Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Favorite 18th Century Fashion Designers

Dollies' Dressmaker
I love Cindy's unique designs, such as her sacque-back and caraco gowns, because they look like they were inspired by Janet Arnold, who had created a pattern book based on real 18th century English gowns. Her pretty and sturdy panniers are also sold at reasonable prices and give the gown historically accurate shapes. She also reproduces dresses that you might see in the American Girl book illustrations, such as Felicity's brown church gown.

Heirloom Doll Designs (Sdls275)
I've seen her 18th century gowns go for as high as $300. They look like exact replicas of museum pieces, replete with decorated flat straw hats and multiple stomachers. 

Doll Clothes of Yore
I appreciate Emily's designs because she attempts to use serpentine shapes and ruffles that were popular in the 18th century. She also is willing to experiment with draping, and has created lovely polonaise-style gowns.

Terri's Touch
Terri's gowns are simple, elegant, and always well-made. She also makes caraco style gowns.

Dollies' Dressmaker Sacque-back gown.

Dollies' Dressmaker Caraco jacket.

Doll Clothes of Yore

Heirloom Doll Designs (Sdls275)

Terri's Touch

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Favorite Regency Fashion Designers

Regency/Napoleonic Literature
Jane Austen is my favorite author. I have read every piece of work she has ever written and watched all the movies and television series based on her works. Of course, if you are looking for other literature that are similar to Jane Austen or set during the Napoleonic Wars, you should check out the following:
  • anything by Georgette Heyer (regency love stories galore, but more on the fluffy side)
  • Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South (love story is similar to Pride and Prejudice, but it's set in a textile town in the 1850s and has more social commentary about the plight of the working class)
  • Patrick O'Brian's Post Captain (similar to Persuasion, but told from the perspective of a British naval captain and a surgeon who are fighting and spying in the Napoleonic Wars) 
  • Susanna Clarke's Mr. Norell and Jonathan Strange (set in regency England, but in an alternate universe with magic; it's a mix of Jane Austen, Patrick O'Brian, and Harry Potter)
  • C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower series (about a young British officer's naval adventures)
  • Bernard Cromwell's Sharpe series (about the Peninsular Wars, but told through the perspective of Richard Sharpe, a common solder promoted to the rank of a commissioned officer, who despite his intelligence and fighting prowess, continuously faces class prejudice)

My Favorite Regency Designers
If you would like your dolls to do some time traveling or get Lost in Austen, I highly recommend the following seamstresses. I only recommend people's work I've seen up close, and all of their outfits are spectacular.

Thimbles and Acorns
Shari's gowns are always meticulously researched and beautifully constructed. I think her patterns are the most historically accurate and unique.

Vintique Designs
Linda's gowns have delicate, ethereal quality to them that fits well with regency aesthetics. Her embellishments of lace make her dresses extra special.

Tomi Jane's Doll Times
 I think of Tomi Jane's outfits as regal and rich, fit for any Miss Bingley.

Dollies' Dressmaker
If you ever come across Cindy's haute couture designs on Ebay, just snatch them up because they are amazing.

Threads of Troy
Karen's designs are simple and elegant.

Terri's Touch
Terri's regency dresses don't vary because they follow the 1820s Josefina pattern. However, the dresses are always perfectly constructed and very affordable.

Doll Clothes of Yore
Emily offers a beautiful spencer coat and bonnet that would please any Jane Austen fan.

Vintique Design

Dollies' Dressmaker

Terri's Touch

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Favorite Miniature Food Designers

Last year my dolls went on a miniature food binge. They mostly got sweets (ice cream, cookies, candy) and savory munchies of questionable nutritional value (hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken). However, after a bit of lecturing,  they also selected delectable vegetables and fruit, and even a full salad. I am a repeat customer at these three food shops:

Minnie Kitchen
Janet is a real pleasure to work with and is quite creative. Her specialty is 1/12 scale, but please don't hesitate to ask about scaling anything in her shop to the American Girl doll size of 1/3. She's particularly good with texture and painting (see the potatoes below). I've gotten scones, a cream puff and strawberry shortcake, cheese sets, vegetables, and fruit from her shop.

Teresa's food are always perfectly scaled. Her works have a polished and clean rounded feel to them. If you you're wishing pieces from an official American Girl girl set such as Felicity's Party Treats, you should inquire about a custom replica, as she is an AG collector herself and is probably familiar with the originals.

The Tea Cottage
This artist makes her food in batches of 5-10. I don't think she does custom orders, so if you see something in her shop that you like, you should buy it right away. What I like about her work is she bases her projects on recipes from the American Girl recipe books or from the stories. So I've gotten Samantha's breakfast, Josefina's Bizcochitos, and Julie's sloppy Joes from her shop. I also just like to check out her shop for adorable setups, some of them complete with miniature newspapers and floral arrangements!

Food Portrait Gallery:
You can also see more under the Food and Dishes tag.
The tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and cauliflower in the basket were created by Minnie Kitchen. The turnip and the lettuce are from Addy's gardening set. I picked up the grater at World Market, the knives from lovvbugg on Ebay, and the metal pot and pans I picked up at from a kid's kitchen set KB Toys.
By MinnieKitchen

The carrots, eggplant, sweet potatoes, Russet potatoes, and red potatoes were created by Minnie Kitchen. I especially love the detail of the partially pealed potato!
By MinnieKitchen

This salad with onions, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce was created by The Tea Cottage.
By The Tea Cottage

This spaghetti with meat sauce and buttered roll was created by The Tea Cottage. Note the the detail of the dried herbs on top of the sauce.
By The Tea Cottage

This delicious cheeseburger was made by Pippaloo.

These ice pop made by Pippaloo are so realistic, down to the translucency of the ice.

Monday, February 13, 2012

AGPT's Academy Awards

Please Vote for the Miniature Historian, which has been nominated for Best Writing category in the AGPT's Academy Awards.

Last 2011 was a record year with a total of 75 entries. After I discovered several talented polymer food sculptors, I wrote a series about culinary history. I have also scoured Ebay auctions for perfectly proportioned furniture. Finally, I have been watching and salivating over many a delightful costume drama.

2011 Highlights
1.Young Victoria Evening Gown
2. Courting Chairs
3. Say Cheese!
4. Candy Apple for Rebecca
5. 18th Century Saque-back Gown

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Anne of a Thousand Days

This blue Tudor era gown was designed by Carmelina Creations.

The gown reminds of the blue gown from Anne of Thousand Days.

Also, a great Flikr stream, whence to drool over historical costumes: imagination-historique.