Gosh! Doesn’t time fly? It was only last week that I was writing February’s blog, wasn’t it?!!! And yet here we are already in March.
Although the daffodils and crocuses are already out here, the wind is still chilly and reminding us the Winter may not have finished with us just yet. But lots of buds and pretty flowers and blossoms are starting up so Spring is definately on her way.
The season of Spring has inspired many a doll and costume for me, not least my Faerie Of Spring and New Life. This miniature one twelfth scale doll is dressed in the colours of Spring leaves and snowdrop white with flowers of daffodil yellow and forgetmenot blue. Her trusty steed, a snowy white unicorn accompanies her as she carries her little baby in a flower-filled basket.
The Faerie of Spring and New Life.
On the subject of daffodils, it was St.David’s day on 1st March. St. David is the patron saint of Wales and the daffodil is the Welsh national flower. So in honour of all my Welsh friends and readers, here is a ballet costume that I designed and made several years ago for the 16 inch ballerina doll, Clea Bella. This costume was inspired by some lovely miniature artificial daffodils that I was lucky enough to find. I used them to decorate Clea’s hair and she is also holding some as she dances.
Clea Bella modelling the Spring tutu with mini daffodils.
Talking of patron saints, March also sees the celebration of another famous saint, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and the Irish national flower or plant is the lovely shamrock.
The shamrock has inspired many a doll costume for me but I have often found that obtaining shamrock fabric has been like looking for a needle in a haystack. One would have thought that it would be so easy to get hold of it here in England, especially with Eire being just over the water but, would you believe, I had to buy it all the way from America!
Here is a costume that I designed with some gorgeous shamrock fabric (from America!). It was well worth the search as it was just the perfect scale for Clea Bella again in this eighteenth century inspired dance costume called ‘Erin and the Magic Shamrocks’.
Clea Bella dances the part of 'Erin' in the shamrock fabric costume.
Whilst buying the shamrock fabric that I used for ‘Erin’ I came across some lovely shamrock trimming. It was a wide and a narrrower embroidered lawn that just happened to be the right length for a long tutu for Clea called ‘Shamrock Waltz’. The wide trim was about six or seven inches deep with green shamrocks dotted all over. The narrower trim was about an inch and a half wide with a scalloped border and matching shamrocks. I was able to cut a bodice front with a shamrock right in the centre. The bottom of the skirt had the narrower trim along the lower edge and this was also used for shoulder frills and a headdress.
Clea Bella modelling 'Shamrock Waltz' long tutu.
Not to be outdone, little Riley was in desperate need of a tutu but there was just not enough of the trimming left. So I used plain satin in white and emerald to make her her own little shamrock costume called ‘Shamrock Sweetie’. I desperately tried to buy more of that lovely trimming but sadly, to date, have never been able to find any more of it. It was such a shame as it was pure cotton and so lovely and fine….just perfect for doll work.
Little Riley Kish in her 'Shamrock Sweetie' tutu costume.
With all this talk of Ireland how could I resist talking about Irish dancing? I would have loved to have learnt Irish dancing but it was not to be. How lovely it would have been to be able to dance wearing some of those wonderful dresses that the girls get to wear. And those costumes take some making too. There is so much time and work in them.
I found making an Irish dance costume for Clea quite a challenge but I was not going to let it beat me and with a lot of practice, I was able to make a pattern to fit her. I used pure silk dupion for the dress, lining and cape and some pretty little foil shamrocks finished off the decoration just nicely.
Clea wearing her 'Call of Eire' Irish dance dress.
Here is Clea Dancing so that you can see the lining colour. The fabric on the centre front of the bodice and the ends of the sleeves is a patterned gold lame.
Showing the gold coloured lining of the skirt.
And here is the back view showing the cape.
Back view of Clea's Irsh dance dress.
Of course, it wasn’t very long before one of the Kish girls wanted an Irish dress so it was back to the pattern drafting table for me. Although the Kish girls are the same height as Clea, they are a totally different shape around! I used silk dupion again along with the gold lame but decided to use an ivory colour with an emeral green lining. Unfortunately the camera wouldn’t show up the richness of the emerald and washed it out a bit which was a great shame so you will have to imagine a real, rich emerald green.
Miss Kish models 'Kished in Eire'.
Here is Miss Kish showing off her skirt lining that you have to imagine is rich emerald.
She couldn't dance as well as Clea but how could I refuse her the dress?!
Here is the back of the costume showing the machine embroidery on the cape.
Back view of 'Kished in Eire' dance dress.
Another image of Spring, apart from the flowers, are some of the animals that are associated with this season. Not least are the little Spring lambs jumping around in the fields. So cute and funny to watch.
Last year I was asked to make a Georgian lady costume pattern for the British miniature magazine that I write ‘How to’s’ for. I chose the Shepherdess costume. This was a fashion craze in the eighteenth century for rich ladies to dress up as shepherdesses. They apparently found the image of the lonesome shepherdess rather romantic and wanted to portray this in the way they dressed.
Many of them even kept little lambs on their lawns and pretended to look after them! Maybe this is where the nursury rhyme of Little Bo Peep came from……it seems that she wasn’t a very good shepherdess and was always losing her sheep! Anyway, here is the miniature Georgian Shepherdess along with her little lambs in a pretty counrtyside setting.
Miniature Georgian lady in fancy shepherdess costume, complete with decorated crook and lambs.
Of course I just couldn’t close without giving a little mention to the little Spring or Easter Bunnie (even thought Easter is so late this year!) So here is little six inch tall Riley Kish in her cute pink bunnie outfit.
One cute little pink bunny outfit, modelled by Riley.
If you enjoyed reading this March post please don’t be shy and leave me a little comment if you have the time please. I love to hear from my readers.
Also, don’t forget to take a look at the AIM (Artisan’s In Miniature) on-line magazine. It is full of lovely, lovely miniature things by some wonderful miniature artisans. Click here to go straight there or you can use the AIM link in my blog roll on the right of my What’s New blog page.