Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Bridal Challenge


I have a project I would like to tell you about, but it is anachronistic and I do not want my purist friends to go crazy.  I mean I would not do this unless there was a real reason for the project and there is a reason.  This is a story of six degrees of separation.  A friend of mine, Nancy, is a friend of someone I idolize, the late Mr. John Burbidge.  (Les Petites Dames des Modes see previous post:  

I talked and talked about him when we had a chance.  One day she let the bomb drop.  I know him, you know.  My jaw dropped.  I asked her a billion questions.   My friend Nancy was the hairdresser for his Little Ladies.  She wigged and styled each one.  I was flabbergasted but fascinated as well.  How had I not known about this?  We had known each other for years.  

      One day I answered the phone and Mr. Burbidge was on the other line.  He said, “Hi, Kathi, this is John Burbidge, I understand you like my work!”  My response?  “Oh! Hi!  Uh, wait a minute, I have to sit down!”  Well, we had the best conversation in the whole world.  It was wonderful.  We talked about pattern making, methods of making them, design and interpretation and so many other things.  30 minutes later, I was out of the house on my way to an appointment and calling my husband.  I think I was hyperventilating.     

      Well a few days later, a package arrived in the mail and he had sent me a kind note and a copy of a pattern he created for Doll Reader magazine in 1987.  He made a replica of Sarah Ferguson’s wedding gown worn for her marriage to Prince Andrew.  In our conversation, I wondered if I could execute one of his patterns knowing adjustments for size and scale could be difficult.  That was my challenge; make the dress, anyway I wanted on a smaller scale than his 30” mannequins, and to make it not the same, that is to say, to use the basics and create something different.  

I chose three dolls that were in miniature scales and from those three I would choose one for which to make this dress.  

      Dear purist friends this is where we might part ways, but I will go back to era-correct soon.  I promise.  The figure is an antique reproduction created by Alice Leverett called the Ultimate Fashion Doll™, ( my favorite doll and my “play doll”.  She is the doll for which I create just for me. 

(Note: Ultimate Fashion Dolls are no longer in production) 

      I am following the patterns (there are no construction directions) and creating a different “modern” wedding gown based on the pattern, but having to think about things such as pattern design, fitting, scale, fabrics, etc.  My hope is to share this project with you as I go along.  

      Please forgive me using my wonderful antique reproduction as a modern gown mannequin, but I have not another doll this size.  (Emilie Claire is off with Ian, doing who knows what, but never mind she is a reproduction, too.)  

My three choices were a Franklin Mint wedding doll.  (At least I think it was Franklin Mint.  She is quite pretty, and I play with her a bit.) She is however meant to be either a 1980s doll when the Peter Fox wedding boot was popular or more of a Belle Epoch bride doll.  She has a pretty face and body, lots of potential with her.  The middle doll is the Alice Leverette Ultimate Fashion doll.  And the far right is a Robert Tonner Tiny Kitty.  Though she is more contemporary in style and appearance I felt I could better use the size and scale of the 12” Ultimate Fashion Doll.  I may yet make one for Tiny Kitty as well.  I do not know. 

Coming up:  We will see her contemporary undergarments, progression on the dress, and maybe an accessory or two.  

As always, 
Have Fun!

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