Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tomi Jane's Purple Pioneer Outfit

I believe Tomi Jane drafted the yoke pattern herself. Here's the original listing:
Here is a three piece outfit with a pioneer look. The dress is made from a purple reproduction print, along with a bodice inset of plaid. The dress has very typical mid 1800s styling, with a round yoke, gathered bodice, dropped sleeves, and skirt with two growth tucks. The sleeves are trimmed with cluny lace. The separate apron in ivory, is hand embroidered with a feather stitch, and fully lined. The dress and apron both fasten in the back with small buttons and hand-worked button loops. To complete the look, I have made a self-fringed shawl from a very soft wool. The wool drapes (falls in natural looking folds) very well.

I forgot to photograph the shawl. It's very pretty.

These outfits are not mine, but I love admiring them. Tomi Jane also is such a good photographer! :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tomi Jane's Civil War Gown

My Molly is modeling another beautiful creation by Tomi Jane. Here's her original description:
Here is an 1860s era gown made with a Civil War reproduction cotton in pretty floral print. I have hand crocheted a collar of ivory cotton to give the dress a period look, it is hand stitched to the bodice. The dress has dropped shoulders, a full skirt, and a coordinating placket and cuffs. There is much trimming with a brown rick rack, including along the two growth tucks, the waistline, and to accentuate the shoulder lines. Eleven tiny brown buttons line up along the center placket. The back is fastened with small buttons and hand-worked button loops. This dress was made before I purchased a serger, so the interior seams are finished with a zigzag.

Here are more examples direct from Tomi Jane's portfolio.

What a rich and beautiful fabric choice! This is complicated pattern that TomiJane has executed flawlessly.

This is hands down my favorite Tomi Jane outfit because it's so eye-catching. The black chevrons and the lace trim contrast perfectly with the shimmery sage duiponi. It looks so authentic that I can imagine a life-size re-enactor walking around in this gown.

A creative use of American Girl's Addy tartan pattern. I was never a fan of the pattern until I saw TomiJane's interpretation of it. I've always seen it created with plaid tartan fabric, so this is such a refreshing Civil War look. The use of lace is so delicate and lovely. The black and blue complement each other and the choice of fabric makes it look so lux. I can imagine many little girls during the Civil War wearing this outfit. The laced gloves are a great detail!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tomi Jane's New Etsy Store

In my glee and excitement, I ran into Tomi Jane's new online Etsy store and ran out with three adorable outfits. I was tempted to get more, but I realized I should not be a shopping hog. "Nay," says I, "Others must experience first hand the fine craftsmanship and aesthetic eye that is the talent of Tomi Jane." Plus, at the rate I'm going with these new additions, I'm going to go broke. Actually, come to think of it, I *am* already broke.  I've been noticing that my dolls all dress better than I do. :(

(By the way, a lot of the recent blog posts feature old outfits that I've collected over the years, but only recently had the time to photograph.)

This very fancy blue silk Duiponi dress, created by Tomi Jane, would have been worn by a wealthy little girl around 1900.

Here are more stunning examples from Tomi Jane's portfolio made for Samantha, Nellie, or Rebecca. The choice of fabric and trim are perfect. To clarify, these are not part of my collection. They are from Tomi Jane's portfolio. She only puts outfits for sale at her Etsy store.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Young Victoria Evening Gown

This taffeta French Evening Gown was made by Doll Clothes of Yore. Apparently, she only has two copies left. The gown is modeled after early portraits of Queen Victoria and Empress Eugenie, though it would be appropriate for a doll time traveling between 1840-1860.

Young Victoria

Empress Eugenie Surrounded by Ladies in Waiting

Have you seen Emily Blunt in Young Victoria? I saw it in the theaters and I do re-watch it every few months on Netflex streaming. The movie was about Victoria's early power struggles and her maturing into a queen and wife, but there were some surprisingly charming and funny moments. I heard the actress Emily Blunt fought tooth and nail to win the leading role, thinking the movie would turn her into a Cate Blanchett. But secretly, I think she wanted the role in order to 1) wear gorgeous gowns 2) pet Cavalier King Charles Spaniels all day 3) and smooch the actor playing Prince Albert.

I have read the Christopher Hitchens' biography called, Queen Victoria Personal History. It's quite good except he somehow doesn't include much information about the potato famine in Ireland. I don't want to romanticize her reign, because the British empire expanded the most under her rule and even in modern times, we're still experiencing many of the nasty effects of colonialism. But from the biography, you get a sense of how deeply she loved her husband and children. In Victoria's early reign, she was considered a fashion trend-setter. However, after Prince Albert died in 1861, she donned on black for the rest of her life.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite gowns from the movie.
Emily Blunt as Young Victoria

Sigh. I want to get married in this blue dress. I don't care if I look dowdy for the 21st century. I will be at the peak of fashion for 1840!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Emily's Shy Debut

Ok. I admit I was fearful that American Girl would "archive" Molly and Emily this year so I bought them both during a QVC discount show. I've never been a fan of WWII fashion, and I just never liked how Molly looked with the bangs and glasses. (This was probably due to the fact that I had to wear glasses from second grade onwards.) But I've grown to find Molly's appearance very pleasing, and have read all her stories.

I also kept Emily in the box for a while because I thought she looked too much like Felicity. But I bought this Dollies' Dressmaker outfit recently, and I thought "Ah, finally, a perfect outfit to complement Emily's eyes and accessories!" So this is Emily's debut on the blog.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Please Vote in AGPlaythings Academy Awards

Hi, Everyone!
The Miniature Historian Blog received a nomination for Best Writing in the AGPlaythings Academy Awards.

Here are some of my favorite entries throughout the years:
Samantha at the Cake Party (The Real Reason Why Samantha Wears Drop-Waist Dresses)

Replica of a Colonial Williamsburg General Store

Too Many Maid Marions

Create Your Own Dollhouse

Good-bye Jess, Twin of Jane

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pink Polonaise or Milkmaid Gown

In the 1770s and 1780s, Enlightenment thinkers waxed philosophical about the virtues of Nature and rustic living. Even Marie Antoinette, yearning for the simpler life, had her own farm where she pranced around in country garb.

Undoubtedly, these new ideals popularized the polonaise style gown, which imitated milkmaids who tucked their skirts up to keep them from dragging in the mud while they did chores. Also known as robe à la Polonaise, the style consisted of a fitted bodice and a three tiered overskirt, draped over a petticoat. The overskirt got its full poufed look usually by ribbon ties or a ring and loop system.

Here's blogger writing about how ladies transitioned from gowns shaped by panniers to the polonaise style.

Contrast the old wide hoop style to the new polonaise (my two photos from the LACMA exhibit):

This must be the widest gown on record...or someone got stuck in the back of the sofa.

Here are real examples from the Met.

Here's my Elizabeth modeling a polonaise gown from Doll Clothes of Yore.