Sewing encompasses so many different types and categories. You have created quite a name for yourself designing for 18” dolls. What first initiated your interest in this genre of clothing construction?
EBONY: I have always been creative and would always try to sell the things that I create. And so one day, a friend of mine suggested that I start participating in craft shows. We would always brainstorm ways to generate income using our craft, but I never thought to do craft shows. I had no clue what I would even sell. So I followed her advice and started researching what was out there as far as doll clothes and what I could contribute to the market. The first dress I ever created was a fuchsia and white hexagon print dress which sold right away. Sewing that dress, putting it on the doll, and selling it online fulfilled so many dreams that I had had as a young girl. It felt like home!
What things excite and inspire you in your sewing and the designs that you create?
. How many collections do you design in a year’s time?
EBONY: I design approximately twelve collections a year. Although they are not as big as the collections at New York Fashion Week or ready to wear collections for adults (lol)! It is on a much more smaller scale. I do monthly collections of maybe 6-10 pieces with duplicates of each piece.
How do you decide what will be included in a new collection?
EBONY: I find inspiration from everywhere! I am inspired by passersby’s, flowers, fashion shows, and doll enthusiasts Instagram accounts. Even though I am inspired by all of these things, my greatest inspiration comes from fabric. A lot of my collections and the items included in the collections are determined based on how the fabric speaks to me and what I perceive to be desired by my customer. Sometimes I feel like a contestant on Project Runway who is trying to merge what the client wants and who they are as a designer.
What are your favorite fabric sources?
EBONY: I love to find fabric everywhere. I am a recovering fabric hoarder. No, seriously I am and Linda can vouch for me! I love to find fabrics at lesser known or locally known shops. The thrill of finding gems inspires me even more.
Do you ever shop for fabric online?
EBONY: I shop online quarterly for fabric. Some of my favorite shops include GirlCharlee.com and StylishFabric.com. In the beginning it was really hard to shop online because I have to feel the fabric. It took a lot of trial and error, but once I found the fiber content that I liked to sew with the process became easier.
Do the sewing techniques differ any from those used in sewing regular sized garments?
EBONY: Actually the sewing techniques are the same. Since I began my sewing journey sewing clothes for myself, sewing for dolls just came easy to me. The only difference that I can think of is the way that you would add sleeves. When garment sewing for adults, you would sew the shoulder and side seam before you sew in a sleeve. Some may sew the shoulder seam, sew the sleeve in flat, and then sew the whole side seam up starting from the under arm portion. The latter technique is what you use when constructing doll clothes. Another difference when sewing for dolls is closures. I cannot tell you how much Velcro I go through in the course of a year (lol)! Whereas, a woman’s t-shirt can easily slide over her head, a doll’s t-shirt cannot. A doll’s t-shirt must be slid on like a hospital gown and closed by attaching Velcro. Whether sewing for dolls or yourself, you still have to determine the fit, closure, fittings and etc.
Are there any specific techniques that you have not mastered yet, but plan to work on?
EBONY: I like to design fashionable yet simple designs. I believe that I have mastered those parts. I do not really have a technique that I would like to master; more like goals for the future. I would like to challenge myself to create more detailed designs, finally making a pattern for doll jeans, and turning my designs into patterns.
What are your favorite items to sew, and why?
EBONY: I love to sew dresses and tops both for me and the dolls. Most of the time, my dresses turn into tops! Dresses are so feminine and fun. To me, they are the epitome of modesty and how I think young girls should dress. Nothing gives me more gratification than when I complete a dress and hang it alongside my collection of other dresses. Just seeing them hang there makes me happy. The same goes for my dolls. I love to see my inventory hanging on racks. I am wild about seeing the rows and rows of doll dresses hanging up.
What garment or project has presented the biggest challenge to you?
EBONY: Overalls and jeans are the hardest! Humans and dolls share the same struggle when it comes to finding a good pair of jeans. I even steer away from sewing these types of garments for myself (lol)!
What garment(s) to date would you call your masterpiece(s)?
EBONY: At The Glam Doll, we have 3 designs that even in their simplicity are indeed masterpieces. They include The Skater Dress, The Penelope Dress, and The Slouchy Sweater. I call these masterpieces because they are my bestsellers and it still amazes me that so many people find joy in a pattern that I have created.
Do you use commercial patterns, or do you design your own patterns?
EBONY: I design all of my own patterns. I find that it creates my own signature style and fit. Most of the patterns that I use become pattern blocks for future designs.
Have you had formal training or are you self taught?
EBONY: I learned to sew in high school and afterwards attended Texas Woman’s University in Denton for fashion design. Once I learned to sew, there was no turning back. All other hobbies were dropped! I wanted to learn everything I could about sewing.
How do you market your product?
EBONY: I mostly market on Instagram and craft shows.
Can you tell us a little about the machines that you use to create your product?EBONY: Oh the machines! Can I just say how I love my machines! Everything is created on my Jack Industrial sewing machine, Jack Industrial Serger and a Singer Classic sewing machine. The two industrial machines do the bulk of the work. The Singer Classic is only used for zigzag stitches and buttonholes. My Jack Industrial Sewing machine only does straight stitches, but the speed is amazing. Before I purchased the industrial sewing machines, I used to sew on a Brother machine that I purchased from Walmart. I can produce two if not three times the amount of products that it used to take me. Now my serger is different kind of beast! It has a sensor that pulls the fabric through to begin serging. You can adjust the speed to your liking and does all of its magic without the use of stepping on a pedal. Both machines are well worth the investment!
Look for upcoming GlamDoll collections on:
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