Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My first French fashion lady!

Well, I now have my first completed reproduction French fashion doll!

She was an adventure, from start to finish. Particularly obnoxious was setting in the gussets. Especially the knees, as they were so small! I am convinced there has to be a better way to do it, and I am on a mission to try things until I figure it out. I am also on a mission to create a fabulous doll body pattern, because I was unhappy with a bunch of things about this one. (The gussets, for example, are way too large for the openings!)

Stuffing was also an adventure, because first of all, it's not a matter of just dumping in the stuffing and saying "voila!" It's a lot more time-consuming, because you need to work with small amounts of stuffing so you can really pack it in as you go, so you don't have bulges and/or pockets of air. So I spent quite a bit of time, and when I had stuffed all the way to the waist, I decided to start over because the ankles weren't quite firm enough. All in all I think I spent 2+ hours on this step of the project!

At first I thought she was going to be quite flexible. . .

Okay, I knew she wasn't going to be as flexible as that, but this was during the first stuffing and I was in a good mood and being silly. ;)

I did, however, think she was going to be able to really bend at the joints where there are gussets. Turns out she can bend a bit in the knee, but the gussets at the back end are barely functional. Again, I need to do some trial and error and figure out how to fix the pattern!

I found it kind of strange how the doll will not lay flat. This is her "natural" position. She is rigor mortis doll!

Also, she really can't sit up. I have the same problem with Charlotte, coincidentally, where she wants to lay backwards. I have lazy dolls, who just want to lounge about instead of sitting pretty with nice posture!

This doll, I can force into a sitting position, but as you can see, it puts stress on the body. And, I think if I tried to shove her into a chair like this, she would just pop out. Clearly, this doll will need to be stored on a stand, and so I have ordered one.

Another figure "flaw" is that she has absolutely no bust. I know these dolls weren't busty, but one generally sees a wee bit of a roundness. This total flatness is going to make it challenging to make pretty lady costumes for her. I think I may have to give her a little padding to stuff in her corset before I get into making dresses! (Also note the pose in this picture. Again, rigor mortis dolly! Not only can she not sit down properly, but she can't stand up straight either!)

Also. . . There is a reason I could not stop humming Sir Mix-A-Lot while I stuffed a certain aspect of her body! ;)

The finished body!

Only not really, because I realized her arms were too long. The overall length was okay, but look back at that picture, and notice her elbow location. . . Yup, too long! I think actually the real problem is that the bisque part of her arms are too short for her, but of course I can't really adjust them, so I went with shortening the upper arms to try to move the elbows somewhat higher up. And after that, plus a day of Glenn driving me to the auto supply store and then the hardware store, he helped me attach the head to the shoulder plate, and voila!

Overall, I am happy with her, as far as the results I obtained with what I had to work with. I still do have issues with the body pattern, as mentioned, and her arms are too short, as also mentioned. I think I want a different wig because this one isn't quite what I had in mind. . . But then again, I can't find a wig that matches what's in my mind! And the biggest issue of all is that she is much smaller than I wanted. I wanted a doll that was about 20" tall, maybe 18" at the shortest, and she is only 15". But since I simply can not find a doll, or doll head/shoulders, that will yield a doll any taller than this, I am making the best of what I have. On the plus side, while she can not share any of the furniture/accessories I have for my other dolls, she can make use of a few accessories I purchased that ended up being too small for Charlotte, so that is pretty cool. . .

I have found a mould that will create a 20" doll in the end - and she would be beautiful - my dream doll! But that's a story for another day. . . A day in which I find a kiln and learn to make things of porcelain! ;) In the meantime, I am just going to have to adjust myself to working on an even smaller scale than I have been used to!