Many of the beautiful clothes shown on dolls by Asella were created by her good friend Valandra. The doll artist and the seamstress are currently working together, and they will soon show their work at Japan Expo in Paris.
Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself? How long have you been creating doll fashions? What are your inspirations?
Absolutely I am a fan of ribbons and lace. I’ve always been very interested by the mode of the 19th century; bustles, elegant jackets, dresses… But this is not a very easy way to wear every day! Then I discovered the lolita fashions made in Harajuku.
Since I was a little girl, I sewed dresses for my Barbie. My grandmother was a professional seamstress and taught me many things. But it’s in the year 2004 I started really sewing. I was first of all interested in the doll Blythe. Because of the scarcity of available outfits which at the time were very expensive… I decided to make them myself.
Sometimes I look at my old outfits and I confess to not being very proud of my start which was not always very pretty. Fortunately I improved and I now make more beautiful things than in the past. I started to really progress with the purchase of my first BJD: a Serendipity Sharmin. I had the opportunity to see on the internet many beautiful outfits and I had the urge to move to a larger size Blythe. At the time, I fell in love with Volks Dollfies who wore amazing and precious outfits but who were too expensive for me. Today, I have several of these dolls!
Concerning my style of work, I sew particularly lolita clothing. I often try to make for my dolls the same dresses as mine! I love sewing full lace dresses and I’m totally in love and have an obsession for the dotted fabrics. When it comes to forms, I’m inspired by the many forms of dresses of my favorite Japanese brands: Angelic Pretty, Emily Temple Cute, Baby the Stars Shine Bright… especially with all the lace and cute prints.
I will also sew Gothic mourning in black and white, but I have a real preference for pastel colours and flower prints, especially roses.
Q: Can you tell me more about your relationship with Asella? How did you meet her? Do you design clothing specially for her dolls?
A: Asella is my lovely best friend, we have lived together for 6 years. She divided up my everyday life. We met at a BJD party organized at my home. I knew her nickname only on the french forum Materiel Celeste. One of my friends invited her. She told me that the first time “I had her fear” (lol). She came very often after that for trips or to enjoy some good times and moments around BJDs. She owned and still has a CP El, and I have always a very big great love for this mold. I confess that when she came, I hoped she would give me her boy! So she let me play with her El at the time.
After a few weeks, we decided that she would live with me. I was living alone in my large apartment. Together we have designed outfits and created comic or fictional characters. We make no difference between our dolls, it is as much mine as her own even if I do not like some of those she owns.
When she started making Rhubarbe, I sewed small dresses so I could sell them as well. Rhubarbe is so pretty and cute that I had wanted to make them full of outfits for her. I’m not sewing exclusively outfits for the Rhubarbe or the new doll Raspberry, I sew clothes by my mood and my inspirations. Asella sews corset sets for her dolls and my own, they are always recognizable so they are full of details and beautiful decorations of flowers.
Q: What sizes of doll clothes do you make? What sizes of doll clothes will you offer in your shop?
A: I sew for many sizes of BJD. I started with a small dolls; the measurements were very difficult (Sharmin). Then I sewed for a Delf Luts; it was easier for me even if I had not to do with the sewing of the breasts. I also sewed for the tiny dolls like Rhubarb or Little Fée. Sometimes I make dresses for my Blythe and Pullip, but it is not what I prefer. Recently I started to sew for my Lusion (http://www.flickr.com/photos/valandraa/) which is great. I have not found patterns for this size, and I have great difficulty with Dahlia because she does not stand up.
I often sew from one of Asella’s drawings for me, and I change it to my convenience. I don’t like to use a pattern from a book and make the same dress for sale. I keep this work for me. I test several things before deciding on one pattern. If it is not good, I’ll trash it.
I have sewn much in SD size, particularly lolita dresses for my Volks doll, but I do not sell my SD size creations. I think that small sizes such as Mini Fée or Unoa sell better than the SD size. I’m therefore making these sizes here for the moment.
In my Etsy Shop I’d like to sell Mini Fée, Tiny and Unoa size and perhaps a few simple things in SD sizes such as a blouse or skirt. Dresses and complete outfits take too much time and money and I would make a loss.
Actually, I’m working on small dresses for a Paris convention: Japan Expo. I have a stand with my friend Asella. I dress up dolls that she produces. After the convention, I intend to complete my Etsy Shop as soon as possible. It is not always easy to combine my work and my hobby, is it ?
Etsy shop (items coming soon): http://www.etsy.com/shop/Valandra
Website : http://blythedolly.free.fr/”