Monday, August 17, 2015

Featured Etsy Shop: MJs Doll Boutique 18T & Giveaway!

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -

Welcome to this week’s Etsy Feature on L&L! Today we’ll be introducing you to the lovely modern outfits sewn by Mindy Durkee of MJ’s Doll Boutique 18T on Etsy! She as kindly agreed to answer some questions for us as well as donate a stunning, chic outfit for the giveaway.

The interview will be first, followed by a review of the giveaway outfit, with the giveaway details at the end.

MDB = MJ’s Doll Boutique 18T

~Interview with Mindy Durkee of MJ's Doll Boutique 18T~
MG: Bonjour mes amis! All of us at L&L are très heureux, very happy to introduce you all to Ms. Durkee from MJ’s Doll Boutique on Etsy.
Lydia: Ms. Durkee sews modern outfits in the latest styles, complete with multiple mix and match pieces.
MG: Please join me in welcoming Ms. Durkee!

MG: Merci beaucoup, thank you very much for taking the time to join us and answer some of our questions today Ms. Durkee! Could you start off by telling us how did you get started with sewing and designing?
MDB: I started sewing when I was in High School. My mother basically taught me how to sew and I learned a little more from taking Home Economics in school and made most of my clothes. I even started sewing for a friend. Later in life I continued making my clothes, even some of my business suits, but found I was not very good at altering them to fit me correctly so I just stopped.

MG: C’est bon! It is very nice that you were sewing for a friend. Lydia Charlotte, perhaps we could all learn to sew and make things for each other?
Lydia: Why yes, that would be really fun though I really doubt I should ever be ready to make a business suit. Ms. Durkee, out of all the doll options available, why do you like to sew for the mini American Girl sized dolls?
MDB: It was by chance that I started making American Girl Doll clothes. We have no children and I had not even heard of AG dolls until one day at work, my boss had ordered some outfits from American Girl for her grandchildren and had them sent the office. She was showing me what she had gotten when it hit me...I could do that I told myself! I have all this fabric and trims and I should try my hand at it. At first I just used the patterns you find at the fabric stores, until I discovered Liberty Jane. Then there was no stopping me. I was having a ball!

MG: Do you think if our Big Person has more of our clothes delivered to her class she would be hit with more inspiration to sew for us?
Lydia: It seems rather unlikely, Marie-Grace. She may receive inspiration but unless she is also struck with time and technical skills, we’ll just have to watch her learn from the basics.
MG: Ah, patience! Il est une vertu, it is a virtue indeed! You have such a variety of styles and colors in your clothing Ms. Durkee, but what are some of your favorite pieces and styles to sew for and why? 
MDB: I have no favorites. I like making all of it. There are some fabrics I don't like to use to sew with, but I like the variety of pieces. So I keep mixing it up to keep it fresh and fun.

Lydia: Hearing you say you have no favorite styles makes me question if I should ask you what is your favorite and least favorite part of what you do is.
MDB: Selecting fabrics to try on different patterns. Then I love to try and "bling" them up. I love "bling". LOL! The part I don't like in this endeavor, is the listing of the items. It is so hard to be creative with describing the outfit and keeping it fresh. I'm not that good at it either so it is really a struggle for me.

MG: Moi aussi! I also love the “bling” Ms. Durkee! How can I call myself French if I am not adorned in “bling”?
Lydia: Now do try to stay focused Marie-Grace. There will be plenty of time for “bling” after the interview.
MG: Oui, Lydia Charlotte. I  forget myself. Ms. Durkee, who inspires your creativity when sewing outfits?
MDB: Other crafters. We have so many gifted, talented folks that sell here on Etsy. It makes me want to do my very best. My sister also is a big inspiration.

MG: Ah, c’est vrai, it is true, Etsy is a wealth of inspiration! There are many creative artists there.
Lydia: With such a wealth of creativity to be inspired by, do you ever get a creative block? If so, how do you overcome it?
MDB: I can't really say I get a creative block, but I do have spells where I will make an outfit and in my mind, I think this is going to be adorable. Then when it is completed, it turns out to be just average and it can be such a letdown. I just hurry and go to making a new outfit and try to put the last one out of my mind.

Lydia: Although it is disappointing when an outfit in reality isn’t quite what you imagined, it does sound like you have a good system for not allowing it to weigh you down.MG: You mentioned earlier that you started learning to sew for people and used to make your cloths. Could you tell us what are some of the unique differences between sewing for a doll versus a person?
MDB: For a doll you can have more creativity versus a person, however sewing for a doll has many challenges, such as the smaller sizes of the parts, arm holes etc.

MG: That is interesting! One would think smaller would be easier, but it seems like smaller is more of a challenge because of the details.
Lydia: Now aside from selling on Etsy, you also sell in craft shops and attend craft shows. Can you share how selling on Etsy compares and is different from selling in craft shops?
MDB: ETSY provides a much larger more global audience. I have actually sold an outfit to a person in Singapore as well as Australia, the UK and Canada.

Lydia: That’s certainly true enough, the internet can reach all over the world, though I suppose the disadvantage would be not being able to talk to some of your customers in person.
MG: Ms. Durkee, when you’re not sewing for dolls, what other crafts/activities/hobbies do you enjoy?
MDB: I enjoy bowling, gardening, and camping.

Lydia: Before we wrap up, is there anything you would like to share with the readers? Any advice?
MDB: Just ensure anything you do you have a passion for or you will get bored rather quickly.

MG: Excellents conseils! Excellent advice! Before I forget, our friend Lissie insists on asking you for your one word bonus: Grapes or Ginger?
MDB: Grapes

Lydia: Thank you so much for giving us your time today Ms. Durkee and answering our questions! You can visit MJ’s Doll Boutique 18T on Etsy and Facebook at the following links:
Facebook –

Ms. Durkee is currently taking care of her father after a recently family loss so her stock is not as full as it regularly is. Please be considerate and understanding.

MG: Now we will go to Samantha et Cecile who will review the outfit Ms. Durkee has generously sent us for the giveaway!


Cecile: Merci Marie-Grace! Samantha is here modeling this stunning outfit from MJ's Doll Boutique 18T that Ms. Durkee has sent us to review and give away. 

Cecile: It has 4 pieces, a blazer jacket, a peplum top, white pants, and white sandals.

Cecile: Here is a closer look at the jacket. Everything fits comfortably without looking baggy. The jacket is made from a thicker fabric. 

Cecile: You can see how neat and even the seams are sewn, and the thread color matches the fabric wonderfully.

Cecile: Mais of course you must have the shoes or it is not a complete outfit otherwise, non?

Sam: Tell about the back as well Cecile, look!

Cecile: Oui Samantha, the back is just as classy as the front. You can see the additional double pleat in the center adding sophistication to the blazer jacket. Samantha, please let us see the outfit without the jacket now, s'il vous plait.

Sam: Certainly Cecile. You can see the top is a shoulderless peplum design.

Cecile: C'est vrai, and the gathers on the peplum part of the skirt are very well done with a band sewn above as contrast.

Cecile: Here is the back view. The peplum top closes with velcro.

Cecile: The white pants have functional pockets on the back and front. You can see the additional allowance under the waistband for the rear end.
Sam: Cecile!
Cecile: It is for the purpose of critique Samantha!

Cecile: The waistband is elastic and can be easily pulled onto your doll. 
Sam: I am going to change out of the outfit now Cecile, so you can let everyone get a closer look at each piece.

Cecile: Ah merci Samantha. Let us start avec the peplum top. This is the front view.

Sam: Yes, and you can see the sewn band goes all the way around to the back. The entire outfit closes and opens with a velcro strip.

Cecile: When you open the outfit, you can see the bodice and straps are fully lined, though the skirt is not, mostly likely out of consideration for the weight and lay of the fabric.

Sam: All of the edges and hems are carefully finished and serged so there is no risk of fraying. 

Cecile: Now we will examine mon préféré, my favoirte part of the outfit, the blazer jacket.

Cecile: It is such a fitted, classic look and can be paired with so many other pieces for une variété, a variety of looks!

Sam: The blazer jacket closes in the front with a snap. The button, both on the front and on the sleeves are mother of pearl.

Cecile: Il est magnifique! The inside of the blazer is lined with the smooth liner fabric, just like the inside of our Big Person's blazer.

Cecile: The lining is attached everywhere except the bottom pleat portion, and this allows the jacket to move more freely on the doll. Even though it is not attached, the seam is still hemmed and finished.

Sam: Here is the sleeve, turned inside out so you can see how clean the inside stitching is, as well as where the button attaches.

Cecile: Even the collar is lined and finished, and all of the edges are clean with no loose threads. It is truly a very well made jacket!

Cecile: Finally we arrive at the white pants! 

Sam: This is a closer look at the hem of one of the pant legs. There are two rows of stitches finishing the edge as well as another very straight and neat seam along the inseam. 

Cecile: Here is another look at the back of the pants. They are made from a very thick material that has a little stretch.

Sam: When you turn the pants inside out, you can see the neat serged edges to the working pockets and seams.

Cecile: Before we finish, I just wanted point out this little detail. There are thin straps sewn inside the pants on the two sides that let you hang up the pants. They tuck away easily when the doll is dressed and do not add any extra bulk to the waistline.

Lissie: Alrighty, now that you all have been tempted and tantalized, Lilly and I are going to tell you how you can enter to win this lovely outfit for yourself!
Lilly: It's quite simple, all you need to do is visit MJ's Doll Boutique 18T on Etsy, and come back to comment here with your favorite outfit from her shop.

Lissie: That's right folks, you heard my right hand doll! No purchase is needed, though you're free to buy buy buy me a storage shed of avocados if you really insist.
Lilly: Everyone is welcome, even if you live outside of the USA, but if you're under the age of 13, please have your parent or guardian enter for you. 
Lissie: I could enter for you too, but once again, it'll cost you a storage shed of avocados. Is there anything else we need to tell them?
Lilly: Hmmm.... Oh yes! Please don't forget to leave your name with your comment. You can either leave it in the comment itself, or use the "Name/URL" option when commenting and put your name in the "Name" field while leaving the "URL" field blank.
Lissie: And despite our threats of an avocado-less summer, Blogger still seems to have some trouble with recording comments from a a few mobile devices so if you're using a phone and don't see your comment, try again on a computer or laptop.
Lilly: That's all we have everyone! Good luck!
Lissie: Hi-ho! To avocado shores we go!

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -

The giveaway will run from Aug. 17 - Aug. 27 (midnight Central USA time).

To enter:
Visit MJ's Doll Boutique 18T's Etsy Store by clicking here and then come back and comment with your favorite item in her shop and why. 

*Ms. Durkee is currently taking care of her father after a recent family loss so her stock is not as full as it regularly is. Please be considerate and understanding of this. Thank you! ^_^

For bonus entries:
Favorite MJ's Doll Boutique 18T's Etsy store. (include username in comment for verification)
"Like" MJ's Doll Boutique 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 5 additional entries*

The winners will be announced in 2 weeks on Friday, August 28th on this post, so check back then! ^_^

- This giveaway has ended. Winner announced here. -


  1. I liked the pink sweater set the best, because it reminds me of a fuzzy sweater I had when I was young. I favorited MJ's Doll Boutique on Etsy too; my username is sesnider87.

  2. My favorite item is the puppy pj's because I love the adorable little slippers! I favorited her shop (username: Kaitlyn Nicole). I am already following this blog.

    1. I shared on google+

    2. Actually, I think my etsy username is KaitlynNicole13

  3. I would like to enter the giveaway! It is such a pretty outtif!

    I really like the blue At the Beach set! Super cute!

    I favorited the Etsy Shop (Sophie Trahan).

    I liked MJs Boutique Facebook page (Sophie Trahan)

    I already like your page and liked one post (Sophie Trahan)

    I commented and + on your Google + (Sophie Trahan)

    I pinned your post on my Pinterest (

  4. Hi!
    My favorite outfit is the Mjs 18T Doll Dreaming - 3 Piece complete PJ Top, Bottoms and Dog Slippers outfit. I like this outfit because of the cute puppy theme! :) Thanks for this giveaway!

  5. I pinned this on Pinterest! Here's the link:


  6. I love the uptown girl 3 piece dress with the purple jacket. MJ's sewing is meticulous.

  7. My favorite item is Uptown Girl 3 Piece- Dress, Sandals and Necklace because it is so fashionable

  8. I Favorited MJ's Doll Boutique 18T's Etsy store.
    Kathy Davis

  9. I "Like" Lissie & Lilly on Facebook as Kathy Newsom Davis

  10. I would love to enter! My favorite item in the shop is the Uptown Girl 3 Piece Dress. Thanks for the giveaway!


  11. I must say it was difficult to choose just one favorite, they are all so beautiful! But since my favorite color is orange, I chose Mjs 18T Uptown Girl 3 Piece- Top, Skirt and Shoes. I thought it was a dress at first, adorable!

  12. I already like Lissie and Lilly on fb, user name Winter Perucci Boomershine

  13. I already liked MJ's fb, user name Winter Perucci Boomershine

  14. My favorite outfit would have to be the "uptown girl" outfit, I absolutely love the butterfly fabric! :D

  15. I love the butterfly dress with purple jacket bc my favorite color is purple and I'm obsessed with butterflies. They are all lovely though.- Amber B.

  16. I love the 18T sweet and sassy leopard top and black tights.

    I also love the butterfly dress

  17. It was hard to chose but I like the butterfly dress with purple jacket the best

  18. I love the cheerleading outfit!! We love football and the Packers go team!!

    1. I liked both pages, Tami Henisse

  19. Love Go Team - great fabrics - love the helmet and pompoms! Go Pack!

  20. My favorite outfit was the puppy pjs! My daughter and I are huge dog lovers. The slippers are just the cutest!

    I favorited MJ's Doll Boutique on Etsy my username is gigglegoose.

    I already follow this blog debslgarrett7

    I have liked both pages and shared on FB (Debbie Garrettt)

    I shared on Pintrest (

  21. I love the puppy pajamas the best. I haven't been able to order them but I've been eyeing them for the past month or more, so I'm a little sad you included them here and now someone else will buy them! :-P (It's a good thing actually.)

    I have liked MJ's boutique on Etsy for a while now. User name: krequiem. I also liked MJ's boutique and Lissie and Lilly on facebook. User name: Katherine Marmer

  22. Thank you for introducing us to MJ's boutique! I have made her etsy store a 'favourite' and liked the fb page (both as JoAnne Jameson). I look forward to seeing more outfits: I think they are very well-priced for such care and detail. It was hard to pick a favourite outfit, but I'm going to say the blue beach outfit, because I love the personalised beach bag and my daughter just got Grace this summer.

  23. I love the puppy pj's! I also favorited MjsDollBoutique18T's on etsy (autumnleaf77) and I already like Lissie and Lilly on FB (Brandy Novak) :-)

  24. My favorite outfit is Mjs 18T Uptown Girl 3 Piece- Top, Skirt and Shoes - so bold. LOVE IT!

  25. My favorite item is the Uptown Girl 3 pc butterfly dress.

    I favorited her etsy store ( & I've liked both her page and your page on facebook (as Rachel Koppleberger).

    Rachel K.
    time4us2havetea (at) yahoo (dot) com

  26. Hi, my name is Rachel D. , and I'd love to enter the giveaway! My favorite outfit from the shop would have to be 18T at the beach. Its just so cute! Thanks for the awesome giveaway :)

  27. I like them all but I think my daughter would love the cheetah shirt, black pants, black boots

  28. So hard to choose but its gotta be Doll Dreaming with those cute little puppy slippers! Lets party is great also! Thank you for the chance! Great work hope to order soon!

  29. I would love to enter! I like the Uptown Girl 3 Piece- Top, Skirt and Shoes. Thanks for the giveaway!
    ~Christian Homeschooler

  30. Tap Dance Costume..just beautiful!

  31. I like the butterfly dress set best of all. The colorful dress mixed with a blazer create a stylish yet formal appearance. I also favorited the Etsy store under Saraquill.

  32. I also favorited Mj's Doll Boutique 18T's Etsy shop. My Etsy username is AGdoll-lover.

  33. My favorite was the lets party dress I liked both pages on Facebook,user name Elizabeth cam;)

  34. My favorite is the sweet and sassy. Love the boots!

  35. I love the green and orange cheerleader outfit - it's so adorable! I always wanted a cheerleader outfit as a kid (they were all but unknown here in the UK then) and it just brings back how cool I thought they were. :)

  36. Beverly
    Covato, I love all the outfits but my eye keeps going back to the up town girl I especially like that she includes shoes with every outfit.

  37. Hi, My name is Nora Z. and my favorite dress is MJ's Let's party dress because I love how the dress color matches Grace's eyes. I also love the contrasting black trim.

    1. I liked both pages :)
      thank you for the chance to win this beautiful outfit!