Medieval doll clothes

February 7, 2011 at 8:18 PM Leave a comment

My blog schedule is up the creek and I haven’t yet got round to rearranging it. I am still recovering by doing fun stuff. Today’s fun stuff was making a shift for the doll I want to dress in medieval clothes.

This is what the tiny sewing was for that I mentioned last Wednesday. I found a book in Scarthin Books on historical doll costumes for doll’s house dolls and bought it for my Mum, who loves making doll’s house stuff. But I read it myself and had the sudden urge to have a go.

I have made full size medieval clothes for re-enactment, so I knew the basic pattern and didn’t need to follow one from the book. I even had the right kind of needle, fine and sharp, beading needles are perfect apparently. But I didn’t have a doll.

There were instructions for making the doll and I was tempted, but I mostly wanted to make a medieval outfit before going to all that trouble. But there is a big doll’s house shop not far away, so I took a little outing a week or so ago to see if they had heads for sale. I had looked on the web, but it is surprisingly hard to find the right kind of heads.

Sadly, they didn’t sell heads.

But they did have an inexpensive doll dressed as a servant, so I bought her. I felt like a creepy pervert when I got home and stripped her naked! Especially as some of her clothes were secured by glue and I had to cut them off with a sharp knife!

Then I was tired, so she sat there glaring at me, clad only in her bloomers, wadding covered torso bared to the world. Although bloomers are not authentic for the medieval period, I decided to leave her that much dignity. Also they were glued on quite firmly.

And there she sat.

I found some linen offcuts from the shift I made myself a few years ago and cut a rectangle the right size to make her shift. To minimise the seams, I made it with sleeves already attached and all from one piece, folded over the shoulders. So the first step was to cut a hole for her head. I made it a little too large, but then at least she got her dignity back, wearing it as a sort of poncho for a few days.

So today I finally got round to having a go at making the shift.

I lay her on the fabric and cut the basic shape from one side, then sewed it carefully to the underside:

The first bit of sewing

As this seam will not be visible I finished off the bit of brown thread I had been practising with.

Trying it on for size

The second seam was harder to see with the white thread, but I still found it soothing to sew. I hate threading needles though, that is the worst bit. Then we tried it on.

Fit is acceptable

It doesn’t want to be too tight, it is a simple undergarment, meant to be somewhat loose fitting. Usually doll’s clothes are not removable, but this is not too hard to get on and off. Next it was time for the hem, a much trickier proposition and one which I am not happy with the results of. I might have to unpick and try again.

The finished shift

It looks OK and is neat enough, but it is far too stiff and doesn’t hang right. Not quite sure how to get round it. Maybe it needs to be very thin and just risk fraying.

Never mind, it will do for now, I want to see what it looks like on!

The doll in her shift

Not too bad, carefully arranged on the shelf with some lovely books about stavechurches and medieval Norway 🙂 Next I need to make her a kirtle. Or maybe I should unpick that hem and redo it.


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