Monday, 29 October 2012

A Mad Hatters Tea Party

It's so good to finally get something finished :)

I've been working so hard on so many dolls at once that it didn't really feel like I was getting anywhere for a while. But now I have my Mad Hatter all finished and sitting pretty next to me as I type. I really love how he came out, he's one of the dolls I can't help smiling at - I don't know why :)

The colours this time just all seem to work together as I want, and his accessories just came together in a flash. His sad little face is just what I pictured, and I had a lot of fun making him.

He has a bright turqoise silk waistcoat with a big bow cravat in flowery lawn fabric. His silk hat is trimmed out with a paper flower, pearl head hat pins, a found charm and clock hand, and of course, his 10/6 label.
From his hand dangles a needle and thread, and from his waist is a tape measure. On his other wrist is a felt pin cushion tied on with ribbon.

Beatrix Potter is sitting right next to the Hatter. All dressed now and waiting for the bits and pieces she needs to finish her off. I've made her a little bunny rabbit to sit in her lap, and have finally got my little piece of silk to make her a Peter Rabbit blue scarf. Next I need to make her her own deer stalker hat from a piece of Welsh wool I have. I've no idea how to do this but guess I'll figure it out along the way. And I'm going to give her a little satchel bag with her paints and sketchbook in.

My other little custom doll I can show you, but can't say who she's for at the moment in case the person finds out.
She's an early Victorian lady in a pretty grey lawn dress with scattered flowers. As you can see I still need to add her hair. But all her clothes are finished, all her petticoats and skirts, bodice and corsets. She's a pretty looking thing with her lavendar eyes :)

As soon as I finished off my Hatter I really really had a need to make a doll that's been in my head planning for quite a while now. I've strted my Jane Eyre, and you can see she already has her drawers, shift and panteletts (frilly long separate legs to hid the legs when skirts are raised). And yesterday I put many holes in my fingers making her first petticoat and a corded petticoat from thick textured cream fabric with lines of string sewn in for stiffness.

I've not made a wedding gown yet, so decided to make my Jane in her wedding outfit complete with bonnet and veil. I even splashed out on a mix of silk fabrics to make it in natural shades of ivory and cream.

The book Jane Eyre was set in the very very early Victorian period. Technically really just before Victoria as it was 1810 - 1820.
There isn't a lot of info out there about the clothes of this period, and a lot of it contradicts itself or gets things muddled up. Things seem to jump straight from Regency muslin to the young Princess Victoria, so I'm doing my best to wade through the differing information.

I couldn't resist treating myself to another showing of the film yesterday afternoon, tucked up on the sofa with a cheeky glass of wine and my Meanna in my lap. I forgot just how much I love the story. It really is a wonderful book and I think I need to read it again very soon.

I'll share more photos as soon as I take some :)
Best wishes to all xxx

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Edgar Allan Poe, Beatrix Potter & The Sad Mad Hatter

Finally managed to get a doll finished. All dressed and sitting pretty, with all his buttons in a row. Meet my little Edgar Allan Poe.

If I'd thought about it better I think I may have made this little chap in a bigger size as it would have been really nice to make his jacket removable and get more detail in his waistcoat and shirt, but those green eyes just drew me in.

He stands at only 25cm tall, has his notebook ready to make notes on insperation, and has his very own pet raven to keep him company.

Edgar wears an outfit similar to one he wears in one of his most well-known photographic portraits. Over his long drawers and silk shirt he has a white cravat tied under his high pointed collar, and a double breasted waistcoat made in a cream stripped silk. His black trousers and jacket are made of good quality cotton, with his jacket buttoned high to his neck with a small round collar.
I'm having a lot of fun getting my Mad Hatter dressed up and ready to strut his stuff. It's so nice to be able to go full out and really go mad on all the little details for him. And I've already planned out the details for his crazy top hat.

I've no idea why I think of the Hatter as such a sad charecter, but I always have. I think it's knowing that the poor man knew that he was going mad, and knew it was the mercury nitrate he used in the felting procces that was causing it. But he was unable to prevent it - He had to make hats, and the technology to protect himself just didn't exsist.

I don't think he was always sad, but sometimes in quiet moments I belive he was.
So far he has on his long drawers and a fine silk cotton shirt with deep cuffs and a very high pointed collar. I'm waiting for a fabric delivery that will give me some wonderful silk to make his waistcoat.

That same fabric delivery will also have the stuff I need to finish dressing my Beatrix Potter too. I've ordered a few shades of blue silk to make her a Peter Rabbit Blue scarf to wear with her tweedy skirt and jacket and deer stalker hat. As soon as I get it all I'll be sewing like a demon :)

I have given her a lace trim and high collar to her silk blouse, and as you can see I added her soft brown fluffy hair.
She's starting to look like she should now, and I hope I can do justice to the rest of her outfit.
Sitting on my radiator slowly drying is a small wonky eared bunny to sit in her lap :)

Monday, 8 October 2012

Working Hard and Getting Somewhere - Maybe!

Unfortunately, even though it's been quite a while I don't have a new finished doll to show you.
I've been working real hard to get a load of dolly work done, but have hit a bit of a wall and haven't actually finished anything... Yet.

I have a few dolls sitting around in various states of undress, and a pretty mountain of things I need to do. But today seems to be the first time my bum has hit the seat for quite some time. And I'm taking advantage of it by getting some much needed creative time in.

My own doll Beth is coming along very slowly, and now has all of her petticoats in place over her silk shift and corset. I finished the last of them this morning while cuddling up with a very cute snoring Meanna cat. Her puring little sleepy wuffle always makes my heart ache it's just so cute :)

Over Beth's cream stripped silk petticoat I gave her one of stiff silk in a beautiful bright red colour. And her last one is made of voile edged with a very deep vintage hand-woven Indian silk sari border that I found on the Internet.
I felt so guilty setting scissors to this stunning trim, as I always do with vintage fabric, but she's a special doll and looks really stunning in it.

I've also been working on a custom order of Beatrix Potter, who now has most of her blouse finished and her petticoats in place. I need to add a collar and a little lace to her blouse before I fit her skirts and get started on her jacket and accessories. I couldn't resist trimming her white cotton petticoat with an embroidered floral trim as it just reminded me of photos I've seen of her sitting in her garden among the flowers. She even came with me to the Cardiff City Stadium Craft Fair over the weekend so I could keep on sewing her clothes during the quite spots - even though there weren't that many of them.
It was a good weekend at the fair, but very busy. Lots of my little dolls went off to new homes, and I got some good leads on further events that I'm looking into. One is the Doll and Teddy Fair in Birmingham, which would be quite a trip for us, and another Art & Craft Fair in Tredegar. When I've had a chance to look into them properly we'll see if they'll suit me and my dolls. And maybe, just maybe, I can convince Cris to drive me so far. It may take some sweet talking and bribery.
I found myself a new friend in Cardiff, and couldn't resist bringing her home for my own doll collection. This is Amelia, and she was made by a lovely giggly older lady who had the stall next to mine this weekend. She's a child's toy, but I'm no snob when it comes to dolls and love all types. I just couldn't resist her bright red crocheted hair in ringlets and her cute strawberry print dress. She has the sweetest face, embroidered so carefully. And has a calico body stuffed firm that gives her a beautiful weight. It's been a long time since I saw such cute handmade rag dolls in so many colours and different outfits. I just couldn't believe she was only £15! I have her sitting on my bookshelf at the moment so I can see her pretty face smiling down at me :)