Monday, 28 May 2012

Charlotte & The Peg Dolls

I really love making my Asylum dolls.
There's just something about them that make me happy - they sooth my own worries, and understand my excentricities (didn't want to say maddness, but ok).
There is something so vunerable about them, and at the same time many of them have a hidden strength. They always wait quietly in my imagination until I take notice of them and get started on bringing them to life, unlike some of the nosy bossy demanding dolls that won't leave me alone and haunt me until they sit before me finished.

Charlotte is the largest Asylum doll I've made, in the largest size of doll I make at the moment. I have dreamms of one day making a doll big enough to sit at my dining room table. But that's a long way off yet. And I have to convince Hubby it's a good idea and not creepy first.

I spent a while trying to decide how I would dress Charlotte because I wanted her to have a very feminine shape. So I decided that I'd make her between one of the dramatic changes of style during the Victorian period, just after the decline of the huge crinolined skirts but before the narrow skirted high bustle back shape.

Charlotte’s clothes were once smart and neat, now they all but fall from her frame. Over her drawers, shift, corset and basic petticoat she has a supporting shaping petticoat that’s gathered in back and has row after row of gathered lace ruffles down the back. At her time the fashion for wide crinoline skirts was fading, and the high backed and narrow bustle skirts were still a few years away.

She doesn’t wear a support bustle or hoops under her day dress as there really wasn’t a need for them around the house. She really loves her bright red and white checked petticoat, and was once very proud of her blue patterned dress. The cold Asylum affects poor Charlotte’s hands, and she managed to gather just enough black wool to crochet herself a pair of mittens. And the strong rough fabric of the straight jacket them make her wear to keep her quite rubs her skin.

Charlotte was once a young wife and mother happy in her new found role in life. But everything changed for her on one tragic horrific day, and now she’s left alone and confused at The Asylum where her family have committed her. A lot of the time she carries on her day to day routine, ignorant of why or where she is. But unfortunately there are times when she remembers all and can’t stop herself from screaming and raving at the memories she has. She has no help. And the worst of her attacks are met with beatings and torturous “Cure Treatments” from the nurses and wardens. No one will listen to her – All she wants is for someone to tell her where her baby is. Is he ok? When will she see him? Will her remember her?

The little peg dolls I was making came flying along, and now 5 of them are finished and dressed, smiling at me from the mantle shelf.

This little lady is Dot, and she's the very first little peg doll I’ve made as a grown up girl, and it’s her that made me see just why they are so much fun to make. She’s a patriotic little thing just in time for the Queen’s jubilee.

She wears a pretty red check dress with sweet little puffy sleeves, and a white apron.

Lolli is one of my first tiny little peg dolls. She’s not quite sure if she’s as regal as her clothes would suggest. But she’s a happy little thing with a jolly look in her eyes. She’d love to perch in a sunny spot and bring a smile to the faces of people that see her.

She has a very lavish soft paisley satin dress trimmed with lace at the hem and cuffs, with a highly gathered lace ruff around her neck. Her petticoats have an extra ruffle, and because she is so light she’ll actually stand on her own.

Mary is a shy retiring little peg doll. A Regency lady doing what Regency ladies should do. But hidden away deep inside her is a wild streak, and she needs someone to take her away from her stern family and let her have some fun.

She has a white voile gown with a flowered white green and dark red bodice and sleeves. And she’s trimmed up her sleeves and added a sash of dark red satin to match. The fabric of her skirts is just stiff enough to allow her to stand on her own.

I'm also really happy that this little lady will be flying off to live with the lovely Cynthia, who some of you may know from her beautiful Faries Nest dolls :)

Faith is a very determined little peg doll, all dressed up to go see her favorite Goth Rock Band. She’s very particular about what she wears, and very carefully choses each piece to give her the exact look she wants.

She wears a skirt very similar to one I wore myself as a student, one of the first pieces of clothing I ever made myself. And I still have it in the back of my wardrobe. She has a tight black corset worn with separate puffy sleeves, a black sating chocker, and a layered black lace skirt, very gathered at the waist and falling to the floor. Just to finish things off she’s added two little jewels to her hair and breast.

(Once apone a time, many years ago, my hair was this color. I miss it sometimes :) )

Sal is a sorry scruffy little urchin peg doll. She helps her mother sell flowers at the corner of Whitchurch Street in the East End of London, and the few pennies they earn each day get them a little food and a bed to share at one of the dark dreary logging houses a few streets away for the night. She works hard. If she doesn’t she knows she’ll be sleeping in a cold damp doorway again.

She has a marked and stained dark red petticoat, and a course wool bodice. When her Mothers shawl got torn beyond repair she made little Sal a wrap-around shirt or tunic to try keep out the chill.

I enjoyed making these little lovelies so much. And I can't wait to dive back into my fabric treasure box looking for just the right bits for the next ones :)

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