Fashion Designer Interview #2: House of Pinku

Collecting Blythe dolls means collecting Blythe clothes too of course! And House of Pinku dresses are definitely a must-have! Their number tells it all. Julie is now working on dresses #2088 & #2089, and she hasn’t reached her 3 year anniversary yet! I already talked about Julie’s fashions here and here. But today, it’s her turn to talk! It is a chance for you to find out what really makes her tick and if it is a hobby for in the same way as when people Go to Cheeky Bingo or play golf. Find out why she has got a passion for fashion.


Photo: Valentine Westphal. Kozy “Stella Delicious”.

Hi Julie! Can you introduce yourself?

 

My name is Julie Westphal. One day, out of the blue, I announced on my blog that I was changing my name from Julie Westphal to Valentine Westphal because I liked the sound of it. I also go by ‘Agent Valentine Westphal’ or THE ENFORCER. I live in the Pacific NW, in Portland, Oregon, USA. My hobbies are Blythe dolls, and sewing for them. I also love to read. My Blythe clothing line is called HOUSE OF PINKU because I live in a pink house, and ADORE the color pink! I sew Blythe dresses full time. It is my only job, other than spreading joy.

More here!


Photo: Valentine Westphal. House of Pinku buttons made by Button Arcade.

 

How and when did you discover Blythe?

My friend (and partner in crime) Mayzie & I found out about Blythe dolls from a friend of ours on Live Journal. This friend sent Mayzie a Rouge Noir, and the rest is history. I think Mayzie now has 8 dolls! In 2004, Mayzie gave me a Lounging Lovely for Christmas.


Photo: Valentine Westpal.

How many Blythe dolls do you have in your own collection?

I have 6 Blythes:
1. Lounging Lovely “Kingsley Pinku Zissou Westphal”
2. Ichigo Heaven “Harley Seven Westphal”
3. Kozy Kape “Stella Delicious”
4. Rainy Day Parade “Valentine Shitstorm Westphal”
5. Cousin Olivia “Maggie Delicious Biscuit”
6. OOAK Milky Way Sugar w/ pink CWC scalp “Precious”


Photo: Valentine Westphal. Some of the girls.

What kind of dolls do you prefer?

The ones that change eye colors! (*tee hee*!!)

 

Where and how do you store your own dolls?

They live with me in my dining room/sewing atelier on my fabric shelves, or naked in my office after modeling.

 

 

 

Why did you start to create clothes for Blythe dolls?

I started to sew Vintage Skipper pattern Party Dresses because I had a primal need to sew a party dress out of every piece of fabric I could lay my hands on. I started buying patterns and fabric before I even had a doll! Mayzie taught me about finding *micro* or tiny print fabrics so that the dress prints would be ‘scale’ (1/6th). At first I was ONLY going to sew PINK dresses, but that didn’t last long….

The 1st dresses I ever sold were on April 8, 2007 (my 3 year anniversary is coming up this April!) I had already sewn over 40 dresses, but had not considered myself a *good enough* seamstress to ever sell them! I kept *scanning* with my scanner my dresses and putting them in my Flickr as a *show & tell* and people kept asking me if I ever intended to sell them! I had opened up an Etsy shop for the future in case I ever got *good enough* as a seamstress… On April 8th, 2007 I put 5 dresses in my shop at $10 each to see what would happen. They sold out immediately! On April 9th, I put another 5 dresses in my shop, and they too sold out!! (I didn’t even have snaps on them!) After sewing 10 sets of snaps on dresses in one night, I told myself ‘I would NEVER list another dress that wasn’t completely finished’! I prefer to only have to sew one set of snaps at a time!!

My first 3 customers were: Sherrie (littleredraggedy), Robbin (fishberryjam) & Ruthie (eurotrash)!! Ruthie & I have been friends ever since! (She came and stayed with me last winter for 4 months, and we sewed side by side!! It was a BLAST!)


Photo: Euro_Trash. Austin Darling at work in Julie’s studio.

All my dresses are OOAK! I *do* however make different *versions* of dresses where possible.


Photo: Elspeth. *orbit V2.0 WHITE* dress.

 

How did you learn how to do it?

Self taught, but with help from the Blythe community & Mayzie. From them I learned about Clover irons, and *micro* print fabric! I AM A FABRIC JUNKIE!! I read blogs, drool over fabric on Etsy…


Photo: Happibug. *have a nice trip see you next fall!* dress.

What gives you inspiration?

Glorious, beautiful fabric created by TALENTED artisans!! I usually get inspiration for the unique names of my dresses from the fabric, and my love of pop culture, but sometimes when I’m stuck I ask my friends for help. I also collaborate on dresses with my friends Austin Darling (Valentine Darling collection), and mayzface (Fang Fun).

I met Austin at our 1st Blythe meets that Maggie (Parasol Doll) had hosted for Halloween of 2007. We became close friends after he asked me to sew him a dress, and came over to watch me sew it! Since then, we have designed over 100 dresses together.


Photo: Austin Darling. *dark sided* dress from the Valentine Darling collection. Collaboration Austin Darling and House of Pinku.


Photo: Rockymountainroz. YEAR OF THE TIGER *fang fun*
*tiger beat* dress. Collaboration Mayzface and House of Pinku.

How about your dresses #1000 and #2000?

Dress #1000 was a special dress that my friend Austin_Darling helped me design, and we put it up on Ebay, and it sold for like $121 dollars!


Photo: Valentine Westphal. Dress #1000.

For dress #2000, I had planned out a dress in my mind, with my new *embroidery* & beading skills, but I haven’t reached that yet (skill wise), and I had a *commission* that ended up falling into that number, so dress #2000 was a commission for Ana (sugaroni) to make matching dresses for Rebecca (squirreljunkie) ‘s and Ana’s dolls ‘Bea’ & ‘Squirrel’, I named them BFF (best friends forever) because I thought it was so sweet that Ana & Rebecca are best friends, and their dolls are too! It ended up being better than I could have planned because the whole reason I even sew my dresses is for the love of dolls & well….having a girl buy her best friend’s doll a dress for Christmas…..*melts my heart*


Photo: Sugaroni. BFF Bea and Squirrel!

What’s your work rhythm?

I sew 7 days a week. Morning til night.


Photo: Turbow. *ghost of sacagawea* dress.

How do you like to work?

Alone, with the classical radio station in the background.

How does your studio look like?

Full of fabric! Shelves full, piles everywhere, stacked Rubbermaid tubs full!


Photo: Valentine Westphal. The pink and joyful studio!

Where do you sell your creations?

Etsy & Art Fire and I also have a commission list.


Photo: G♥Baby. *hands off!* dress

Your final word?

I should have written something along those lines about how lucky/blessed I am to have a HUGE family/friend base that has supported me from day one!

Thank you very much, Julie, for creating day after day such a beautiful wardrobe for Blythe! It is amazing how your dresses are all so adorable and full of joy. In case someone missed it, I should also add that Julie is also going to host BlytheCon 2011, along with Maggie (Parasol Doll) and Kyle (Button Arcade) in Portland. I am looking forward to meet you there, Julie!

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12 thoughts on “Fashion Designer Interview #2: House of Pinku

  1. Such a lovely interview! & yes I am in tears. Thank you for including Miss Squirrel & Bea. So sweet! Julie really is the nicest most sweetest lady I have ever met. She has a big heart and is amazinly talented! xoxo

  2. Julie is so inspiring and I am so flattered and thrilled that Bea and Squirrel could be a little part of her wonderful story!

  3. julie is one of the sweetest people i have ever met! she always makes me laugh and smile. all her creations are amazing – the fabric, the colors, the names! so happy for her! congratulations julie on all of your success! xoxo

  4. What a great interview. This Desiner household sounds fabulous as are the dolly designs.

  5. Valentine’s talent does not supprise me! After all I am one of two people who knew her when (since she was born) her creativity first started. I can’t remember when she was not in a creative sate of mind or action. He story about the House of Pinku reflects who she has become. I feel blessed to call her my favorite daughter.

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  7. So fantastic and also so wonderfully enthusiastic! I love this girl!

    Thanks for a super interview! You always bring out the fun in everyone !

    jean

    jny_jeanpretty

    PS: I love PINK, too! :)

  8. It’s 2014 and she’s still at – a lovely lady sewing wonderful dresses and I am happy to say she’s my daughter.

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