Sunday, 30 August 2009

Hanoko Kobayashi has also used wool tops for the hair of her doll which she has dressed in a silk chiffon nightdress and stretch lace bra and leggings.
This close up shows how beautifully Trudy Grant has sculpted her doll to give her a cleavage, a nose and deep sockets for her eyes. She has used wool tops for her hair coaxing it into a late 1950s/early 1960's style to compliment the dress.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Under her best dress Trudy's doll is wearing her best underwear. Made from stretch lace the bra has blue ribbon straps and tiny hooks and eyes to fasten at the back.
This is the vintage dress pattern that Trudy Grant used for her dolls dress. She reduced all the pattern pieces by 75% on a photocopy machine and made up the dress complete with facings by following the pattern's enclosed instructions.

This absolutely stunning doll was made by Trudy Grant on 'Vintage Fashion Dolls' at Central Saint Martins Summer School 2009. Trudy has used a 1950s dress pattern reduced down to quarter-scale and a Liberty print from Shaukat Fabrics on Old Brompton Road, London SW5.

Susanna Oroyan has written several other doll making books. 'Finishing The Figure' includes tips on making clothes and shoes.

When developing the pattern for our quarter-scale fashion doll I used an excellent book called 'Anatomy Of A Doll' by Susanna Oroyan.

Friday, 3 July 2009

This 1959 Barbie doll outfit is called 'Suburban Shopper'. If you are not a big 1950s fashion fan, sets of Barbie's clothes from the 1960s are shown in 'Barbie Fashion Volume 2' and from the 1970s in 'Barbie Fashion Volume 3'.
My favourite Barbie book is 'Barbie Fashion Volume 1' By Sarah Sink Eames. Each page has pictures of the full sets of Barbie's clothes with accessories from 1959 to 1967. If you are planning to treat yourself to this book you may want to shop around for a better price than the one that I have found on Amazon.

Another book that I will be bringing in to class is 'Barbie - Her Life and Times' by Billy Boy.

'Theatre de la Mode Fashion Dolls' is a fabulous and informative book with pages and pages of pictures of these beautiful hand-made dolls dressed in perfect scaled-down 1940's couture fashions.
Several books have inspired the development of 'Vintage Fashion Dolls' at Central Saint Martins and I refer to some of them when I teach the course. The most inspiring for me is 'Theatre de la Mode Fashion Dolls: The Survival of Haute Couture'.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Eleanor Leafe has used fabric pens to draw in the face of her doll. Although dramatic and perfect for the Oscars, the dress has been draped and made from simple shapes of satin cloth.
Briony Holly Helen Bush has used a 'Trickmarker' (self erasing fabric marker) to plot the facial features of her doll before completing it with embroidery.
The face of Barbara Taylor's doll has been painted, embroidered and needle-sculpted. The paints that she used are called 'Pentel FabricFun Water Colour Dyes'; available on line or from the Central Saint Martins college shop; Southampton Row site.
On 'Vintage Fashion Dolls' at Central Saint Martins we will be making our dolls in cloth. We will choose from a selection of skin tones provided by college in 100%cotton, about the same the weight as curtain lining.
Currently on tour again, the 'Theatre de la Mode' dolls are made in wire with plaster heads and padded torsoes.

The 'Théâtre de la Mode' dolls were made towards the end of the second world war and toured the world as ambassadors for French couture fashion. Made in 1/3 scale (a third of the full human size), their clothes and accessories were perfect miniature replicas of the collections from the fashion houses that the represented. These dolls are now on display at the Maryhill Museum of Art, Oregon

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

I had made several attempts at writing a doll making course for Central Saint Martins but could never quite get an angle that would suit the needs of our students until I saw 'Miss Lachasse' and the 'Theatre de la Mode' fashion dolls at the V&A exhibition 'The Golden Age of Couture'.

Monday, 4 May 2009

While you are looking for vintage dress fabrics you may also come across vintage dress patterns. If reduced by 75% on a photocopy machine, a dress pattern with a 34" (86cm) bust will fit the 'quarter-scale' dolls made on Vintage Fashion Dolls at Central Saint Martins.
Liberty prints can be found on Ebay, at antique fairs and car boot sales but be sure that you know what you are looking for because they can be expensive. Better still, ask anyone you know who was or still is a keen dressmaker. You only need small pieces and may find that they have a few leftover scraps.
From top-to-toe Julie Goodman's doll is wearing a hat made from milliners sinamay, a broderie anglaise blouse, a Liberty print skirt and felt slippers. Liberty's Classic Tana Collection includes fabrics that were designed for them in the 1920's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's. Many are small-scale florals which are perfect for dressmaking in quarter-scale. To make an ankle length dress for your doll, the absolute maximum amount of fabric that you will need is 50cm.

Friday, 1 May 2009

This photo of Fiona Macandrew working on her fashion doll will help you to visualise the size of a doll made in 'quarter -scale'. Quarter-scale pattern blocks are used by pattern cutters when working out a particularly complicated pattern before doing it in full-scale; when working on a computer and when working out how much fabric is needed. Patterns made in quarter-scale can be blown up by 200% to a full-scale garment pattern.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

The dolls were inserted with wire so that we could photograph them in different poses. Susana's doll is seen here sitting on a box of vintage pearls in a simple shift dress made from a vintage handkerchief. The accessories have been made to pick-up the orange of it's embroidered flower.
The pattern for these fashion dolls is based on a standard UK size 12, in quarter-scale. This picture of Susana Botero and her doll will give you an idea of what 'quarter-scale' looks like.

The beautiful vintage-look face of Fiona Macandrew's doll is achieved with a very soft application of textile paints. The hair is made from dyed tops which is wool that has been prepared but not yet spun into yarn.
Barbara Taylor has used fabric paints and hand embroidery to add facial details to her doll. She has used flax for the hair and needle sculpture to shape the body.
I thought that I would start by posting up pictures of some of the dolls that students made on 'Vintage Fashion Dolls' summer 2008. These two dolls were made by Fiona Macandrew and Barbara Taylor. Vintage Fashion Dolls