her journey into fashion early, also. She was only ten when she began working as the stage manager for three fashion shows managing the accessories, garments, and hair for 104 models. Her passion for fashion continued to be useful in high school where she created fundraising fashion shows and worked as a DJ to create music CDs for each show. In college she produced, directed and created the music for a fund raising fashion show that raised more money in one night than any other event. Today she works for T-Mobile as a manager, free lance make-up artist, and clothing designer. She is also a new bride, and the daughter of our fashion guru, Gabby.

Connie - Doll Fashions by Sweet Creations has a passion for sewing, and a great inventory of fabrics and trims to execute it. She makes wonderful doll clothes for Silkstone through Cissy, and other sized fashion dolls in between. She is even open to doing commissions that can bring your ideas to life. Perfection and pleasing her customers is her main goal. Connie's webpage can be found at and she also has her work available through Dollpage, eBay and Etsy.

Jamesson Beane is definitely not just another pretty face. After attaining his BA, he chose to branch out into promotional modeling -- representing independent jewelry and clothing lines, and even was a featured model in photographer Lindsay Lozon's coffee-table book entitled All My Boys. He also has seen his written works published in various publications such as Imagozine, Fantasticsmag and What's Happening Magazine. As an actor, he recently appeared in the independent film "Fair Play" and several theater projects with the Orlando Fringe Theatre Festival. His current projects include a lead role in the forthcoming indie, The Beauty of the Shadow.

LoraG. of Silly Dog Designs is the oldest of seven siblings who necessitated the need for her to learn to sew at an early age; she’s been sewing at a machine since her feet could reach the pedals. She had little formal training, but was inspired by her Mother’s strict discipline for perfectionism, and her desire to dress Barbie. Today she enjoys sewing for a variety of dolls. She has worked for The Sewing Workshop Pattern Collection, an independent pattern producer of mostly Asian influenced women's patterns, and has had her designs published in "The Cutting Edge," a quarterly craft magazine. Today she is content to be a housewife and domestic servant to her four Yorkies who inspired her design name. Her recent work includes contributing outfits and t-shirts for charity auctions such as Dolly Hearts for Asia and the USA, and a collaboration with Jim Dandy for the Metro Dolls convention.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our wonderful judges. I also hope you will enjoy this week's interviews of our artists - Agarva Moeller, Gary Fletcher, and Kevin Kilmer. And, our link of the week is a wonderful online magazine I just discovered. I recently enjoyed such wonderful pleasantries as a Vera Wang video and photos from the Spring fashon shows - bet you will find some fun on this site too!! Click on the link, then scroll down if you see a black screen.

Rive Magazine

Now before you go, I'd like to leave you with a few parting remarks.

-- Remember, we are in a contest developed around Project Runway. Their judges critique their designs, and each artists takes those remarks, and "makes them work," IF they see them relevant to improving their own design - and so should you.

-- None of the judges assumed their position for any reason but to assist Project Dollway - so don't get a chip on your shoulder or think a judge doesn't like you if you get a bad review.

-- Judging fashion, like any art medium, is subjective. While one group of judges might not like your designs; another might love them! Go figure! It really is a matter of taste sometimes!!

-- There are two different criteria for fashion designing - one for those who want to design what they want for themselves, and one for those who want to design commercially - conceivably to sell their goods. Deciding what your fashions are designed for may help you decide if a critique is applicable to your designs

-- YOU have to decide if you want to change something based on your vision of what you want to create - never let anything sitfle YOUR dream - remember, you can NEVER be wrong about YOUR opinion!!

And finally, farewell, Mr. Blackwell - thanks for having an opinion and not being afraid to voice it; and for shocking us and making us giggle! Thank you for creating beautiful fashions for Hollywood divas that included Yvonne DeCarlo, Jayne Mansfield, Dorothy Lamour, and Jane Russell. But most of all, thank you for showing us critiques that make those our judges give us much more preferable!


Durelle Brown's Chic Indulgence

Durelle Brown is a single mother of three grown sons and a new grandmother, who lives in Houston, Texas. She loves spending time with her family, friends and her little dog Smidgin, and designing and playing with her dolls - usually in that order - but watch out when it's convention time! She is a multi-talented, OOAK artist who has just launched her new doll clothing line called Chic Indulgence.

She always dreamed of being a costume designer, but settled on a more practical career when she decided to go for her BA in Art and Interior design. Today she works for one of the most prestigious home furnishing companies in America practicing her specialty of window design. And, a lot of her spare time is dedicated to her work as an OOAK doll artist.

In between the last Project Dollway, she's continued to be busy. One of her outfits from the first Project Dollway competition was featured in Doll Reader Magazine. She's taught workshops, won some impressive ribbons, and even managed to do some charity dolls for the International
Fashion Doll Convention.

Then, after braving Hurricane Ike, she managed to donate an outfit for the Dolly Hearts of the USA auctions for charity. These charities are being run to help U.S.. victims of tragedies like fires, floods, and hurricanes.

Her desire to compete in this next phase of Project Dollway is driven by her love of competing in doll events. But her main expectations for this competition definitely involves fun.

She expects this to be "the kind of fun that friendly competition cultivates!" She's optimistic with even more of the doll designing community participating in PDollway2, "that it will be a truly great competition." Having won more of the home challenges than any other designer in the original Project Dollway, being a five time first place winner in Jim Faraone's Fashion Doll Makeover contest, and a four time winner in the now-defunct Barbie Bazaar competition, she's definitely one to watch!!!

You can read all about what she's been up to on one of these two locations:



Pauline Lyngard - B/W Designs

The designer behind B/W Designs is Pauline Lyngard. She is a forty-something married lady with no children who loves to spoil her three Italian Greyhounds and one diva of a Lilac Point Siamese cat.

Today her main job is working as a payroll technician, but she has worn many "hats" over the years. In fact, she was a licensed Esthetician years ago, and has even worked in the fashion/modeling industry.

Her doll "job" is as a fabric artist that uses dolls as her "canvas." In her opinion, "Texture is more important than color, and my work focuses on that concept."

Unfortuantely, there is no website for B/W Designs...yet. Besides B/W Designs, Pauline has her hands full designing and working as the chairperson for her doll club’s mini-conference to be held March of 2009. She is designing and making 40 Edwardian dressed dolls - what an endeavor!

Pauline's desire to participate in this online competition was motivated by her desire to stretch her designing skills in a public forum. In fact, whoever wins or loses is not a great concern to her. Rather, she feels "just getting feedback on her work will be reward enough."

Jason Kramer

Jason Kramer was born and raised in Southern California, and currently lives in Long Beach with his partner of six years, James. They have a cat named Joshua, who just tolerates Jason. Wonder if he knows Jason is really a dog person?

Jason has been a follower of fashion since he was young. When it came time to go to University he chose Theatre Arts as his major, with an emphasis in Costume Design. It was that time in his life that he was introduced to Fashion Dolls for adults, and the rest is history!

He has been re-rooting and enhancing his Tonner dolls for a couple years, and has sold some to fellow collectors. Unfortunately Jason doesn't have a website, so for now we''ll have to be content in seeing his offerings in the Home Challenges.

Being a big fan of Project Runway, Jason was always wanting to compete. Therefore, it's understandable that when he heard about Project Dollway, he got very excited and began competing in the At Home challenges.

During those challenges, he says he "learned so much and had such a blast--not only competing--but (I) also loved seeing what other doll collectors showed." Naturally after Project Dollway, he eagerly awaited the second season, and now we have Project Dollway at Home! He says, "I just love Fashion and Dolls, and can't wait to get started!"

When asked his predictions/aspirations about how he might do in this competiton, he said, "Of course, I want to win--is that bad?? lol... but seriously, knowing it is all in fun, I am really eager to push myself and see how far I can go as the competition progresses. The thing about competitions is that Design is such a subjective medium, and it is very difficult to judge since everyone has their own unique taste and point of view. First and foremost, I want to become a better designer and craftsman."


"I don't want anyone to be intimidated... Just challenged... excited and full of amazing creativity... I would love to see all of you excited by your own work... to feel the pride of your talent... and most of all sheer wonderment." - Gabby, our fearless leader.

Week 1 - Date First Challenge given October 19 Due: November 2, 2008.

And so we begin! But in the final week leading up to our first challenge we all had some trepidation about what we were to do, how we'd handle the challenges, and exactly what would be expected of us. Luckily, we had Gabby to remind us why we are doing this - we are doing this to push our creativity in a fun, challenging way. Remember, each of us really do posess creativity, but it's only when it's tested that the best of it comes out.

Hopefully during this week leading up to the first challenge we have used our time wisely. This was a time to select our doll, draw, scrutinize our fabric, and to generally pull together our thoughts. Some time could also be spent on a research. Let me share what some of mine revealed.

One of the most informative websites I found listed the following trends - White is the new black. Look to see jumpsuits; crazy, colorful heels; ruffles; and florals on the runway this year.

Great news, I decided, because I feared our fashion trends would be more gloomy due to current economic news. However, further research proved me wrong. Did you realize that even during the Great Depression, fashion designers developed many of the vintage designs that are coveted today?

This week our one word challenge is VINTAGE. Did any of our research/planning help us? Remember that we are looking to not only satisfy our one word challenge with a fashion, but this fashion must also tie in with all of the fashions we do in every challenge to form a collection! Also, we are only allowed to use one doll throughout the competition - so hopefully we chose. wisely. Oh, did we schedule our time well to meet the deadline! Whew....just a few rules...but much to think about!

Now that we have all that straight, let's look at those who are up for these challenges. Each week I hope to introduce some of the competitors - from the tried and true artisans who have already honed their techniques to the novic hoping to improve their sewing skills - each one will provide us with interesting and beautiful eye candy. Also, be sure to read all the blogs and investigate links these designers make available. They have been known to share techniques, fabric links, and even answer questions - so don't be shy about asking. I have found that most fashion doll designers are secure enough in their own talent to not only brave the fiercest competitors, but to also help the novice whenever possible. Hold on to your hats - you are in for a great adventure!!

Our featured doll fashion designers this blog are: Durelle Brown, Pauline Lyngard, and Jason Kramer.

(Please note: If you would like to be featured, be sure you either post to the group or send me a private email so that I have your email to communicate with you. Designers are picked by random draw. Also, if you have a burning question for the designer interviews, send it in and it might be used.)

(Originally posted to MySpace 10/19/08)


"Designers have to play many parts – artist, scientist, psychologist, politician, mathematician, and economist, salesman, combined with the stamina of the long-distance runner. - Designer Helen Storey
(British Designer of the Year 1990 & 1991, with celebrity clients including Cher, Madonna and Liz Hurley.)

Certainly daunting; right? But wouldn't it be easier if one was designing fashions for dolls? Not necessarily!

Some Project Dollway Home Challenge entries: Susie Challenge -- left to right: Agarva Moeller, Christopher Warren, Dal Lowenbein, Dot Festeu, Durelle Brown

Just because the little divas these folks design for don't talk back and are geared for play, it doesn't follow that designing for them is all fun and games. Those who succeed not only have to create their designs using the same standards maintained for living dolls, but then they have to execute each one in miniature! Keeping everything to scale is paramount in good fashion doll design!

The new breed of fashion doll designers are setting a high standard, one very different from those of the many home sewers of yesterday who only aspired to make a wardrobe for their child's doll. Today fashion doll collecting has expanded to the adult market. And this expansion has not only brought a bigger budget for purchasing doll designs, but has also brought a more critical eye to scrutinize what is available on the market. Such scrutiny makes it necessary for fashion doll designers to produce their very best mini-couture if they want to be popular.

The upgraded artistry of the new fashion doll designers of today was clearly demonstrated by all the participants of the online fashion competition know as Project Dollway. But not only did Project Dollway manage to showcase those chosen to compete, it also encouraged home viewers to participate. And participate they did!

From amateur to veteran, these Home Challengers pushed their performance levels as far as they could, and managed to put on a good show with each challenge. They even managed to pull off a collective collection that they were proud to be a part of at the end!! I felt privileged to be a part of this group – novice but trying – I saw each new challenge as an excuse to make myself learn more about sewing.

So, even though the "bigger" competition will not be returning with Project Dollway at Home – I look forward to the version that WILL return soon. Come and join me on this fun adventure - oh, and bring along alllllll your creativity, personality, intellect, technicality, and physicality – it takes all of these things to win these challenges! But don't forget to have some fun!!
I hope to post more information, pictures, and maybe even some interviews with the participants as this competition progresses – watch for my announcements!

(Originally posted to MySpace 10/10/08)