Onesies are the mainstay of the modern layette. My sister Bendie says there's nothing cuter than a baby snug in a tight little onesie, and I'm inclined to agree.
The creative Mom or Nana likes the canvas a onesie provides. Whether you embellish with a handcrafted rosette, like the one above, or an embroidered Christmas motif, it's a great way to make the mundane magnifique!
For rosettes, I enjoy using soft cotton ribbon made extra special with French script text.
With a little gathering and a little wrapping and a small piece of crinoline to tack it to, you end up with a precious little posey.
It adds artisanal texture to any design for a child. Pair an embellished onesie with a matching pair of booties for an exquisite baby shower gift.
Like the crenelated edge of the rosette "petals"? I used my brilliant antique pinking machine, above to cut it.
Inspired by the intricately scalloped edging of trim on antique doll costumes, I looked high and low for a gadget that would make the cut. I have scalloping shears, but the old edging was even more detailed.
Finally, I found reference to antique pinking machines used for fabric or leather (a favored taxidermist's tool). After making a regular search on eBay, I found the one above. It works amazingly well and has opened up all kinds of creative possibilities for embellishing children's styles.
My 91-year-old mother in law has made quilts since she was a child growing up on a farm in cold Michigan. She has given me her stash of fabric (hundreds of patterns!), vintage and not and I have have hand torn into ribbon. I will offer it in different widths, tea-stained and not, and hand-stamped and not.
I've developed quite a stock of Kristi's oh la la trims, and I notice she has added lots of new designs to her eBay store. Think I'll go do some shopping.
Of all the French antique dolls, I believe the Bru dolls are some of the prettiest. That's why I enjoy recreating the 18" doll known as Bru Jne 11. Above is my latest version.
As a trained Doll Artisan, I paint the features like the original dollmakers did in the Bru atelier, or studio. The tiny lashes and brow strokes, the lips and the blush of the cheeks are as close as possible to a picture of an actual antique, which I go by when painting.
I did something new with this bébé, as this type of doll is called: I created handmade earrings from old Haskell-style nailhead beads. I found a huge lot of these beads on eBay, with doll earrings in mind, and this was the perfect opportunity to use them, since the original Bru Jne 11s also had pierced ears.
I love making the dolls, but my greatest passion is in designing and creating their clothes. I chose palest pink French organdy for this doll's frock, and I highlighted it with antique lace and a rayon ribbon trim. I used an unusual old length of lace from my collection, with antique lace insertion and edging already assembled to make just the right width for the collar and dropped waist skirt. I set the collar off with an heirloom knotted bow made of the tiniest rayon ribbon.
The bébé shows off her elegant ivory pointed French doll shoes that tie with pink rayon ribbon. I made her socks from a delicate piece of antique lace.
I found some wonderful wide French taffeta ribbon at Textile Fabrics here in Nashville. It makes the prettiest bustle to these old-fashioned dropped waist dresses. I repeated the effect with the bow in her hair.
This bébé doesn't mind showing off what she's wearing beneath her frock: a "combinaison" (one piece combination of bloomers and camisole) made from an old piece of eyelet fabric. Like just about everything else she is wearing, it is trimmed old pink rayon ribbon.
One other detail: She wears a handmade human hair wig. The old doll wigs were made either of combed mohair or human hair. I prefer working with the latter. After sewing wefted lengths of it to a wig cap, I cut and style it. I really like the chestnut color and natural curl of this wig. (I buy the wefted hair weave from hair supply shops.)
One of the great things about the craftmanship of antique reproduction dolls: It gives 21st century doll lovers a chance to own a doll that looks almost exactly like the antiques at a fraction of the cost. Unlike many reproduction dollmakers, I am particularly proud that I can offer these dolls to you at prices that are accessible.
I love sharing these beauties with you, and there will be more in the weeks to come. A great Christmas surprise for someone special!
What do these creamy waxen blocks bring to mind for you? Finely carved butter or, maybe, white chocolate? The detailing in the designs is stunning.
Candles as picture frames? Picture frames as candles? Note the fine beading around the oval of the frames.Any black candle has an elegance all its own. These octagonal Baroque boxes add an element of mystery. Classicism isn't always cold marble with a blank stare. This ivory goblet brings magnificence without haughtiness. What would a peculiar collection of wax figures be without at least one curious little doll face? Named Macabre, for its shape, no doubt, the translucence of this candle makes it more engaging than morbid. Last but never least is the black swan of ballet legend and her chaste white friend.
La Poste is an occasional feature of Atelier Chéri where I share a particularly good blog post or newsletter item from my email inbox.
Now is a good time to pick up this old store stock French antique lace that you'll be needing for that heirloom child's Easter dress or a christening gown or a special antique doll. It will be available on eBay for several weeks, then the pieces that don't sell will be available here at our La Dentellière lace market.
Thanks for looking. à bientôt...Tatie
As I may or may not have mentioned before, the color red is usually verboten for me, due to the intense rivalry between my beloved Nashville Predators hockey team and the dastardly Red Wings (whom we humiliated in the last two meetings, I might add). But, I relent at Christmas and Valentine's Day because the creative possibilities abound -- like this lovely lady in red.
She is a variation on a fashion plate from 18th Century French Fashions. (Any fan of the froufrou and frills of the Marie Antoinette era needs a copy of this book filled with color plates.) With the ubiquitous heart-shaped doily, foil greetings and one of the stunning roses from the Prima collection, she is a vision (even if she is wearing red).
There is something especially chic about the play of black and pink together. That, along with an illustration from French Fashion plates of the Romantic Era, inspired this Valentine doll.
This combination gave me a chance to use some of my treasured black lace as the underskirt. You know about my love for lace and the wonderful heirloom creations that it makes possible for children and dolls. But my collection also includes yards of enchanting black lace -- with a sense of mystery all its own. Stay tuned for its introduction here at Atelier Chéri and the opportunity to buy some of it at La Dentellière.
Last was this little ingenue arrayed in tulle and printed tissue. She also was inspired by one of the plates in French Fashion Plates of the Romantic Era, as was the black-and-pink number above.
The Romantic Era (during the 19th century) has been on my mind a little more than usual this Valentine's Day season. Not only is it my first as Mike's wife, but it finds me busy putting together a small family wedding for my precious daughter. Just as I made all of her little smocked and handsewn dresses when she was little, I am making her wedding dress. Amid clouds of tulle and organza, I am having a ball! Hope to share wedding pictures in the next week.