So in addition to needle felter's claw I'm also suffering from doll stringer's strain. An unhappy combination of afflictions I'm sure you'll agree.
However, time and industrial injuries wait for no woman, so after the last doll was strung I immediately set about preparing to dress it. As well as requests for my special offer doll from last week, I'm overdue restocking the website with Jumeau-style dolls in colours which have sold out.
This was the cue to undertake one of the more enjoyable aspects of microdoll dressing.... preparing pleated silk ribbons for the skirts and bonnets.
Although it's a mechanical process, I find it incredibly soothing.
First I have to decide on which colours I want to use from my silk ribbon stock boxes. Organised by colour, each box contains a myriad shades in a variety of widths, from 2mm up to 18mm.
For microdoll pleating I use mainly 13mm wide silk ribbon. When I've selected the appropriate colour, I press it by running it under the soleplate of a medium heat iron, which instantly removes creases and wrinkles.
I have several different sizes of pleating boards but for this I use one which makes tiny 1/4" pleats.
First I lightly spray the board with a fine mist of water. This helps to hold the silk in place on the rubber board during the pleating process.
I then lay a length of ribbon across the board, in line with the top edge. Using two plastic cards, I press the ribbon into the ridges, one at a time, holding each pleat in place with one card before pressing in the next one, and so on, along the width of the ribbon until I have pleated enough for the skirt and bonnet.
The rhythmic, repetitive motion of pleating silk ribbons is most definitely calming. Not only that, it is one of those lovely tasks where after a set period of time you can actually see what you've done and experience a warm sense of achievement. A whole pleating board covered with rows of neatly pleated, colourful silk ribbons is like a balm to the soul.
|Row after row of neatly pleated silk ribbons|
When I've finished, I spray the ribbons with starch, to help set the pleats, then put them aside in a warm spot (usually our airing cupboard) to dry overnight. If I'm in a tearing hurry, I sometimes dry them with a hair dryer, but leaving them in the pleater for at least 12 hours does seem to make the pleats more permanent.
While the pleated ribbons are drying, it's time to crack on with the doll's underwear.
|Up to high jinks in silk knicks!|
It's very important to me that my little dolls are properly dressed, and that includes underwear.
Silk of course, and trimmed with frilly braid around the legs.
Tomorrow.... lace socks, leather-soled silk shoes and lacy petticoats!