Thursday, May 21, 2009

Interview with Nancie from Nankatts - Magic Wands: Fashions for Dolls

Gypsy Madam Zola: repaint by Karen Kay, wardrobe by Nancie of Nankatts. Photo by Karen Kay.

New patriotic fairy ensemble available now for MSD-sized dolls (Mori Moth is modeling) with red/white/blue/silver theme, including pale blue wings with silver stripes, mock puffy sleeves, flag necklace and matching hairband.

Just added: fashions for 12.5" BJDs, such as Berdine Creedy, though Ani is shown modeling, this adorable outfit is available now. White stretch-knit bodice with high collar and skirt made with lace and sparkly white and pink netting, closes with snaps. Adorable kitty hat, matching bloomers and white sparkling stockings finishes the ensemble.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Nancie, owner and founder of Nankatts, Magic Wands Fashions, after reading a review of her business on the (amazing) BJD Collectacy website. Be sure to check out that article as well, for some additional amazing photos of Nancie's work. The first thing I noticed about Nancie's work is that her ensembles are truly ensembles--each outfit contains many pieces of clothing as well as accessories. I love the detail she puts into each outfit, as well as the affordable prices!

About her business...

Nancie started in the doll clothing business for craft shows when her girls were young in order to earn extra money. During the 1950s, her church had two annual fairs, and she would sell complete Barbie outfits. She added additional crafts as time went on: cat-related items, such as counted cross stitch, decoupage, dream catchers (for use on cages at cat shows), and so forth. In the 1980s, she discovered Gene and Tonner, and began selling clothing on Ebay. In recent years, Nancie has used doll message boards for sales as well.

For Christmas in 2007, her good friend and great customer Karen Arnold (Karen Kay) from Texas gifted her a full-blown website, which is the base of her current site, Nankatts.biz. Karen helped Nancie get on her feet with the programming aspects, so now she is able to maintain it herself. Those are Karen's repaints in the Archives and in the Recent Commissions sections.

Nancie does all the cutting, sewing and finishing for her designs herself. She creates all the hairpieces, purses and wraps, but she will sometimes get feedback from her husband or brother for accessories, such as a pirate hat, sword or goggles. She sews for Tyler, Gene and American Model (these ladies may soon be getting their own website), but has been lately focusing more on ball-jointed dolls, since they have become popular.

She gets much her inspiration from the materials she selects, and she creates a combination of commissions and stock items. Usually she has some of each going simultaneously. She loves Gracefaerie patterns and Patchwork Pansy (to name a few) and uses her own interpretations of them herself. A couple of Nancie's proudest accomplishments are the outfits for Jayne Mansfield, and the Little Mermaid, "Princess Coral," a former Living Dead Doll, a collaboration with repaint artist Karen Kay, which was entered into an art exhibit and competition.

When she suffers from creative block, Nancie resorts "to style magazines, award shows and always a new commission request (sometimes from a picture or a drawing) with a unique style" for inspiration. It sounds like she won't stay blocked for long this way! Nancie loves fairy tales, princess stories, the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, and loves working ensembles with those characters. In fact, many of her outfits contain elements of those characters.

For Nancie, the most rewarding part of sewing an outfit is seeing the completed outfit and setting it up for a photo shoot. The least rewarding part is taking apart something that just didn't quite come together properly. Nancie quotes her grandmother, "For 'ere ye sew, so shall ye rip."

To contact Nancie, visit her website at Nankatts.biz or email her at bcube@capital.net directly for commissions.

About her collection...

Nancie claims to have far to great of a collection. (I claim there is no such thing!) She started with antique dolls from her aunts, mother and mother-in-law, as well as a few auctions. These are considered treasures and are not redressed or changed into other outfits. She also has a collection of porcelain dolls from "Rustie" and Jan McLean, as well as many Genes and Tonners.

Currently, her favorite dolls designers are BJDs, including Goodreau, Creedy and Dollzone. She doesn't have themes in her collection, but she loves sparkly designs (she sounds like my kind of lady!) and holiday creations.

As far as grail dolls goes, her Pipos Baha Kitty and Bobo Mouse are a couple of her favorites, though she really enjoys all her collection. The thing that attracts her most about a doll is a sweet face and the ability to stand alone and pose well without a lot of kicky-ness.

For favorite outfits--sparkling materials, dressy prom gowns, sexy and cute modern styles, and little girls fancy party dresses fit Nancie's styles. It's a fairly eclectic collection, I would say!

Nancie is currently working on a commission for me--an Alice in Wonderland outfit for my American Model and my 5" Goodreau BJD. I'm very excited about it, and I'll of course be posting photos of the finished work. I can't wait to show you all when it's complete. Thanks for a lovely interview!

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