Friday, August 5, 2011

The bias ruffle trend

Blythe Spirit, UFDC exclusive Ellowyne Wilde, now sold out.
After my review of Sweeping Antoinette, one of the new arrivals, I noticed a trend I noticed when Tonner first released its 2011 line this year: the unfinished bias ruffle. Has it replaced the mermaid skirt?

To be specific, look up the term bias on Wikipedia. Basically, it's woven fabric that's been cut on the diagonal to maximize stretch and improve drape. Bias ruffles are strips of bias that have been gathered in the middle, usually with unfinished edges (which allows them to fray a little, depending on the fabric). As Tonner has used them, these are then sewn to the skirt of the dress is various ways. I've seen several dressed dolls and an outfit that use this technique this year.

Sweeping Antoinette by Tonner
Sweeping uses many large (well, according to the doll's scale) bias ruffles in the skirt. It adds fullness and flow to the shape of the skirt and a sense of movement to the skirt. It also adds an ethereal quality to the gown's look. The asymmetric bodice and skirt, monochromatic color and texture of the fabrics lend themselves even more to the in-motion feel of this gown.

This sort of ruffling can also be seen in Wilde Imagination's sold-out UFDC exclusive Ellowyne (seen above), Blythe Spirit. The white fabrics adds an angelic feeling to the doll. The symmetry of the bodice, with a shirred top with sheer sleeves and neck, add a light airy feel to this look. A simple key necklace adds just a light touch to finish the piece.

Similar in silhouette but with a very different feel is Tyler Wentworth in Fire Opal. The scarlet fabric lends itself to a similar flow and drape, but the color is much more dramatic. The satin bodice of this gown is fitted, which is a stark contrast to the flowing skirt. Additionally, the heavy jewelry adds weight to the entire look, giving the gown a heavier feel to the softer looks of Sweeping and Blythe Spirit.

Play On Words, Cami & Jon outfit
Additionally, you can see this technique in a simpler fashion in the Cami & Jon outfit, Play on Words. The bias ruffles are placed over the top of a short, structured pencil skirt. This allows for some softness in what could be a tailored look. The softer shoulders of the jacket and ruffled lavender sweater add to the overall soft feel, while the silhouette remains a little structured.

There are still plenty of mermaid gowns to choose from in this year's collection, so don't worry. I'm feeling a little refreshed by this change, however. I love the draping of these flowing gowns, and also that these unfinished edges have a lovely feeling of motion and softness to them, even on a more structured garment.

I'd love to see them used in a sheath, or in another silhouette. Oh wait. Maybe someone else has already done that one.

All photos are property of Tonner Doll Company.
Fire Opal Tyler Wentworth, dressed doll by Tonner Doll Company

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