Friday, March 1, 2013

1940's Doll Commission

A knock on my studio door brought with it a sweet lady and a small trunk of darling hand-made clothing.
She told me of how as a girl, she had had a favorite Auntie who had made her a doll with her wonderful collection of clothing.
Romper and Hat
Sweet little Dress
The doll has been long gone...but was it possible for me to create a cloth doll from that time period to fit the clothing?
SOooo...the love of being an Auntie myself and love of dolls, especially old dolls...how could I resist?? My client left the three above pieces with me for sizing the doll.

I looked up dolls from the 40's and found Patsy to be one of the all time favorites. She is made from a composite material..what about cloth?? I did remember running across cloth dolls from that period...
I have a few cloth dolls in my personal collection from the 40"s. I remember the seaming on their sweet faces. I love those stitches.
Off to the internet to find some images...Aha...I knew there was something out there. Great inspiration!

 

So, I set out to create this little wonder of love. I thought about the clothing and its softness from hours of play. My fabric needed to have that same softness. So I decided on my pima knit cotton for the exterior to have a warm softness to it and the lining, I would use my premium woven cloth for strength and durability. Gently dyed to a soft skin tone.
My pieces draw out and ready to be sewn. Woven pictured on top and knit below.
I want to create a bit of a three dimensional face with needlesculpting, so for the head, I turned my liner onto the bias to give it some stretch and kept the arms, legs, and torso on the straight of grain to keep it from stretching out of proportion.
On top: Woven cotton liner on bias Below:Knit on straight of grain
As I looked in detail at the these little garments, I marveled at the tiny precise small stitches that were taken with such great care and love.
Can you see them? Even the buttons holes are hand done! I love hand stitches!!! Makes me wonder about what the person was thinking in that moment in time...

This started me to think about threads...I was recently at a lovely antique store visiting with Sally, the owner, about some small dolls made in Japan and seeing if they had any Queen Anne/George III wooden dolls for inspiration for a class project later this year (more to come on that later).

We were admiring the delicate stitching done on the George III doll's dress, when she asked about thread. Sally told me of a fine fine thread that she uses called Mink thread...from mimi-magic 
Size 140 glazed thread originally used for sewing pelts together. 
It is a wonderful hand sewing thread that almost disappears in the seam,very fine and strong.
 ...and of course I ordered some...in natural.

...along with this pack of varied silk sewing thread.

As I said before, I find such happiness in looking into the past of others careful hand sewing and am excited to use these threads on my creation. I believe that every material and experience you bring into creating a piece cannot help but shine through...

I am still working on this little lovely and hopefully I will be able to share her as a finished project in next weeks blog!

 ...until then!



3 comments:

  1. You are amazing! I love EVERYTHING you do! <3

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  2. We have a large Patsy and a small one at the doll museum www.auntclaudiasdolls.com AND !!! a pattern for clothes for the larger one... will send you a photo when I get to work and the size on the larger one... the larger one is wearing a great 40s romper outfit...
    Great commission...
    Mary Ellen Frank

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  3. That inspiration picture is from a pattern that I once owned:) I used to buy patterns through a local newspaper in the late 70's early 80's. It was through an ad and every week they had different patterns. I never considered them vintage but I guess they were. There was also a little boy to match her wearing short pants and a little shirt. I gave them away many years ago. The only one I kept was Betty Boop.

    Here's a picture...someone is selling the same pattern on Etsy:)....http://www.etsy.com/listing/106721877/vintage-betty-boop-doll-sewing-pattern

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