Happy Saturday doll people!
I have been working on several Marilyn Monroe doll projects and I have just finished the iconic white pleated halter dress that she wears when standing on the grate waiting for the subway to go past underneath and thereby give her some relief from the oppressive heat….
To refresh your memory….
So, thing one about this dress is the pleating of the skirt. It is the whole point of this dress as far as I’m concerned.
First, I went looking for pleated fabric…. HA! such things don’t exist! Well, maybe they do from time to time, but not with any regularity and not in the colour I want and certainly not with pleats as close together as I require. *sigh*
So, I was going to have to pleat my own fabric, and that necessitated a pleater board. And, no, you can’t buy those either. (Well I found one expensive little number online, but of course the pleat gauge was far too wide for dolls!) I was going to have to make my own pleater board.
It’s a rather long drawn out and repetitive activity, involving card stock, a wicked sharp knife and contact cement,Â but I did find a very helpful tutorial online. :o)
HOW TO MAKE A PLEATER BOARD
Firstly, though I decided to test the pleat size with paper, just so I would know what I was aiming for and to get a real idea of how much fabric length I would need…
In order to do this garment in doll scale, I needed a fabric that was light enough to pleat without being bulky, and not so light as to be a sheer fabric. It had to be white, of course and not satin shiny. I was hoping for a very lightweight linen but, I quickly learned that it just doesn’t come that lightweight :o(
Plan B was, well,Â something else, lol! So I looked in my local supply spots, and I looked online too, but when you are looking for something that specific it’s hard to find the right thing online. It can be difficult to tell how shiny something really is, and how heavy is it and will it pleat, yada, yada…. If I bought everything I thought had potential, I’d be living in a cardboard box, full of fabric mind you, but then how would the UPS and Fed Ex guys find me to deliver dolls? (and WiFi? forgetaboudit! lol!)
Then I turned to my own considerable stash of fabrics. Lo and behold, I found just the right thing! It is a nylon that has just a bit a sheen, but is not shiny. It is opaque and light enough to pleat! Yeehaw! It will, I think, be light enough to float nicely, if my client decides to put a fan under her display for realism!
Here’s the skirt fabric before pleating or hemming. I used three pieces of fabric so that there wouldn’t be a seam centre front. That would have been icky!
Here’s the pleater board I made and the fabric, plus some shims to help me keep the pleated fabric from working it’s way out while I pressed. (That was my hunny’s idea! One smart cookie, that one!)
Pleating, pleating , pleating……
So here I’m thinking it’s going rather well. It’s a little tough to keep it all straight, but it’s pretty good. And then I took it off the pleater board :o(
It’s a little loosey goosey for my tastes! The pleats are the right guage and all, but the edges are not crisp. I think they need to be sharper. Thanks to all that’s holy for Swedish extremely fine gauge never leave holes in your fabric straight pins!
Fiddley doesn’t begin to describe :o/
After much pressing (during which time everyone in my house had wrinkly clothes, ha!) I was happier with the pleating…
After that, I had to test it on the doll with the bodice.
Here’s the bodice btw.
Here it is with the pleated skirt…
Then, as per request, I padded the chest a little…
Then the earrings….
Here’s what I wanted them to look like:
Here’s how I tackled them…
With glue and some sewing and an acid free paper backing I made mini versions of her earrings.
More work needs doing on the dress and her hair needs curling……but….that’s enough for today, I think :o)
Tune in tomorrow for the final finishing! :o)
Thanks for reading!