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 :)

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