CLOTHING FIT FOR A KING…A TRUE KING OF ENGLAND.

The reburial of King Richard III has fired many people’s creative interest, including my own. So after making miniature dolls of this King (and his wife Queen Anne Neville), I longed to have the challenge of making a medieval man’s outfit for a larger doll.

Richard looks like he is deep in conversation with Anne.....I wonder what they might be talking about.

Richard looks like he is deep in conversation with Anne…..I wonder what they might be talking about.

 

Last year I set myself the challenge of creating a Tudor Anne Boleyn costume for a 16 inch doll, and this went well. But I really do like creating historical costumes for male dolls too as I love making men’s fashions.

Anne Boleyn costume for a 16 inch fashion doll.

Anne Boleyn costume for a 16 inch fashion doll.

 

So imagine my absolute joy when one of my customers commissioned me to create a Richard III costume for her 17 inch male doll…there was much happy dancing!

 

With most of my existing male doll pattern pieces being more Victorian to modern day in style, I knew I would have to make some totally new ones. So I decided to make each of them as required.

Portrait of King Richard III of England.

Portrait of King Richard III of England.

 

But first, I needed to choose suitable fabric for such a sumptuous costume. My customer had asked me to base the costume on the well known portrait of Richard, or as near as possible. Whilst the portrait is just a head and shoulders picture, it is possible to work out what the rest of his outfit might be, from historical records of clothing worn at the time.

Main fabrics chosen for the Richard III costume.

For his outer robe, I chose a silk of two-tone gold, shot with claret red and with a tiny fleur de lys pattern. This fabric was the perfect scale for that size of doll.

A dark burgundy/brown silk with an interesting border was chosen for the robe lining and I decided to use the lavish gold border for the turn-backs on the front of the robe.

The other main fabric I chose was a deep red silk jacquard for his doublet, along with several other fabrics which were pulled from my stash for possible use on other costume parts.

 

With pencil and tape measure in hand and my own male doll of the same size to use for fitting, I made a start. First to be made was a shirt, with a gathered neckline and very full sleeves ending in a close-fitting lace-trimmed cuff. For this, I used a soft silky ivory coloured lining.

 

It is always very important with doll clothing to avoid adding unnecessary bulk, so sometimes clothing for dolls has to be made differently than for a real human. The shirt was no exception, being made shorter in length and also fastening at the back for ease of dressing.

The full sleeved shirt with gathered neckline.

The full sleeved shirt with gathered neckline.

 

For the hosen (tights), I used a two way stretch cotton viscose jersey fabric in a subtle shade of pale sage. Back in the 15th century, life size hosen would have been attached to the doublet by means of ties to hold them up. The centre front seam would also have been open with the triangular flap (codpiece) laced over it.

Since this would have been extremely difficult to dress onto a doll of this size, I decided to make a pair of tights, with elasticated waist and a false codpiece, and I found that this gave the right look for the doll.

'Hosen' or tights with false codpiece.

‘Hosen’ or tights with false codpiece.

 

The doublet was made in red silk jacquard and lined in pale ivory, with a false corset of gold brocade underneath the cord lacing at the front. Again, the reason for the false corset was to avoid unnecessary bulk.

The sleeves of the doublet are quite full and end in a tightly fitting cuff with snap closures. Each sleeve is split, with two openings, so that the sleeves of the shirt can be pulled through to form puffs. The doublet fastens at the back with snaps, for ease of dressing onto the doll.

A tie of fancy cord was secured to the waist of the doublet with two loops stitched at each side.

 

The outer robe caused a few headaches, but I got there in the end. The two silk fabrics used for this, were an absolute dream to work with (silk usually is…and I LOVE working with it!).

My customer had requested a full-length robe, but shorter ones were also seen at this point in history. Whichever length was preferred, the long hanging sleeves were standard.

 

 

Having made this kind of robe many times in miniature, I had an idea of the pattern shapes I needed to make, and I was pleased with the outcome of the larger version.

The brown silk lining worked well with the fancy gold border, but there was a bit of a ‘hairy moment’ when I wasn’t sure if I had enough of it to do what I wanted to do. Thankfully, with a bit of ‘jiggery-pockery’ with the pattern layout, I just (only just!) managed to get it all out of the fabric.

I found some lovely (and quite manly) braid at my local fabric shop ‘Stitches-upon-Thames’ in Staines, which I used for edging both the ends of the sleeves and the openings.

 

For the shoulder chain, I found a very attractive faux jet and pearl choker in my stash, that just screamed ‘Use me…I look medieval.’ This worked well but needed fixing to hold it in place with a few stitches on one side, and a little loop to thread it through over one shoulder. (The chain hooks together at the back).

 

The hat was made from a piece of beautifully fine vintage pure wool felt and was stitched entirely by hand. My customer had supplied the beautiful pearly white rose and I hand embroidered the four little green leaves with gold outlines around it.

 

I purposely left the shoes till last, as it had been a very long time since I had made bigger doll shoes. I chose a darker shade of sage for these shoes to tone with the hosen. This very fine soft gloving leather worked well for this style, and enabled me to add a snap fastener opening at the outer side of each shoe.

 

 

In total, I made seventeen separate pattern pieces for this outfit, lost count of the number of hours it took to make, but……….I loved every single minute of it (including the ‘hairy’ ones!) and hope to get the chance to do something like this again.

 

If you would like to see the blog I wrote about the miniature King Richard III please click here.

 

And for his wife Queen Anne Neville please click here.

 

Please click here if you would like to read about Anne Boleyn costume I made for a 16 inch doll.

 

ANGELIQUE MINIATURES CELEBRATES 28 YEARS TODAY!

STORE BANNER HORIZONTAL PNG

 

To celebrate this anniversary I thought I would share some pictures of my favourite doll projects from more recent years (since digital cameras and the internet!!!).

From fairies and fantasy to historical characters, I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. The planning, research and actual creating never fails to excite me and I look forward to each new project that comes my way, so please enjoy my selection:

Anne Boleyn costume for 16 inch fashion doll.

Anne Boleyn costume for 16 inch fashion doll.

Miniature Fairy riding a unicorn.

Miniature Fairy riding a unicorn.

 Princess Diana wedding gown on miniature mannequin.

Princess Diana wedding gown on miniature mannequin.

 Miniature late Victorian Summer Bride.

Miniature late Victorian Summer Bride.

Custom made Aurora Rose tutu for 16 inch ballerina doll.

Custom made Aurora Rose tutu for 16 inch ballerina doll.

Miniature Giselle or Sylphide tutu set.

Miniature Giselle or Sylphide tutu set.

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

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

Miniature Fairy Flower Seller with her unicorn companion and helper.

Miniature Fairy Flower Seller with her unicorn companion and helper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miniature Dita Von Teese style gown and hat. one twelfth style.

Miniature Dita Von Teese style gown and hat. one twelfth style.

 Valentine Ball gown for 16 inch fashion doll.

Valentine Ball gown for 16 inch fashion doll.

Miniature Faerie of Spring and New Life.

Miniature Faerie of Spring and New Life.

Miniature Princess Grace wedding gown on mannequin.

Miniature Princess Grace wedding gown on mannequin.

The miniature Elizabeth Bennett Regency wedding bonnet.

The miniature Elizabeth Bennett Regency wedding bonnet.

Front view of the miniature Fairy Harp. The harp stood about six and a half inches tall.

Front view of the miniature Fairy Harp. The harp stood about six and a half inches tall.

Miniature Young King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon.

Miniature Young King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon.

Miniature Queen Jane Seymour.

Miniature Queen Jane Seymour.

 Miniature King Richard III with his wife Queen Anne Neville.

Miniature King Richard III with his wife Queen Anne Neville.

Miniature King John and his wife Queen Isabella.

Miniature King John and his wife Queen Isabella.

Miniature Elizabeth 1st doll complete in room setting.

Miniature Elizabeth 1st doll complete in room setting.

Miniature Scrooge.

Miniature Scrooge.

Miniature Ross and Demelza Poldark.

Miniature Ross and Demelza Poldark.

Miniature tricorn hat.

Miniature tricorn hat.

Miniature Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cranmer.

Miniature Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cranmer.

Battle of Flodden (c 1513) Scottish Pikeman outfit for action figue (around 12 inches tall).

Battle of Flodden (c 1513) Scottish Pikeman outfit for action figue (around 12 inches tall).

Coronation robes for 17 inch male fashion doll.

Coronation robes for 17 inch male fashion doll.

Victorian underwear for 16 inch fashion doll.

Victorian underwear for 16 inch fashion doll.

'Romanza' ballet costume for 16 inch ballerina doll.

‘Romanza’ ballet costume for 16 inch ballerina doll.

French (Breton) costume for 16 inch doll.

French (Breton) costume for 16 inch doll.

Alice in Wonderland costume for 12 inch fashion doll.

Alice in Wonderland costume for 12 inch fashion doll.

Miniature Lord Byron Albanian costume.

Miniature Lord Byron Albanian costume.

Miniature Lord Byron Regency tail coat outfit.

Miniature Lord Byron Regency tail coat outfit.

And last but not least:

Medieval style Autumn costume for 16 inch fashion doll.

Medieval style Autumn costume for 16 inch fashion doll.

Miniature Queen Mary 1st (Mary Tudor).

Miniature Queen Mary 1st (Mary Tudor).

I hope you have enjoyed my selection…just a few of the many favourites I have created over the last few years. All of them have given me enormous pleasure and taught me such valuable skills and patience.

 

 

 

 

 

THE MAKING OF A TUDOR ANNE BOLEYN STYLE ENSEMBLE FOR 16 INCH FASHION DOLLS.

TUDOR COSTUME FRONT

As some of you know, I do love a challenge. I also LOVE Medieval, Tudor and Elizabethan costume. Having made many Anne Boleyn style miniature dolls, I thought it was time to challenge myself with the creation of an Anne Boleyn style Tudor costume to fit the popular sized 16 inch fashion dolls.

Miniature (1/12th scale) Anne Boleyn (and Cranmer) doll.

Miniature (1/12th scale) Anne Boleyn (and Cranmer) doll.

 

A while ago, I bought a lovely ‘Nu Mood Breathless’ doll by Robert Tonner of the USA. The Nu Mood dolls are very good, in that they don’t have rooted hair and wear wigs that can be changed. So, they can suit many different styles and costumes.

I had my Nu Mood doll repainted by the very talented doll re-painter, Melissa Mehan and after the re-paint, I felt that this doll (now called Isabelle Rose) would suit a Tudor ensemble very well.

The Tonner 'Breathless' doll before her new face paint.

The Tonner ‘Breathless’ doll before her new face paint.

 

After the face paint and 'Isabelle Rose' is born.

After the face paint and ‘Isabelle Rose’ is born.

I had looked at several Tudor doll costumes on the internet (all of them no longer available) and I wanted to see if it would be possible to achieve a more authentic shape for my doll.

Having researched Tudor costume thoroughly over many years with my miniature dolls, I knew the pattern shapes I needed to design to achieve the right look and so I spent about two weeks making and ‘tweaking’ the patterns for this costume.

The first big design decision came with the underpinnings….what would give the skirts the shape required?

I had the choice of a wired farthingale or a stiff net petticoat.

I knew that it was possible to make a real farthingale as I had made something very similar years ago, but I also realised that, bearing in mind the costume was to be offered for sale, I had to consider the cost of such a complicated and time-consuming piece.

Sure, it would be totally authentic…..but it would also take a very long time to construct and therefore would add a huge amount to the cost of the costume.

So I decided to make a stiff net petticoat that would do the job just as well and be more economical financially.

After all, it would be hidden under the top clothes and it was the top clothing that was supposed to be the star attraction.

The stiff net petticoat provided all the support that was needed, at a much less cost...and time.

The stiff net petticoat provided all the support that was needed, at a much less cost…and time.

 

Next to consider was the under-skirt. The centre panel is designed to be revealed by the opening in the front of the main gown skirts. I chose a beautiful pure silk two-tone dupion, with a woven fleur-de-lys pattern. I stitched the panel onto a plain petticoat of very fine lining. So far, so good…..it was all going to plan.

The plain underskirt with fancy silk centre panel.

The plain underskirt with fancy silk centre panel.

 

I decided to tackle the main gown bodice next, as I knew the fit might prove to be a bit problematic. So, part of my pattern ‘tweaking’ was to make the bodice up in kitchen roll to check the fit on the doll. (You can just see a piece of the white kitchen paper in the picture above).

The entire top gown would need to be lined in pale coloured lining, as dark fabrics can stain a doll’s ‘skin’, so I made up the bodice in lining fabric just to double check the fit… and all was fine.

The over-sleeves needed to be made in two sections: an upper and lower section, so I made these up in lining too, just to check the length and fit. All worked well first time (phew!) so I cut the bodice and sleeves in the main fabric, a beautiful dark green two-tone taffeta that I had kept in my stash for many years…….I knew it would be perfect for something!

The top sleeves are folded back to reveal a gold net lining.

The top sleeves are folded back to reveal a gold net lining.

Once the main bodice was almost complete, I added a frill of soft white lace to the neckline, to replicate the frill from a shift that would have been worn underneath by a real person. Whilst it is possible for a doll to wear all this extra underwear, it is better to keep any bulk to an absolute minimum to preserve a good shape….after all, dolls can’t be pulled in with corsets like real people can!

The main bodice, decorated with soft white lace and a little crystal pendant.

The main bodice, decorated with soft white lace and a little crystal pendant.

The main gown skirts were quite easy to make and I was glad I had decided to add a slight train to the centre back length. For ease of dressing, I attached the bodice to the main skirt. (On a real person, these would have all been separate pieces (even the sleeves) and all would have been pinned into place).

The back of the main skirt with its train.

The back of the main skirt with its train.

I found a lovely necklace in a sale that I was able to take apart and re-fashion into a jewelled hanging belt, which I then attached to the over-gown.

Now that the main part of this costume was completed, I then worked on the false under-sleeves which I decided to match with the centre front skirt panel. These too had to be lined so that there was no chance of the doll being stained by the fabric.

False under-sleeves are lined to prevent staining to the doll.

False under-sleeves are lined to prevent staining to the doll.

I also matched the lace frills at the wrist edge to the frills at the neckline, to preserve continuity within the costume.

The little puffs on the lower edges were hand-stitched using wide silk ribbon. On a real person, these would have been the sleeves of an under-gown or shift, pulled through the openings of the false sleeves.

The completed under-sleeve showing the silk puffs.

The completed under-sleeve showing the silk puffs.

The headdress, known as a French Hood, caused more than a few headaches for me as the shaping was quite complicated. Made in two parts, it took an awful lot of ‘tweaking’ to get the right fit, size and shape….but I got there in the end.

The French Hood headdress shown from the side.

The French Hood headdress shown from the side.

The only change I made was to add snap fasteners to the centre back of the hood as I felt that this would make it easier to dress onto a doll and fasten under her hair. I also added clear elastic under the chin, to help keep the headdress firmly in place.

Headdress shown from the back.

Headdress shown from the back.

Headdress shown from the front.

Headdress shown from the front.

Once again, I chose to line the headdress with pale coloured fabric, just to be on the safe side. I also chose to leave out the back section, usually a black silk tube, as I wanted the doll to show off her lovely hair. (It is entirely possible that young women did sometimes wear their hair loose with these headdresses, and they are certainly depicted this way in many films and dramas. Of course, short of actually travelling back in time, we can’t be certain….but it does look very pretty!)

The final part of the ensemble was a necklace and I chose to make the Anne Boleyn ‘B’ necklace. I searched high and low for a suitably sized ‘B’ and eventually found one in silver….which I painted gold with metallic paint. The rest of the necklace was made by stringing pearl beads onto thread and attaching a pearl bead drop to the ‘B’.

Close up of the 'B' necklace.

Close up of the ‘B’ necklace.

The costume was finally complete and I was very pleased with the result…..but what shall I challenge myself with next? Any ideas?

TUDOR COSTUME SIDE RIGHT

TUDOR COSTUME SIDE LEFT

Although this perticular costume is now sold, it can still be ordered from me in similar colours or in a colour scheme to suit your own taste. Just contact me and ask for details.

SOME PEARLS, SOME SHIPS, A BIT OF A DO AT SEA….. AND A SPANISH KING’S BEARD IS SINGED!

SOME PEARLS, SOME SHIPS, A BIT OF A DO AT SEA….. AND A SPANISH KING’S BEARD IS SINGED!

THE MAKING OF ARMADA QUEEN ELIZABETH 1ST.

Queen Elizabeth 1st 'Armada' Portrait c.1588.

Queen Elizabeth 1st ‘Armada’ Portrait c.1588.

Queen Elizabeth 1st has long been my most favourite of the English monarchs, and her mother Anne Boleyn, my favourite of King Henry VIII’s wives.

Having seen a BBC docu-drama all about the Spanish Armada, with the wonderful Anita Dobson as an elderly Queen Elizabeth 1st, I felt a familiar urge grab me……anyone with an ‘artistic temperament’ will understand what I mean!

At the end of the TV program, Anita/Elizabeth appeared in this most marvellous costume, based on the one depicted in the portrait above, that the real Queen Elizabeth commissioned after her victory over the Spanish King. This has always been one of my most favourite costumes….to look at. But now….suddenly……I had the urge…the urge that cannot be ignored……I HAD to make it… in miniature.

Anita Dobson as Queen Elizabeth 1st in the Armada costume.

Anita Dobson as Queen Elizabeth 1st in the Armada costume.

Sometimes, I feel I need a challenge, something that will really push me, and this, I decided, was going to be it. Costume books were consulted, fabric stash was raided and more fabric, ribbon and lace ordered, plus a good stock up on mini faux pearls (and a lot were needed!) and other gems. The boxes of body parts came out (sounds dreadful I know, but that’s exactly how it works when you make dolls!) and suitable parts selected for the actual doll.

Then and only then, could the urge be purged!

 

Since Queen Elizabeth 1st was known for wearing white lead make-up, I chose body parts cast in a beautiful translucent white porcelain, normally used for ghosts (oh yes….I do make ghosts too, both headless and with head, after all, every dollshouse needs a ghost!).

The doll was then bodied, ready to start dressing and I also made the wig. Bearing in mind the skirt of this costume is quite wide, I made the wig on the wide side too, in order to balance the doll, top and bottom.

With the final choice of fabric and trims etc gathered together in one place (no mean feat in my house…..oh how I long for a proper workroom with storage!), it was time to make a start. I decided I would make all the pattern pieces as I went along so that I could get on with my favourite part….the dressing.

Silk, lace and ribbon gathered to make the costume.

Silk, lace and ribbon gathered to make the costume.

First to be applied was Elizabeth’s stockings, pure silk of course. As with all my miniature dolls, she had to have the lace-trimmed drawers to hide the join between the lower porcelain leg and the upper soft wired thigh and lower torso.

I liked the shape of some Elizabethan men’s shoes I’d seen in a costume book so, since women’s shoes were similar to those worn by men, I based my Elizabeth’s real leather slippers on these and added a little ‘bling’.

Elizabeth's real leather slippers with pearl and filigree detail.

Elizabeth’s real leather slippers with pearl and filigree detail.

Then I added a short length underskirt (which on a real human woman would have been a full shift). Over this and worn very low down on the hips, is a (modified for a miniature doll) farthingale (skirt support).

Petticoat and farthingale in place.

Underskirt and farthingale in place.

This in turn is supported underneath by a hip pad or ‘bum roll’. You can’t see this in the picture because it is worn at the back. This also helps to tilt the farthingale slightly up at the back and forwards, as was the fashion then, so I have included a separate picture so you can see what it looks like. It is basically just a crescent shaped pad.

Hip pad or 'bum roll' worn under the farthingale as support.

Hip pad or ‘bum roll’ worn under the farthingale as support.

Next to tackle was the ornate petticoat. On a miniature doll this is usually made as a centre front panel only, to avoid adding unnecessary bulk to such a small frame. The silvery grey silk I had chosen has a lovely diamond pattern woven into it, so I embroidered the gold and black star shapes into these, which worked quite well. It took a very long time to complete both the front panel and the matching sleeves, but was well worth the effort. Once the panel was in place on the doll, it was time to make the black silk over skirt.

Embroidery detail on skirt centre panel or false petticoat.

Embroidery detail on skirt centre panel or false petticoat.

During the costume research process, it became clear to me that during the late 1580s, the shape of the gown skirt in particular was quite different to that of the 1570’s and 1590’s. The opening at the front was held out over the richly decorated petticoat in a wide but very definite curve. You can see this clearly in the fashion plate below.

Picture from fashion book showing the wide curve of the open skirt.

Picture from fashion book showing the wide curve of the open skirt.

It took a while to work out exactly how to do this in miniature but I got there in the end.

The main over-skirt with its deep curve now held in place over the embroidered petticoat.

The main over-skirt with its deep curve now held in place over the embroidered petticoat.

The bodice was quite straightforward and so were the main sleeves with their lace cuffs. The long hanging false sleeves were also something that I had tackled before. It was difficult to see from the painting what they were lined with so I chose a darker shade of coral silk to tone with all the tiny coral pink bows. Once the two sets of sleeves were in place, I made the sleeve rolls but did not pad them (they would have been padded for a real human) as this would have added too much bulk to the doll. The last piece of the bodice was the elongated stomacher at the centre front.

Next to prepare was the wide lace and silk ruff which had to be pleated on the board.

The lace and silk ruff is drying on the pleater board.

The lace and silk ruff is drying on the pleater board.

Whilst this was drying, I set about making all the tiny silk bows from 4mm silk ribbon in shades of coral and dark coral which was a very popular colour at that time. I secured some of these to the middle of the stomacher before adding strings of tiny faux pearl beads.

Bodice decorated with jewelled silk bows and strings of pearls.

Bodice decorated with jewelled silk bows and strings of pearls.

Jewelled bows added to the skirt and crystals and pearls applied to the petticoat and sleeves.

Jewelled bows added to the skirt and crystals and pearls applied to the petticoat and sleeves.

Once all this decoration was in place I was finally able to attach the lace ruff, along with the wig which I decorated with yet more pearls. It was not really very clear from the painting what exactly Elizabeth was actually wearing on her head, so I decided to use a golden feathered ornament.

Ruff and hair decoration in place.

Ruff and hair decoration in place.

The very last part of the costume was completed with a little golden filigree feather fan, again using pearls as decoration.

Tiny jewelled feather fan to complete the outfit.

Tiny jewelled feather fan to complete the outfit.

You may have noticed that at the end of the bodice stomacher, there is a pale pink bow with jewelled centre and a drop pearl. (I had originally forgotten to add this pearl but have now done so!)

Note the tiny pearl drop below the pink bow.

Note the tiny pearl drop below the pink bow.

This holds an enormous amount of symbolic significance. The bow and pearl are placed in the area of the body where, if Elizabeth had been a King, the codpiece would have been worn to symbolise the King’s masculinity.

The pink bow makes a huge statement to the other (male) rulers of that time, especially to the King of Spain! Elizabeth’s statement to the world is saying ‘Look at me. I am as powerful and victorious as any King, but first and foremost I am a woman….and proud of it’.

The placing of the drop pearl symbolises the womb and denotes purity….she is the Virgin Queen and therefore not ruled or owned by any man. This is symbolically repeated all over the costume with the sheer amount of pearls….she is dripping in pearls….therefore she is telling the world that she is pure.

It is worth noting the sheer embarrassment, both political and personal that was caused to the King of Spain by this English victory. The Spanish ships were much bigger and far outnumbered the English. Spain by comparison was a much larger and more powerful country than England. King Philip of Spain had once technically been King of England when he was married to Elizabeth’s older sister Mary. He had also asked for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage when she was younger and she was being pressurised into looking for a husband…but she had refused him. Elizabeth was also Protestant, something that was not very popular for a monarch in Europe at that time.

Basically, little tiny England with its mere female ruler had fought off the might of Spain and had ‘singed the King of Spain’s beard.’ In our 21st century language, Philip had been beaten by a girl……the girl that nobody ever thought would be Queen…..the girl that was Queen of England for over 40 years…. and the girl whose reign became  known as England’s ‘Golden Age’.

Miniature Elizabeth 1st doll complete in room setting.

Miniature Elizabeth 1st doll complete in room setting.

Magna Carta, Lampreys and a Child Bride.

THE MAKING OF KING JOHN.

King John of England.

King John of England.

With the 8ooth anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta this month (June 2015) it was only natural that I would be drawn to creating a King John miniature doll.

I have to admit that I didn’t really know much about this king, only that he was the brother of King Richard 1st (The Lion Heart), wasn’t very popular with his people because of the high taxes he levied on them and was part of the legend of Robin Hood. I didn’t even know he was the son of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.

So, in order to make a doll of him I started where I always start best….. I looked in my costume books for an idea of what he might have been wearing in 1215. Next I needed to know which doll would be best to use and so I found the picture of his tomb effigy. These were often a very good likeness of the person concerned.

King John's tomb at Worcester Catherdral and Queen Isabella's tomb at Fonterault.

King John’s tomb at Worcester Catherdral and Queen Isabella’s tomb at Fonterault.

Choosing fabrics was the next step so a quick check in the costume books again and away I went for a good rummage in my material stash (no mean feat!).

Fabrics chosen for King John.

Fabrics chosen for King John.

I don’t often get a chance to work on these early Medieval costumes so I was actually very excited. I particularly like Medieval costume although ALL costume is a joy to me.

With miniature dolls, one has to give an impression of most of the under clothing so some aspects of John’s costume look a little odd on their own.

First to be made were his pale green silk jersey stockings and a covering to hide the join between the end of his porcelain legs and the start of the padded wires of the upper legs. I feel this is absolutely necessary on most miniature dolls because people will ALWAYS (oh yes they do!) always turn the doll upside down to see what it has on underneath.  I like everything to be nice and tidy underneath. Next were his tan coloured leather pointed toe shoes, very fashionable at that time.

Stockings, garters and a covering for the top of the legs for modesty and tidyness!

Stockings, garters and a covering for the top of the legs for modesty and tidiness!

Leather pointed toed shoes.

Leather pointed toed shoes.

Then I made his under-tunic which, in order to avoid as much bulk as possible was made in three separate parts: the skirt, the top of the neck area and the lower sleeves. I chose a very fine dark blue silk for this.

False under garments in place.

False under garments in place.

Once these were in place, his top tunic could be dressed onto him. For this I used a beautiful fine gold patterned silk jacquard and trimmed it with a very tiny burgundy ‘fairy lace’ braid.

The sword was actually made from a curved sword that I straightened, painted the top and bound it in a leather ‘sheath’. Once the sword was secured in place I added a deep olive green leather belt with a fancy gold buckle.

The sword was originally curved like this one.

The sword was originally curved like this one.

Sword and belt detail.

Sword and belt detail.

For John’s cloak I chose a deep red wine coloured silk lined with a finer silk of a similar colour. This was fixed to his shoulders with a tiny leather strap and two jewelled filigree ‘brooches’. His crown is simply a gold braid band with the addition of gold filigrees and coloured crystals. Just for fun I fixed a rolled up scroll of parchment paper tied with a red ribbon into his hand………this may or may not signify the Magna Carta……I’ll leave that up to you to decide!

Crown and cloak detail.

Crown and cloak detail.

THE MAKING OF QUEEN ISABELLA.

So once King John was finished, well I couldn’t possibly leave him on his own now, could I? Of course not, so history books (and the internet) were consulted to see who his wife was. This was quite a surprise because I didn’t know he was married twice. The first wife before he became King, was Isabella of Gloucester, but it seems that once he became King he decided that he preferred somebody else and had the marriage annulled on the grounds that she was too closely related to him.

Strangely (said with tongue in cheek) he then married a much younger lady. He married another Isabella (handy!) a very young French maiden from Angouleme. This second wife was just 12 years old when they married in 1200 and apparently he was absolutely besotted with her and remained so until he died. Even more strange (but then maybe not!) was that the first Isabella remained living in her own apartments in the royal residence…..must have led to some rather awkward moments between the two women over the years!

So my next job was to see what a young woman in her twenties might be wearing in 1215 and have another rummage in my fabric stash.

As with her husband, I started with her silk stockings, some cotton drawers (yeah, yeah….I know they didn’t wear any then…. but read my previous blog post on Queen Anne Neville to see why) and some pointed toed slippers in fine leather. As with King John, only the skirt part of the under-gown is made, to avoid unnecessary bulk. I chose a gold silk for this.

Isabella's leather slippers.

Isabella’s leather slippers.

Isabella’s over-gown is made in a fine richly patterned deep red silk jacquard, trimmed with  red and gold patterned silk brocade at the neck, cuffs and hem, edged with flat gold braid. Like john, she has a leather belt around her waist with a fancy gold filigree buckle and the end of the belt hanging down. Around her shoulders is a floor length trained cloak in deep green silk lined with brown silk lining. The cloak is fixed like John’s, with a tiny leather strap and two fancy gold filigree ‘brooches’.

Queen Isabella.

Queen Isabella.

At this time, it was no longer as fashionable to have the hair on show as it had been back in the early 1200’s. By 1215 the hair was covered, along with the neck with a piece of fabric known as a wimple. On top of this was a circular veil held in place with either a band, or in the case of Queen Isabella, a crown. My Isabella’s crown is made from lace painted with metallic gold paint and decorated with tiny crystals.

Wimple, veil and crown detail.

Wimple, veil and crown detail.

Below are some pictures of my King John and Queen Isabella taken in a suitable room box scene along with some miniature food made especially for them by Mary Thornton Medieval Morsels. Mary makes the most accurate miniature food I have seen and she made a dish of lampreys and a lamprey pie (King John’s favourite food) for me. The miniature lampreys look wonderfully revolting (no offence meant to any lamprey lovers out there!).

King John is calling for his wife Queen Isabella. 'Isabella my love, come and see what we are having for dinner tonight.'

King John is calling for his wife Queen Isabella.
‘Isabella my love, come and see what we are having for dinner tonight.’

Queen Isabella looks at the two dishes: 'John mon cher, what on ers are zoze? Zay look 'orrible!'

Queen Isabella looks at the two dishes:
‘John mon cher, what on ers are zoze? Zay look ‘orrible!’

King John tries to explain: 'They are lampreys my love.... my favourite food.'

King John tries to explain:
‘They are lampreys my love…. my favourite food.’

But Isabella is not impressed and rushes out. 'My muzzer told me about zee awful Eenglish food.....and she was right!'

But Isabella is not impressed and rushes out.
‘My muzzer told me about zee awful Eenglish food…..and she was right!’

Later at dinner a relaxed King John is looking forward to his lampreys and tries to persuade Isabella to try some. 'Honestly my darling, they are lovely.'

Later at dinner a relaxed King John is looking forward to his lampreys and tries to persuade Isabella to try some.
‘Honestly my darling, they are lovely.’

But the Queen is not convinced: 'Mais non, mon cher....I sink I weel just 'ave a bit of zee pastry...zoze sings look all slimy!'

But the Queen is not convinced:
‘Mais non, mon cher….I sink I weel just ‘ave a bit of zee pastry…zoze sings look all slimy!’

If you are in need of some miniature food for your dollshouse, it is worth taking a look at Mary’s work. She also has a blog about King John and the lampreys that can be found here.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog about the making of my King John and Queen Isabella miniature dolls. Both dolls are for sale. Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing them.

KING JOHN & QUEEN ISABELLA IN SCENE 1

THE MAKING OF QUEEN ANNE NEVILLE.

THE MAKING OF QUEEN ANNE NEVILLE.

King Richard III and his wife Queen Anne Neville depicted in a stained glass window.

King Richard III and his wife Queen Anne Neville depicted in a stained glass window.

I found King Richard III’s wife Anne Neville, a really enjoyable character doll to create. It is rare that I get the chance to work on costumes from this particular historical era. Late medieval female costume is so elegant, with long sweeping lines and very feminine.

Once again the costume books were consulted for the most popular styles worn in the early to mid 1480s. To keep this doll as feminine as possible I decided to take the lighter shades from Richard’s colour scheme and use these for the main colours for Anne, accenting them with darker tones. Richard’s doublet and the lining of his robe were pale gold so I used a similar coloured silk jacquard for Anne’s main gown and teamed it with another rich dark red silk for her under-gown.

ANNE NEVILLE FABRICS

Silk fabrics chosen for Anne’s costume.

Firstly, I put some silk stockings on her… and then some pantaloons. Now before the historians amongst you start shouting at me, I know they were not invented then…….but I have my reasons for doing this.

Although ladies of these times did not wear pantaloons, I always put them on my miniature lady dolls. The reason for this is very simple: Firstly, people ALWAYS turn dolls upside down to see what they are wearing underneath! Secondly, most of my dolls are quite poseable and, with this kind of doll, there is usually a join where the lower porcelain part of the leg meets the upper wired and padded section of the leg and hips. Pantaloons cover this join so that the doll looks nicer when she is inevitably turned upside down!

Silk stockings and the (illegal) pantaloons.

Silk stockings and the (illegal) pantaloons.

Leather shoes with slightly pointed toes were then added to complete her under garments.

Anne's leather slippers have slightly pointed toes and filigree decoration.

Anne’s leather slippers have slightly pointed toes and filigree decoration.

The under-gown was then fitted in two parts, a tight close-fitting strapless bodice that represented the corset and the skirt which was often worn longer than the wearer for a woman of this class. To avoid bulk, I attached the skirt around the doll’s waist as I knew I would need to keep the area below her bust as smooth as possible to accommodate the skirt of the main gown. The doll was then placed on a cork board where her skirt was draped and pinned into folds.

Anne's silk underskirt is pinned to the board to set the folds.

Anne’s silk underskirt is pinned to the board to set the folds.

Over-gowns of this time were often voluminous with trains and skirts fell from just under the bust like an Empire line. Although V necked bodices had been popular, these did give way to a wide round necked version where the top of the corset could just be seen. Sleeves could be narrow and fitted and I felt that this style would suit the doll best.

All Anne's top clothing is now in place.

All Anne’s top clothing is now in place.

As far as fashion goes, in my opinion, the 15th century had some of the most ridiculous headdresses for women that history has ever seen. Size and shape became quite huge and outlandish and must have been quite a hazard for anyone standing too close! By the mid 1480s the ‘butterfly’ headdress had become the thing to be seen in for all fashionistas of this time. Basically it was an adaptation of the popular Burgundy headdress (like a tall fez) with the addition of wire frames to support a gauze veil.

Here is a good example of the Butterfly headdress from the TV drama 'The White Queen'.

Here is a good example of the Butterfly headdress from the TV drama ‘The White Queen’.

The fez part was worn quite far back on the head rather than on the top. Wires that looked like the antennae of a butterfly protruded from the back and another V shaped wire frame was attached at the front. The veil was then draped over the wires in a variety of different ways, depending on the wearer. At this time, it was still fashionable to pluck the front of the hairline to give the appearance of a high forehead, the rest of the hair being pulled back tightly and pinned up underneath the headdress, often in a linen under-cap. I had not made one of these ‘butterfly’ monstrosities before in miniature but was quite surprised that it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.

Close up of the wire supports and veil.

Close up of the wire supports and veil.

Although fiddly, I was pleased with the final result. (Some of you may have noticed that I used the same fabric to cover the fez as I used for Richard’s stomacher).

Showing the top of Anne's Butterfly headdress.

Showing the top of Anne’s Butterfly headdress.

Anne Neville in medieval room box scene.

Anne Neville in medieval room box scene.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the making of my Queen Anne Neville doll. She is available for sale. So if you are interested in buying her please do contact me either through this blog, Twitter, Face Book or my main website

If you would like to read about my Richard III doll please scroll down to the post before.

Richard looks like he is deep in conversation with Anne.....I wonder what they might be talking about.

Richard looks like he is deep in conversation with Anne…..I wonder what they might be talking about.

THE MAKING OF KING RICHARD III

THE MAKING OF KING RICHARD III

RICHARD III OF ENGLAND

With all the publicity about the reburial of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral this year, it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to the urge to make a miniature doll of this English monarch.

I have always felt that this particular era was one of elegance regarding costume. It is the very end of the typical medieval fashions yet one can definitely see the beginnings of the more well-known Tudor styles.

King Richard III died at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 so, with several historical costume books open at the mid 1480s, I made my decision regarding what exactly my Richard was going to wear. I had made a young King Henry VIII a few years ago, based on the fashions from the very early 1500s and it was quite noticeable that men’s fashions hadn’t really changed that much during those few years. Any changes that had taken place were very subtle so I was able to use the patterns I had made for young Henry to make those I needed for Richard.

I wanted a complete change in colour scheme from Henry’s light, fresh palette so I decided to go with a richer, darker look, partly to reflect the darker mood of the times but without overpowering a miniature doll of only six inches tall. Eventually (it always takes me ages!) I settled on deep wine red and gold silks along with accents in black.

Silk fabrics chosen for Richard's costume.

Silk fabrics chosen for Richard’s costume.

First to be made were his black hosen (similar to tights). These are extremely difficult and time-consuming to do on a miniature doll but are worth the effort once finished. The cod piece is always a bit of a challenge, but having successfully mastered this with the young Henry doll, fore-warned was definitely fore-armed. The contents of the codpiece were in place and looking fine (and not ridiculous!) in just a few minutes…..unlike young Henry. (Click here if you would like to see what happened with Henry).

Hosen with cod-piece, shoes ans shirt front.

Hosen with cod-piece, shoes ans shirt front.

Richard’s footwear was quite different to Henry’s square-toed shoes, being more like an ankle boot than a true shoe. Although the fashion had been for very pointy-toed footwear, by 1485 the look was more rounded than it had been. There was also a flap or lip at the back and front of the ankle that could be worn turned up or turned down.

Shirts of this time were fairly low necked and as always with a miniature doll, my Richard’s shirt is simply a false panel of very fine silk secured in place to look like a shirt.

The doublet of this time was short and not always worn with the skirted vest so I chose to show off my Richard’s legs by omitting the vest. This also helped reduce bulk in such a small doll. You may have noticed that behind the gold thread lacing on his doublet, there is a small panel of dark red and gold fabric. This is known as a stomacher and was a stiff section that was inserted into the centre front of a corset or other garment to help shape the top clothing and also aid good posture. Most people have heard of this in female costume but it is not so well known that men also wore them at this time…… although they had disappeared in men’s costume by the mid 1500s……wonder why! (In female costume they lasted right into the 19th century).

False doublet with gold thread lacing and cord tie belt. See the stomacher (panel) behind the doublet.

False doublet with gold thread lacing and cord tie belt. See the stomacher (panel) behind the doublet.

Once Richard’s doublet was in place, the robe could be dressed onto him. At this time, the robe could be worn long or short. It had long lined sleeves that were slashed at the front to allow the lower part of the sleeve to hang down freely. In a miniature doll, the main body of the robe is dressed onto the doll first, then the long robe sleeves are added. The last part was to add the doublet sleeves. These were often slashed to reveal the shirt and with a miniature doll, false slashing is made using silk ribbon carefully hand stitched in place. Since Richard was a king, I decided to add a decorative heavily jewelled chain around his shoulders. This fashion lasted into the early 1600s for nobles and royalty.

Richard's robe is in place along with the false sleeves of his doublet.

Richard’s robe is in place along with the false sleeves of his doublet.

Here you can see the mock slashing on the doublet sleeves.

Here you can see the mock slashing on the doublet sleeves.

The last part of my Richard’s costume was his hair and his hat. Much has been made about the possible colour of this king’s hair. I decided to stick with a darker colour, since in all probability (and we will never really know for certain anyway) his hair was more than likely fair as a child but darkened as he became an adult. Men’s hair at this time was often on the long side and worn in a page boy style with a hat that became known as a ‘pork pie’ hat. This was simply a close-fitting hat with a round turned up brim, often notched and decorated with lacing and a brooch.

Richard's hair is in place along with his hat.

Richard’s hair is in place along with his hat.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the making of my King Richard III doll. He is available for sale. So if you are interested in buying him please do contact me either through this blog, Twitter, Face Book or my main website 

King Richard III.

King Richard III.

Next time, I will be talking about the making of Richard’s beloved wife, Anne Neville.

King Richard with his wife Queen Anne Neville.

King Richard with his wife Queen Anne Neville.

CELEBRATING THE 5OOTH ANNIVERSARY OF HAMPTON COURT PALACE.

The fantastic Tudor entrance at Hampton Court Palace.

The fantastic Tudor entrance at Hampton Court Palace.

This year sees the 5ooth anniversary of Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, United Kingdom. This palace has been home to several kings and queens over the centuries but, perhaps the most famous resident (or maybe that should read ‘infamous’) was King Henry VIII.

King Henry VIII in all his finery.

King Henry VIII in all his finery.

Since this beautiful palace is only about ten minutes drive from where I live and the Tudor period is one of my favourite eras, I was delighted to be asked by Dollshouse and Miniature Scene Magazine (DHMS) to provide three miniature doll-dressing ‘How To’ projects for them.

Of course King Henry himself was an obvious choice and an absolute must for one of the projects, but which of his six wives to choose for the other two? Well, I decided that the most well known had to be Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife and the first to lose her head! She would provide a good project for the most typical of Tudor ladies fashions.

One of the most well-known pictures of Anne Boleyn.

One of the most well-known pictures of Anne Boleyn.

For the third project I decided that in order to give a good but manageable alternative Tudor female costume, Henry’s last wife, Catherine Parr, would be a good choice. Subtle changes in fashion over the few years between this lady and Anne Boleyn would make for an interesting project for DHMS readers to try.

Catherine Parr wearing a different style of  costume to that of Anne Boleyn.

Catherine Parr wearing a different style of costume to that of Anne Boleyn.

When I write ‘How To ‘ projects, I have to make the process of dressing a miniature doll accessible to as many people who want to try doll dressing as possible. This caused me a few problems when I was asked for a Henry VIII project. The typical Henry VIII as per the picture at the top of the page is actually quite an advanced costume to make….especially in miniature. Below are some pictures of my top-of-the-range and recently revised Henry VIII miniature doll.

My recently updated version of King Henry VIII

My recently updated version of King Henry VIII

Close up of my recently updated King Henry VIII's  costume detail.

Close up of my recently updated King Henry VIII’s costume detail.

 

So, after a lot of thinking I put together a set of patterns and instructions and created the following version of this magnificent monarch. It is very similar to the more advanced version but much easier for readers to make and there is scope for the more confident and experienced reader to embellish the doll further if they wish to.

The Henry VIII doll made for the DHMS 'How to Dress' project.

The Henry VIII doll made for the DHMS ‘How to Dress’ project.

A similar problem arose with Anne Boleyn, but again, with some thought, the right look was achieved. Regarding the colour scheme for this doll, since most people associate the song ‘Greensleeves’ with this lady, I decided to dress her in green. The gold letter ‘B’ was created by painting straight onto the doll and then forming the rest of the choker with tiny individually applied faux pearls and crystals.

One of my more advanced Anne Boleyn dolls.

One of my more advanced Anne Boleyn dolls.

 

The Anne Boleyn doll made for DHMS 'How to Dress' project.

The Anne Boleyn doll made for DHMS ‘How to Dress’ project.

 

Close up of jewellery detail on DHMS Anne Boleyn doll.

Close up of jewellery detail on DHMS Anne Boleyn doll.

I chose a slightly different dress design and colour for Catherine Parr, than the one in the original painting but stayed with the same headdress. Again, this is an attainable design for readers to make, with scope to embellish as richly as they would like to. All her jewellery plus the edging on her cap is made up of individually applied crystals, tiny filligrees and faux pearls.

Catherine Parr doll made for the DHMS 'How to Dress' project.

Catherine Parr doll made for the DHMS ‘How to Dress’ project.

 

Close up of the headdress on the DHMS Catherine Parr doll.

Close up of the headdress on the DHMS Catherine Parr doll.

All three of these projects are due to be published in DHMS magazine this coming spring, starting with King Henry. Follow me on Twitter for updates.

If you enjoyed reading this post,  you might like to see some of my previous blog posts about Henry and his wives:

Young King Henry VIII

The young Henry VIII. The eighteen year old fashionable dandy of his time.

The young Henry VIII. The eighteen year old fashionable dandy of his time.

Young Katherine of Aragon

Young Katherine of Aragon, dressed circa 1509/10.

Young Katherine of Aragon, dressed circa 1509/10.

Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII and mother to his only legitimate son Edward.

Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII and mother to his only legitimate son Edward.

WORLD BALLET DAY: SPECIAL OFFER ON MY MINIATURE BALLET SHOES!

Today (1st October) is World Ballet Day so, as a ballet lover, I thought I would offer a 10% discount on all pairs of my miniature ballet shoes ordered and paid for before the end of October 2014.

All the shoes are individually hand crafted by me and can be ordered in all sorts of colours…..just ask. Each tiny shoe measures just under one inch in length and is made in pure silk with cotton lining and real leather soles.

 

Tiny miniature ballet shoes with English penny coin.

Tiny miniature ballet shoes with English penny coin.

The Red Shoes in miniature.

The Red Shoes in miniature.

The perfect gift for your ballet-loving friends or a treat for yourself.

All enquiries please contact me through my main web site ( link on right hand side of this page) either by phone or e-mail. Or you can leave a message here on my blog or via my Twitter page (see link to right of this post). NB: If you don’t receive a reply from me within a couple of days it means that I have not received your message so please try again.