I have to say, that if the house was burning down, and I had the opportunity to save something from the workroom, it would have to be my boxes of irreplaceable silk, collected over the past 30 odd years.
The little dolls I make are impossible to costume in anything other than silk. And not just any old silk. It has to be exceedingly fine silk. On days when I feel a bit 'meh' I can always be cheered by sorting through my stash of wonderful silks, savouring the colours, patterns and the luxuriously soft feel of them.
Many of my silks are no longer available which makes them all the more precious. For decades I've kept an eagle-eye out for even the smallest snippets of silk.... at markets, boot fairs, antique shops, fabric shops....
A piece of silk just 10cm square will yield enough to create a bustled jacket and bonnet, so even the most inconsequential amount is to be treasured. I have some tiny pieces of gorgeous silks which I can barely bring myself to use, as I know that once they're gone, they are gone forever, never to be replaced.
This week I've been working on some special commissions, including one for a little toy doll in a closely fitted Princess line jacket over a pleated skirt, with a neat little gathered bonnet, taken from this book, one of my 'go to' resources for Jumeau-style costumes and accessories.
Given that the doll to be dressed measured under 1 3/4" tall, creating a 6-piece jacket, tailored exactly to the doll was challenging to say the least. However, perseverance paid off, and having cracked the pattern I couldn't resist making a few more, including one for my little French doll shop.
I've just listed two of these on the website HERE
I'd also like to point out that those impossibly tiny buttons, which measure less than 1mm in diameter, are SEWN onto the jackets, using a superfine needle which only just fits through the practically microscopic holes in the buttons. I'll gloss over the colourful language I employed while searching on the floor for them after they repeatedly pinged off the end of the needle. Trying to find such small buttons, lost in the pile of a carpet definitely taxes the patience.
However, I hope you'll agree that the end result is worth it!