Is it Summer yet?

 

 

I have been in a funk lately. When that happens I know the only thing that will  pull me out of it is DOLLS! DOLL THINGS! DOLL DRESSMAKING! While a friend was in town the other week we stopped by Needle and Thread in Gettysburg. If you haven’t been, you have to make a trip! Its like shopping in New York City without the pricey plane ticket and hotel costs. I picked up a semi sheer striped cotton fabric. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but I knew I had to make a doll dress with it. So to Pinterest I went! The only requirements for my search was summery, sheer/semi sheer, stripes and pagoda sleeves. I personally love pagoda sleeves on summer and warm weather clothing for this time period due tot he fact you can go without underserves. It helps keep you cool in the heat.

The Victorian’s were not stupid.

After a few sessions on Pinterest going back and forth on designs; I settled on two original dresses to take inspiration from. One of them I used more so than the other but they are both very similar to each other. Both of these dresses met my criteria as well.
Here is the first one:


Here is the second one:

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My doll sized copy of this dress went together pretty quick and easy(which is good because some days I have no patience for long and drawn out projects). The dresses I picked are simple in design and really let the fabric do the talking. The only trimming on this dress is  the ruffled self fabric trim on the pagoda sleeves. That trim is similar to one of my inspiration dresses. I used my pinking machine to trim the edges and add visual interest.

Here is my doll sized copy:

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What I enjoy about putting these outfits together is finishing them off with accessories. For this ensemble I added a miniature engraved belt with burgundy silk “belting” (aka silk satin ribbon) and a complementing day cap. I used so many elements from multiple fashion illustrations and originals its hard to really pinpoint a few examples of what I copied.

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For the day cap I used scraps of silk Point D Esprit netting trimmed with cotton lace in blond and black topped with light mint green silk ribbon. I had actually made this cap just randomly the other week, but while I was doing the photo shoot for the dress for this post I needed to add headwear. I love making small accessories for dolls! Its very relaxing for me.

I have many friend’s who own dolls (or is it the other way around?) but these dolls are not as well dressed as they want to be.   If you find a dress from a fashion plate or a museum that you want made for your doll; I can do that! Did you miss this post? You can see my favorite doll sized version of an original ensemble in that post! Most of the time when I want to make a dress for my dolls that’s how I start. Looking at originals in museums, private collections or fashion plates. I can also make matching dresses to what you might own in your wardrobe!  If you have a doll that wants a new dress, cap or bonnet just message me via Repro Dolls.

See you next time!

Reproducing an 1860’s Skating Ensemble

The day before Christmas in 2016 I started a project that I thought would be done in a week. Boy was I wrong! This outfit was done as of Christmas day 2017 minus the matching fur muff.

Since Lydia Ann has pretty much everything I own plus way more; its hard to decide what else to make her. I struggle with adding pieces to her wardrobe I would never wear like fancy sheer garments and what I consider superfluous outwear. I know there are so many variations on outwear but if I personally don’t wear it; I never dress Lydia Ann in it. That’s how I roll. So back to my awful decision making process.

For Christmas 2016 I basically just finished her matching ball gown to my star silk. I was disappointed in myself but for some reason I didn’t have time to make more? I’m really not sure what my excuse was. So the day before Christmas 2016, I started her skating ensemble and like a delusional person thought I could complete it in a week. Yeah right.

Long story short, it took an entire year of working on and off, sourcing supplies and procrastinating. So first I will show you the original ensemble and then my copy.

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Here is the link to the MET’s collection listing.  The original is made out of silk and fur. I am not sure of what the batting is made from, its either cotton or wool. My money is on wool as this outfit is supposed to keep you warm.

For my copy I used a burgundy silk taffeta quilted with cotton batting to keep the bulk at a minimum. I searched out a few white/off white vintage fur collars to use as trim. I had to find a short hair pelt so the scale would look right. On some projects I don’t worry so much about scale but since I was putting so much effort into this I wanted to go the extra mile. Sourcing the fur took me the longest actually; a half year to be exact. The quilting of all the pieces was done long before that. I didn’t copy the hat from the museum though. I looked through fashion magazines at the time and found images of a toque style hat in velvet with trim. I like the look of the matching hat since this is a very high fashion look. I have not had a chance to finish the matching muff , that is the last piece of this outfit to finish. Sadly since its now warming up I wont be able to do a snow photo shoot with the matching muff until next winter. But that’s fine.

So I guess everyone is ready to see the finished product? I hope so or I’m not really  sure what you are doing reading this post.

 

 

Now that this ensemble is pretty much done; I’m at a loss as to what big project to do next for Lydia Ann.  If you have any ideas, comment and let me know! I can use all the help I can get some days!

Happy Birthday Lydia Ann!

On this date 7 years ago, Lydia Ann made her debut to the world on Facebook! I believe I had her in my possession for a few days before that but she had to at least be dressed in undergarments before she could be presented to the world.

I personally can not believe and her and I have been having adventures for 7 years now! She has been with me through a few men in my life and MANY ups and downs. Two marriages to be exact! What can I say? I know what I want and I will have it no matter what!

Lydia Ann was what rekindled my love affair with dolls. I have always had this love but she woke it up for me again. After her I started buying antique dolls as well. Now  I make reproduction dolls to sell and none  of that would have happened if I had not bought Lydia Ann! Seriously I wrote a huge long winded post on it if you care to read it here.

She started out as a way to unwind after work years ago. Sewing for her and coming up with new and fun accessories was something that helped me through that time. I mostly still have everything she started with though some things have been replaced.

But without further ado, behold the birthday girl:

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She doesn’t look a day over 4 years old! 😉  Now for those who care to gift Lydia Ann with birthday offerings she loves things like silk fabrics, french fashion accessories and wine. She prefers sweet wines. 😉

*If you have a birthday offering message me for the address. 🙂

Maybe one of these years I will do a proper birthday party for her. But for now she is enjoying her online party!

A Reproduction Jewel Casket for Lydia Ann, Inspiration images.

After two years of acquiring jewelry for Lydia Ann I have decided that she needs a place to keep it all in. Basically this happened after I went looking for one of her pieces and it fell out on my floor from between some random objects.

Oops.

A jewel casket is needed.

So here are my inspiration images:

Monogram:

8619853_master The monogram on her casket wont be as fancy but it will be done in gold!

Quilted silk lining:

quilted silkWhy stop with luxury only on the outside? The feet on this one are a fancier version of the casket I am making.

This next casket just inspired me with the gold and what I presume is tortoise shell or faux tortoise shell.

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The shape:

shapeThis is a much fancier version of what I am making BUT we know the average lady did not own this box. Lydia Ann is more of an average “lady” but don’t tell her I said that…..

 

Stay tuned for the finished product!

A random 18th century doll post!

Sometimes as hard as you try to put together a highly organized post; it wont happen. I had another post written and thought that was going to be a good one to publish. I wrote it and it was hard work to connect all my ideas. So it is going to stay in my drafts folder a while longer.

Sometimes you just need eye candy to ogle and not do serious research. So today I decided to visit The MET museums online collection. I typed “doll” into the search bar and away I went! My plan was simple, scroll until I saw something I fell in love with, then run with it. So you may be asking now, what caught my attention?

18th Century dolls!!!

I have always been in love with type of doll. My favorite set is at the V & A museum in England. The set is of a couple named Lord and Lady Clapham! They are both dressed in the best fashion from the early 18th century including wigs. They are fabulous and one day I hope to have a set of reproductions.clapham1

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Look at the atttude in the first image! They know they are a fabuous couple!

When I did my wild card search on The MET’s website, I didn’t find many actual dolls more clothes showed up. That is ok though! What I found is still fun to look at and drool over. So lets begin:

The first item that caught my eye was a painting called “Child holding a doll” from 1780. You can see exactly what shape frame it was due to the main part of the painting being faded. A little girl holds her doll in her lap. You can get a good look at the doll’s wig and dress.

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The next piece is an engraving from 1742. It is called “The charming doll”.This is of a child looking at a well dressed doll just standing next to her on what appears to be a street. The child has this sour puss look on its face too. Maybe the child is upset that the doll is dressed better than her? I just dont think she finds the doll charming at all……

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The next few items are antique doll clothing in their collection.

This charming and well-tailored gentleman’s coat is embroidered in the same style a full-sized gentleman would have made. This is dated to 1740-1760. I belive the sleeves are a giveaway for dating this piece.

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These gentlemens breech look to be made out of a scrap of silk with a larger pattern in it. I can just imagine the full size garment that this fabric could have made up during this time. Beautiful!

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The final garment is a ladies silk jacket. I wish we could have seen the petticoat that went with this originally. I bet it was a fun set. I love the main fabric with the floral pattern. One thing I have noticed in 18th century dolls clothing is most times they did not bother to match scale.

womens jacket

 

The final item I want to spotlight is an actual doll! She is small and in a nice display box but a doll none the less! She is dated to 1748 and is displayed in a hand painted box. The hand painting reminds me what you see in wallpaper designs of the time. If you look close enough, you will see she has a little teeny tiny pocket watch hanging from her waist! Though I am not sure why exactly she is in a box, it has probably helped keep her in pristine shape for all these years.

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Victorian Era Shell Dolls

The other day I was browsing the Strong National Museum of Play’s website while I was bored at work (yeah,yeah I know…I should have been working). I started to look through their collection of dolls from the 19th century. I saw the typical ones I have always seen and loved; wooden grodnertals, china heads and parians and French fashion dolls. One doll caught my eye, it was a shell doll. Occasionally, one or two would pop up but I never really considered them. A quick search on The Strong’s online collections yielded pages of results!
Before I show you the beautiful examples of shell dolls I found, I want to give you a brief history of shell crafting. Shell handicrafts date back to the 18th century. They were originally called “sailors valentines” and were most often made or brought back by sailors to loved ones. Sometimes these were sold for pocket money while a sailor was in port. These intricate works of art show attention to detail and creative use of different colored and shaped sea shells.

During the mid-19th century, seaside travel became fashionable. There were pages of fashion magazines dedicated to what to wear to these resorts and other advice on the subject. It’s no surprise that souvenirs were popular with tourists. Shell dolls became one of the many types of souvenirs available to travelers. Though these resorts were all over the world; the “base” dolls (the dolls that the shells were attached to) mostly came from one country. Germany produced most of the worlds dolls at the time, so it’s no wonder that the “base” dolls came from there as well! The “base” dolls were commonly paper mache or wood.  The examples I could study were made using cheaper quality dolls of the period. The one example of a doll that was made completely in France is made from shells alone, no “base” doll was used.
Lady’s magazines of the time such as Godeys and Petersons offered instructions on how to do shell handicrafts including dolls, picture frames, decorative boxes, mirrors, dresser sets, dollhouse furniture and shadow box scenes. Some copied the souvenirs you could buy at seaside resorts and some used their imagination to create these wonderful, kitschy works of art. This trend continued through the 1870’s and was included in books on how to do “fancy work”. Companies sold the supplies to do these in the comfort of your own home and for those not fortunate enough to travel to the seashore.  The Sears and Roebuck catalog sold shells to customers during the second half of the 19th century making this craft more available to the masses than before.

The first example of a shell doll here is from Brittany,France. This is the only example I have found from France so far. There may be other examples out there but I haven’t found them yet.

french shell doll

The next two examples are from Germany:

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My favorite doll out of the ones I examined is the one from Brittany. She is so very modern yet timeless. I have seen similar versions in modern seashore gift shops. This just shows what goes around comes a round.

 

Palmateer Point Quilt-a-long

Last month I joined a group on Facebook called “Humble quilts”. They specialize in miniature sized quilts. I thought this would be a good fit. I didn’t realize how right I was until I started my first quilt a long with them!

I was not able to start the quilt a long with everyone else due to my work schedule being a bit crazy but as soon as I had a day off; I was off and running! The quilt a long was called “Palmateer Point” and was based off an antique quilt that the blogger/ group owner found. She didn’t reveal the design until the final post on her blog. I thought that was a great touch seeing as this was supposed to be a very “scrappy” quilt.

I used this quilt top as a way to use up scraps in my stash(most of which were civil war era patterns). I used up quilt a bit and was happily surprised that most was well coordinated. I was very worried that I would have to run out and buy more fabric and the goal of this years quilting has been to use up the mountain of stash fabric I have instead of adding to it. I have chosen the binding fabric but I have to dig more to figure out what backing fabric to use. So onto my finished quilt top (it has yet to be quilted):

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Here are the blog entries for the quilt a long as well. This was a good stepping stone for me as a beginner quilter transitioning into more complicated work and refining my techniques. So if you are a beginner just pace yourself and remember the original was not perfect either! So breathe!

Introduction:

http://humblequilts.blogspot.com/2017/09/palmateer-point-quiltalong.html

Part one:

http://humblequilts.blogspot.com/2017/09/palmateer-point-quiltalong-part-1.html

Part two:

http://humblequilts.blogspot.com/2017/09/palmateer-point-quiltalong-part-2.html

Part three:

http://humblequilts.blogspot.com/2017/09/palmateer-point-part-3.html

Part four:

http://humblequilts.blogspot.com/2017/10/palmateer-point-part-4-and-finale.html

Quilt reveal and Link party:

http://humblequilts.blogspot.com/2017/10/palmateer-point-linky-party.html

 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next adventure report!

UFDC Public Day 2017 Part Two

Before I show off the day that we spent at Disney World, I wanted to show off my favorite of the exhibitsat the UFDC Convetion. I liked all of them but this was my hands down favorite.

Meet Miss Ethel Newcome!

She is a wax doll that was sold at a Sanitary Fair in 1864 during the Civil war. I have a soft spot for Sanitary fair dolls. They have the best wardrobes but what really strikes me is the effort that was put into them. It was all to benefit the soldiers welfare during the war. This money was spent on hospital supplies, food etc.

Ethel does not have as large of a wardrobe as Rose Percy or the Sanitary fair doll I saw last UFDC public day. What she does have is beautiful!

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My favorite pieces were the riding habit and the fur set in original boxes!

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But we cant forget about accessories! Every girl and doll needs something for every occasion!

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Stay tuned for the next installment of trip photos!

 

 

 

UFDC Public Day 2017 Part one

This year the UFDC Convention was held in Orlando,fl! Which was a great twist of fate as one of my favorite places to vacation is Orlando and Disney. So my partner in crime and I decided to hit both! I will save the Disney world photos and exhibit photos for another post though.

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Public day is the only day they allow non members to shop in the vendor hall and view the displays. Even just viewing the vendor hall is a treat! This year I saw so many 18th century dolls and many were in great shape. These dolls are usually not seen outside of museums or private collections.

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The was a mix of older antique dolls to “modern” 20th century dolls. All of them were great to see.

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Instead of trying to describe everything we saw, I will just post the images and the link to see more photos that were taken on the trip.

Follow this link to see many more photos: https://www.facebook.com/pg/reprodolls/photos/?tab=album&album_id=333997397048639

https://www.facebook.com/pg/lydiaanntravelingdoll/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1602252953159900

Enjoy!

Stanhope Stobe’ Seminar

In June of this year, I traveled down to Atlanta,GA to attend a workshop by Sue Mitchell on how to recreate the beautiful Stanhope Stobe’. Before I go into the details of the workshop and show you what I created, let me give you a little bit of the history of this technique.

In 1852 the first micro-photo was created and soon after it became what is known as a Stanhope. These teeny tiny photos grace souvenirs from all over the world in the form of miniature binoculars, crosses, walking sticks, jewelry etc. Religious themes seem to have been popular. In 1867 Antoine Edmond Rochard patented the use of these Stanhopes in a doll’s chest plate. Most of these dolls were produced between the years of 1867 and 1875. It is likely that these dolls were never meant to be put onto bodies due to the awkward nature of trying to view the image. It is my opinion that these were basically very expensive dresser decoration for ladies of high society.

Rochard himself did not produce the dolls, he just had the idea and patented it. He could have had firms such as Barrois or Jameau produce his creation. The only markings these dolls have on them is: Ed Rochard Depose Brevete S.D.g.d..

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Most of us will never see an original of these dolls due tot he scarcity and the fact most reside in museum’s away from prying eyes.  Some examples have as few as two jewels and some have as many 41!

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Now for the seminar, we used reproduction Stanhope’s made by Stanhope Microworks based out of Mechanicsburg, PA.

The first step was to design out how you wanted your chest plate to look. Did you want to use more gold or more jewels? Rhinestones or cabochons? There were quite a few choices. We received one Stanhope to use for this seminar. I choose to make a necklace out of rhinestones rimmed in gold. The gold we used was real gold.

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In between firings of each layer of the gold on the chest plate we worked on the head of the Stobe’.

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We also made the wig for this doll. This was only my second wig but I feel like I improved tenfold since my first one a year and a half ago! Everyone did a similar style, simple yet elegant. We didn’t want the hairstyle to take away from the Stanhope itself.

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Here is everyone’s finished doll’s! I was the only one who did not mount there chest and head on a body. I wanted to evoke the original use of these works of art.

 

and Mine all mounted on her beautiful silk covered box:

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If you want to see more images of this seminar check out the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/reprodolls/photos/?tab=album&album_id=314479362333776