It’s coming up to ‘that’ time of year and some of my ‘old’ dolls are requesting Christmas outfits. Shelby has requested a party dress, ruby taffeta and pink shoes. She has lost her other shoes oops! do you think she can wear party shoes all the time? I thinks it’s okay. So here is the dress modelled by Nuru, it has applique flower detail, velvet trim and a tulle underskirt to give it a bit of a lift. The shoes have flower detail, and can be worn day and night, inside and outside!
Sad news on the doll front, Grace has gone missing on her way to Chicago. She’s out there somewhere, I hope someone ‘stole’ her and she has a loving home and is not just in a pile on the floor somewhere.
Every other year there is an International Doll Making Conference, I went in 2018 and I plan to go (in fact I’ve booked to go) to the one in 2020. Famous doll makers from all around the world meet and do workshops. If you are interested check out the website and maybe see you there.
Now Frida has gone, I turned to the next project, and a surprise custom order came in for a little 12 inch doll – to be like Polly, ethereal ‘just very light, white…..airy’ . I’m not very good at re creating dolls, I’ve failed before, but there was ‘someone’ in my head already, so I went for it!
Grace, might be light and airy…..but she does like her shoes, she requested two pairs (I believe she is going to share them with some friends)
She has a the palest blue dress of Japanese cotton with embroidered detail on the pocket. Then there is a knitted cardigan in a mushroom colour, all lacey and soft.
and a tailored wool coat with Liberty lining and a bow on the back. I always enjoy making a good tailored coat!
I had this little plan in my head to try and recreate some of the lovely images there are of Frida. The final touches to her outfits were the headdresses. The bow is a hair scrunchie I found in a shop, I tucked the ends in so it looked more like a bow, but I thought it could also be worn by her new mama. The flowers are a combination of some I sourced from a charity shop and some wedding flowers from a work colleague.
So, that was fun, and challenging at times I had to make a lot of new patterns. So farewell Frida xxx
This is the picture I had in mind for the second outfit I loved the oversized embroidery and the clashing colours. I started to hand embroider the skirt, but I really wasn’t happy with it. I abandoned it and thought again.
I went for this more muted palette, and this time a dress. I bought a machine embroidered collar and used it as applique. with a deep embroidered trim. It works, a lovely fusion of the two outfits.
Here she is (with a little help from a doll stand) showing off her new dress. Frida has her eyebrows now, they weren’t as hard to do as I feared. I now have to finish her headdress and do a final photo shoot.
My inspiration came from the Frida’s prosthetic leg, made in 1953 fashioned in red leather and embellished with a dragon, and bells.
To make a boot that I could embroider I needed to use a really soft leather. This meant I needed to make a shoe with toe stiffener over a last. I had made some little clay lasts before however these were free hand and not symmetrical. What I thought was to buy a pair of plastic dolls shoes, and use them as a mold for the clay. Here is stage 1 of the process
To make the pattern I followed a tutorial by I Can Make Shoes (the same company I did the workshop with earlier this year). That involved duct tape and drawing shapes and changing from 3D to 2D.
With all the pieces cut out I embroidered stylized flowers and leaves in bright colours. Added eyelet holes and some top stitch detail.
As I said the leather is quite thin and soft so I needed to use some stiffeners in the toe . Using another tutorial by I Can Make Shoes on how to insert the toe puff, the shoes came together nicely. Then add laces and little bells, and here they are.
This is just the best fun, embroidering, beautiful coloured silks, hair accessories etc. The first outfit I created merges two looks – the skirt is from the iconic one that was on the cover of Vogue. I had a beautiful black fabric (I think it’s a Tensel twill) from Merchant & Mills , to make a full skirt. I got it in a lucky dip bag of ‘neutrals’ I ordered – didn’t know it I’d ever use it on a doll, but it’s perfect for Frida. I’ve been embroidering the white design on it with help from a tutorial by Artesd’Olga.
To go with the skirt is a peasant style blouse with some embroidery on the sleeves. The blue is the bamboo silk from Ray Stitch, and the embroidery a colourful statement.
Underneath is a long petticoat edged in lace, you can just see it peeping out.