Tracy Pomber (known in doll circles as Tracy P.) is an accomplished doll fashion designer and face-up artist. Her fashions are sold through her website Custom Creations by Tracy P. and on eBay under the name shpro. She often shows off her work at popular forums Zone of Zen and the Resin Cafe. Tracy additionally takes four or more face-up commissions a month.
Taught to sew by her grandmother when she was young, Tracy returned to her sewing machine after she became a mother.Her first project was a Halloween costume for her daughter that won a costume contest. Tracy soon moved to sewing for dolls as ” they were a lot smaller, and a lot less squirmier than real people! I found them to be the perfect model to fit outfits to.” Tracy collected Ann Estelle, then Kish dolls before discovering BJDs on the Prego doll board. Originally Tracy was reluctant to launch a doll fashion business. “When I first started offering outfits, I really needed the courage to get them out there..I make mistakes, and mess up, and then make myself drive forward. I have had outfits almost completed, and then think ‘I should have used a different trim’ or ‘ I should have closed the back with a zipper.’ Sometimes I think I am my own worst critic, and it almost prevented me from selling.” She added, ” I thankfully had the support of my family and friends to do it. With my husband’s encouragement I put my first Ann Estelle outfit on ebay and here I still am.”
Tracy’s first BJD doll was an Elfdoll Ryung. Tracy immediately wanted her. “She had a sweet face and was one that I just knew I had to have. Boy was I shocked when I opened the box at how GINORMOUS she was! I had never seen a doll like her before. Then I learned there were more sizes and shapes of these dolls, and had to have more!” Tracy was intrigued with the customization possibilities of the dolls. When Ryung’s face-up became damaged, she decided to fix the problem herself. “She had a rub on her lower lip, and I was scared to death to paint her, but I went ahead and tried. My first face-ups were done using artists pastels, and watercolor paints and watercolor pencils.” Two years ago when she purchased an airbrush to paint her daughter’s guitar, Tracy decided to try using it for face-ups. “Airbrushing takes some practice. You need to know how to mix and thin the paint, where to spray, and what pressure level to use when painting. There are a lot of tricks that you have to just pick up on your own as you go. I use transparent paints by ComArt and AutoAir or House of Kolor. Even with the airbrushing, there is still some hand painting. Most airbrushed face-ups have the details hand painted in. I also incorporate watercolor pencils with the airbrushing too.”
Tracy starts her sewing projects by seeking inspiriation. “Anything can inspire me really… Sometimes it will be a color, an era, fabric trim, or a fabric pattern. Lots of times its the seasons. I seem to always gravitate towards old-fashioned style clothing. I love to look at the different eras when ladies dressed like ladies, and wore hats and gloves. I do enjoy mixing things up once in a while and make more modern designs though. I suppose it just depends on the fabrics and the idea at the time. I pretty much just go with it once I’ve started working on something. I make my own patterns and always draw the designs out before hand, so I have a general idea of how it will turn out. I make a concerted effort to ensure that none of my works are replicas of other artists as well. I have great respect for all of the seamstresses/face-up artists out there. There is nothing worse than putting all of your energy into something to then have it duplicated.” She has made outfits for a variety of dolls. According to Tracy, “The most memorable outfit I’ve made has to be the “Can Can” outfit I made for the Iplehouse EID girls. It was the first outfit I made for that size, and was a little tricky to say the least to work around all of those curves without using a stretchy material. I think it turned out great, and I’m particularly proud of that outfit.” Currently, Tracy has become enamored of Kaye Wigg’s 1/4 size girls. “I like to make them true little girl clothing, but also see them in fairytale inspired costumes too. I hope to continue with my Kaye Wiggs collection. I truly adore these dolls!” She makes clothing for other popular doll models as well. “I do like to sew for the Iplehouse EID size too. She is a challenge to sew for, but worth it once the outfit is finished. I also sew for the Luts Delf (SD) sized kids, and YoSd sizes too.”
An additional item Tracy offers for sale are charmingly styled fur wigs. “I started making the faux fur wigs in … It was the year that Elfdoll came out with their very first BJD, Ryung. I wanted a short pixie style wig for her, and just couldn’t find one that would work for me. So I started playing around with some of my fur scraps and patterns, and came up with one of my own. I posted the first wig picture on Zone of Zen, and the members loved it. Since then, I have made them on and off through the years. Cristy Stone (X-Treme Dolls) encouraged me to make them for the Kaye Wiggs kids. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed making them. I had no idea they would be as popular today as they were a few years ago. I thank Cristy greatly for her support.” At this time Tracy creates wigs for several doll models. “I am currently making them for the Kaye Wiggs kids, the Iplehouse dolls, as well as the little Little Fees too. (The wigs) are given “haircuts” and then styled. I have even added mohair accents to them occasionally.”
Tracy hopes to sew and paint BJDs well into the future. “I plan on continuing to sew clothing, make wigs, and do face-ups. I have been working with the airbrushed face-ups, and have been painting EVERYTHING with it. I love my airbrush! I also have a joint project in the works with Cristy Stone that will be out this year too!
Custom Creations by Tracy P. Tracy’s website