Category Archives: Hats

Lily Rose Savannah

The Romance of Lily Rose, BJD Fashion Designer (Part 2)

In the second part of our interview with Suzanne Wood-Thomas, Lily Rose, we discuss her favorite colors, why she creates OOAK BJD costumes, and her romantic bohemian spirit.

BJDmagazine: What are your favorite colors?

Suzanne: Undoubtedly my favorite color in the universe is pink. I’ve loved the color pink since I was a child. As far back as I can remember, pink made me feel so many wonderful feelings from comfort, happiness, elation and romance…. It is simply to me the most divine color in the world, from the palest shade of cherub pink, to the sweet and gentle shades of nature’s roses, to the most electric and shocking hot pinks. Recently, I was feeling overwhelmed with work and life in general, and I needed to feel a sense of happiness. I decided to make something that would make me feel happy whenever I looked at it. So I am crocheting an electric hot pink afghan/blanket for my bed. It brings me joy just working on it!

I also love antique colors; they have a story to tell. I love antique white or cream over white, because to me they have a sense of movement and feeling – aged as though lives have passed through them. I love dusty lavender and muted shades of moss green, and rich dark plums. Dark plums remind me of my grandparent’s home. A bedroom I stayed in as a child was wallpapered in a beautiful dark plum with huge antique white lilies. I always felt like a princess when I spent the night and slept in the magical room with the beautiful wallpaper. It comforted me and made me feel the love of my grandparents. I think there are reasons why we are drawn to one color or a number of colors as opposed to others – they hold a special place in our subconscious or deep within our heart that generates warm and beautiful memories and gives us a sense of calm.

Lily Rose Savannah

BJDmagazine: Do you sew unique costumes, or do you make limited editions? Please elaborate.

Suzanne: My costumes are strictly OOAK. I may make a number of silk velvet bloomers or jackets with my outfits, and although they may share the same color of silk velvet, the trims will always be different. I am also a knitter and crocheter, learning much from my mother as well as my grandmothers. I actually started out crocheting hats and knitting sweaters for ball-jointed dolls. My true longing was to design clothing, and although I could use the drape method for designing, I wanted to learn how to design as a professional. I like to alter patterns and embellishments for different styles. I get bored too easily and I like OOAK items, thinking I am special being the only one in the world with that particular item. I think it is a delightful way to design.

BJDmagazine: How would you describe your style?

Suzanne: I’m definitely a hopeless romantic, and believe in love-at-first sight. I would call my style romantic bohemian. I stray from it occasionally, but truly love the romantic or poetic style with a touch of gypsy thrown in at times.

Lily Rose Design

BJDmagazine: What attracts you to Dollstown sculpts?

Suzanne: It may have something to do with the fact that the first BJD I truly fell in love with was Dollstown’s Elysia sculpt. I feel that their sculpts are so lifelike. To me, it is asas if they can breathe, talk, and have feelings. They are almost as alive as much as a doll can be – at least in one’s own mind. There are many beautiful and amazing sculpts, and I own a couple from a few other companies, but Dollstown dolls truly speak to me and are timeless.

BJDmagazine: Who is Lily Rose? Is she your namesake?

Suzanne: Lily Rose is a name that appeared in my mind that I thought was beautiful and sounded like an old romantic name with soul. I named my first BJD, my Dollstown Elysia, “Lily Rose”. It seemed only natural to use the name Lily Rose for my design business. I am a huge fan of Johnny Depp and at the time I chose the name I didn’t know his daughter’s name was Lily Rose. A few people have thought it was the reason for having chosen the name, but my reason for choosing it was simply that I loved the name.


BJDmagazine: When you sew a garment, do you have a specific plan, and then choose the fabrics, or do you let the fabrics guide you? Can you elaborate? Do you use patterns?

Suzanne: I usually have a grand vision in my head and can’t wait to start pulling fabrics to create the design. I have an unbelievable number of fabrics and embellishments, although I never seem to have enough! I often stray quite far from my original vision. One of my favorite parts of designing for me is the initial flurry of thoughts and choosing scrumptuous fabrics and trims to make it come together. Sometimes a certain “to-die-for” piece of fabric calls to me, and I design an outfit around that fabric. I love gorgeous fabrics, trims and beading, and at times the embellishments cause me to stray from my original design. I never complete a design unless I love it and it feels right to me. I’ve used published patterns a few times after tweaking them, but soon found that it is not as creative or as much of a challenge, and I love a challenge. In the future it will strictly be my own designs and patterns I create. Although I don’t have any professional training in fashion design, I purchased a few books that have become my bibles. One in particular taught me the principles of patternmaking, which was just as difficult as I had envisioned it! I also have what I refer to as my bible of couture sewing techniques. I really enjoy sewing and embellishing garments by hand. I use the sewing machine when I can, but a lot of my work, and especially working with silk velvet, really calls for hand sewing. It is time-consuming, but have found that I love sewing by hand. It makes me feel connected to a past when a lot of work was done strictly by hand.


BJDmagazine: Where do you sell your outfits?

Suzanne: I sell my designs on a few of the doll boards, The Zone and Bitten. I also do it by word-of-mouth. I have just opened an Etsy shop called “Vintage Lily Rose” to sell my designs and heads with faceups.

BJDmagazine: What are your plans for this new year?

Suzanne: I plan on following my passion by devoting more time to creating new designs and expanding my horizons, perhaps doing more faceups, and offering my designs for sale at “Vintage Lily Rose”.


You can find Suzanne on:



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The Romance of Lily Rose, BJD Fashion Designer (Part 1)

In the first installment of this interview, fashion designer Suzanne Wood-Thomas, Lily Rose, tells us about her marvelous creations for BJDs, her passion for vintage textiles, and her French inspirations.

BJDmagazine: When did you first discover BJDs? Which doll did you first fall in love with? What attracted you to BJDs?

Suzanne: I first discovered and fell in love with Asian ball-jointed dolls when I opened the August 2007 issue of Haute Doll magazine. There, starring back at me, was an article on Val Zeitler and her Asian ball-jointed dolls! It was funny because, first off, I felt a connection to Val as though I knew her from perhaps another lifetime, but that is another story in itself! There was a picture of Val holding a Dollstown Elysia doll she owned and I was entranced. They were the most amazing dolls with such intense character. At that moment, I knew that somehow I would own a doll like one of Val’s. It took me months to save enough money to buy one. I contacted Val via e-mail inquiring whether she could do a faceup on my doll, and lucky me, she agreed to it. I was in seventh heaven! I’m afraid I drove the poor woman nuts, but she created my lovely Lily Rose, and I’ve been a fool for BJDs ever since! I couldn’t see enough pictures or read enough about them. What was and is so intriguing about them is the fact that people can have the same sculpt and yet their dolls can look so completely different using wigs, eyes, styles of clothing and faceups. I love how many owners actually give their dolls personalities and create stories of the lives their BJDs live. It is all so wonderful!


BJDmagazine: Have you always designed clothing? Did you design for people?

Suzanne: I sewed some clothing for myself when I was growing up, but the garments never quite met my expectations, as my access to fabrics at that time was very limited. I remember going to a fabric store that sold mostly upholstery fabric, and I bought a really wild satin and metallic brocade fabric to make a pair of hip-hugger bell bottoms. I loved the fabric. It was really too heavy for pants, but I made them anyway and wore and loved them! I’ve always loved embellishing clothing. My favorite design is a pair of elaborately embroidered jeans I made in high school. I made a huge design of swirling paisleys using embroidery floss with a mirror image going up either side of my leg. They were fashion forward at the time, and the small upstate New York town I grew up in wasn’t really ready for them, but I didn’t care. My sister Trisha and I were devout Beatles fans and followed the “London fashion beat” religiously and were always trying to dress and style our hair in that fashion. Little did I know that my love for fashion would turn into designing clothing for ball-jointed dolls! I always design clothing that I would love to wear myself.


BJDmagazine: Your costumes have a Marie-Antoinette/French Bohemian feel to them. What are your costume inspirations?

Suzanne: My inspirations come from so many places and go back I think to my love of Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks and my muse of today, Robin Brown of Magnolia Pearl. The first time I saw her work, I fell totally in love with her style and felt deep inside that she encompasses what I’m about. She loves silk velvets, antique fabrics and laces, and expressing her feminine and quirky side. She’s not afraid to be herself and isn’t that what we all struggle to be at some point in our life?

My paternal grandmother was also a seamstress and grew up in Paris, France as did my father. Shortly before my father passed away he told me my grandmother had a fashion house in Paris with her husband for a while before their marriage ended. It is sad that I never knew that when she was alive, as I would have loved to have talked with her about it – to share my love of fashion with her. Maybe it is in my blood, my love of fashion and for sumptuous fabrics and embellishments.


BJDmagazine: What are your favorite materials? Why? Do you use antique fabrics in your designs? Why?

Suzanne: I’m a fool for luxurious fabrics and how they look and especially how they feel. I’ve always loved the feel of silk and the unmistakable sheen it has. My favorite fabric in the world is a high-quality silk velvet. It has such an incredible feel and drape to it. If I were rich, I would have sheets made out of it and would cover my furniture in it. I feel pampered and loved just touching it. I try to surround myself with it as much I can. I recently made a silk velvet skirt for a vintage kidney-shaped vanity table my sister and I shared as children growing up. It is in a beautiful old-world shade of antique cherry pink. I have it in my studio as my sewing table with my sewing machine and antique vanity lamps on it. It has a mirror top which beautifully reflects light and makes me feel special whenever I’m sitting at it.

I’m also a great lover of antique and vintage laces and beaded fabrics. When I first started designing, I had a number of antique pieces of handmade tatted and crocheted laces that my maternal grandmother and aunt made. I wanted to use them rather than leaving them in a cherished box or drawer only to be seen on rare occasions. They were beautiful pieces of art and needed to be used and appreciated. It makes me happy to touch and work with pieces my grandmother or aunt made many years ago, or that were lovingly made by someone I never knew who spent many hours creating such a beautiful works of art. It was hard selling the first outfit I made using those pieces, but I knew my grandmother would be proud and happy it was being used as she was a milliner and a seamstress herself. I have one of my maternal grandmother’s outfits she wore as a young girl on a dress form in my studio that I couldn’t bear to see tucked away in a drawer. Perhaps she is encouraging me from above to be more creative and appreciate things from the past. It is an inspiration to me. I have an old sepia-toned photograph of my grandmother in my studio of her with other young women wearing their beautiful long dresses who formed a club called “The Ha Ha Club”. I don’t know if they discussed sewing, men, or who knows what, but my mom and uncle told me they would laugh a lot and thus the name. For a number of years after my dad passed away my mom and I would get together every Wednesday evening for dinner and laughs – our own version of The Ha Ha Club.

I have been collecting antique and vintage pieces of lace for years, some going back to when I was a teenager. I am always scouting for the perfect piece of lace or fabric. I never tire of looking at and feeling old textiles. And there is always the thrill of the hunt which is wonderful! I can’t look at anything now without thinking of what I could turn it into or create from it!

Lily Rose PEARL 222

Join us Thursday at 9 a.m. (Boston time) for the second part of our interview with Lily Rose!

You can find Suzanne on:



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Cindy Sowers BJD Straw Hat with Round Crown

Cindy Sowers: New BJD Hat on Etsy

Cindy Sowers just posted this new hat on her Etsy shop for $38.

“Straw doll hat with a round crown. Measures approx 6-1/2 x 6-1/2″ at brim, approx 2-1/4″ high, approx 11″ head opening. Classic, romantic hat in pale muted tones. Gracefully embellished with irridescent muted pink and gold wired ribbon at sideband. Pink and creamy white silk flowers and an antique green/gold silk leaf. Fully lined with cotton fabric. I use traditional millinery techniques. All embellishments are sewn down.”

via Doll Hat Blythe/Pullip/BJD Straw with Round Crown by cindysowers.