Monday, 16 January 2012
Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennett
Christmas is always a busy time in my house, and this year was no exception with our home full of family and friends and lots of visiting to do. It was a relief to spend a quite night in with Cris and quietly see the New Year in by ourselves.
Since then we've both been back to our day jobs, and have been busy buying stock and setting Cris up with his own Etsy shop - www.CuriousCris.etsy.com
He loves to treasure hunt at all our local thrift stores, car boot sales, house clearance shops and vintage and collectible fairs for small hidden Vintage, Retro and Re-Found objects and treasures. So we've set up Curious Cris so that we get to share what we find, and stop filling the house with stuff I love but have no room for :)
I’ve wanted to make Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennett for quite a while, but have always been put off by all of the tiny tailoring I knew they would involve. I finally plucked up enough courage to make them both and am so pleased with how they came out. Elizabeth in her soft empire line simple gown, and the tightly laced My Darcy in his chin high collar and tight waistcoat and trousers, a tall top hat making his imposing height even more distinguished.
In comparison to Mr Darcy's straight laced tight buttoned looks Miss Elizabeth seems floaty and soft in her gown of layered white and cream cotton voile with a peach bodice and sleeves with a pin tucked hem. Underneath she has a long shift that has a gathered wide neckline and short tight sleeves, with a set of short stays to support her figure. Her dark red short jacket has sleeves that come down over her hands as they would have been styled during the Regency period, with lace at her neck to protect her dignity. I trimmed Elizabeth’s cream stripped bonnet with satin ribbon, lace and a satin flower.
It makes such a difference to how they look, all those soft feather fronds drifting in the breeze. I normally like to add their hair first before the clothing, but on the last couple of dolls I've made I've left it off until the very end so it wouldn't get in the way when I was adding the sleeves and back of the bodice. Think I prefer this way for the dramatic effect, but they do look really odd and I'm not sure I can carry on worrying about if they will turn out ok or not until the very end.
Before I start my next doll I'm going to have to decide which method works best. But my brain doesn't seem to work yet this year.
I have managed to learn a lot about the tiny tailoring I'm always so scared of while making these dolls. A lot of it to do with making sure I have enough fabric to do things over if I need to and not knotting off all my threads until I'm totally sure things are right, but I've picked up a few new sewing trick's too.
You may have noticed I said Elizabeth's first coat, which was a long pelisse with a pretty pleated back and rounded corners at the front. I was really pleased with it until it was all done and I took a good look at my handiwork.
I looked like a raincoat, and not a nice one!
In fact, it looked like the kind of raincoat a very unfashionable granny might insist wearing everywhere, even in the heat of summer. It was terrible!
I made her a short jacket instead with the deep collar and double breasted front and I think she looks much younger and fresher now. I couldn't even bring myself to show you all the horrid Granny Mac as it was just too bad.
Even though I've only just finished these two my mind has already wandered off to my next doll. I want to make a large sized doll again as I've not made one in a while and have the perfect doll waiting for me all curled up naked in a box. In my mind I keep coming back to a Victorian Street Walker, all decked out in bright colours and tatty round the edges. In some rich woman's cast off gown that's been badly altered to fit and overly trimmed with extra lace and ribbon to try and attract custom. Her whole outfit made up of slightly mix matched layers as she trys to do her best with what she has available and can afford. Her legs flashing and too much of her bust on show. I've not got so far as the details yet, but I know she just has to have thick red hair.