Sunday, 23 September 2012

I Seem To Be On A Colour Theme!

My poor chubby fingers have never had so many stab holes in them!
I've no idea why, but I just can't seem to help stabbing myself with the eye end of my needle in my middle finger, and it's now very sore. On the upside, a lot of sewing has been going on.

By Elizabethan Beth now has her petticoats and I'm on to her red silk one. I got the most stunning vintage sari border from Ebay to trim it with, but now I have it I think it will be making another one as it's a lot deeper than I thought. It' simply stunning! Handwoven, bright red silk and a silver pattern. So, so pretty!

I wish I could work on her fully, but I'm lucky to have had a few commissions for this years holidays. And as soon as my next fair in Cardiff is over with I'll be starting work on a Beatrix Potter doll which I'm really looking forward to.

To get ready for the fair I decided to work on my own, very first, Mother and Father Christmas dolls to show there. Santa himself is still rather under dressed in his drawers and complaining of the cold. While all Mother needs now is for me to pleat up the sides of her dark red silk over-skirt and a short fitted velvet trimmed jacket with a  matching muff and bonnet to keep her warm.

Soon Santa will have a shirt on. By the end of tonight I hope although there is a new Downton Abbey on tonight...
And over his red silk trousers and long waistcoat he'll have a long, warm velvet trimmed coat and matching pointed hat with a bobble on the end.
I love Christmas :)
And these are my favourite Christmas colours - White, Ivory, Cream, all shades of red with silver and lace. They all make me happy :)
Just wish as always I had more time to sew...

Monday, 10 September 2012

Beth Beautiful In Silk

Just a little post this week, which doesn't really show the amount of stuff I've managed to get done this week.
Unfortunately the pictures I wanted to show you of my new sculpts in progress with have to wait as the sky has been grey and dark all day. And the rain very persistent!

I finished off Beth's shift and got it fitted for her. The embroidery looks really pretty around the edge of the silk. And I decided against a sewn hem edge as it just didn't sit right. I made her sleeves extra wide so they look a bit puffy. But I want to make sure that the slashed outer sleeves she will have will have enough underneath to support them.

The beautiful duck egg blue brocade silk that she's sitting on here will be her outer dress once all her petticoats are finished. I got it from a lovely lady in China through Etsy and am just thrilled with it. I can't wait to see her wear it.

I have an under-petticoat made for her, and am half way through a second in stiff cream striped silk. It's so nice to sew in such gorgeous fabric.
Tomorrow I start on her corset so i can them fit her skirts. Then a bright red silk petticoat that I found stunning hand woven silk sari edging for. I'm making sure Beth has the best of everything :)

I've spent a lot of time this weekend sculpting a big batch of new dolls for all the people that are running around inside my head. And I have a custom order and two or three Christmas dolls to make ready for the next Fair in Cardiff in Oct. I love being busy making dolls. i hope i can keep up with the pace :)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Margam Fair & A New Doll

Hello, hello, hello all you lovely people :)
I've missed you all greatly, and have been working very hard in the lead up to my very first craft fair. Hear I am above at my little table in the stunning Dining Hall of Margam Castle.

We had a great weekend, and it was a lot of fun meeting all of the other stall holders. They were all so kind, giving me lots of leads to other good fairs, and I'm already planning to attend some next year and am signed up for my next fair in Oct at Cardiff City Stadium. Although the park was soaked with rain all day Monday, Sunday more than made up for it with lots of sales and one of my largest dolls, my Mary Shelley, being taken off with a lovely couple to a new home. I was sad to see her go, but...

You may have seen me comment at various social media sites about my Special Secret Project. And here she is, waiting to be dressed and made decent.
She's a doll just for me. Using all the skill I have and the best of materials. My very first Elizabethan Doll, named Beth (of course!).

I've wanted to make this era of doll for some time, but have always been put off it as I do like to use the fabrics that the woman would have actually worn when I can. And Elizabethan women did not yet wear cotton, and a smart powerful lady like Beth would have worn All Silk!!!

I both love and hate sewing in silk, and such a large project is very scary. On smaller things if I make a mistake and have to do over I've not wasted a great big swath of beautiful silk (reason I hate), but it's such a luxury to use such fine fabric. My needle has been flying along the smoothness in front of me without the slightest hitch. So far!

The other thing that has always put me off is the things I know I don't have the skills to do. Yes I know I can learn what I need, but to get things just right I'd have to practise for a long time first.

This was my plan, and I've been improving my sewing skills and detail work to build up to such a project. I was saved at my most unskilled task, the dreaded wire work which I am Crap at, by a surprise e-mail from a lovely lady named Linda.

Just as I was thinking I was lost as fine wire and me are just not friends at all, in any way, an e-mail landed in my Etsy inbox from the most amazing wire crochet artist asking if I would be interested in some tiny detailed jewellery for a doll as she loves to work in miniature. I could never have found such a saviour if I'd tried, and we quickly got very excited about working on Beth as a collaboration.

Now that I'm not working my bum off getting things ready for the fair I've thrown myself at this new doll full force. I know what era of Elizabeth's reign I'm designing to, what kind of dress and ruff I'm to make her, and what fabrics I'll be using. Not all the final details are worked out, but her underwear is started and the rest of the fabric I need ordered, along with some vintage lace to start me off.

I still need to get one last piece of silk to line her brocade gown, but am waiting for that to arrive from China so I can colour match it perfectly. And I think I'm going to be needing quite a bit more old lace than I have at the moment.
The danger of course is that I get carried away buying tons of the stuff. I've been very tempted by the lovely laces I've found at different suppliers, and have to admit drooling over the antique lace selling for hundreds of pounds on one website in particular :)

I think I may have found the perfect woman to work with in Linda of Dragons Wire -

She's enthusiastic and very kind. I know quite a bit on Victorian clothing, but this era is all new to me and Linda has been helping me along with details and her vast knowledge on the subject.
Altogether, when we're done, Beth should have the silk clothes I can make for her, and the perfect little stone bead encrusted supportase for her ruff, necklace, hair piece, matching medallions and whatever else she needs from lovely Linda.

So far all Beth has at the moment is a shift which she's not yet wearing while I embroider the hem with Blackwork pansy's, symbol for Love in Idleness or Love in Vain, which was one of Her Highness's favourite decorations.
It's not often my embroidery hoops make it out of the cupboard these days and it's been a lovely relaxing day today sitting quietly with my silks and needle in my lap. I'll have to try and do it more often :)

I'll bring you more about Beth soon with pics of how she's progressing. Hopefully I can get back on track and blog once a week again.
Have a great week everyone :)