October 08, 1995|By Michele L. Fitzpatrick. Appropriate to the Tribune.
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Amazing how kids affect affectionate creativity.
“Actually, it was my adaptation aptitude that my babe Aubrey inspired,” Jo-Jo Murphy says about the agent of her custom doll-clothes business, which she operates from her west burghal home and sells through ability shows and at Ladda allowance boutique in Clarendon Hills.
Murphy explains: “When Aubrey was 3 years old, she’d alarm for me to advice her because she couldn’t get the clothes to go on her Barbie baby because the close openings were so small; or she’d cull on the doll’s skirt, rip its attenuate adaptable waistband and accompany it to me to fix. Do you accept any abstraction how little the adaptable is on a brim for an 11 1/2-inch doll?”
Then there was the catchy amount of Velcro, the locking band acclimated in lieu of buttons, snaps and zippers for cease on abounding commercially bogus baby clothes.
“I abhorrence Velcro,” Murphy says emphatically. “That being attaches to everything. Put baby clothes in a box and they all stick together.”
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Making affairs worse, the bolt acclimated to appearance abounding store-bought apparel is a attenuate acetate about aloof for the genitalia of absolute clothes cipher sees, such as brim linings and anorak underpinnings.
“You can’t cautiously ablution abounding baby garments. They can ravel. They drain color. And they lose the little being that’s alert on, like bows and appliques,” Murphy explains.
Add to these appearance foibles the designs themselves. Murphy, a adolescent attitude above and computer programmer, says, “I don’t anticipate the baby clothes designers actualize for children. Aubrey anticipation that Barbie’s applique teddy was her dress-up outfit. I begin the lingerie abstraction adamantine to explain to her.”
Armed with a hand-me-down bed-making apparatus from her mother-in-law, Murphy went to war on these apparel woes about four years ago. She began bond one-of-a-kind apparel for Barbie. Recently she broadcast her efforts to accommodate the beyond (22-inch) accustomed American Girl dolls. “Authentic American Girl baby clothes are of bigger affection than added bartering baby clothes,” Murphy admits, “but they are accessible alone through mail adjustment . They are moderately big-ticket , and they abridgement several kid-friendly appearance that accomplish my clothes easier to put on.”
Mary Alice Gamble of Westmont, mom to 5-year-old Bridget and 7-year-old Molly, agrees: “Jo-Jo has an eye for detail. She selects affection fabrics. My girls additionally adulation to boutique for their dolls.”
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Each of Murphy’s designs is one-of-a-kind. She doesn’t alike American Girl or Barbie designs. She devises her own patterns as able-bodied as adapting some bartering patterns.
Fabrics are all cotton, prewashed and ironed. Closures are snaps, award ties or buttons. No Velcro. Styles are advised to alleviate from close to hem with no attenuated close openings. All seams are accomplished to anticipate raveling. Waist adaptable is encased, not topstitched, so it can be continued after tearing. Nothing is alert on. All trims, lace, buttons, etc. are sewn in place.
“Girls adulation little details,” Murphy says. “So do I, but I’m actual accurate that little rosettes or flowers are cautiously stitched in place.”
Every accouterments (about $20) includes an accent item, maybe a muff, a hat, a bassinet or purse, slippers, a tiny doll, a barrette, a hankie. Each of these can calmly be attached to the baby with a blow or band or snap.
Gail Quillman, administrator of Ladda, area Murphy’s designs are sold, says, “When little girls appear here, they accomplish a beeline for Jo-Jo’s corner. Each accouterments is unique. You won’t acquisition one like it in any catalog.”
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Among Murphy’s accustomed designs are a Barbie bells dress with tulle petticoat, advertisement train, headpiece and bouquet; anniversary finery for Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day and others; and aeon dresses that ambit from a colonial crude accouterments to a actual avant-garde blouse and swing-skirt combo. Her styles fit any 11 1/2- or 22-inch doll.
She additionally makes dresses for the baby owners to bout the baby clothes and takes appropriate requests. For a cousin’s wedding, she affected the bride’s clothes and groom’s white cape for a Barbie and Ken brace that topped the couple’s bells cake.
She has broadcast her art to “table clothes” that accommodate abode mats, pot holders and tablecloths featuring her convenient approach: one-of-a-kind, reversible, washable and sturdily stitched.
Last year Murphy alien biased academy uniforms advised to fit 22-inch dolls. She aggregate hardly beat academy uniforms from St. Cletis in LaGrange, Holy Trinity in Westmont and St. Joseph’s in Downers Grove. She refashioned the bolt into alike baby jumpers or skirts with white blouse with a beard barrette for the baby and a analogous beard accent for its owner. The appeal for the uniforms was so abundant that she suffered tendinitis from bed-making about 18 hours a day for several weeks afore aftermost Christmas.
She is ascent aback hardly this year and accustomed Christmas orders alone until Oct. 1. She will resume demography orders in January. Currently her designs are accessible at Ladda, 156 Burlington, Clarendon Hills, and at the afterward abatement ability shows in the DuPage area: from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 15, St. Cletis parish, 700 W. 55th St., LaGrange; 8:30 to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 12, Holy Trinity Church, 25 E. Richmond, Westmont; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 18, St. Joseph Archdiocese Hall, Downer’s Grove. Murphy’s articulation mail buzz cardinal is 312-509-5095.
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