Isn’t it strange how life keeps getting in the way of studio time?

Sorry I missed a couple of days. I had a bit of family stress to deal with and a jacket for “Fancy Pants” that didn’t work out.

Mimi's Elf - Fancy Pants - Unfinished

Fancy Pants- Unfinished

The elf I am trying to dress is called “Fancy Pants” because he is wearing “pansied slops” (Shakespeare pants). Over time this was simplified to “slops.” These are the pants worn by men in the mid to late 16th century (Elizabethan times). They were worn over canions, extensions (fabric tubes) from slops to knees, then stockings that were tied above the knee with ribbon “garters.” I made tights to simulate both of these. The slops were stuffed, usually with the torn garments of the men whom they defeated in duels.  When they were lengthened almost to the knees they were called breeks (or breeches).

I have him in a shirt, tights and slops and wanted to make a short, fitted jacket with a flared or fluted “skirt”. It had to be short as his slops are short. Well, I chose to use a piece of ultra-suede. It made up rather nice but the garment was really too small for the weight of the fabric and the shoulders were too wide when I added the flanges.  When I finished he jacket I was disappointed because it looked terrible on him It just seemed too bulky and did not look good on him at all. I spent about 7 hours making it because every seam had to be trimmed, glued and pounded to reduce bulk. That should have been a clue that the fabric was too heavy for such a small garment. I tried to reduce bulk further by not lining the jacket and instead facing the front and hem as well as the flanges.  This was more work than a full lining.

Fancy Pants Vest Front

Fancy Pants Vest Front

Fancy Pants Vest Back

Fancy Pants Vest Back

I am searching through my historical costuming books and the jackets that “go with” the slops are all a lot of work.  The sleeves and skirt of the “jerkin” are about 8 or ten small pieces that are lined and turned before stitching to the armholes and bottom of the garment.  I wonder why they are called “picadels.” These pieces are about a half an inch long and a bit less in the width.  Don’t think I want to work that hard and have another disaster on my hands.  I already have two and a half days into this one and he is not dressed yet, let alone hair and a hat. I am anxious to finish this series and there is only one more to go after Fancy Pants.  I do have a second one, but when I made him I experimented with making his limbs a bit longer and quite skinny. The legs look good but that made the arms really skinny and I was not able to turn the hands let alone fingers.   I think that one will have leg amputations and replace them with legs like the rest of the litter. The torso and head are just fine no need to waste it.

We plan to take Cassi to see Alice In Wonderland with Johnny Depp this afternoon, the 3D version. So it will be sometime late tomorrow before I will be able to show you a completed Fancy Pants.


2 thoughts on “Isn’t it strange how life keeps getting in the way of studio time?

  1. Hi Mimi and Jim,
    I received your “Needle Model a Pretty Face” for Christmas (Yippee!!!). And I am really enjoying it. Thank you. Then I hit your blog here, and found out that even experienced doll makers spend prodigious amounts of time on something that just doesn’t quite work out! Thus, although you were probably exhausted by the whole exercise, I was encouraged because I,too, have known that frustration. Thanks for sharing your failures. I’m thankful the purchase of the dvd will help you raise your great grandchild. May all your endeavors be richly blessed.

    • Thank you. One of the things that I think is important is for a teacher to find out how everything can go wrong and why, and then pass that information along to students so they don’t all have to make the same mistakes. It saves a lot of time because you can apply the same knowledge to any other doll patterns you use or design. It’s my practice to tell you who I learned major techniques from when I didn’t invent them myself.

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