Saturday, 1 October 2011

Joel and Hazel's Wedding Dolls In Progress

Since finishing Maria Manning I've been working on a pair of cake toppers for our friends and neighbors, Joel and Hazel. Please forgive my photo's. We're having a very odd hot bright start to Oct here in Wales, and they are a little sun-bleached.

At first I thought these little dolls were going to be easy, but how wrong I was. I've made so many large dolls over the past few months I totally forgot how hard it would be to work on tiny 5in dolls in much detail. And,, of course, wedding dolls need lots of details. The other issue was that neither Joel nor Hazel is what I'd call Traditional. He with his long red gold hair and goatee, and she with her dramatic black hair and individual stunning sense of style. Both are members of a heavy rock band and while she's one of the Swansea City Slayers Roller Derby Team, he is their referee. I knew from the start that this wouldn't be your typical white fairy tale dress type wedding, and I was looking forward to something a little less main stream. And that's just what I got :)

I can't say too much about "The Dress" of course, but it is very beautiful. Just how I'm going to recreate it on this tiny doll I have no idea. And so far I only have the under-layers done, but already this little mini-me of Hazel has a real drama about her. As a nod towards her actual hair style I've cut a fringe into the feathers of the dolls wild black hair, and have added shape and layers to the under-dress to try and get this fab dress to sit something like the original.

Part of it has that lovely crushed / gathered look to it, so after managing to get the look on pure silk for Lizzie Siddal, I had a go on a synthetic satin similar to what I'm using for her dress. It worked out quite well, but there where a few changes in how I did it. 

With the pure silk I wet it thoroughly and ring and crush all the water out before leaving it to dry hung on the radiator. After that I ironed it to lessen the effect a bit. The synthetic wasn't so easy. Again, I wet it through thoroughly, but just ringing it by hand wasn't enough. In the end I scrunched up the fabric and clamped each end in small woodwork clamps. My grip is rubbish, so I had to ask my husband to finish of keeping the fabric taught and twisting it as tightly as he could until it all twisted in on itself in a hard tight knot. Then another clamp to keep it all still and I left it to dry a bit overnight. When I opened the fabric this morning to spread it out to dry properly so I can sew it tonight it has the perfect creased texture ready for me to use on "The Dress" :). This bit is the example piece.

Joel had a few ideas about what he was going to wear before deciding on a classic all black Morning Suit. I managed very nice tiny cuffs, and even a wing collar and satin cravat, waistcoat and trousers before coming almost totally unstuck with the tailcoat.
If you could have heard me swearing at the stupid thing you would have been ashamed of me I'm sure. Between the collar going wrong, the tails not being even and somehow the sleeves ending up different lengths I finally got it done. The took another look and realised it was all too bulky and boxy for the slim figure I needed. I had top do the whole thing over. Cursing to myself that I hadn't realised sooner what was going wrong. But these things happen sometimes and at least now I have a good idea how to get a tiny jacket made up quite reasonably. He's looking quite good now :)

I still need to add a few more details to my tiny Joel doll. Like painting on just a little stubble, tinting his eyes, adding cuff links and a pocket handkerchief and flower, and painting on the classic black converse trainers he'll be wearing. But I'm very happy that the real Joel is happy with him so far. Now I just have to hope that Hazel likes hers.

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