Fashion Dolls - History
French Fashion Dolls in History
wanted all of Europe to know about Paris fashions so he began sending life-sized
fashion dolls to every European Court. The dolls were dressed in the latest
styles. Noble ladies would have their tailors imitate the clothes, footwear,
hats and accessories on the latest dolls.
The painstakingly correct
dolls' clothes were beautiful
and included every construction detail. The dressmakers were able to remove the
clothes and copy them as patterns which they
would then grade to the
size of individual
If necessary they would unpick the stitched outfits, assess the cut
of the pattern and then remake the fashion doll's costume. The miniature fashion
dolls were passed from court to court throughout Europe. They were exquisite and
represented the latest word in fashion and trimmings. These
alabaster or china dolls were sent to Europe and America in the 19th century.
Right - French fashion doll from the 19th century.
Although effective paper patterns were developed in the Victorian era the use of
costumed dolls as models was used even after the Second World War. In
mid 1945 the Theatre De La Mode was organised by the Chambre Syndicale of Paris.
The Syndicale organised the sending of small scale couture designed models
It was a collaboration of fashion designers and artists for the spring and
summer of 1945 fashions. It was intended to show the supremacy of French fashion
designing and was an attempt to reassert French Couture. There is nothing quite like a model mannequin to really show off a garment.
Janet Arnold measured a wide range and variety of costumes in
British museums and UK costume collections. She produced scaled one inch grid
patterns for them. These are presented in her books Patterns Of Fashion Parts 1
and 2. I can really recommend these books to you because they are so detailed
with hints and tips for making up.
I have made several full size costumes from these
books and many approximately one third scale costumes. They certainly
help in the understanding of earlier construction techniques, especially
of the bustle skirt. Even if you never make a costume seeing the inside
construction of garments with tapes, padding, stays and boning
positioning will all be revealed to you. No serious costume student
should miss reading these books.
The books by Janet Arnold that I suggest are called:-
Englishwomen's Dresses and Their Construction C.1660-1860: Patterns of Fashion
1, Vol. 1 and
Engishwomen's Dresses and Their Construction C.1860-1940: Patterns of Fashion,
When teaching Fashion courses, I sometimes encouraged students
to make up costumes using her patterns. But to reduce costs of materials
and the time involved we scaled the patterns down by drafting the patterns onto
one centimetre squared paper. This paper is easily available by mail order from
MacCulloch and Wallis of Dering Street, off Oxford Street, London, UK. They also
now operate an internet service.
This reduction in grid size produces a reduced size pattern
which would be two and a half times larger if drafted to full scale. You get a
final pattern garment length that is about 18 to 20 inches dependant on the
original size of the wearer of the garment.
To make the project relevant to
today the students decorated the costumes using techniques old and modern, from
ribbon application, smocking, drawn thread work, to quilting with a twin needle, drop feed free machine
embroidery or computer aided embroidery. In this way they were also able to extend
their creative skills of methods and machinery and gain a great deal of costume construction experience
in one exercise. Sewing
Velvets - Tips
Below are some pictures of costumes typically made by a
selection of past students. Sometimes we made wire and papier mache
stands based on the instructions that can be found in Janet Arnold's book called
A Handbook of Costume.
Please click the thumbnails for a better
TO TOP OF PAGE
My Xmas Bread
Dough Craft Modelling Recipe could be used to model a head.
Dress Form Miniatures and Miniature Mannequins
I recently discovered this site called alldressforms which sells miniature dress forms, miniature
mannequins and fashion figurines in various clothing and costumes. They
offer mannequins for decorating, dressing and/or displaying items such as
jewellery, miniature clothing and dollhouse-sized clothes. I noticed it
was a family friendly site that you should be able to view with your children
When I checked out this site, I found a great
selection of small mannequins in sizes from 4-1/2 inches through 31 inches tall,
ranging in price from $9.95 through $49.95. These miniature dress forms and
jewellery mannequins are made of a wide variety of fabrics, trims and materials.
Just so you can see them, they are on
Paper Dolls for an original selection of Victorian based paper dolls
For related fashion information
click below :-