Catherine and I http://miniaturemaisondesouris.blogspot.com/ have become friends. Thanks to Blogger and Google translate. Which can be a bit confusing in its email translations.
Last summer we started talking about a mouse for the gorgeous French mouse house she is working on. She thought she would like to have a little girl about eight to ten years old. One that bared a family resemblance to the portraits Catherine has painted of them for the house. Which she explained had more of a rat like face.
Having never made a doll or dressed one, I wanted to give it a try. The first problem I knew was the fact I didn't have anything to dress her in. Catherine sent me a box of fabric. Many pieces were over 100 years old.
The challenge began.
I had no idea what the body of a child REALLY looks like. You have to begin a sculpt with a drawing or a photo. So as usual I went to Google.
Ah-oh! The last thing you want to do is search for....dare I even say it here...NO, I can't. I don't need the FBI at my door thanks. So I searched instead for little girls in a ballet class. That I thought would be fine. Children in leotards. PHEW!
Refining the body sculpt. OOPS....Her bottom got a little flat. I left her on it while I was away.
I spent many hours sculpting a body that would be hidden under clothes. I printed pictures of all the portraits on the walls of Catherine's house.
I needed to understand what sort of face Miss Mousey should have. She was going to be 45 to 48 inches tall in RL 1: 1 scale.
The sculpt finished, it was time to dress her. I was worried, I played with fabrics for ages. Never cutting into anything. I quickly found out that fabric has a mind of it's own. I didn't want to torture these beautiful fabrics by using some stiffening agent.
I drew my patterns and first tried them in something of my own. The only fabric in Catherine's box that would act right turned out to be a cotton print and it was new (not antique). It would hold a finger pressed pleat. You can't iron pleats into place without making them look unnatural. Asking fabrics to become 1:12 scale curtains is one thing but this was a lot smaller.
I gave her leather boots that had to be built right onto her feet and legs. I was very happy with how those worked out.