C11 is doing her presentation at the feast on medieval fashions. She had made a fabulous start, creating a hand sewn costume for her medieval peasant doll. It had taken her much longer than anticipated, leaving only three weeks until the date of the feast to have her next costume completed by. This costume was to be a far more complicated one for a knight’s lady. We were both somewhat panicked by the lack of time.
Nevertheless she swiftly made the chemise from muslin and a dress from white embroidered cotton. These were completed quite quickly as she had done similar designs for her peasant doll. Bearing in mind she created her own patterns, she did an amazing job:
She didn’t finish the arms on the over dress as she had wanted them to be long and floaty and wasn’t quite sure how she could create that. Because of time constraints we chose to use a felt fabric rather than the preferred velvet because it would not need hemming. She easily created a violet skirt by cutting a rectangle, folding over the top, stitching, threading with elastic and pulling tight:
She had wanted the skirt to be slit down the middle to reveal the white embroidered cotton dress underneath but when I found some silky purple material she panelled that in instead:
And this is where work ceased. She had done all her skills would allow her to do and at this point was really struggling for motivation.
We had been here once before during this project, but this time I too was stuck. I was not an experienced enough seamstress to be able to instruct her. So each night I took her dolly and played, created, unpicked, played and created some more (with a whole heap of unpicking at various intervals) until I at last managed to put together something resembling a bodice:
And we were off again. This project has definitely been one of team work and, whilst C probably would have preferred it to have been all her own work, I had a ball interfering! In fact, interfering taught me something. It taught me how having time and freedom to experiment is when the very best learning occurs. Unfortunately the presentation is next week and there was simply not the time to give C to experiment as she had done with her peasant dolly. I don’t sleep and I have hours to play around in the evening, so I tried to help her out. The reality is, that whilst I succeeded getting the project off the ground again (so to speak) I prevented C from learning the valuable lessons which come from trial and error. And worse, I had robbed her of the feeling of achievement which comes from a project done pretty much entirely independently.
Once the bodice was done, everything else began to fall into place. Long arms were sewn from rectangles of purple silk and attached at the base of the embroidered cotton arms previously sewn:
We made a simple belt from the same material, stitching it in place at the back and we were almost finished!
C11 had wanted her lady to have a fur cloak. It took me a while to find something which would work as fur. We do have a huge fake fur sheet but T uses it a lot for all his plays and was loath to give C even a small part of it. I have three boxes full of old clothes I have kept for the purposes of sewing and patchwork and eventually found an old coat which had a fur-lined hood. I ripped the fur off and together C and I made a simple cloak:
Finally we made her head-dress by simply hemming a sheet of muslin on three sides, folding the fourth side down, sewing and threading with elastic and pulling really tightly to bunch up the fabric. The elastic was secured with a few stitches and then cut. This was then attached to a material covered bun:
We had finished, and neither of us could quite believe how well it had turned out:
And here are both the peasant dolly and the Knight’s lady, side by side awaiting C11’s presentation. Something for C to be very proud about, don’t you think?
Both dolls were made from scraps of material, old peanut sacks and ripped up old clothing and didn’t cost a penny to make. I’m so proud of my little girl and I promise next time to not interfere (although, you should know, I had jolly good fun doing so…!)