Friday, October 30, 2015

Tiny Kitty Returns!

As promised I am back again working on Tiny Kitty and her new cotton dress.  Thought I would share the inspiration dress with you so here it is. 


While figuring out the pattern, I had been diligently looking for my blue striped fabric. THE perfect fabric you know you have but for some reason you are unable to locate it?  Yesterday I finally found and sadly, there is not enough to create the dress.  And if there was, there is certainly insufficient fabric for mistakes.  Curses!!!  (Because you know I will make a mistake.) 

Blue solid and striped fabrics

Since my Tiny Kitty has these blue ribbons as accents on her slip, I wanted to keep everything for this figure in blue, but it is not to be.  Serendipity, however, is still alive and kicking in my favor.  I have a found another wonderful fabric in my stash. The fabric is a pretty pink, white and blue striped oxford shirt fabric.  It is nice and soft, but still has the sizing that oxford cloth sometimes has.  I am hoping that will work in my favor. The solid pink fabric is handkerchief linen, very soft.    White Swiss batiste has been selected for the lining or base garment. 

Pink solid and striped fabrics

I have been working on the pattern and stitched it together.  Though it appears to work, I think there is something wrong with it.   I am not sure what it is, but I am thinking I have a small error.  I am sure I will figure it out as I go.  (At least there is a lot of fabric here…just in case!)  And I have no idea at this writing how I am going to recreate the closures.  It also appears I need to create a chemisette for this dress so she will have the pretty eyelet collar.  I purchased some new eyelet form Urban Gardens Fabrics and I think it will be perfect.  If not, well, I’ll surprise you with something.  Or will try. 
Okay, need to get busy making.  Will update you with the progress.  Until then,

drafted pattern pieces

Have Fun! 


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Grace of Colonial Williamsburg

Earlier this year my husband I went to Williamsburg, VA to visit his sister.  While there we went to Colonial Williamsburg a couple times during the weekend.  (Lots of walking, go when it is cool.) We did have a marvelous time.  (when I wasn’t complaining about the heat) I remember when we went last, a few decades ago, and one parked at the fence-line and walked straight in.  Like any little town it has grown into quite the little business center.  There is an entire welcome center and a hotel and more.  If you do go, decide to eat there, the food is wonderful.  And do not miss the museum!  Besides being air conditioned, still complaining about the heat, the additions have been completed. You would never know you were underground!  I stopped at one point to rest and listen to the pianoforte.  I fell in love with the different sounds. You will, too! 

 In the textile room, I took more pictures than probably allowed of the needlework and clothing. 
The following day I went back to Mary Dickinson’s store. I had Grace in mind and was hoping to find fabrics to make her a dress.  In the shop were fabrics that are original reproductions of designs from Colonial Williamsburg.  The dyes and the printing are by direct specifications.  I bought one fabric I thought would possibly have use for a period garment for Grace.    The other fabrics I purchased were from the internet.  It was true serendipity as the fabrics look so well together. 

IIt seems I always make a mistake! The fabrics in the center and on the RIGHT are from Past Crafts.  

Since I always say, ‘I have no original ideas’, I decided to check my books and, of course, the internet to find inspiration for this large pattern.  Grace is an 8” tall doll, the fabrics could overwhelm her easily.  Finally, searching through Pinterest I found an inspiration dress and more or less, set to work. 

I used the wonderful patterns created for this doll by Sheryl Williams. (They were on the CD that came with our digital journal.)  You can never go wrong with anything from Sheryl.  I sing her praises each time I get to take a class or use her patterns.  Simply the best.  For this project I did modify the bodice a little.  I did not use the skirt front panel and I cut the overdress length to create the shorter jacket style. 
Modification of an old Marie Antoinette Fichu pattern was the final addition to her dress.  The entire costume is quite busy and yet it still seems to be balanced. 

I did not feel the rendering complete without a hat, and also found a sample of a period hat from the Metropolitan Museum.  I have a sweet piece of fabric from Urban Gardens Fabrics that had the look of the antique and created the pattern from scratch.  I love it, but think there could be some modifications.  Sometimes one just dives in.  (Since starting this post, I have found an old pattern to create the hat.  Perhaps next time?) 

What would our young miss be doing in her simple costume?  I figured she could be out for a simple walk, and collecting flowers? I like that idea and have a basket for her and am creating a bunch of flowers from a kit.  Maybe another post about Grace will come as her wardrobe and accessories grow. 


PS.  I have been asked about patterns for these dolls I create, and have not yet thought about making them available for purchase.  If you are interested, please leave me a note and I will get back to you on this 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Have You Seen This Picture?
Repaint of Grace (2009 convention souvenir from UFDC convention) by Darlene Lane

Beautiful work,  Right?  I have saved this picture as inspiration since I first saw it.   

Let’s go back in time, just a little bit, to 2009 and my first convention with UFDC.  The convention souvenir was a doll named ‘Grace’, and a little beauty she is.  The doll sculpt is by Beverly Walters, and turned over for the mass production that (sadly) goes into doll making these days.  I do love her.  (Read original article about Grace here :)

Being mass-produced, the dolls were fair of face and did not have quite the detail of a beautiful hand painted doll.  Darlene Lane, master doll maker if there ever was one, had shown the above repaint of her souvenir. That face is a charmer.  No surprise, and I wanted a repaint for myself.  I sat on this idea and kept the saved the repaint picture for inspiration.    

Through the years, I have wondered if I could do a repaint, too.   

A few months ago, a couple of dolly dressing friends of mine,  and I were talking about these repainted doll heads, or embellished doll faces, and I thought I would like to give it a try.  Both friends had extra dolls and were game for me trying to repaint their dolls, too! 

In a couple of weeks, the dolls arrived and I labeled the heads.  I set up work space and was ready for the job at hand.  I keep my class notes for painting order and followed that that painting guide.  My first step was to paint nose dots, eye dots, some lip liner.  Into the Paragon Quick Fire they go.  

Several hours later, the porcelain cooled, time to lift the lid.  I was so excited!  Oh, no!  All of the hair had fired off.  Okay, insert expletives here!  I had no idea what to do next!  What had I been I thinking? I was so disappointed and shocked and could not bear the thought of reporting the event to my friends.  I had ruined their dolls.  What would you do?  I slept on it. 
Yikes, no hair!

(Let me pause for a moment to say something about the doll industry.  It’s a tough industry, competitive, cut throat at times.  However, that can be the story of anything, any job, any endeavor at any time.  Usually, I am too intimidated to approach some “famous” person, or self-conscious about my skills or knowledge, or just feel inferior to the person with whom I want to talk.  Nevertheless, I get up the nerve and just do it.)

I decided to go to the source of my inspiration, Darlene Lane.  I had never met Darlene Lane, but admired her skills. Gathering my courage, I sent her an email.  Lucky me!  She wrote back.  Boy, what a font of information and you know what, it wasn’t just me, it happened to her as well.  She shared so much about her experience, the history, and the solutions.  Darlene even surprised me by sending the color she used to return the hair to the same or so close as to be the same, hair color.  I could not have done it without her.   
Hair and face complete.  

After overcoming the hair challenge, it was smooth sailing, mostly.  I managed to get the hair painted, and the eyes and brows and lips all highlighted and the color deepened.  I hit another snag with the 3D paste, or Rochard paste, and had to improvise, but I overcame this as well.  Due to the position in the kiln, I was unable to fire the paste or even the white appropriately for my Grace.  I have since, sanded the hair ornaments, and added half pearls for earrings and the hair ornaments for my doll. 

My Grace completed!   
Have Fun!    Kathi

PS.  Tiny Kitty and her Edwardian costume will resume shortly.  In the meantime, illness (all’s well), travel and the dreaded computer breakdown and upgrade have caused me to be quite behind.  The inspiration dress and fabrics are selected; the pattern is made but is being fitted.  I’ll be back soon.