This Monday, L&L is thrilled to feature the well known designer and seamstress behind Keepers Dolly Duds, Ms. Eve Coleman! She has generously provided her newest, unreleased pattern along with a pack containing the fabric and trims to create her pattern for the giveaway!
The interview is first with the details of the giveaway at the end.
KDD = Keepers Dolly Duds
~Interview with Eve Coleman of Keepers Dolly Duds~
Lydia: Welcome to this week’s Etsy Feature everyone! We are so thrilled to introduce you to the talented Eve Coleman, the genius behind Keepers Dolly Duds.
MG: Her beautiful outfits have countless fans and her designs have even been published by Simplicity Patterns.
Lissie: So while she’s not as magnamous as my most esteemed ego, you can all see Ms. Coleman is one swashbuckling hero!
Lydia: Please join us in welcoming Ms. Eve Coleman!
MG: Merci Ms. Coleman, for taking the time to visit with us today and answer some of our questions! I will get us started with the first question. Where does the name Keeper's Dolly Duds come from?
KDD: Back in the late 90's I was handcrafting mohair jointed teddy bear (see older photos of them on my FB page). I called them Keepers Bears. I sold these bears from a website Keepers Bears.com for a few years. I also owned an 18-inch “Girl on the Go” doll which I made a wardrobe for just for the pure pleasure of it. It took me back to my childhood love of sewing doll clothes. I really liked sewing for a doll that size. My husband, who happened to be an avid “eBayer”, encouraged me to try my hand at selling my bears and my doll clothes on eBay. I quickly discovered that doll clothes were very popular, especially ones made for a doll called “The American Girl Doll”. I wasn't sure where to get one at the time but my husband knew and surprised me with an AG doll, Kirsten which he bought second hand on eBay. I used my husband's eBay account for a number of months then in 2004 I figured it was time to come up with my own eBay account, something that pertained to doll clothes. I was having so much fun creating them and thought "KeepersDollyDuds", like an extension of Keepers Bears, seemed to fit. Well it stuck and I am still using it 11 years later.
Examples of two of the Keepers Bears.
Lissie: Teddy Bears to doll clothes? You’ve really done it all!
Lydia: Yes, it seems there’s no limit when creativity and eBay meet. Ms. Coleman, when and how did you first get into sewing?
KDD: I remember watching my Mom cut and sew outfits for me and my many sisters on her Imperial sewing machine. I know she did it out of necessity and didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I enjoyed watching her. She would let me have the scraps, a needle and thread, and a pair of blunt scissors to keep me busy and out of her hair, no doubt. I can remember being just four years old, laying fabric on the floor with my doll on top and cutting around its figure. Then, I’d sew the “dress” at the shoulders and up the sides while it was still on the doll. As a young girl, my older sisters and I use to have a play house with a huge box of scrap fabric in it and we spent many hours searching for the right piece of fabric to see who could make the prettiest outfit for our Barbie dolls. I sewed all my own clothes throughout high school and as a young women. I had a small sewing and alterations business for many years all while raising two sons and working as an LPN for 15 years and then as a Real Estate agent/Broker. On my retirement in 2004, creating doll clothes for American Girl dolls became my labor of love.
MG: So you have been sewing for dolls since you were a child!
Lydia: It just goes to show a person does not always lose their childhood love as they grow.
Lissie: No no no, you’re missing the point! What it really goes to show is all genius begins with scissors!
Lydia: Lissie, we are not getting you any more sharp objects so it’s no good trying to convince us otherwise.
Lissie: Bladderdash, fine then! But know you’re repressing my creative urges! While they hold me back from my potential Ms. Coleman, could you tell us when and how you transitioned to making patterns?
KDD: For many years I had followers asking me if I would sell my patterns. My patterns were bits and pieces of hand drawn paper, nothing of a sale-able quality. I had no idea how I would ever be able to sell them. Then in November of 2011, I saw an offering from an Etsy seller, "Thimbles and Acorn", to purchase a test pattern at a discounted price. I thought the style was appealing. I quickly wrote to her and said I would be pleased to try her pattern. I still remember Shari Fuller's reply..."REALLY??" Her pattern was very well done and I was impressed! I wrote to her telling her so. I had mentioned that I wished I had her talent so I could develop all my hand drawn bits of paper patterns into something as professional looking as hers. So many people were suggesting and asking me to sell patterns. She wrote back and said she had an idea… The rest is history! The 1st of March I celebrated my third Anniversary of publishing patterns through Thimbles and Acorns.
Lydia: Congratulations on 3 years of publishing patterns with Thimbles & Acorns!
Lissie: Party! Party! Party hardy all night long! Cake! Ice Cream! Ice Cream Cake!
MG: Shhhh Lissie! We cannot party until the interview is over, now let me ask my question s’il vous plait. Ms. Coleman, what are some things people don't realize about making a pattern to sell?
KDD: Patterns can take weeks and sometimes a month or two to develop from start to finish. There are pattern pieces, prototypes, tweaks, test fits, illustrations, photography, page design and proof reading.... just to mention some aspects. At times there can be as many as seven people that contribute to the final pattern draft. Even then, from time to time small edits are needed. It is one thing for me to design, cut out and sew up an outfit, but to provide a working pattern that can instruct another person from start to finish is quite another matter.
Two of Keepers Dolly Duds most recent Simplicity patterns. Keep your eyes out for them at your local craft store!
Lissie: Urrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh…. That sounds like so much work…. I think I’d rather take a nap instead.
Lydia: What happened to your genius ego Lissie? Where is your creativity?
Lissie: I’m gonna creatively nap.
Lydia: Tsk tsk, while Lissie is off being creative in her nap, could you share with us what your favorite time period/style is to design and sew for?
KDD: I am not sure I could just pick one time period. I like to skip around to keep it interesting for me.
Lissie: That was quick! I didn’t even have time to fall asleep, but it’s a good thing too because I want to know what or who inspires your creativity when sewing and designing patterns Ms. Coleman? Perhaps they can squeeze me some inspiration juice too!
KDD: I often watch old movies, look through vintage catalogs (my husband is always on the look out for old catalogs for me), and photographs. The internet is an endless source of historical clothing, and patterns, for that matter. Inspiration is not difficult to find when surfing the net. Sometimes it’s just the fabric that inspires a certain outfit. I can spend hours sifting through and matching up the perfect prints and colors to create a desired look.
Two of the many patterns in Keepers Dolly Duds Etsy Store.
MG: My! C’est très bon your husband is so internet savvy and able to help you find things to inspire you. It seems there are many steps to every part of the designing process. What is your favorite part of what you do? Least favorite?
KDD: Hmmm, I would have to say the added house work that is created by threads and small scraps of fabric that get trailed through the house by our little dog who visits me regularly when I am working away in my sewing room :o)
Lydia: How adorable!
Lissie: Is the puppy in the studio? Can we give your dog lots of textbooks and projects to trail away for us?
MG: Non Lissie, we do not allow animals in the studio.
Lydia: Though we make an exception for you Lissie. Ms. Coleman, do you ever get a creative block? If so, how do you overcome it?
KDD: Oh for sure! But it never lasts very long. Usually a nice little walk with the dog to clear my head and I am ready to go again!
Lissie: Hmph! That’s probably why I can’t reach my full potential. First they keep sharp objects away from me and now they’re telling me we can’t have dogs in the studio to take on long walks.
Lydia: Oh don’t sulk Lissie. We all know you’re more than capable of finding mischief even without sharp objects and puppy dogs.
Lissie: Yes, but one can always learn more! Mwahahaha! And in that light, what are some lessons you have learned after running Keeper's Dolly Duds on Etsy for over 3 years now Ms. Coleman? What are your secrets to ultimate power???
KDD: Etsy is a friendly and wonderful place to run a business. From the beginning I've realized that my shop may be virtual, but I believe I have to be "present" to run the shop. It isn't always possible to respond to each and every email immediately, as I do have family obligations and a life outside of Etsy, but I try my best.
Some photos of the beautiful designs and outfits created by Ms. Coleman.
Lydia: Ms. Coleman is excellent about responding to communications! We were all so surprised at her speedy responses to all of our messages.
MG: Oui Lydia Charlotte, it really shows her professionalism and makes her customers feel more in touch with her. Ms. Coleman, can you please tell us what is coming up for Keeper's Dolly Duds this year?
KDD: There are a number of patterns on the drawing board the next of which is the KDD17 "Spring Dirndl". Hoping to have it released come early to mid-April. Simplicity will be releasing a fourth KeepersDollyDuds Design pattern this spring in June. It is a 1950s theme.
These 1950s designs will be part of Keepers Dolly Duds next Simplicity Pattern, to be released this summer!
Lissie: Just so you all know, the KDD17 “Spring Dirndl” pattern is also the one we’ll be giving away! So that means the winner will get a sneak peak and head start on this fun design. Which also means I need to stop procrastinating and get a head start on my devious plans.
Lydia: Do try to keep things neat while being devious Lissie. We spent so much time cleaning up waffles and super glue after your last escapade.
Lissie: I cannot tell a lie, and the truth is I make no guarantees a waffle won’t end up super glued to the ceiling by the time I’m through.
Lydia: Now before we end this interview Ms. Coleman, is there anything you would like to share with the readers? Any advice?
KDD: Sewing for dolls is truly addictive. There is just something that is so so satisfying when seeing the finished outfit on the doll. I know I would much rather sew for a doll than myself any day! When using KDD patterns have fun making your creations your own by adding different trims, buttons. Experiment with collars, sleeve lengths, color coordinating and fabrics. The pattern is only the starting line or inspiration...what you do with it is limitless!
Lissie: Have fun! Experiment! Limitless glory!!! Excellent advice Ms. Coleman! And here is your 1 Word Bonus question: Flan or Fries?
KDD: I'd prefer Fries. I don't really have a sweet tooth! :o)
Another example of a beautiful Civil War era ensemble by Keepers Dolly Duds.
Lydia: Thank you so very much for taking the time to answer our questions Ms. Coleman! If you would like to see more of Ms. Coleman’s work, you can do so at the following links:
Etsy Store – https://www.etsy.com/shop/KeepersDollyDuds
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/keepersdollyduds
Website – http://www.keepersdollyduds.com/
MG: Let us have one more round of applause for Ms. Coleman! Now we will go to Cecile, Samantha, and Sawako Lilly as they present the giveaway.
Lissie: And I, I will go wreck havoc in the most creative, nap inspired way possible!
Lydia: Lissie, put down the stapler! Stop her Marie-Grace, or we’ll be spending the whole day pulling out literal stitches!
Sam: Oh dear, do you think they will be alright?
Lilly: I’m sure the two of them together can handle Lissie… I hope.
Cecile: Non Sawako Lilly, no one can ever handle Lissie, but we must present the giveaway now.
Lilly: You’re right. I’m sure Marie-Grace and Lydia Charlotte can at least keep things under control for a few minutes.
Sam: For our giveaway today, one lucky seamstress or soon to be seamstress will win Ms. Coleman’s newest pattern, not even released in her Etsy store yet, KDD17 “Spring Dirndl”!
Lilly: Not only that, but Ms. Coleman will be including a sewing pack which will include the fabric and trimmings to create this beautiful outfit!
You will receive the pattern to create this lovely dirndl outfit as well as this fabric and trim pack with the materials to make it!
Cecile: C’est très facile, it is super easy to enter. All you have to do is visit Ms. Coleman’s Etsy store and comment here with your favorite pattern in her store.
Sam: The giveaway is free to enter, no purchase necessary. Anyone can enter, including international readers. However if you are under the age of 13 you must ask your parent or guardian to enter for you.
Lilly: Please don’t forget to include your name with your comment! You can comment using the “Name/URL” option and leave the URL portion blank. Is there anything else we need to tell them?
More views of what the finished dress from the pattern will look like.
Cecile: Oui, Sawako Lilly. Recently we’ve discovered Blogger’s commenting function does not always work on a mobile phone, so if you do not see your comment, please try again on a desktop computer.
Sam: Goodness, technology can be such a hassle when it decides not to work.
Lilly: Not as much as a hassle as Marie-Grace and Lydia Charlotte are probably having right now trying to keep Lissie under control.
Sam: You are right, we had better go see if they need any help. Good luck everyone! Thank you so much for providing such an exciting and fun giveaway Ms. Coleman!
The giveaway will run from Apr. 6 - Apr. 16 (midnight Central USA time).
Visit Keepers Dolly Duds' Etsy Store by clicking here and then come back and comment with your favorite pattern in her shop and why. (theme, design, style, time period, etc.).
For bonus entries:
Favorite Keepers Dolly Duds Etsy store. (include username in comment for verification)
"Like" Keepers Dolly Duds on Facebook (click here to go to the page) (include username in comment for verification)
"Like" Keepers Dolly Duds on Facebook (click here to go to the page) (include username in comment for verification)
"Like" Lissie & Lilly on Facebook (click here to go to the page) (include username in comment for verification)
Follow/Google+ this blog. (If you are already a follower/google+, just comment with your account. ^_^)
Share about this giveaway on social media (Facebook, Your Blog, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, Pintrest, other forums, etc.) - Be sure to include the link(s) to your post(s) in your comment so we can verify where you shared.
*max 8 additional entries*
The winners will be announced in 2 weeks on Friday, April 17th on this post, so check back then! ^_^