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Doll dress finished!

The finishing touches went on the two-piece Victorian doll dress and hat last night. Pictures!

First, the blouse half of the dress. This section I copied almost exactly from the old dress. I did have to estimate some on the collar, which was almost completely deteriorated. Other than that, it was like working from a pattern. Pretty straightforward.

top piece of doll dressA closer look at the contrasting cuffs. I really like how these very different colors and textures worked together.

doll dress cuff

I didn’t notice that straggling end of fringe until after I took the picture. Yes, it’s fixed now.

Then, the skirt half of the dress. I used one panel of the original dress as a pattern for this piece, then measured and improvised after that. The idea was to keep the very dressy, bustle-roomy Victorian style but without so much bulk around the waist, where the extra fabric could interfere with the doll’s motor. I achieved it by using wedge-shaped structure panels plus additional flare insets that didn’t extend all the way to the waist.

doll dress skirt front

Just out of the frame, I’m holding the skirt from the right to show the inset. There’s a mirror inset on the left side.

Here’s the skirt from behind, where the third inset is centered. The giant bow hides the waistband closure, which is simple hook-and-eye for, again, easy access to the motor box.

dress skirt from backAll of that was time-consuming, but still relatively simple. Where things really became challenging was the hat.

The old costume included a hat that was a sort of dressed-up version of the design you might use for a bed cap: basically circular, gathered at the outer edges, a little poufiness on top. It was set on the doll’s head at an angle and trimmed very nicely with lace to match the dress, plus some neat fabric cherries dangling from one side. A good hat–once. Unfortunately the hat didn’t appear to be in salvageable condition now. After the time I’d spent taking apart the dress, I didn’t even want to think about doing even more delicate seam-ripping to get hat pattern pieces to copy. So I decided to go with a completely different design–a brimmed bonnet.

bonnetThe geometry was different than I expected. I did make some errors in the first try that made the hat comically small–I mean roll on the floor comically! Only it didn’t feel funny to me, I was so disappointed. So–back to the hated seam ripping, then cutting and sewing in an additional expansion segment. Frustrating, buut in the end, it turned out really good.

bonnet backI won’t lie–I was not just relieved but THRILLED to try it on the doll’s head the second time and see it fit so well.

This project was a lot of fun, and plenty of challenge, too. It left me with some questions, though–which I’ll address tomorrowSaturday.

Categories: Regular Project

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A wife and mom, a worker bee, a churchwoman, a reader, and a crafter. What more is there to know? :)

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