SOME OF MY FAVOURITE PROJECTS FROM 2010.

First of all, may I wish you all a very happy and peaceful 2011. I hope it will be all that you want it to be and more.

As some of you know, 2010 wasn’t the happiest of years for me in my personal life but, what kept me going most of all, were the exciting and varied orders and commissions that I received from my wonderful customers. A big thank you therefore to all of you who helped make a sad year bearable.

So, to welcome in the start of a new and hopefully much happier year I’d like to share with you pictures of some of the lovely items I was commissioned to make during 2010.

Those of you who like the Regency era will, I’m sure, enjoy the following miniature and larger doll bonnets and clothing:

Regency stove pipe bonnet modelled by 16 inch Tyler Wentworth. Made with pure hand-dyed silver-grey wool and lined with ivory silk.

 

Side View of the bonnet showing the stove pipe shaping.

Full length view showing the bonnet along with the matching pelisse (cape) and reticule (purse).

Now for the miniature Regency items, all in one twelfth scale:

Miniature Spencer jacket with matching bonnet and reticule. Made in pure silk and hand-dyed cotton lace.

Side View of the bonnet.

 

Miniature Brown silk bonnet with shirred ivory silk lining and matching reticule.

 

Miniature striped cotton walking dress with matching tall bonnet and reticule.

 

Miniature Regency wedding bonnet based on the one worn by Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC's 1990's TV drama 'Pride and Prejudice'. The bonnet is approx just under an inch tall. and is made from silk with shirred silk tulle along the length of the top, ending in a short veil. The little flowers are all hand-dyed by me.

Something for the Maid. A much plainer cotton house dress and apron along with a little mop cap.

 For those of you who like the earlier Georgean (Colonial) era, an interesting order arrived where I had to’ miniaturise’ a larger Marie Antoinette style doll costume, complete with all the underwear.

Here is the original larger doll costume:

18th Century Marie Antoinette style gown modelled by 16 inch Tyler Wentworth. Made in pure silk.

The panniers and petticoat underneath. (16 inch version)

 

Miniature 18th Century Marie Antoinette style gown also in pure silk.

Here is the one twelfth scale miniature version:
Here is the one twelfth scale miniature version:
The miniature version of the panniers with petticoat and hand-applied shoes.

  

 

For the ballet lovers, one of the lovliest projects I worked on was the re-designing of my Lilac Fairy costume for 16 inch ballerina dolls:

New Lilac Fairy tutu (from the Sleeping Beauty ballet).

  

Detail on the top of the tutu.

And finally a most enjoyable project came in the form of a miniature wedding gown based on the one worn by Burlesque star Dita Von Teese.

Miniature version of the Dita Von Teese style gown in one twelfth scale with tricorn hat.Side view of gown.

Close up of miniature stockings, suspenders and hand-applied silk and leather shoes.
To add to my enjoyment was a Barbie sized version of the lovely purple silk dress and hat:

Dita style dress modelled by Barbie.

  

 

Close up of the Tricorn hat.

 

So, all in all there were some really different projects during 2010 and 2011 looks set to continue along that same path.
See you all again soon.
Don’t forget to check out the AIM (Artisans in Miniature) on-line magazine (see my blog links).
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HOW ONE THING OFTEN LEADS TUTU ANOTHER!

Many people have asked me how my miniature fairy slippers, tutus and ballet costumes have come about. Well, it was one of those cases where one thing did indeed lead to another. But first I would like to tell you about a particular favourite order that I made for a young Australian ballet student.

I am often asked to reproduce human-sized costumes into doll size and find this a very enjoyable challenge. I especially enjoy historical and ballet costumes and one of my favourite projects was when I was asked to make some tutus to fit the 16 inch Tonner NYCB ballerina doll.

The doll’s costumes were commissioned by Sue, the mother of New Zealand ballet student, Katie and were for a birthday present. Katie was dancing in a competition and the doll’s costumes had to resemble as near as possible, both of Katie’s own tutus. Sue sent me some pictures of the Katie’s tutus and the rest was up to me.

The first tutu was for the part of ‘Princess Aurora Rose’ from the famous ballet ‘The Sleeping Beauty’. This was an absolutely gorgeous tutu in pale peachy pink with lace, pearl and sequin detail on the bodice and top frill. Unfortunately I no longer have the close-up pictures of the lace detail that Sue sent me but here is a lovely picture of Katie dancing in this beautiful tutu.

Katie dancing in her Aurora Rose tutu.

 This costume was made by Katie’s dancing teacher Philippa Campbell and the lace detail was applied by Katie herself.

I found that I had both the right shade of pink silk for the bodice and tulle for the frills plus I was also able to find a really lovely cotton lace that could be cut about to make the details for the bodice and top frill. All the flowers on the lace had to be cut out separately and applied individually around the top of the bodice and down the centre front and then onto the top frill. I then applied all the pearls separately and finally the sequins were dotted over the rest of the top frill. Tulle arm frills were made to match the tutu frills and I made a headdress from wired beads. Here is a picture of the finished costume modelled on my own NYCB Ballerina doll.

The finished doll-sized Aurora Rose tutu.

 Here is a close up of the lace, pearl and sequin detail.  

Close-up of the lace, pearl and sequin detail on the doll's tutu.

The second costume was a really exotic style of tutu for the part of ‘Esmeralda’. This had a bodice in a dark shade of greeny- blue with matching lace sleeves and golden braid decoration, extending into shaped lace and decorated silk panels onto the top frill of the tutu.

Katie dancing in the Esmeralda tutu.

 The top tutu frill was a paler shade of greeny-blue tulle and the rest of the frills were pale ivory in colour. There was also a headdress made from crystals. This costume was made by a professional Aukland tutu maker called Margaret Shore. Here are two lovely pictures of Katie wearing this gorgeous costume: one of her dancing and one of her receiving her prizes.

Katie receiving her prizes in the Esmeralda tutu.

For the doll’s tutu, I found a good match in dark greeny-blue silk dupion for the bodice and panels. The lace was more of a challenge as I had to dye this myself. After a bit of experimenting, the right shade was reached. I already had all the tulle for the tutu in stock as well as the trims. I have quite a stock of different bodice and sleeve patterns for tutus that I have made over the years so the only new pattern that needed making was for the decorated panels that sat on the top of the tutu skirt.

The doll-sized Esmeralda tutu.

Here is a picture of the finished doll-sized tutu (shown below left) modelled by my own NYCB doll (who didn’t want to take it off!)

 Here is a close-up picture (below) of the tutu bodice detail.

Close up of the detail on the doll-sized Esmeralda tutu.

Close up of the Esmeralda doll headdress.

 The headdress was made from lengths of rhinestone chain wired together to fit the doll’s head.

Having made a lot of tutus for the larger dolls, I decided to try scaling down to miniature size (one twelfth scale). I had already been dressing tutus onto the miniature dolls for some years but had not made a miniature tutu on its own without the doll wearing it. Experiments started and I found that my ideas worked out fine and I set about designing some miniature ballet costume sets.

I decided to concentrate on four designs based on the most popular ballet characters.

 These were Princess Aurora Rose (from The Sleeping Beauty)

Miniature Aurora Rose tutu set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                  Odette and Odile (from Swan Lake)

Miniature Odette tutu set.

Miniature Odile tutu set.

                                                                                   and the long white tutu from Giselle.

Miniature Giselle or Sylphide tutu set.

 I also decided to offer each tutu with a head dress on a wig, displayed on a stand and also a tiny pair of ballet shoes.

The ballet shoes for the sixteen inch dolls were not made by me but were commercially produced by an American company but there didn’t seem to be anyone producing realistic looking miniature pointe ballet shoes. I realised that I would have to come up with a way of making them myself.

I had made miniature ballet shoes onto my one twelfth scale ballerina dolls but never made the shoes on their own. I decided to dig my own old (and very well used) pointe ballet shoes out from the back of my wardrobe and take a closer look at them.

My old (and very well-worn) pointe ballet shoes.

After much fiddling around with tiny pieces of silk, I eventually worked out a way of making a one twelfth scale version under an inch in length.

Miniature ballet shoes in traditional pink, gold and black. (Shown with an English penny and American five cent piece.)

 These completed the miniature ballet costume sets perfectly and even became popular on their own too.

 It wasn’t very long before I was asked to provide the ballet shoes in a little hand-decorated gift box of their own

Gift boxed miniature ballet shoes.

 and these have proved very popular indeed, especially as I am able to produce them in a huge range of colours as well as the traditional flesh pink.

Well, one thing led to another, as it so often does and the idea of miniature ballet shoes in gift boxes led me to thinking ‘Why not have gift boxed Fairy Slippers too?’ Once again experiments began and after much fiddling around ( although not as much as with the ballet shoes!) and these tiny pointy- toed silk slippers took shape.

Miniature Fairy Slippers (shown with an English penny and American five cent piece)

 I offered these in decorated gift boxes again and in many different colours and they have also proved extremely popular.

Gift boxed Fairy Slippers....A must for all smart Fairies!

It just goes to show just how making one thing can lead to making several other related items. Without the tutus for the larger dolls, the miniature tutus would not have happened. Without those, the miniature ballet shoes wouldn’t have been developed and without those, the fairy slippers would not have happened.