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Tag Archives: Design a Friend

Alex (Kids n Cats) in a Suit

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A few people, including someone named Mouse, have showed interest in the Design a Friend morning suit I posted about a few months ago, wanting to know if it would fit a Kidz n Cats doll. So I had fun playing dress-up and the answer is, yes, it certainly does. I got the camera out to show just how well!

Alex posing in the suit

The trousers are the perfect length, the waist is correct and allows for the shirt tails to be tucked in without bunching, and as you can see the long tailed morning coat also fits nicely, all in all a very good look for Alex. I think the suit actually fits this doll much better.

The shoes fit, though they are a little loose and would probable work better with some socks underneath – they’re secure enough and he stands in them which is the main thing however.

Alex in the suit, rear view

The coat is perfectly fitted and the length is about right even though Alex has shorter legs then the Design a Friend dolls, or my Gotz Harry Potter doll that originally modelled the outfit.

Its quite a posh suit for a little boy though, and I think I prefer the outfit without the coat, now Alex is a pageboy at the wedding rather than the groom, and doesn’t he look darling?

Alex in the suit without the coat

As I said in the original post, this is an excellent outfit, well designed and constructed with good quality fabrics, one of the best outfits from the Design a Friend range, and ideal for Kidz n Cats to wear. Alex is feeling very handsome indeed and looking round for the bridesmaid now..

Portrait of Alex in a suit

Design a Friend Morning Suit

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Its wedding bells all over for the Chad Valley Design a Friend dolls, with a bridal dress, morning suit, bridesmaid dress and even a bridesmaid version of the little sister doll available. And I couldn’t resist such a smart suit for my boy dolls.

Harry in a suit

And here’s Harry looking very smart indeed!

The suit comprises dark grey long tailed jacket with a high collar, matching trousers and a one piece white shirt with attached pale grey waistcoast (vest for the US folk) along with a satin tie in a bright pink shade to match the wedding theme (the bridesmaid dresses are in pink and the bridal gown has pink accents).

Harry in his suit, back detail

Back detail of the jacket, which is very elegant.

Harry's suit - waistcoat detail

The waistcoat fastens with velcro, which is handy for getting access to the shirt front and collar to tie the tie and line it up neatly. The trousers fasten with velcro at the fly and lie nicely flat against the body.

Harry's suit - the shoes

To complete the look, a pair of black shiny lace up shoes is also supplied.

Harry's suit with little sister bridesmaid doll

And here’s Harry posing with the little sister bridesmaid doll (reviewed here) to show the full effect of the wedding party play options.

I’m impressed with the design and quality of this outfit, the fabric is heavy duty cotton with a nice sheen to it, the styling is excellent and fits nicely, although its a little loose on Harry (the Design a Friend Josh doll is rather more muscled). The shoes are also well-made and the overall effect is pretty darn elegant. Boy doll outfits are always harder to come by and this is great value too (there’s a suit available in the Carpatina range for more than twice the price, which also only really fits the slim Carpatina bodies). Well done Chad Valley and Argos!

Beth – Design a Friend My Little Sister Bridesmaid

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Portrait of Beth

Meet Beth, one of a new range of smaller dolls joiuing the Chad Valley Design a Friend series exclusive to Argos (joining Lindy reviewed here and Josh the boyfriend doll I wrote about in this post).

The Little Sister dolls are 14″ (36cm) tall and like the 18″ girl dolls have a soft body with vinyl arms and legs jointed at shoulder and hips, plus a turning vinyl head with plastic eyes and rooted hair.

Design a Friend little sister doll box

A lovely purple stripey box rather smaller than the standard doll boxes, which contains..

Design a Friend Little sister doll box 2

Tissue paper and underneath..

Design a Friend Little Sister doll box 3

One little sister doll! The box is made of sturdy cardboard, and also if you look at the photo has a handy shelf at the top which holds the second outfit that comes with this doll (more on that later).

Little Sister doll posing

And here she is revealed, all ready for the wedding.Her dress features a pink satin sleeveless bodice with a pink sash and flower detail to the waist, which leads to a white satin skirt with netting over, dotted with matching pink buterflies. Her shoes are white sandals with pink detailing. Its quite an elegant dress for a young girl, and there is a matching bridesmead dress in the same shades available for the larger dolls in the range also.

Beth has brown eyes and long straight brown hair which brushes easily and holds styles well.

Little Sister doll - hair detail

Her second outfit is a pink and white striped onesie, which is very cute, although not too well designed as the cuffs are too narrow for her hands, requiring some snipping of the stitching to actually get the clothing on the doll, not a good design detail at all.

Little Sister Sleepsuit

So how does Beth fit in size wise with other dolls? Well, she is certainly in good proportion to the standard Design a Friend dolls – here she is with Lindy, you can see the family resemblance in terms of basic face mould and eyes:

Design a Friend Little Sister with Design a Friend Lindy

She makes a good little sister for Kidz n Cats dolls also, here’s Beth with Alex:

Design a Friend Little Sister with Alex

And here’s the whole family, girlfriend, boyfriend and little sister:

Design a Friend Family

As mentioned before, this version of the Little Sister doll is ready for the wedding party, with a wedding dress and morning suit for the large dolls available along with a bridesmaid dress. You can read my review of said morning suit here.

I’m quite pleased with Beth, her dress is very pretty and I like the hair, and she’s made to the same standards as the larger dolls though perhaps looks a little cheaper and more plasticky, she’s also priced the same which I think is a mistake. Other than the extra outfit supplied, there are no clothes available for this size of doll from Chad Valley: luckily a couple of Ebay doll outfit makers have come up trumps with suitable clothing to fit such a small doll, I imagine shoes will be an issue however.

As a collector she’s a sweet little addition but not really destined to be a favourite. For a child however I think it expands the play possibilities nicely to have a sibling doll, so I hope Argos will keep this size of doll in the range and produce new versions and outfits in the future.

Silver & Sparkle

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A Trio of Nellie Rose Frocks

Santa didn’t bring me any new dolls, but I’ve some gorgeous frocks to show off – the girls are delighted! Nothing says a special occasion like a fancy sparkly frock and Nellie Rose has come up trumps again with these creations.

Ariane in a Sparkly Purple Frock

This is the first of the two lilac dresses, I liked them so much I couldn’t pick between them. This is lilac satin in the bodice and skirt, with a layer of sparkly net over the skirt area, and more net beneath to give the dress body, I love the embroidery detail on the bodice, and the matching hair clip is flamboyant enough to work more as a fascinator than a hair clip. Nellie Rose always has an eye for detail and this dress is made with her usual skill and eye for design – all her outfits are one offs but there’s always something worth looking at on her website. The blue satin slippers here are from My Doll Best Friend.

Grace in a Sparkly Yellow Frock

As soon as I saw this yellow creation I knew it was just made for Grace, she’s positively glowing in this colour and it works so well against her skin tone. Again, this is a satin bodice and skirt with layered netting underneath and a layer of net with added sparkles over the skirt, set off with the big white net bow with diamante centre at the waist – it came with a matching hair bow but the clip wasn’t strong enough to stay securely in Grace’s mass of hair. She’s wearing beige tights by 123 Mulberry Street and a pair of gold sandals, and just looks adorable.

Helene in a Lilac Sparkly Frock

If there are purple outfits around you can be sure Helene is first in the queue to wear them. This one is a different shade to Ariane’s dress, though similar in design, but the layer of net over the satin skirt has many more sparkles which look like scattered stars. I like the way the brocade detail at the neck lifts the plain colour, and the satin flower detail at the waist is also nifty. The dress came with a hair clip matching the flowers but Helene’s hair is too fine for such things. The purple shoes are from the Design a Friend range. Yay Nellie Rose for three fabulous frocks.

Katy in A Silver Frock

Nellie Rose isn’t the only one capable of producing sparkly frocks – and I added this silver creation to my wishlist almost as soon as it was listed over at My Doll Best Friend. It has a satin bodice with ruched detailing, and a satin skirt with an overlay of silver lacey stuff picked out with silvery spirals, and netting beneath for body. The waist band has sparkling sequins for extra effect. The dress is sleeveless and comes with a black knitted bolero which really enhances the whole design, Katy looks most elegant here. I’ve teamed the outfit with silver shoes which aren’t showing too well in the photo, but are also from My Doll Best Friend.

Silver shoes close up

They’re just plain slippers but they really shine and are a perfect match for the frock.

Detail of Katy's silver frock

Here’s a closer look at the silver spirals on the skirt, I think this is one of my favourite outfits thus far for any of the dolls.

Katy & Ariane in Sparkly Frocks

Belles of the ball! Katy’s dress is equally stunning without the bolero, and the two colours complement each other nicely – lets hear it for satin and sparkles!

Kira – Madame Alexander

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Portrait of Kira

Autumn – seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness according to the poets, and the inspiration for this Madame Alexander doll, named Autumn Mist. Well, I call her Kira but that’s the official name, and you can blame Dolls Diaries for a round-up post on Fall fashion (“Fall Mist” doesn’t have quite the same ring, somehow..) where I first spotted the doll and rather impulse bought her, there and then direct from the US with the power of Amazon, ooh!

I’ve considered the Madame Alexander dolls before now, at least the African American ones, I’m not too keen on the face moulds and general look of many of the other dolls in the range but have exercised some willpower til I spotted her pretty face and rather fabulous outfit, and about 10 days later, here she was on this side of the Pond. There should at this point be proper unboxing photos but due to a slight camera mishap, said images got deleted. The plastic fronted box was the usual type with twist ties holding her firmly in place, and my fave feature of a hair net to keep her hair tidy during transport.

Madame Alexander is a traditional US doll brand that has been going for many decades, though the current incarnations were apparently bought by long-term licensee Kahn Lucas in 2012. This doll is one of the Favorite Friends range which features numerous 18″ dolls, clothes and accesories, with the range updated frequently.

Kira Posing

Here’s Kira in her seasonal outfit, consisting of a green jersey top and denim skirt, worn over green and grey striped leggings. The best part is the long hooded cardigan in some kind of knitted fabric in those wonderful shades of green and yellow, very reminiscent of a pile of newly fallen leaves. She has gold Mary Jane shoes to complete the look. The clothes are good quality and fit well, unusual styles which I do like muchly.

Kira herself is a soft bodied doll with jointed vinyl arms and legs and a posable head, which can tilt up and down as well as from side to side. Unlike the American Girl range, she has a chest plate, which avoids seeing her fabric body when wearing strappy tops, this seems to give the doll more stability without needing to be well stuffed so she is quite cuddly and stands securely on her own.

Kira's sleep eyes

Kira’s coffee-toned skin is set off nicely by her brown glass eyes, which are the sleep kind, i.e. they close when she lies down. Um, they actually rattle a bit when the doll is being carried around which is a little off-putting. She has lovely  long dark lashes and painted brows.

Kira's hair

The doll has quite unusal hair, meant to be dreadlocks I think, as they are tighter and coarser than ringlets. I like the look and style of her hair, though it took me a little time to warm to the central pulled-back section;  its not very shiny but is thick and well-rooted, of the kind that can only be finger curled however, I dread to think what the results of a brush would be.

She’s mid-range in terms of price and quality I would say, and even with shipping from the US was reasonably priced. As a soft bodied doll she’s closest to The Dolls House and Design a Friend dolls, as you can see below:

Bree with Kira
If you look closely you can see the difference the chest plate makes between the dolls, Bree’s fabric body is clearly seen under her cotton frock whereas Kira’s vinyl neck area looks more natural.

Lindy and Kira

Lindy from Design a Friend is the closest in looks to Kira, with similar colouring, though her hair is softer and falls in tight curls rather than dreads. And of course Lindy has quite a floppy body and can’t stand up without support (she also as thinner legs and her eyes are fixed).

For an impulse buy I’m very pleased with Kira, not sure I’d add any others of the Favorite Friends range as its this doll’s rather unusual features and outfit that drew me in, but design and quality wise I can recommend the brand,

Kira in b&w

 

Josh – Design a Friend

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Portrait of Josh

Meet Josh, the first boy doll to be added to the Chad Valley Design a Friend range from Argos.  According to the blurb in his box:

“DesignaFriend Boyfriend has been specially created to complement your stylish Designafriend doll. This very cool and trendy guy makes your two friends the perfect pair.”

Design a Friend boy box in blue

He comes in a blue cardboard box, which is quite classy and means any boys wanting a doll won’t have to worry about pink packaging.

Josh box opened

Josh box opened, close-up

And here’s Josh half unwrapped from his tissue paper, and a close-up of him still in the box.

Josh Posing

Josh arrives wearing a blue and yellow plaid cotton shirt, jeans and brown boots, he also comes with a more masculine bracelet with cord instead of chain for the owner to wear. He has brown plastic eyes, and brown wavy hair which needs a bit of ruffling to look modern and “trendy” instead of something in 1950s stylee (thinking cardi and pipe not Rebel Without A Cause here..)

Josh showing his well-defined chest

The most surprising thing on removing him from the box for the first time was that unlike the Design a Friend girl dolls, which are soft bodied with vinyl arms and legs, he is all-vinyl. To begin with I wasn’t sure about this change, but then I half-undressed him and he’s got a decent set of abs on him for sure! Not sure whether the target audience is going to care about defined muscles but he stands up tall and firm where the soft-body dolls do not. He’s less posable however, his arms quite stiff because of this build factor.

Josh unclothed

It took a couple of days for me to be sure I actually liked this doll, his face is more mature than the other boy dolls I have and his outfit isn’t the best quality compared to the usual Design a Friend clothing. I did suspect part of the problem was the outfit so I re-dressed him and wow, what a difference.

Josh dressed smartly

Here he’s wearing rather formal trousers from Nellie Rose, over a Kidz n Cats shirt and an olive military jacket I just got from mydollboutique with boots from Nellie Rose and it adds a whole new dimension to this doll. He looks more sophisticated and certainly more expensive – and though I’ve kept the name Josh for him he looks rather posh to my eyes (mater wanted to name him Tarquin, don’t you know…). The outfit actually costs more than the doll so its not surprising it makes a difference, mind.

Josh and Lindy

As for being the perfect boyfriend, here he is posing with Lindy, from the Design a Friend range and they look ok together, but he and Bree are a match made in heaven, I reckon.

Josh and Bree

I can definitely recommend the Design a Friend “ideal boyfriend” but would suggest a wardrobe upgrade to make the most of him.  I’m constantly impressed with this range, and look forward to seeing what else they come up with to expand the “lives” of the dolls.

Lindy’s outfit: long-sleeved t-shirt from The Dolls House, twill shorts from My Doll Best Friend, shoes & tights by Frilly Lily.

Bree’s outfit: lacy tee and shorts outfit from The Dolls House.

Fashion from The Dolls House

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The Dolls House Fashions - Group Shot

As I’ve mentioned previously, as well as the range of dolls, one of the best parts about The Dolls House company is the cool range of outfits available, which fit other 18″ dolls rather nicely. I treated myself to a parcel of new clothes from there the other week and couldn’t resist getting the gang dressed up and showing off their new togs.

From left to right above we see Bree, Katy, Helene, Grace, Maru and Alice, though there was some swapping of clothes later on, quite  a free for all amongst the girls in fact.

So without further ado, lets introduce the various outfits – imagine the girls have done their “little turn on the catwalk” and are just posing to show off the fashions to their best advantage..

Bree in a red silk kimono

i love this red silk kimono, the way the light shimmers off the fabric with its golden thread and other colours shot through is so effective, it comes with matching little red slippes but that was a bit too much red for me so Breee is barefoot..

Portait of Bree in a kimono

Despite the really long hair on Bree, it goes into an updo beautifully too.

Katy in a flowey top with shorts

Barefeet seems the order of the day – this lace and flowers shorts set is just so cute, and fits Katy (Gotz Hannah) extremely well.

Grace & Katy in green and denim

Grace has already shown off this lovely green dress but she didn’t want to be left out – so summery, the both of them, last chance to wear light fabrics before autumn sets in and its time to pull out the woollies.

Maru in a grey dress with leggings

This tunic is actually a dress, but Maru is so tall it was a bit too short on her, works great as a long top over leggings, though, I think this is one of my favourites, and its good to have clothes that can be versatile, with a bit of thought.

Closer look at Maru's grey top

Its the attention to detail on the outfits that really makes them, the layering on the grey ruffle dress is simple and effective and the rose details at the neck lift it and accentuate the red contrast without being over the top.

Alice in Lilac

Now this delicate lilac dress should be familar, I posted about it previously with Helene modelling, looks great on any doll, no question! And yet again a barefoot theme.

Grace whispering with Katy

“Psst!” whispers Grace, “You should change into the pretty blue dress.. go on.. “

::Katy scampers off::

Helene modelling pyjamas with a little friend

Helene didn’t want to put her AG mini doll Julie down to show off the outfit properly – such cute white cotton pyjamas with the blue bows and gathered detail. The top is a bit big on a Kidz n Cats so I ended up putting a clip at the back to help it fit better.

Bree & Hellene

Ah, now we can see the outfit properly, plus Bree changed into the flowery top and shorts set Katy was wearing, and looks just as cute.

Closer look at Bree's flowered top

These will work really well as separates but the way the flower embroidery is repeated from the top onto the shorts is a nice touch, very fresh and cheery little outfit all told, white cotton and denim complement each other well, and the flowered sash and the pink ribbon neckline demonstrate yet again how small details can be so effective.

Katy in a satin blue party dress

Aha, that’s how Bree ended up in the shorts set, Katy changed into this gorgeous full length blue satin party dress, I love the lace and ribbon detail on this, she’s truly the belle of the ball.

Katy and Alice in their posh frocks

Actually, both Katy and Alice are the belles of the ball, beautiful colours and fabric choice on these gowns.

As should be obvious by now, all outfits are by The Dolls House, as are Bree’s white shoes with the pink bow detail.

Grace’s gold sandals are from the Argos Design a Friend range.

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