Saturday, 19 November 2011

My Little Red and Childhood Memories

I don't mind admitting that I got really stuck for what to make when I wanted to pick up my needles and tools to start my next doll. I'd really enjoyed finishing off Jane, but didn't want to start in on the project I've had put away for a while now as it meant another Regency dress, and I really felt like doing something different. So I had a tough time trying to change my track and move past finishing off my Elizabeth and Darcy until I have the right fabrics and am in the right mood. For now they are back in their box waiting until I find that perfect piece of cotton lawn for her dress and suiting for Darcy's morning coat.

As always my husband has been wonderful and truly supportive, nursing me through a few tough months that I'm finally coming through. And the one thing that keeps me sane when I feel unwell is making something, so I've been making a point of making my dolls my main priority after my health so that I can see that I am actually getting something achieved each day.
Everything was leading me to do something different and new. Something of pure fantasy and imagination, letting me do what I wanted to do in a way that happened spontaneously rather than the way I usually plan everything out. So I looked in the one place that always provides tons of inspiration and looked through my book shelves.

Me being me I still couldn't decide.
I love fantasy and fairytale, but don't really ever turn to it when looking into what dolls I'd like to make. For some reason I turn to real women when I decide to make a new doll, and love to share the little known lives of the women from the past to give them a voice, even though it's only a tiny one for a little while. So when I spotted the three ancient fairytale books standing on the bedside table in my guest bedroom I knew straight away who my next doll would be - Who could be better than Little Red Riding Hood!

I was already feeling a little nostalgic for my childhood years. My mother has just been back to visit for three days from her home in Spain. And it's the first time I'd seen her face to face in the longest time. Picking up the very books that she read to me from as a small child, full of my own tiny dirty fingerprints and the odd scribble where I've tried to colour in a few of the black and white pictures brought back a lot of happy memories. I've had these books since I was very small. Proper big colourfully illustrated hardbacks, still in quite good condition for their age. And the best of all, in the best condition, was my favorite fairytale book - A Gift Book of Enchanting Fairy Tales. Full of stunning romantic fantasy illustrations in rich colours with lots of details.

I can still clearly remember the day when I was four years old when I first met my little sister and was made to sit far far back in my dad's chair so that I could hold the big wriggly red headed bundle on my lap for a few minutes while my mother perched on the arm making sure I had her safe. And getting woken up by this same little sister when she was about 6 at 5am on Christmas morning because she couldn't sleep anymore, she was just too excited to see if Santa had been and if he'd left her any toys. I had to try my best to keep her quite so as not to wake our perants, and we both sneakily took one small wrapped gift from the stockings my mother always left at the end of our beds. Both of us under my quilt whispering and eating chocolate coins.

This little sister of mine has just turned 30, and part of me feels that I really should feel more grown up by now. She asked us to get her a tattoo for her birthday gift, and I think that after Christmas I'll go and get another one myself to mark the occasion. It feels important somehow.

As soon as I'd made the decision I had a bright shining idea burning in my mind of just how I wanted my Little Red to look. I knew she had to have a pure white dress with a red sash, and a red satin cloak. I knew that I wanted her to be a young lady rather than a little girl, so started by making her a pair of lace trimmed bloomers, a corset and lots of white cotton lawn petticoats so that she'd have a really full calf length skirt. And an chemisette or blouse under her bodice in tight gathers with a lace collar.

I gave my Little Red layered sleeves with puffy tops and a tight bodice made of layers of lace pieces and a pure white crepe. Her skirt is the same white crepe with pieced lace applique around the hem with flowers spreading up towards the waist. I gave her her red sash with a  bow in the back, and made her hooded cloak from rich red satin with a cross-body tie to keep it in place. The very last thing I had to do was add her soft brown feather hair and make sure that there were no loose threads.

I love the way my Little Red turned out. It was such a joy to do something so different I'm planning to make four tiny dolls as hanging decorations of some of my other favorite fairytale characters that can be hung on a Christmas tree, against a wall or from a shelf. There will soon be The little Match Girl, the Princess and the Pea, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and his Dancer all finished and ready :)


  1. Oh she is absolutely wonderful Natasha!! I love her!

  2. My goodness! She is so beautiful. Her cape is such a stunning shade of red! I can't wait to see your Christmas ornaments!

  3. Thank you both :)
    I'm so glad you both like her, I really enjoyed making this one.