November, 2008

Wedding Dress and Doll WIP5

As I remarked to a doll friend, it’s amazing how something so samll can take so much time!

I have been working away at the lace train of the gown and just that little bit is a time consuming part of the project. I want it to look like the real train, with the major embroidery bits winding up in the same place. I can’t of course completely copy the real lace, the scale is just too small.

I spent the day yesterday trying things to see if they had the right visual feel. Then I’d scrutinize and go “ew” and take it out and start again. (Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Lol!)

So here’s where I began. I’m plotting on the top silk portion of the train, the placement of the lace inserts. I’m just going for general shape These will be openings that will “house” bits of lace.

I then transferred the shapes to the silk and finished the edges of all of these openings. Otherwise the whole business would unravel and look messy!

Here it is with its’ edges finished and after having had a good pressing.

That bit in, and of, itself took a while, but here’s the lacey bit that has really been a challenge for me…

I decided to bead the bottom edge to approximate the scalloped edge of the dress. I couldn’t find a lace small enough and one that I liked enough to use, so I went bead shopping. I knew I needed to get small beads for the headdress anyway…. Here are some of the delights that I found:

Don’t you just love the fact that there are about a million different whites? What fun!!

The embroidered tulle that I am using had the wrong sort of embroidery and I decided that I would be fighting a losing battle trying to make the existing embroidery look anything like the real McCoy, so…..

I took it all that out too! I could have used regular tulle instead, but the embroidered tulle had an iridescent sheen to it that regular tulle just doesn’t have. After removing all of the existing stitching I tried to block out with iridescent embroidery thread, the lacey areas on the train. I had this:

So, I looked at this and I thought well, it will look better with some embroidery and some beads. And I let that stew a little. I began the edge beading which I think works really well. I added a row of wavy iridescent  stitching as well. Then I let it stew a while longer.

I came back to it later and I still loved the beaded edging but I didn’t like the threading and stitching, and I knew it had to go. So, I took it all out again! (I know picky, picky!)

Here it is with the beaded edging but not the the nasty threading :o)

After much humming and hawing and hand wringing and whatnot, I have found the something that I like! Yay! It looks good from far, and it looks good close up and it looks something like the real one. phew..

Not all of the bits are sewn on in this photo, and I will be adding beads (of course).

Here’s a close up of the lace bits with some of the edge beading,

That’s the full update on the train. I have given Connie her new hair, and her face paint (although I’m awaiting eye colour confirmation! lol!) I’m not going to show her face until the end, I think ;o) but here is her hair in dolly sized “rollers” getting a bit of curl in advance of her gorgeous headdress….

Well I think that is everything that I can say today, except of course



Nov 27.08

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Chaos in Mumbai

The recent horrors in Mumbai resonated at my house. My husband and I backpacked through magical India before we were married. We have a deep love of India and her people. The Taj Mahal Intercontinental Hotel was an oasis for us as we landed exhausted, jet lagged, disoriented and hungry. Though we couldn’t afford a room at such an expensive hotel, the Taj was a refuge that provided us with a quiet place to have a meal and clean up before boarding a 19 hour bus ride to Goa. We spent quite some time in the train station, Victoria Terminus as well, and the insanity that must have erupted there breaks my heart. When we were there, it was one of the few places that had a TV, and crowds of people would gather to watch, especially children. This was many years ago now and it’s unlikely that would still hold true. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Mumbai and their friends and families around the world.


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Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


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Pilgrim Couple WIP2

Happily, the pilgrims are finished! The final details were a challenge, but fun, to complete.

The shoes were tricky, but then they always are for Dawn and Gary ’cause their feet are so dang small! I made them out of leather, in keeping with what Pilgrims would really have had, which I lined to protect the dolls from dye. I For further protection they will both have socks to wear underneath their shoes.

I first made the shoe pattern by wrapping tissue onto the dolls feet and plotting where I wanted seams to be. Then I transferred that to a more robust pattern tissue. In the transfer however the pattern pieces all got slightly larger and then they were a little too big! So, she-oot! I had to make the pattern slightly smaller and cut them again! I stitched the leather by hand with beading filament in a faggoting stitch. This butts the pattern pieces against each other with no seam allowance. Leather seam allowance takes up way too much room inside a tiny shoe!

And here are hers…

They will all get buckles.

Here’s her dress getting lining and the iconic cuffs.

Her sleeves before going onto the dress:

I made Gary a hand stitched leather hat and a belt both with hand made sterling silver plated copper wire buckles. His tunic has the wide well known collar and tiny black bead “buttons” down the front. His belt will keep it closed for him.

Here’s the tunic lining going in:

Looks like a medieval torture device, Lol!

For her, I’ve made a bonnet with ties, because pilgrim women cover their heads, and the apron I decided to add some embroidery to make it a little more individual.

Here they are all done, and because I didn’t want them to come to dinner empty handed, I have painted a tray with maize, apples and acorn squash. Yum!

Well there they are. All ready for Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanks for reading :o)


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Wedding Dress and Doll WIP 4

This project is coming along speedily now (as are my pilgrims who are DONE! I’ll be taking pics of them and posting later today..)

I have recut and sewn the bodice, because I’m picky. It pays to be picky! This one fits beautifully, and now I am happy :o)

I spent a long time on the skirt for the gown. It has a lovely, if somewhat complex, shape in the back which includes the lace train. It took a few pattern plots, some revisions and some close scrutiny to correctly approximate the shape and fall.

It became apparent to me that the although this fine silk drapes nicely on this scale it is a little too see through for my taste and will need to be fully self-lined to present a nice more opaque skirt. I have made the lining to fit and the overskirt pieces are designed to be gathered and so are larger.

I have also finalised the bodice lace overlay. This will have all of the fun stuff like beading and iridescent threads on it…

I’m hummin’ along here and I like how it looks. I cut a test one out of fabric, overlay it on the doll and decide it’s not quite long enough over the shoulders, so I revise the pattern and get ready to cut another. As I’m looking at the pics of the real dress I suddenly realisze that the bottom shaping of this piece is nothing like the real one! It doesn’t come down to a point at all! Duh!

OK in my defense, the pics are small, the details even smaller! Not to mention that these photos were not taken to show the shaping of everything anyway…. And most importantly, I did notice :o)

I know it’s a small change, but look at the difference in shape!

I have cut that now out of semi soft white tulle.

It’s a little like working with a spider web Lol!

So here’s the bod with dress (such as it is-in pieces) pinned on for an idea of the final shape.

You can see the lace train in the above. It too will have beading and embellishments…. Which brings me to a stand still unfortunately. I don’t have small enough white beads for embellishing the train, the bodice, or the headdress (which I’m almost ready to tackle!) So I’m off into the world in search of…..

I will be taking pics of the Pilgrim couple today and will blog about them too. They’re finished!!! More on them when I return :o)

Happy Saturday,

~awsumgal Nov 22/08

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