Some Of My Favourite Commissions of 2011 (part one).

Hello Everybody!

Doesn’t time fly? One minute I’m writing about young Henry and Katherine and Christmas is only just on the horizon and then, before I know it, we’re into February!

As some of you know, I write for one of the UK’s leading miniatures magazines ‘Dolls House And Miniature Scene’ (DHMS). I write ‘How To Dress’ miniature dolls articles. For this aspect of my job, I work closely with the editor who commissions me to provide articles on a specific costume theme. I then design and create a doll dressed appropriately for the given theme which will be photographed by the magazine as the finished article, so to speak. I also provide all the pattern pieces needed and the full making up instructions.

As you can imagine, this is no mean task as the doll on its own will take many hours of designing and creating, let alone all the instructions on how to do it!  But I regard this aspect of my work as most important because, for me, it is very satisfying to know that I am sharing my knowledge of this subject with others. It would be so easy to keep it all to oneself but in all honesty, what would that really achieve? Far better surely, to feel the pleasure of sharing.

I have always enjoyed the total doll creation process. But my favourite part has to be the actual costume creation. There is just something about working with fabric and turning it from a flat piece of material into a perfect miniature outfit. It tickles my senses!

My favourite commissions from DHMS last year were the Edwardian dolls based on styles from the popular TV series ‘Downton Abbey’. I was thrilled to be asked to provide articles for a lady and gent in day wear and a lady and gent in evening wear. The late Edwardian period was such an elegant era and, until recently, was nowhere near as popular as it should have been!

Lady and Gentleman in day wear. circa 1914.

 The year I chose was around 1914,  as I was commissioned before the second series began. At this time, ladies clothing was changing rapidly. Gone were the wide, full-legth trailing skirts of the early Edwardian era and the new fashion for slim-line skirts showing shoes and ankles was all the vogue! Bodices were also far more relaxed a less fitted, allowing the wearer much more freedom of movement.

For the lady’s costume, I chose to use a pretty mint green with toning stripe silk as I wanted to portray both youth and those wonderful heady Summer days just before the 1st World War was announced. Here are a few closer pictures of the lady:

1914 Lady on her own.

Close up of her matching shoes and lace stockings.

Close up of the purse.

Close up of the parasol (and lace mittens).

Hat, collar and dragonfly brooch detail.

 This lady’s gentleman friend is equally trendy in his tweed sports suit. Mens’ clothing was also changing to reflect the needs of the more sporty man. Clothing for him had to be comfortable enough to be able to go golfing, shooting or even driving the new motor cars!

The late Edwardian gent showing off his sports suit.

Close up of his real leather, laced shoes.

 Evening wear for gentlemen was still quite formal and hadn’t really changed since Victorian times. A full tail suit was still an absolute must for all formal dining and evening socialising.

Gentleman in full formal evening wear.

Close up of silk waistcoat and jewelled watch chain.

 Ladies evening wear was very elegant and echoed the simple Grecian lines of the Regency era. Skirts were drapy and soft, above ankle and often had tulle or chiffon over-dresses. Hair was dressed softly with fancy combs and feathered brooches and long evening gloves were always worn for formal occaisions.

1914 Lady in evening wear.

Close up of shoes.Close up of jewelled hanging belt.

Hair and necklace close up.
 
This was a wonderful project to work on and to be a part of and I expect you might be wondering what actually happens to the dolls that are created for the ‘How To’s’. Well, thay are kindly returned to me by the editor so that I can find them all new homes. I then put them into my E-bid store. They are all in absolutely pefect  condition but because they have been made for photographic purposes, I often list them at well below their normal retail price.
 
So if you think you would like any of them to come and live in your dolls house or display cabinet, you can see them in my store here.

 Until next time,

Best wishes,

Louise.