Friday, February 25, 2011

Becoming a Queen -- Part I

Hello again. It's nice to see you back at court.


Yesterday I mentioned that I was not intended to be representative of any one queen in particular and certainly not any one nationality. However, through the iterative, artistic process, I became most notably a British queen...And here's why...

I most loved the stature and bearing of Queen Mary...She was quite buxom which gave her a large display "case" for her copious jewels...


Queen Mary was always festooned with jewels. And I liked that too.

In Allie's Dreaming Maiden pattern, the entire doll is built on top of the hair piece...and her Dreaming Maiden had nice long flowing blond hair. And , at the risk of the gentlemen whom I govern taking me less than seriously, I wanted to wear my hair up...

So I decided to adopt the veil of the Russian Queens (they were quite beautiful, by the way)...


With the addition of the veil, I wanted ensure that I would not be mistaken for a bride. And that led me to adopt the garland ruban or the ribbon garland that the British queens wear for State functions. Perfect.


And I loved the idea of creating in miniature, the Royal family orders which are worn on the sash...



Here's my favorite pic of the Queen Mum and you can see the orders pinned to her sash...


Now that there was a general plan, it was time to get busy.


Using Allie's freezer-paper curved piecing method which is detailed in her book, I was able to have a great degree of control over the piecing and placement of my fabrics. I LOVE Allie's curved piecing...it's much more genteel than the angular nature of flip and sew...So far, so good.


Next up was the part I dreaded most...the face. But here's where Allie's tips helped again.

I set out with the intention of making multiple faces so I cut out 5-6 pieces of flesh-colored fabric (I recommend a really tight weave like kona cotton) and I traced the face onto ALL of them.

Using a .005 micron pen, I used Allie's suggestion of tracing a picture (great idea)...


These were my three finalists. From my experience, pictures of faces with the biggest eyes worked best. Even with only one strand of sewing-weight thread, stitching takes up a lot of space and tends to "close" the eye so it's helpful to start with a bigger eye to begin with.

I chalked on all the versions and then let my committee of nieces choose the one they liked best...


I had noticed Allie's Maiden had a very nice shading to her lips, which I liked and tried to replicate. And that the almond shape to her eye was left open on one side which also gave more of a wide-eyed look....So I replicated that as well...


I can't tell you how relieved I was to finish the face.

Now onto the fun part, the hair and the tiara!!

I wanted the tiara to be nestled in amongst my curls and you can see from this first rendition,
that my hair is a bit flat and my tiara is a bit too coarse having been stitched onto ultrasuede...


I knew I needed to add curls and dimension to my hair and to figure out some way of making my tiara more realistic...

I posted about how I solved my tiara problem in my post, A Tale of Two Tiaras, back in Dec 2009 -- I just didn't say what I was using it for at the time *wink.

And here's where I ended up. With curls, jewelry and a better crown...


I stitched the bodice and the arms separately as Allie instructed, embellishing them with gold thread, rose montees and pearls.

Then came the fun of making the Orders. They're only about 3/8" tall...I just printed very tiny pics of George V and George VI on silk and sewed them inside the oval jewelry findings I had in my stash...A few tiny stitches with 2mm silk ribbon and Voila...


I gave myself a slight bosom...Truth be told, even though I admire Queen Mary's endowment, I didn't want the burden as I aged...

To be continued.

23 comments:

Catherine said...

How lovely! She looks almost wistful - as if she's waiting for her king to return! Can't wait to see more of her dress!

Maureen said...

I'm loving following this Susan! She looks very "grand" in Allie's book!

gracie said...

Did you know it is difficult to curtsy while sitting in a desk chair at the computer? She is quite the queen...as I was not blogging when you began this saga, I did go back to read up...I look forward to more audiences with The Queen!

sudukc said...

Oh you are so creative! I just love to read your posts and droll over your pitures. Thanks for sharing!

FlowerLady said...

This is so sweet. I'm loving following this process. You have done a beautiful job.

FlowerLady

verobirdie said...

She is wonderful. I love her eyes!

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Oh this is so fun, I love it. Thanks for sharing, can't wait to see more!

Coeur de freesia said...

What a lovely embroidery ! Very interesting to read your process.
Have a nice week-end,
Cheers,
Elena

Rachel said...

Fascinating - lovely to see how you've developed the elements of this!

Lynn said...

You certainly are the Queen of the Needle!

Extraordinary, my dear. (please read with a delightful English accent)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Susan! I'm a knitter, for pete's sake - not a crazy quilter! But, I want to do everything you're doing. As always, inspiration flows from your capable hand and I absorb as much as my aging brain can soak up.
Andrea

Sheila Iskin said...

Susan,

Giant pat on the back, m'dear! I love the Queen's face, the slight touch of color for the blush on her cheeks, and nose, and the gold thread that lays in criss cross on her gown, and especially the two little portraits. Wonderful detail. I like the slightly open eyes, and the highlight on the lips. She's gorgeous. :)

Robin said...

All hail to our Queen.

Carol said...

Hi Friend!
I saw this post in my blog roll while I was at work and quickly closed it so save and savor when I really had time to read it.

Allie's book came yesterday...I just had to see what was on those pages you mentioned ~lol~ so I move it to the TOP of my purchase list. Everyone that loves stitching should own it..

You have an amazing eye for detail. I don't see the details in pictures that you see, sometimes even after you point it out!!
xx, Carol

Gerry Krueger said...

From one queen to another....this is fabulous...Do you keep crowns hanging on your bedposts for an emergency...? One never knows when one will be called upon to officiate.. Hugs Ger

MichelleW said...

Such an amazing piece of work, at first I thought it was a young version our current Queen Elizabeth. The face is quite stunning, as is the rest - a very regal and beautiful Queen.

Elmsley Rose said...

I just LOVE the bodice work! Very queenly!

Nicki Lee said...

Fabulous! What a beautiful Queen she is! As always, I'm always in awe of your talents.

Barbara C said...

Susan, these process photos of your beautiful project are wonderful. It's also great to see the historical images that you referenced. When I make my queen, I think she'll need a teeny-tiny beaded handbag.

Elizabeth said...

Allie's book is definately on my list of must have's! She must be thrilled t see what youa re doing with her instructions!!!
I adore that picture of the Queen Mum- she ahs quite the sparle of mischief in her eye!!!
Your work is always so very precise and amazing and I love love it when you share you process!!!! Can't wait to see more!!

FredaB said...

Susan you constantly amaze me. Each project says this is the most perfect and then you come along with the next one and you make us in awe of your talents.

You have made a wonderful tribute to Allie and her new book with your blog.

I too have the book and couldn't wait to sit and read it but made myself leaf thru it and then put it aside until I too had the time to really read every single word. This is truly a wonderful book for beginners to oldsters like me. I can't wait to try the curved piecing.

See you soon.

Hugs

FredaB

Casse-bonbec said...

She's simply gorgeous ! I'm impatient to see more of her!

Neill said...

it's wonderfull
best regard
Neill

Related Posts with Thumbnails