Posted by: dollpaparazzi | August 22, 2011

Fashion Designer Spotlite: Monstro Designs

Your legal full name: Kelsy Benedict
Your “artist name”: Monstro Designs
Your Website: and

How did you get involved in Asian Ball Jointed Doll clothing Designs?
I originally started hand sewing everything when I got my first pullip in 2008, then gradually moved on to sewing on the machine. I found it to be relaxing and that I could be my own boss…lol

Describe your line and what styles you create?
I try to create the modern/trendy clothes that are out in fashion right now. Mostly separates so that the customer can design the outfit to their dolls character.

What do you think people know you best for (like a certain style or size or certain look)?
I think my wigs are what I am known best for. I try to use the longest and softest furs that I can find.

What Inspires You?
Everything really. I love pictures and colors.. so I am usually on the internet looking at images of random things.

What do you want people to think when they look at your Designs?
My main goal through this whole thing is to create a low priced but still nice quality item. I want it to be an affordable hobby for people. So when they look at it, I want them to say “Wow, it’s only $5!”

What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?
My goal is to keep sewing and creating wigs out of the fake fur.. but I really want to make my own dolls.. of course. haha. Doesn’t everyone?!

What sorts of things do you enjoy the most about your designs?
That I get to buy fabric all the time..haha..

What are your other favorite clothing brands/designers for dolls?
I personally love a lot of the sellers on etsy, but there are some great shops on Den of Angels that I like too. There are just too many to name.

What’s the Best thing about designing and selling doll fashions?
That I get to be my own boss, all the ideas are mine so if I don’t like how its going I can just change it or throw it out and that the models don’t talk back..haha! ❤

What’s the most difficult thing about designing and selling fashions?
Finding the perfect material what you idea, and also some buyers want this amazing product for a really low price, which is hard to do sometimes.

What type of dolls do you enjoy designing for the most (male/female/brands)?
I mainly design for girls right now, mostly because I don’t have any boys.. : ( Fairyland is my favorite brand right now, because of the poseability of the dolls. It makes it easier for me to dress them quicker and take pictures.

What is your favorite style to create?
Personally I have always been alternative/punk/what have you.. so I would of course know that the best.
But I also just like creating things that I think people them selves would love to wear.

Is there a color palate or patterns that you tend to stick with? Stay away from?
Haha skulls!! I love any kind of skulls, so I have a lot of that. And black is my favorite color, so yea, I tend to not like yellow. I think it makes the dolls “skin” look odd in pictures.

Who would you love to collaborate with? Is there a mold, doll, or company that you prefer to work on?
I’m not even sure I could narrow that down at all! hahaha
Of course volks would be amazing to work with, but I think soom would be fun because of the crazy sculpts they put out.

What is your background? Have you had any special schooling (art school, fashion design, sculpture, painting, fashion, etc)?
I have my bachelors in graphic design, and have been an artist since I was very young. My mother was a costume designer for a local dance studio and theatre company so I grew up watching and helping her sew and design. So I think that has a lot to do with where I am now. : )

Who are some of your favorite human designers?
Umm.. well I love lip service, tripp, h.naoto, things like that. I draw a lot of inspiration from those lines.

Are there types of fabric that you hate or try to avoid? If so which ones?
Yes! haha I try to avoid really think stretch knits… blah.
They roll and it makes it so hard to sew tiny things, but usually those are what the small prints come in, so sometimes there is no choice but to use them. Also really heavy jean fabric. It looks too bulky on the dolls.

What fabrics do you love to use? Accessories?
Right now I am on a quilting cotton run. I finally figured out what to make with it. And I love to use stretch lace.. it doesn’t show up too often on my store but I use it for a lot of personal projects.

What outfit do you think was your best and worst? Why?
Esshh, well my best I would say was this dress:
I did it as a commission to start with and it just got really popular from there. I love to make it because I get to use the cotton and stretch fabric so it’s a happy combination for me.

As for the worst, I think I have had a lot of those and I don’t photograph those. I’m too ashamed of them : (

Any tips for the beginner doll fashion maker?
Start slow, and with a larger doll.. then work your way down to the smaller sizes. Be creative…items for dolls don’t just have to made out of a certain product : )

When you were a child did you ever work on dolls or create with similar things? If so, what were they?
When I was younger I had American girl and magic attic dolls.. and barbies of course, my mom often made items for them for me.. and I did hand sew a few things for them as well. So its similar.. but they are not as life like as the ball joint dolls.

Do you have any other interests that might have helped you in your development of customizing ABJD (like customizing other dolls, action figures, etc)? Please tell us about them.
I have always been a painter/sculptor/ photographer.. so I think that I have used that a lot in my business now… I would love to start doing faceup again.. just finding the time is hard and it makes me nervous that the dolls heads will not arrive….haha

Do you have any other interests? Collections?
My other interest is tattoos or body mods. I am currently training to become a tattoo artist and am an avid collector of them on myself . : )

Tell us about your own dolls. Do you have any? If so how many and which ones? Has your collection impacted your fashion business and if so in what way?
I have 4 pullips, 1 blythe, 1 hujoo, 1 momoko and 8 resin dolls. I wish I had more sizes in the resin dolls though : (
My collection is actually impacted by my business.. I try to get the dolls that fit the most sizes/molds.. but that I like as well. I want to have the dolls that people need clothing/wigs for.. that way I can help everyone out and I can enjoy the hobby.
Having happy customers is the most important thing to me in this hobby.

Why choose clothing design as a form of Self Expression?
For me its just one way to express my self.. its less personal then a painting.
And it is functional.. what is the point in making something that doesn’t work or move or have a purpose.. something I often think about in art.

How long does it take from start to finish on a typical outfit to create and complete?
Well if it is a custom item.. it takes me usually about 1 to 2 hours to make the pattern cut it out and get it prepared to make.

Once I start sewing it doesn’t take very long maybe an hour or so.. of course depending on the size and complexity
If its something for my etsy that I sell all the time.. may be an hour total.

How do you like to work best with a custom order for a client? With total freedom to create your vision, or do you like some feedback/interchange with a client who might have an idea or theme they would like to see realized?
Idea or theme for sure.

I have gotten a few “freedom” orders lately but they make me nervous. I worry that it wont be what they really wanted or that I cant come up with something different then what I normally make.. or something like that.

It’s very gratifying when I can look at a picture they sent me and I made the item look just like it.. it makes me proud that I made something that looks that close.

Are there fashions or styles you would like to make, but haven’t? Why haven’t you?
Lolita style and jackets.. 2 things I am obsessed with right now.
I tried the Lolita thing for a little while.. but I get bored and stop making it because it is so intricate… but its worth it if I get it finished.. as they are so beautiful.
Jackets I haven’t found/created the right pattern for what I have invisioned.

How important are fashion trends to you (i.e. what is going on in real life/human wear) and to your doll clothing? Do other doll seamstresses or fashion trends on the board (or even on other boards, etc) influence you at all?
I am constantly looking at the Japanese fashions.
Also watching the runway shows online and seeing what colors/items are going to be in for the season and then I try to pick a few things to make.
Of course casual wear is something I pay attention to all the time.. try to change it up and make something unique to the year.. but mostly there are stable pieces that I make all year long.

Do you take on commissions? If so have you ever turned down any? Are there certain commissions you like or dislike?
I have turned down a few.

Either because I didn’t have the proper product, or because I didn’t feel I could make the item in the quality they wanted.
I like to admit to customers when I know its not as good as it could have been or that I don’t think they should have me create it. I am human and one person sewing and creating so of course I can not create what a company in japan/china can make, sadly.. I wish I could though!

Tell us about your family. What do they think about your dolls and your business?
My family is very supportive of my business.
My boyfriend is amazing with me. He was with me when I first started the business and has been there helping me every step of the way.

I call him my “warehouse manager” haha.. he keeps all my items in order and helps me make decisions on where to go with the lines, and helps me pack up and ship things every week.

My mother also has been there.. she got me the doll to start with and did a lot of the sewing in the beginning. She now helps me with the wig bases and a few of the clothing items that I have for sale on my etsy store.
I have had my sisters get involved every once in a while when they have a skill that I don’t.. like crochet or knitting needs.. so its really a family backed business for me : )

Closing Comments (anything you’d like to tell us about you or about your business in general)?
Just that I hope I can stay up to the quality everyone wants and that I can continue to have the business for a very long time ❤

Good luck with your business and thanks for the interview!!!


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