Rainbow Ball Gown with Rhinestones

A sleeveless ballgown with a black bodice and a sweetheart neckline. The bodice is covered with rhinestones in varying sizes and patterns. The skirt is floor-length, full and bell-shaped, and the colors on it go in a rainbow pattern, from red near the waist, then orange, yellow, green, blue and purple at the hem. There is a pattern of black lines over the fabric, giving it a dramatic look.As I wrote last week, I came up with a new way of doing my rhinestones, and this is the result of my experiments. To go into Photoshop talk for a moment, I like to sketch out the design on my iPad and turn it into a path, then go over it with a rhinestone brush. (That’s just a circle brush with spaces and a layer style — the same basic technique that I wrote about in my Tiny Tutorial #2 for making a basic bead brush.) I turn it into a path automatically instead of going over it with the pen tool, which would produce a much cleaner path but takes more time. What I realized is that drawing shapes, not lines, makes this work better, as well as putting those shapes on separate layers so that I can make some parts in smaller rhinestones and some parts in larger ones. There’s more experimentation to be done, but this is a good start!

Next week, you may see more experimentation with the technique. Until then, you can download combined color and black and white PDFs of all of my 2014 dolls and outfits for free! Also follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for sneak previews, paperdoll thoughts and the occasional non-clothes related pin. If you enjoy my work, I'd also appreciate your support through Patreon.

White Princess Dress with Rainbow Skirt

A white gown with a sweetheart neckline and off-the-shoulder poofed sleeves. The bodice is covered with a lacy pattern, and different colors of gemstones scattered along the edge and trailing down towards the waist. The full skirt is covered with seven layers, one for each color of the rainbow, with red near the waist, then orange underneath it, then yellow, green, blue and finally purple. Each layer is longer than the one before, and they split at the front of the gown to reveal the white underskirt, with its lacy pattern, which reaches to the floor.Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Hello, everyone who’s still reading! You’ll be glad to know I’m doing well and really enjoy being a mom. Milo is a good-natured, active, curious little boy and every day with him brings something new and wonderful. There are frustrating days too, of course, and around here my suggesting to Brian “Why don’t you take Milo for a walk?” is essentially code for “Please please please let me have a baby break.” So Brian takes baby to the cafe and gets some iced coffee. Daddy gets coffee, a walk and baby time, mommy gets some breathing room and a chance to relax, and Milo gets fussed over by everyone Brian encounters. It’s win-win!

Milo has been a little high-maintenance, especially from around his third month, when he always wanted mommy there to play with him or at least look at him constantly. But in the last week or two, he’s become more able to play by himself as long as I’m nearby. He sleeps better sometimes, too, and then I get all hopeful about life again, and then he goes back to waking up three times a night… but I can see a future where I routinely sleep for an uninterrupted five, six, maybe even seven hours a night! The upshot is that I’m starting to have a little time and energy to think about amusing myself with non-baby related pursuits.

I’ve said it before, but I want to improve my drawing skills, especially drawing people; I’ve been practicing with a book RLC of Paper Thin Personas recommended, and for the first time in my life I can draw ears properly! I also want to keep drawing for this blog — I don’t think a goal of one post a week is too much? My dad has offered to watch Milo on Thursdays when he can, and our first time trying that out was a smashing success.

I’ve got a lot I want to do, as I always do, but for now I’ll start small. Though this dress can’t be described as small, can it? No, this dress says “Hurrah for new shades of Prismacolors! Hurrah for rainbows and poofy gowns! Hurrah for daddy holding Milo while he sleeps so I can draw! Hurrah for enough rest that I’m drawing instead of curling up and falling fast asleep!”

Wondering how Milo’s turning out? Well, enjoy some pictures! We have Milo wearing a shark outfit (never fails to amuse me, because he has the same approach to food as a shark does), Milo playing with his favorite green ball, and Milo smiling in his sleep.

Black Velvet and Chartreuse Gown with Spiderweb Lace

A black ballgown with a flared, full skirt and long sleeves. The skirt is made of black velvet, with triangular cutouts that start near the waist which reveal a underskirt made of swirled green and chartreuse fabric and covered with lace that looks like spiderwebs. There are two flies trapped in the webs. There's a wide V-shaped copper belt at the waist, set with orange, green and yellow jewels. The bodice is made of black velvet and has a feathery pattern near the top. There are more copper accents near the shoulders, and the green sleeves are straight, fall to the wrist, and are overlaid with more spiderweb lace.Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

It’s almost Halloween, the paperdoll-friendly holiday, and I’ve been thinking about what would make a dress scary. The things that scare me don’t generally translate well to dresses, though, since they are too intangible. But there’s a couple of fears that aren’t…

My pride causes me to say I’m not scared of spiders, I just don’t like looking at them. If I put it that way, it’s perfectly reasonable to do things like cover up a picture of a spider when I’m reading a book, or avoid the tarantula exhibit at the zoo.

But it’s never reasonable, really, to wake up my husband at 4 AM when there’s a spider in the bathroom. It’s not reasonable that I have to use paper or my phone to cover up a spider picture in a book, and not my hand. And it’s not really reasonable to move as quickly as I do when there’s one close to me. Before I know it I’m halfway across the room, denying that anything’s wrong at all, I’m just fine, it’s not like I’m scared of such a little spider, because that would be ridiculous. (It’s gone now, right?)

When I was a little kid, I was scared of black holes, and I feel like I’ve gone down in the world since I stopped fearing the random indifference of the universe and picked up such a pathetically obvious, stupid, gendered weakness. I know perfectly well they’re more afraid of me than I am of them. I know they eat lots of annoying bugs and that they’ve only got two more legs than ants (which I don’t mind at all). I know I can kill them perfectly well myself, and I do, if there’s no other option. I put on my heaviest shoes and make a lot of noise, cursing each stupid spider leg and shouting warnings to all the other spiders that they’d better stay well out of my sight, or they’re gonna get it too. I calm myself down by calling up my husband and telling him “I killed a spider!” just like a normal person might say “I got a promotion!” or “I won a new car!” Kind man that he is, he indulges me.

If you were to stalk me over my various online activities, you’d notice I almost never mention this fear, because I’m just paranoid enough to consider how people could use it against me. There’s no real reason to share with the world how to yank this particular chain. But oh well — it’s Halloween, and while I amuse myself with ghosts, vampires and sorceresses, I don’t believe in the supernatural. I’m mostly just frightened of the quirks and instability of the human mind… and spiders.

What do spiders have to do with this gown, do you wonder? Well, there’s the spiderweb lace, and a couple of twitchy, fat flies caught in it. There must be a spider around somewhere, don’t you think? Ah, yes. A gigantic one, four feet long, with spindly long legs and a full set of eyes.

It’s on the petticoat.

Does that make the whole dress different for you? It does for me. I’ve drawn nothing, but all the same it’s still there, just like those spiders that disappear behind furniture while I’m still dithering about looking for my shoes. Now, is it merely embroidered or painted on? Or does it cling to the thin lace on the petticoat, waiting for its host to lure some prey away from the party and into the shadows? Dance with the lady in black and green at the Halloween ball this year, if you like, but I hope you will have the sense to leave that particular mystery well alone.

I’m never going to talk about spiders on this blog again, so let’s have a poll…

Ballgown with Rainbow Skirt and Black Bodice

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

I couldn’t properly tell you if this is the product of a good mood or a bad one. I work best when my heart feels brilliant; gloom separates me from ultramarine and crimson red as surely as a broken hand would. But sometimes I overdo it, too.

Oh, well, it was fun, and I’m sure someone will make a good collage out of it on Polyvore someday!