Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Treasure Hunt and Old Lace

One of the things I love to do in Paris is to lose myself in the neighborhood antique fairs. If you plan a trip to Paris, you can find when and where the merchants plan to be by consulting the schedule at: Here you will find a variety of interesting fare from old toys and miniature perfume bottles to vintage crystal and period furniture. Occasionally you can find trims or old lace perfect for making a sensational dress or coat for your doll.

As luck would have it, I found what was probably a yellowed square doily and a tiny piece of beaded silk tulle. Both were not in the best shape, but for me, they were one of those rare treasures that can be transformed into a one-of-kind "couture" garment for dolly.

The lace square is easy. The lace has a lot of open work. I simply found holes that allowed for the doll's arms to pass through. Since the lace was broken in one spot, one arm only needed reinforcing. However, I had to enlarge the openwork on the other side to allow the other arm to fit through. Make the openings are low enough so that you have enough margin to fashion a collar. Now decide where you want this overcoat or dress to fit and pinch the open work around the body closed then hand stitch. (The doll's top is simply a lace collar I have wrapped around her and pinned in place.)

The black beaded material is more complicated in that when cut, the beads--which are attached with a chain stitch--will unravel. If you can design something where you don't have to cut, all the better. However, I hated this fabric as a gathered skirt. And since I don't design anything for the doll that I, myself wouldn't wear, I decided to take a chance and cut the trim in half.

I wrap the fabric around the doll, pinning in the back and then mark the pins with chalk. Then I carefully cut down this line and around the pins. You will probably lose a few beads, but you can reattach them later. Remove from the doll.

Next, make a tube underdress. I used the top part of a panty hose, but you can also use a stretch fabric. In any case this garment will not be seen.

Now take the length of trim you cut for the skirt and lay it over the dress. Using the same technique we used for making the 1-piece skirt, create your darts in the front and back. Adjust. Pin and stitch directly onto the underdress. Stitch the darts directly onto the dress, but do not stitch horizontally because you will not be able to get the dress on and off the doll.

Now take the rest of the trim and drape over the shoulders. Make a slit in the fabric over each arm (about 1 inch down) then slip the top over the doll. Fold the fabric at the shoulders front over back and hand stitch. Cut away excess fabric from under the arms. Turn the neckline under and stitch or glue in place.

For the back, I decided to only attach the top at the back of the neck with hook and eye. You can stitch it down the back leaving enough space to slide it off, but I found the beads give this piece enough weight to hold the top closed and I didn't want the beads to catch onto the beads of the underdress when taking it on and off.

Afterwards, I sewed back on beads which had fallen off and I added a few extra sequins to make up for those beads which were lost over the tears.

Both of these outfits only cost 2€50 (about $4). What a find!!!!!

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