Friday, November 30, 2012

A Christmas Doll, Pt. 2 - Basic Victorian Underpinnings

This week all my children fell ill. We have been at home, in the house, (besides the hurried daily journey to the mailbox each day, which is usually Judah's especial activity) since last Saturday. I'm ready for the weekend. Simply because it means that yes, I will be able to get out of the house. Even if it is just grocery shopping. 

They are all recovering nicely from their respective ear infecitons and bronchitis. During this week, when they have napped more than usual, I have been able to get a few underpinnings made for Anne's doll. I am trying to hurry up to get as much as I can done this week since my mother's birthday and David's birthday are coming up in a week or two and I need to make each of them a birthday present. So, here I present to you the Basic Victorian Underpinnings that the doll now boasts. 

The first thing I made for the doll were these little boots. They are made of one layer of wool broadcloth. I attempted 3 other pair before I finally got these done and I found out that yes, wool broadcloth is ideal since you do not need to line it and it does not fray when cut! Wool felt would probably work just as well. I'd like to make another pair in red at some future point. 

Then the chemise. All these undies were cut down from part of a white cotton sheet so the material was free and it is nice quality. The chemise is a basic square-cut chemise with a gathered neckline. Sort of transitional between the earlier regency-era chemises and the later ones that could be cut with raglan-set sleeves. 
The drawers are basic split drawers of the period. I decorated the legs with tucks and a lace edging. In passing, I will say that I did not construct these in a period correct manner. Due to the size of them there is just no way I can sew tucks in the round on a finished leg! So I am doing mostly flat construction and then sewing the side seams last. I feel horribly non-PC for doing so but I can't really think of any other way that would allow me to make such small things without weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. 
I finished up the little corded stay today. I decided to go with this earlier style instead of the later non-strapped, front-opening style because 1: I had no idea what to use for a separating busk and 2: this style has straps, which allows the stays to stay ON the doll much better. Since the stays do not compress the doll, this is important. Without straps the stays would slip and slide around the torso which is not what we want, right?

I really kind of adore the stays. I love making corsets and even this small one was super fun to do. It's made almost exactly like my regency stays, with less cording and no boning. 
The back laces shut with a single lace. And yes, it is true, the lacing on the back is messed up. . .gotta go back and relace it properly sometime. . .didn't notice it til after I had taken pictures.
And here she is so far! Petticoats are up next.

And for those who have inquired about the pattern, here is a scan of the pattern I eyeballed for this doll. I hope it will print out okay; it is supposed to fit a standard size printer paper. I used about a 1/4" seam allowance and my finished dolly is about 17" tall.  


  1. Sarah Jane, this is such a lovely doll!! Such a good idea. Can't wait to see her wardrobe...I think it will be so nice, since you will be making it!
    Will you be making more different period style dolls with wardrobe for Anne?

  2. Dear Sarah,

    She is getting sweeter and and sweeter, and those stays!!! No wonder you love them. Thank you so for sharing your pattern. Have a feeling there may be a few more dollies under the Christmas tree this year, thanks to your kindness.



  3. Dollies with other period wardrobes? I hadn't really thought of that, but it WOULD be awesome! A dolly for each period of fashion. Okay, yes. I think I am going to have to do that. :) Might not be for a while but I think I will definitely do that!

  4. That corset is so adorable! I think all the underpinnings are turning out great. What a fun dolly! I wouldn't mind playing with it myself. :-)

  5. I seriously love this. :) Love it!

  6. Oh, wow love the detail with the corset.

    btw. just nominated you for a blog award (put the details on my blog)


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!