Did you do any patterning while you were making these.
I didn't make patterns. But I can describe the process.
I began with the faces. As I said, I don't remember which manuscripts I took them from; Codex Palatinus Germanicus 848
and the bas de page
illustrations from Manuscript Bodleian 264
would be good places to start, if you don't have your own favorites to work from. I chose faces I liked, downloaded the pages they were on, and used photo manipulation software to crop them out, turn them greyscale, and increase contrast 'til I had something like a line drawing. I printed that out, then used a lightbox
to trace a crisp, clean copy onto typing paper, making any little adjustments I fancied along the way.
When I was sure I had it exactly the way I wanted it, I used the lightbox again with a fine-tipped laundry-safe marker to trace the face directly onto the unbleached linen. (Except for my using a lightbox instead of a sunny window and a modern pen instead of a quill and ink, that's a very period transfer method, by the way; lots of medieval pieces have ink lines running under the stitching, so I wasn't worried about anything "showing through".) Then I chain-stitched over the lines, satin-stitched the colored part of the eyes, and cut around the whole in a "face shape", leaving a seam allowance.
The back of the head and the neck are, collectively, just a long, skinny, rectangle. I determined the size thus:
- long side: perimeter of the face + twice the length of the neck + a couple of inches (give or take. . that part needn't be precise)
- short side: desired circumference of the neck + two seam allowances
His was the same unbleached linen I used for the face; hers was white linen (for the wimple).
I folded the rectangle in half, short sides together, and sewed down one side from the fold to the bottom. Then I lined up the center of the other long side with the center of the the forehead and stitched them together all the way around the face (right sides together, of course.) From where the edges of the rectangle met under the chin down to the bottom I stitched it together, forming a tube. Then I turned the whole thing right-side-out, stuffed the head, and stuck a tight roll of linen scraps into the neck.
I ended up with a slight conehead effect; if you don't like that, you could round off the back of the head where the rectangle is folded. I wouldn't bother to cut it, just run a line of stitches in the shape you want and let the excess fabric stay inside the doll.
The body is two more rectangles, stitched together along their short sides with a gap left in the middle for the neck to stick through.
The arms are one long continuous rectangle. I folded it in half, long sides together, and stitched down each short side and across the long one from each end almost to the middle, leaving a gap for turning and stuffing. I turned it, and stuffed each end for the length I wanted to be arm.
Each leg is two rectangles, longer than I wanted the legs to be by about three-quarters of an inch (plus seam allowances). I stitched each pair together down one long side, across one short side, and back up the other long side. Then I turned them, and stuffed them for the length I wanted to be leg. Hers were unbleached linen, and his were blue (for hosen).
I arranged the body right sides out, positioned the arms as I wanted them--about an eighth of an inch below the body seam--and basted them in place. Then I stuck the neck down through the neck hole, folded the body pieces up out of the way, and stitched the bottom of the neck very securely
to the middle of the arms piece. (No two-year-old is pulling an arm or head off one of these dolls.) I folded the body pieces back down and whip-stitched the neck to the neck-hole, all the way around. I used flaxen thread, 'cause I knew it'd show, and the smallest stitches I could manage.
I basted the legs to one body piece, in their proper position. Then I turned the body pieces right-sides-together, with the head, arms, and legs between them, and stitched them together from the existing seam down, leaving a gap (big enough to admit the head) on one side. I took care that the arms and legs were stitched in right where the stuffing ended, so there was no space for the stuffing to shift later or get lumpy.
The excess length at the top of each leg I folded down about three times and then stitched to itself and the seam allowance it'd been basted to. (No two-year-old is pulling a leg off, either.)
I carefully turned the doll right-side-out, stuffed the body cavity, and then closed the gap with a ladder stitch
The clothes didn't require any innovation. The tunics I essentially made the way I made the ones my family wore
, though I left off the armpit gussets and simplified the necklines. The veil was just a rectangle of linen, sewn directly to the doll's neck on either side, and the hood was another rectangle, slightly larger than the one I used to make the doll's head, with triangular gores set in to the front and back to make it flare at the base of the neck.