Filed under: Featured, Giveaway with tags: Luxie Lou Designs
I first ‘met’ Nikki when I was following her 365 photos with her Can Can Cat, Quinne. Thanks to the ability to just follow people on Flickr (yes, I’m aware that sounds stalkerish), I was able to keep up with the antics that her blue-haired doll go into and was surprised when there was the reveal of a fraternal twin (Rylee, who is super smart and had been away at school). From her fantastic photography work to the oh-so-cute clothing that she creates, Nikki is the creative mastermind behind Luxie Lou Designs and if you’re going to be in Portland for a certain BlytheCon, you can buy Luxie Lou clothing in person (or just check out her Etsy shop if you can’t wait!).
Hi Nikki! What can you tell us about yourself and how you discovered Blythe?
Thank you so much for having me! I’m a crafty girl from New York currently living in Denver, Colorado. I live with my wonderful, supportive husband and our two high energy, fun loving dogs. I love craft fairs, handmade goods and antique shopping.
Aside from sewing clothes for Blythe I also sew purses and have since college. I dabble in other crafts like knitting, crochet, polymer clay, and resin jewelry. I will try anything that interests me and will try to be the best I can at it. I found Blythe sometime in 2005 on Craftster. I was doing a lot of craft swaps at the time and one day found Blythe in the gallery section. People were making and swapping clothes for these dolls I had never seen before. I quickly became very intrigued. At the time I was still pretty fresh out of college and was struggling to make it on my own so I didn’t get my first girl until 2008. After 3 years of off and on research as well as staring at countless images online I purchased my first girl. Quinne (Can Can Cat) arrived on October 30, 2008 and has been by my side ever since.
How did you get started in sewing for dolls?
The day after Quinne arrived I immediately went to Denver Doll Emporium and dropped a bunch of money on Re-Ment. I wanted to have a dollhouse that I built of my very own and this became the perfect opportunity to make that happen. Since work on the house and accumulating things for it began immediately I didn’t leave myself much funds to buy the poor girl some clothes. Thanks to some wonderful sites like Puchi collective I found patterns for Blythe I made my first dress less than 3 weeks after Quinne arrived. The fit was terrible but I made it! I continued to try out a few other patterns and make more clothes. I was spending more money on more Blythe dolls, Re-Ment & Blythe towers at the beginning then I was on clothes so I kept making my own from the fabric stash I had. With some practice my ability to sew clothing improved and with time I began to create my own patterns.
What inspired you to start selling the doll clothes that you make?
A few of my wonderful Blythe friends were very supportive of my clothing at the very beginning. I traded a couple of my skirts for a handmade sweater with one friend and traded some pants with another for items in her shop. Then a friend bought a couple of skirts and another ordered a pair of pants. I thought if my friends liked my clothes and were interested in purchasing them that other people might be too. I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I could sell clothes and be able to use that money towards my doll related purchases. I already had an empty Etsy shop so I began to list clothes for Blythe. I sold my first Blythe item on Etsy in November of 2009.
How does it make you feel when you see people posting up photos of their dolls wearing the clothes that you make?
So happy and excited! It really means the world to me that people purchase clothing from me and then take the time to take cute pictures of their girls wearing what I’ve made. It makes me happy to see people enjoying the products I’ve made.
What do you think best describes Luxie Lou Designs in 140 characters or less?
Luxie Lou Designs are fun, colorful and playful designs geared towards bringing some fun to your day.
An assortment of Luxie Lou goodness! Photo by mydollies4.
I think it’s great that you make your own patterns! What kind of tips do you have for someone who’s wanting to design their own patterns?
Practice and patience!
All of the purses I make are from patterns I’ve created. I didn’t know how to sew on a sewing machine when I created my first purse “pattern.” I sketched out a bag idea I had in mind, cut out the fabric in the dimensions I wanted and sewed it up. For me learning to sew doll clothing was nothing like that. I think that anyone wanting to design their own patterns needs to learn the basics first. I learned how to make pants, a basic dress and a t-shirt from free patterns out there. Learning those three things gave me a huge understanding for the mechanics of sewing clothing. From there I sketched out my three panel skirt and ruffle skirt patterns with a doll and a ruler. If you don’t have pattern paper regular copy paper works just fine, I use both. I would also suggest using inexpensive or plain light colored fabric until you have the fit worked out. Once you get it worked out perfectly than use your favorite fabric! Re-working old patterns like vintage Skipper clothes is another great way to learn to make your own patterns. They can become a great basis for adding to or modifying to create a new look with the right fit for Blythe. I think once you get the understanding down of how doll clothing goes together from other patterns it becomes much easier to create new patterns.
So much of creating patterns is trial and error, draw up your design, cut it out and sew it up. Then if it is too big or small you can see what you need to adjust with your pattern. They will always get better as you work and fine tune them!
Luxie Lou looks good on anyone, especially Goldies! Photo by confettilexi.
What is a typical day like for you when working on things for your shop?
I always start by putting on some music or I pop a movie in my Macbook for background noise. If I have commission items to work on I will work on those first from start to finish. I’ll cut the fabric, sew them up and photograph them. When it comes to working on things for the shop sometimes I know exactly what I want to work on and sometimes I just decide once I start looking through fabrics. I work like a one person assembly line. I will cut all the fabric first – dresses, skirts, bloomers and liner fabric for the dresses. Then I iron all the pieces and fray check them. I sew by thread color so I’m not changing thread constantly. Once everything is sewn up I take pictures in my light box. In between I will stop to spend time on Flickr and twitter. It’s great that I can spend time chatting with my friends, especially on twitter, throughout the day while I’m working. I enjoy spending time on Flickr in between to see what my contacts are up to and I’ll post pictures of my own throughout the day.
I know that you will be one of the vendors at BlytheCon 2011 in Portland this summer, what kind of preparation are you doing for that and what are you looking forward to most about the convention?
I am sewing as much as possible! In between working on items for my shop I will dedicate time to cutting fabric and sewing specifically for BlytheCon. I have one of those photo boxes that I am putting just BlytheCon items in. I’m going to have to dedicate some time to hand sewing snaps soon! In a few weeks I will get supplies together to package my clothes and I will work out how my table display is going to look.
I’m looking forward to the other vendors, there are going to be so many great ones! But I am most looking forward to meeting the friends I chat with on a regular basis. I met so many great people at the 2009 BlytheCon and I have more contacts in the community now. It will be so much fun to see old friends and meet new ones. I get so excited just thinking about it!
More Goldie in Luxie Lou! Photo by knittingbarista.
What kinds of things have you done since joining the Blythe hobby to get involved in the community?
I already had a Flickr account when I got into Blythe but I wasn’t very active on Flickr. I immediately became MUCH more active. I joined lots of Blythe related groups and started making friends with people in the Blythe community. A little less than two months after getting Quinne I started the Blythe 365 project with her and right after I finished that I did a second year with her fraternal twin Rylee (Asian Butterfly Encore). I’m currently thinking about when a good time to start a third with their younger sister Shea (Simply Sparkly Spark) will be. I also joined a couple of the Blythe forums and started adding a bunch of Blythe contacts on twitter. I have made so many wonderful friends in the community and I’m always excited to make new ones.
I feel it’s really important to give back where you can in life and I’m really proud to be part of a community that joins together the way the Blythe community does when people are in need. Recently I donated a couple of items to the 4Alissia project, purchased multiple raffle tickets to a few different raffles for Japan and I donated 10% March of sales to Japan. In the future I want to continue to give back where I can through the Blythe community as well as the community at large.
What’s better than one Blythe in Luxie Lou? Two Blythes! Photo by voodoolady.
I know that for a lot of us, Blythe can influence us in so many ways. How has Blythe changed your life?
Blythe has given me another creative outlet for my photography and sewing. I went to school for journalism and photography but I had never photographed like this before Blythe. Prior to Blythe the majority of my photography was journalistically driven. I have so much fun photographing the girls in different scenes and story lines. I love to sew and I sew more now than I ever have thanks to Blythe. While I’m at my day job I’m daydreaming about what I’m going to sew when I get home!
Thanks to Blythe I have some of the most amazing friendships. Blythe has brought me in contact with people all over the world that I wouldn’t know otherwise. I have met and become friends with some of the nicest, most talented people. It’s so wonderful that as time goes on I get to meet more and more of them in person. Blythe has brought me more joy than I ever imagined.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me! What kind of advice do you have for someone who’s new to the hobby?
Thank you so much for having me! It’s been a lot of fun! I would say join the forums, introduce yourself and sign up for Flickr if you don’t already have an account. You can have a free account on Flickr and you don’t have to post photos everyday. I would also say don’t be scared to start chatting with people just because you are new. We were all new at one time. I’ve had a few people that were new to Blythe contact me with questions about where to buy girls or just to say hi. Just have fun, this is a wonderful hobby to be a part of.
Dress Set Giveaway!
Nikki has generously offered up a super cute dress set for one very lucky BlytheLife.com reader! It’s a pretty sweet little dress (pun intended) with super adorable bloomers. *swoon* So cute!
You can get up to sixteen (16) entries for this giveaway draw and you can enter until Saturday May 7th 2011 at 11:59pm PDT. The draw will be held on Sunday May 8th 2011 and the winner will be announced on BlytheLife.com. Remember to use a valid email address for all comments. If you win, your email will be forwarded to Nikki for arranging shipment of the prize.
Please only use one email address and one IP address per person, those using multiple email addresses for more entries will be disqualified.
Mandatory Entry: Comment below about the interview with Nikki! Do you have any questions for her? This is worth 1 entry into the giveaway.
Bonus Entry #1: Tweet about the contest! Please retweet the following once per day from your public Twitter account! (If you look below, there is a box for you to include your Twitter username, if you do, I can easily verify your bonus entry!) Each tweet is 1 entry into the giveaway for a maximum of 9 entries into the giveaway. Please comment below to tell me that you’ve been tweeting (1 comment per tweet!)
Check out the @blythelifecom interview with @luxielou for an awesome dress set giveaway and interview! http://bit.ly/gNTw9M
Bonus Entry #2: Check out Luxie Lou on Etsy! What’s your favourite thing? What would you like to see in the future? This is worth 1 entry into the giveaway.
Bonus Entry #3: Blog about the contest! Be sure to include some details about the contest and include links to BlytheLife.com, this interview/giveaway page and to the Luxie Lou Etsy Shop! For 1 blog entry, this is worth 5 entries into the giveaway! You must comment below with the URL to your blog post.