Cindi Stowell of Cindi’s BJD Designs discovered the dolls only a few years ago. Once she started collecting them, she immediately began making outfits and items for them. She now designs outfits and patterns for 1/3 and some 1/4 size dolls. All fashions on the site are OOAK. Cindi also accepts commissions.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
A: I am a musician and I have recorded 2 CDs and toured the country sharing the Gospel thru contemporary Christian music. I now teach piano, guitar, and voice lessons to students. I have been teaching music lessons since 1989 and I love my students and the people I meet.
My favorite pastime is practicing my piano and my guitar. I love all kinds of music and music styles.
Q: How long have you been sewing? When did you start sewing for dolls? When did you start sewing for BJDs?
A: I have been sewing since I was a teen. My first job was in a fabric store. I loved making tailored jackets for myself. One of my favorite jackets that I made was a black military style jacket . I wore the jacket to a Heart concert and after the concert I remember getting to meet and talk to the lead guitar player Howard Leese and he gave me a compliment on my jacket. I was thrilled. I liked to design clothes for myself to wear when I performed in the rock bands that my husband and I played in.
I started sewing for the BJD doll 3 years ago. I have never sewn for dolls before. I loved the look of BJDs because they were mysterious looking with their big eyes and pouty faces. I thought they looked like fairies, and I loved making fairy wings. Then I tried my hand at designing the doll clothes. The first outfits I made were very square with no real shape. Someone mentioned to me that she designed clothes by using paper towels. I thought that was a genius idea because you can cut, pin, tape, and even sew on a paper towel. The next step for me was studying and looking at all kinds of fashions. Thank goodness for Google! I love anything Victorian, Steampunk, Gothic, Shabby Chic, Gothic Lolita, or Rock n Roll. I found a book by John Burbidge entitled Les Petities Dames de Mode that I think is an outstanding book and I was very inspired by the photos. The book covers Victorian fashions and has absolutely beautiful pictures. The book inspired me to create the Bustle Gown dress which is now available as a pattern and The Victorian Walking Suit which is also available as a pattern. Someday I want to go back to that book and make other gowns. I absolutely love the jackets and the details of the gowns in that book.
I also love ruffles. Every design I seem to make has a ruffle or layers. My favorite outfit currently available on my website is The Performer. The skirt is shabby chic with lots of layers and I love the colors and the lace. One of my favorite patterns that I use over and over is Cotton Candy. I can use the dress top and change the sleeve and add to the neckline. And I love Flurry modeled by my Limhwa’s Elly doll. That dress was in FDQ Summer 2011 Fantasy issue and is still available for purchase.
I want to make more shabby chic skirts too. My next project after I finish with my current dress is going to be a black gown.
I recently came in second in a contest for a 16 inch fashion doll. The project was to choose an opera and make a gown that the doll would wear to the opera. I chose the opera We Will Rock You (from the music of the rock band Queen). The outfit will be produced and sold worldwide soon. I am very excited!
Q: How and when did you discover BJDs?
A: I discovered BJDs when I wanted to open a doll store. My mother-in-law owned a doll store in Las Vegas and I always thought it was so beautiful. When I moved to Texas I was looking for a little shop that was quaint and cute. My mother-in-law advised me to purchase a doll magazine and look to see what was available for purchase in the doll market. The magazine was Haute Doll’s Halloween issue with two of Val’s dolls on the cover. I was absolutely mesmerized by the dolls. That magazine began my journey into “what is a BJD and how can I get one?”
Q: What was your first BJD? How many do you have? What is your favorite? Are they all models for your outfits?
A: My first BJD was an MSD Goodreau doll. I loved the MSD size. I soon discovered the bigger SD doll and I really enjoy making her clothes because it is easier to design the clothes on a bigger doll. Especially because I like to make tailored jackets and I like to line the clothes that I make. When you line the clothes on a smaller doll the outfit becomes bulky.
My favorite SD dolls are Triste by Dollstown, Amy by Dollstown, Elly by Limhwa, and my Bellosse by DIM. My Bellosse doll was a hit at the BJD Convention. I had several offers to buy her. My favorite MSD girls are Deogi by Dollstown and Yomo by Secretdoll.
I have used all my dolls for models.
Just recently I offered my Yomo doll for sale but then I found her the right wig and the right outfit and now she is just so cute I just can’t part with her.
Q: When did you open your website?
A: I opened my first doll fashion website in the summer of 2010.
Q: How would you describe your fashions/style?
A: My current fashion style now is sweet but I want to get a bit edgier with my designs. I also want to try my hand at making clothes that appear vintage. I also love the layered dresses.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about how you develop your patterns?
A: After I design an outfit with the paper towels, I trace the paper towel onto a piece of pink computer paper. The pink paper scans into my computer nicely.
I develop my patterns in a program called Freehand. I am not a computer wiz, but my husband is and he showed me how to scan in the pattern pieces and trace my pattern pieces on the computer. It is a very painstaking process. But I am getting a bit faster as time goes by. At first the directions were the hardest and most time consuming to write out. It is hard to explain in words what to do.
Q: You attended BJDC. How was that experience?
A: The BJD Convention in Texas is a very exciting event! All of us BJD enthusiasts in Texas can’t wait until the next one! The people are great. You can meet Val Zeitler, Connie Lowe, Cristy Stone, JPop Dolls, Jay Searle, Bo Bergman, Linda Dykman, Crawford Manor, Dollheart, MIchele Hardy, and other very talented artists. If you never have been to the convention you should plan now to go to the next one in 2014. I highly recommend coming! And bring your dolls! You can try on wigs, shoes, outfits, eyes, and have your doll’s face painted by one of the great face-up artists! You can also purchase that very special doll or dolls at the convention.
Q: Will you post a new outfit on your website soon?
A: My newest is called Steampunk Santa. The outfit is available for purchase but there is no picture on my website until December 1. If anyone is interested in purchasing it they would need to email me. The outfit includes the bra, choker necklace, hat, wings (not pictured), the red velvet, pleather, and lace gown, and underskirt.
Photos above (from top): “Steampunk Weapon”, “Steampunk Santa”
Cindi’s BJD Designs OOAK outfits, patterns by Cindi Stowell