Saturday, April 20, 2013

Winter Bride

I have just finished this doll who is dressed as a Winter bride.  She started out just wearing a cream "Walking Dress" but the dress got prettier and prettier so at some stage, it turned into a wedding dress, or rather, a wedding skirt and jacket.  Underneath, she is wearing long pantaloons, a straight basic petticoat, a full frilled petticoat then the skirt and the jacket.  Her veil is very delicate, being made from net that is about the same vintage as the bride is supposed to be, ie. 1890-1900. This doll started out as the one second from right in my collection of broken and damaged dolls. Her hip and thigh have been mended with air-drying clay so from the outside at least, she looks as good as new.  Her dress is made from a Ladies pyjama top which I bought for $5 at St Vinnies Charity shop and the roses are rolled ribbon roses made from 3mm variegated apricot silk ribbon.
Winter bride, showing skirt with apron and jacket top with collar and fitted cuffs.

Side view of dress, showing all the froth and bubble of the skirt in comparison to the
plain and austere jacket top.

Rear view of bride with the veil lifted up over her head.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

From a humble maid to a Lady.....

Here is the first doll to undergo the transformation.  I actually finished up with three of these maids with the same black dress, white apron with the dreaded nylon lace glued on in pleats around the edge and identical hair-do.  When I eventually do a maid, she will have a striped dress and an antique broderie anglaise apron but in the meantime, here is a Lady customer from the late Victorian period in a very posh walking gown.

From this:
To this:

Another added bonus is the grey fabric of the dress.  I paid $1 for a grey shirt-blouse at a charity shop which I thought was "polished cotton".  It wasn't until I got home and started to cut it up that I noticed the tag down the bottom near the hem which said 100% Pure Silk!!! Wowee! That was the best $1 that I ever spent!! This whole outfit was sewn by hand with tiny running stitches as I didn't want to ruin it by sewing on the machine and getting it wrong. I dyed the tatted edging the same sludgy pink as the pleated ribbon which I bought way back in 1995 by mail order from England. I've looked everywhere on-line and I can't find it anymore. The furry fringe down either side of the centre front panel was a heavy gimp braid which was just the right colour. I unpicked it back to the last layer and it looked like a looped fringe. Once I had sewn it on to the dress, I cut it back to 1/4 inch wide and worked the Feather Stitch embroidery with some antique silk thread which again was just the right colour. Her hat had to have a large top to cover that large "bun" on top of her head but it suits the outfit anyway and was trimmed with the same unpicked gimp braid as the dress (with the loopy fringe left uncut) and a couple of satin ribbon roses. So far I have made her two totally different handbags and I have discarded them both because they were not quite right. So until I get her a decent handbag, she is still a work in progress.

So one down, seven to go!!!!!

From Rags to Riches and beyond...

I have just discovered the joys of dressing 1/12th scale dolls - ever since I watched every episode of " The Paradise" on television and became totally fascinated in the gorgeous Edwardian costumes.  So, my next project will be a mini-Paradise Ladies Wear Shop circa shop will sell ladies dresses, skirts, blouses and jackets; hats; handbags; fans - in fact accessories of all types.  Just thinking of the fun I am going to have sends me into raptures of delight - really it does!!  So in anticipation of all the mini-models, customers and shop assistants that are going to inhabit my shop, I got what I consider to be a marvelous buy on ebay.  SIX dressed dolls, all damaged.  Broken porcelain hips, legs, feet - nothing that couldn't be mended and besides they will all get covered up eventually. Also two other dolls that I bought cheap separately from the rest because they were also damaged.

I had already bought a book called "Making and Dressing Dolls' House Dolls" by Sue Atkinson which is fantastic for the patterns and then I borrowed another book called "Women's Fashions of the Early 1900s" which is a catalog of ready made garments, from the local library.  I didn't want to give it back so my very understanding husband suggested that I try to find my own copy - again on ebay - there was only one advertised and now it is mine, ALL mine!!!

I stripped all the clothes off the dolls - they were glued on anyway.  I am on the war-path against glue and nylon lace. The clothes on these dolls were cheap and cheerful with modern materials and minimal stitching....just more globs of glue and yards and yards of nylon lace!!!  So watch this space as all of these ladies get transformed.

The dolls from left to right: the first doll was missing a leg. She now has a clay one and both will be painted to represent black stockings. Second doll had a cracked foot and the transfer of her face has slipped so that one eye is higher than the other. The third doll only had her rolled fringe of hair around the front of her face unattached, fourth and fifth dolls had broken pelvises (exactly the same break on each doll where their legs had been strung on back to front and then someone had tried to twist the doll around to match the legs).  Both have been restrung and their torsos glued together and secured with glued gauze. Sixth doll had a foot broken into three pieces, seventh doll had a broken hip (she still has the top of one thigh missing) and the last doll had both legs glued on too far which made her way too short. The pipe-cleaners have been extended so that she is more in proportion.