Doll makers need to know a little of a lot of different subjects. We need to know how to sculpt our clay to make our dolls, of course, but we also need to know how to sew to make doll clothes. But on top of that, we should know some fashion history so we can better our doll dress designs, especially if we’re making fairy tale dolls.
With that in mind, I hope you enjoy this little video I put together about the history of the hoop skirt. This info is for doll makers, for sure, but anyone interested in fashion or history should get a kick out of it as well.
Why Fashion History for the Doll Maker?
So I know what you’re thinking “why all the focus on fashion history? I’m a doll maker, not a costume seamstress!” (I captured that sentence from your thought bubble, that’s how I know your thoughts. Creepy, right?).
Because you’ve got to know a basic understanding of fashion history to know how to begin designing a dress for your fairy tale doll. Even if you plan to take artistic license while designing a dress, you’ll be at the top of your creative game if you know when you’re doing your own thing.
Knowing the in-vogue female form for the time period is so important, especially if you’re going for a believable fairy tale look for a specific character. For instance, after sculpting a Queen of Hearts doll (from Alice in Wonderland), I was excited to design her dress. I was stuck though, because I didn’t have enough knowledge about what a historically accurate dress actually looked like.
After some research, I discovered that Lewis Carroll was probably inspired by the outrageous wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth I (crowned queen of England in 1559) when he was thinking up his Queen of Hearts character. So, I simply needed to better understand what the “Virgin Queen” would have worn to create a believable Queen of Hearts dress for my art doll.
The longer version of this video and more historical doll dress tutorials will be released in the Spring of 2017. Each video will start with a short, entertaining, fashion history lesson and then will progress to making the clothing. If you’re interested in staying updated on the release of these tutorials, please subscribe to my newsletter.