Our new Steampunk girl, Impstar Lauretta from Impldoll, has been dressed by the talented costumer Charie Wilson. Charie is a French Canadian designer of both BJD and children’s clothing. Previously she has worked on other projects with BJDcollectasy including a Mardi Gras Mask Project and The Snow Queen Project . The costume she created for the Snow Queen will eventually be made into a pattern for ImpStar girl dolls for gracefaerie designs. The eyes worn by Lauretta, one of which has a tiny clock face, were custom-created by Ersa Flora – Doll Eyes for this project (Photo detail left). The boots are from Impldoll. The copper-colored pocket watch was purchased from Doll Mansion.
Charie Wilson has made dolls and sewn clothes for dolls since she was 12 years old. ” I was always a history lover and loved historical clothing, so I made my first cloth doll when I was 12 and dressed her in a french ball gown. I sewed her completely by hand.” Her aunt asked her to make one for her, and since then Charie has continued to make dolls and doll fashions. “I got my first Barbie with the money I earned off the sale of the first doll, and some fabrics, and started making gowns to sell for Barbie. I have been making my own original dolls and costumes for antique bisque and modern bisque, Tonner and Cissy for 39 years.”
While she liked many types of dolls, nothing captured Charie’s heart like BJDs. “I saw My first ball jointed doll in Doll reader magazine in 1999. It was a Volks article, and I fell head over heels in love with BJD dolls from that day on.” She added, “My first resin SD doll was Gena by Soom, and my MSD was my soul Kid Harang renamed Ginny by Soul Doll. These are the only 2 dolls I have with their factory face ups. I have touched them up, but I have kept them as I got them.” Due to the high price of the dolls, Charie soon learned how to do her own face-up as well as sew for the dolls to save money. “I still wanted a Volks doll, so I started scouring eBay for one. and realized people bought clothing for the dolls there. I started sewing and selling my BJD creations right away. As I sold, my doll collection grew. 3 years later I finally got my Volks Mimi and Megu. I had to buy them in pieces and put them together, so I learned how to restring a doll, sand them, and body blush. I learned by trial and error. When I first started there were very few companies selling BJD and only a few US suppliers; no one in Canada sold them.”
Charie sews in several doll sizes and customizes the fit to dolls in her collection. “I make clothing for most sizes of BJD dolls from 27cm to 70cm . I really love sewing for all sizes of BJD dolls, but I think my favorite is MSD and Goodreau 12″ and 8″ dolls and 27 cm Planet Dolls. I love the challenge of working in smaller scales but also love to sew for my larger dolls. My Impldoll Natasha is one of my all time favorite models. My Goodreau 12″ Alice and Adam are also two of my Favorites.” Charie will also accept commissions. “I do commissions and I am willing to take on any challenge. I will make outfits just from a customer’s input on what they would like or from their sketches.”
Under the ID cyw159, Charie continues to offer her doll clothing on eBay, but she has now also launched an Etsy Store for her doll fashions. Her OOAK clothing for 12″ Goodreau dolls is also available at the Goodreau Doll Lab. Charie also has an Etsy shop of fashions for children which she runs with her daughter. “I started the children’s clothing this year with my daughter. It is called Fiddly Dee. We sell on Etsy and eBay. My oldest daughter Leslie and I started the line. The Model is my granddaughter and inspiration for the line. My daughter and I design and create all the outfits. Lesie makes all the wonderful bows that are included with each outfit, and is in charge of photography and sales.
Charie finds the creative spark for her work in many places. “I get my inspiration from everywhere; from books, movies, nature, to the fabrics and accessories I purchase. Sometimes It can be something as small as a pendant that just grows into a full outfit designed around it. I also get inspiration from my dolls. It is strange sometimes, they just seem to tell me what they like best. Every BJD I have seems to have their own personalities.” Charie’s specialty is mixing patterns in a daring way. “Mixing colours and fabrics are my favorite things to do. I will pull out many different fabrics from my stash and lay them out together to see how they work. Sometime I deliberately choose large and crazy prints that you would never expect to see together then work it out. I love a challenge.I never have a pre-conceived idea when it comes to fabrics unless it is a custom order. I just pull fabrics out and decide which ones I want to use that day, and then look at all my BJD dolls and decide who would look best in the color. When I shop for fabrics, I tend to look for unusual prints and color combinations. I also love to hunt for vintage fabrics.”
Re: The Steampunk Project:
Charie: “I approached the steampunk project as a challenge. When Mae said she would like the outfit in shades of brown with copper accents, that threw me a bit. I tend to do steampunk in blacks and plaids with gold or silver accents. and in brown that just would not do. I searched many fabric stores and most modern prints just did not suit what I was after. I had decided on stripes with shades of burgundy and oranges as accent colours and that was a huge mistake. I had great difficulty finding just the right base fabric which had to be a stripe with brown burgundy and gold. Well, all the fabrics I found the stripes were too large a scale for dolls or not the right colour combination. Off I went to antique stores looking for a vintage fabric and no luck. Three months into the project I still had not found the right fabric, so I decide I would make some of them with Sulky Solvy. Late one night I decided to check out eBay and I found a bundle of old fabric up for auction that had just a tiny bit of stripe fabric peeking out of the bundle, and I jumped right out of my seat – that was it exactly what I wanted. I got out-bid four times and was getting worried I would lose the fabric, but in the end I won it. Once I had the fabric, I was off and running in search of the rest of the fabric to go with it. It all came together fast once I had the stripes.This set was a true challenge and a joy to make.”
Lauretta’s outfit by Charie includes corset, pantalets, black fishnet stockings, tulle petticoat, petticoat, underskirt with multi-fabric ‘bustle’, overdress in vintage striped fabric, hat, short jacket made with material constructed with Sulky Solvy, choker necklace, and sunglasses.