Friday, March 21, 2014

Queen Anne- Process of Design

If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; 

 every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth. 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have always loved dolls of the past...where did they come from, who made them, how did they learn to sew?

It came to me that I wanted to recreate an 18th Century Queen Anne doll and so my journey started to design a doll that was always carved in wood.
A bit of History of Queen Anne Dolls

A jointed body and carved face decorated with stylized eyebrows and brightly rouged cheeks characterize the "Queen Anne" style dolls. English woodcarvers and craftsmen began making these dolls in the 1600s which continued through the 1840s. Affordable only to affluent families, the vast majority of Queen Anne dolls where owned by women, who dressed them in the fashions of the time.
Not only was my personal challenge going to be to translate the wood to cloth but also to make this piece the best possible design that was in me...aim high.

I wanted to make this doll entirely of cloth so anyone could make her as long as you could get your hands on a nice muslin.

My first stop was to a local antique store, where Sally took out of the case the delicate wooden Queen Anne/George III doll for me to hold! Looking over each carved area, the pegged joints, and the tiny hand stitches that held the dress together was such an inspiration in my soul to create my doll the best I could.
Sally told me of a book Heart of the Tree from the Rosalie Whyel Museum (now closed).
Museum at 425-455-1116. 160-page full color hardcover: $49.95 US + shipping.
This book has beautiful images and wonderful insightful information. 

It has been my main resource guide. The beauty of each photo so spoke to me because of the care and attention someone made creating these dolls so long ago. It has given me the understanding of these dolls and the time period so I could make this adaptation in cloth. I love doing the research for my art and sharing it with you.

Next I went online and starting perusing the Queen Anne doll. I found someone who was selling a copy of instructions for carving a wooden doll. How perfect to start at the beginning with wood and appreciate the concept in wood first before starting it in cloth!

I thought this was a perfect way to understand these dolls in a three dimensional way.

I studied the shape of these pieces and thought about how to translate this into cloth and add a few cloth needlesculpting details- like the mitt hand with fingers and toes! These are not standard on a wooden Queen Anne. This is where I brought in uniqueness to the piece, by marrying up the wood tradition with the cloth tradition.
I loved the shape of her chest and that was fun to decipher to cloth!
The shape of the head, I have found to be very round. This I actually had to do three times to get it just perfect! All in all, I found this project good for the mind~ to stretch it and as always good for the spirit.

The challenge for me was to create the hip area joints- I love that- churning those little grey cells to figure this out!

Next came the painting. I did much research for depth of color and finishes.

All in all this was about a year of research before I even picked up a pencil to draft the pattern!

Here is my finished design Lizette-Queen Anne...
I developed a technique for glass eyes- that are actually not glass eyes and stay with the tradition of the dotted lashes, brows and rosy cheeks!
I could not let Lizette go out into the world without anything on!
From the book, I garnered information on a corset and found the pantaloons info on line.
Corset with fan, pockets, and daily notes
pantaloons with split crotch which for my doll was closed
 Lizette with corset and pantaloons...
She has many outfits to come in the future years...I have completed the Robe à la Française which I will show you in a blog to come!

check out her costuming! link here


  1. shes lovely. Will you be teaching her online in the future?

    1. Hi Margie,
      At this point ~ she is a class.
      In the future~ she will be a Master pattern available to all!
      No online class scheduled for her right now.

  2. She is lovely. Will you be teaching this doll online in the future? Hope so.

  3. I have become fascinated with the Queen Anne style doll, I look forward to seeing more of your doll as you develop her clothes, she is really lovely.

  4. From Rita:
    This doll is so delicate and I love the way you used the wooden pattern and translated it into fabric. I would love to learn how to make this doll with you. Lolol

  5. Your Queen Anne Doll is such a treasure. I am looking forward to this pattern.

  6. Your Queen Anne Doll is such a Treasure. I can't wait to try to make one for myself when your pattern comes available. I love her delicate face.

  7. Leslie, you are always such an inspiration! This is just wonderful!

  8. Well, you did a fabulous job recreating her in fabric! She looks so much like the wooden doll! Awesome!

  9. Wow, Leslie, this is an amazing accomplishment, and such an inspiration! I love that you've done so much research, so she is correct to the style, and I especially love that she has just a hint of a smile, so not only does she look friendly, but I can tell that she is your creation :-) Very, very splendid work- I can't wait to see her at NIADA!

  10. Love this beautiful delicate doll and hearing the inspiraton behind her. I can't wait to see your future clothing/accessories for her.

  11. Oh my heavens, I can only imagine the hours that went into the amazing doll, Leslie. Every single detail of her is so thought out and intentional. The way you listen to your soul and let it guide you to create is so inspiring.

    Thank you for sharing this journey and I can not wait to see the clothes!

  12. You can count on me to buy your pattern, it's genius!

  13. Im making a wooden doll. Using the same page of the same book
    Its a fab thomg to have for reference. I've made a clay version. A fabric version . Would be fab to keep up the good work!!!

    1. check out her costuming on my posting!


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