My love of dolls began many years ago with American Girl, then called Pleasant Company. My parents gave me a beautiful Samantha doll as a gift when I was six or seven, and I have loved her ever since. I pored over each new catalog for hours and hours, memorizing every detail of every outfit and accessory, marking the pages with the pieces I hoped to one day own.
My mother taught me to sew when I was nine or ten, but I didn't really like it. She started me on embroidering pillowcases and piecing a simple quilt, both of which were boring and tedious to me at the time. She wanted me to start making my own clothes, too. I reluctantly tried, but there was no joy in it. Somehow it never occurred to me to sew clothes for my beloved doll until I was twelve. Mom gave me a lovely hand-smocked yellow dress for Samantha, and I suddenly realized that I could make her clothes, too!
All of a sudden I loved sewing, and I haven't looked back since. I've definitely improved over the years, and expanded my skills to include crocheting, beadwork, props and furniture making, and more recently, shoes. I now sew for three different sizes of dolls: American Girl, Tonner fashion dolls, and Barbie/Tonner Tiny Kitty.
My introduction to the wonderful world of all things Robert Tonner came about through Star Wars. I saw The Phantom Menace probably six or seven times in theatres (it helped that my parents owned a theatre at the time) and became absolutely enamored of Queen Amidala's wardrobe. I wanted to make a costume from the movie for Halloween that year, but sadly my fourteen-year-old sewing skills were not quite up to the challenge.
When Attack of the Clones came out, I was even more impressed with Padmé's costumes. I distinctly remember watching the teaser trailer and falling instantly in love with this gown:
It is still my favorite movie costume of all time, and someday I will make it for myself... But I'm getting off track. I spent hours and hours on the library computers my freshman year of college, scouring the internet for pictures of Padmé's dresses. I stumbled across padawansguide.com, and it became my daily must-read. From there I found the Costuming & Props boards of theforce.net, learned of an upcoming Star Wars convention called Celebration III - which I eventually attended, and also saw pictures of a custom Padmé doll repainted by Laurie Leigh.
I immediately decided that I wanted my own Padmé doll, and began researching options. Although my version is a Barbie/Maxie hybrid, I did learn of Tonner dolls through Laurie's website. I decided to buy a couple so I could sew for them and sell my creations, since a lot of people seemed to collect them. Well, I bought a nude Par Excellence Brenda Starr, and fell in love. I tend to make characters out of my dolls, and she is going to be my Satine from Moulin Rouge, someday. Right now she and five other ladies are my models and muses. I'll talk a little bit about each girl in later posts. I'm going to wrap this up now as it's gone on a bit longer than I had planned. :p
Long story short: American Girl + Star Wars = my love of dolls. :)