Sunday, 8 February 2015

Doll Tools And Research

I've been lucky enough recently to be able to invest in some tool sand research books that I've been wanting to get for ages. I've been saving my pennies for my very own mini hobby pillar drill. I treated myself to a beautiful pin cushion. And I finally got a set of Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion books.

It might not seem like much, but having a nice pin cushion really does make a difference when you do a lot of sewing. And as soon as I saw these ones from Lorna Bateman on Etsy I knew I'd found the perfect one. It's made specifically to add pretty vintage embroidery to the top, but I decided to add one of my favourite Welsh Wool fabrics to it instead. It was very easy to cover and came with easy to follow instructions, and it's of very good quality.
The little potato pearl bead pinned to it has been in every pin box or on every pin cushion I've had for years :)
Have a look at Lorna's lovely shop here -

I like to make my dolls in batches, making up to 10 or 12 of each size at a time so that I can do all of the messy stuff over a few weeks. I don't have my own craft room and work in our dining room when I'm sawing and sanding all of the wooden parts I use for my dolls limbs and sculpting my hands, feet and faces with clay so I try to keep the room as tidy (??) as I can most of the time. Right now I'm in the middle of my next batch of dolls and have things drying on racks all over the table. It's only so long I can expect Cris to put up with it so once they are all made I'll have a clear table again and lots and lots of new dolls to dress and bring to life.

Each of my arms and legs is made of 2 cut and drilled wooden dowels, that's 8 pieces to each doll. And each body has to have two drilled hole so that I can string the limbs to the doll with the vintage thread and tiny glass beads I like to use. It usually takes me ages to drill the holes in each piece, half of which have to have a hole at each end so the arms and legs will bend. It was taking me days to get them all done so I thought it was time to invest in a little hobby pillar drill. It took me a while to find one small and light enough to pack away in my dresser, but I found one here -
It's a really great tool and I'm so glad I got it at last. It's quiet and easy to use with a nice solid feel to it. And getting all of my pieces drilled only took me an hour or two rather than days. I'd highly recommend it to anyone needing a drill that can handle small delicate work.

These books by Janet Arnold are a set of 4 beautiful books filled with endless details, illustrations, pictures and instructions that show you how historic dresses are constructed with pages of patterns that can be scaled up to use and to show you the shapes in fabric that are used to make all of the lovely layers, drapes, fancy swags and tailored bodices. The books lead you through the years showing you all the styles and cuts of different gowns with historic details, as well as references to the women that wore them and where you can see some of them in person at different museums and collections.

I first bought Patterns of fashion 4 when working on some of the details for my on-going Elizabeth I project as I wanted to see up close details of how to construct a ruff, supportase and stomacher for her. This beautiful book is full of stunning photographs and illustrations of the items themselves along with the embroidery, trimmings and construction. They have given me loads of ideas and I can't wait to get started using them for my doll designs. I'm just waiting on my Patterns of Fashion 3 to arrive to complete my set :)

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