Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pattern Review: HMP-400, Historic Moments Cloth Doll Pattern

As I can only wear one historic outfit at a time, I decided to make a clothing demonstration assistant.

Meet Nelly:
1850s/60s style cloth doll from HMP-400 pattern.

She's made from Mrs. Clark's "Great Aunt Maude's Cloth Lady Doll" pattern.  Her first outfit, above, consists of the chemise, corset, drawers, apron and high-necked dress (all from the pattern), with an additional apron of my own design, and a sunbonnet based on Mrs. Clark's free sunbonnet pattern (as drawn from memory, scaled down to fit a 15" doll).

HMP-400 cloth doll with undergarments.

HMP-400 cloth doll with undergarments.

I've been enjoying making doll clothing so far.  The small pieces let me use up scraps from my other projects (this will be great with the wools and silks that aren't appropriate for my quilting activities), and they items go together really quickly.  All of Nelly's clothing has been handsewn--so far--and working on them has been a great opportunity to practice my hand-sewing in a low-stress way; doll clothing also makes for a very portable period project, and gives a great sense of accomplishment as it gets finished very quickly.  The downside to the small garments, in my opinion, is making the tiny eyelets.  Miniature piping is the other tricky bit.  For easier sewing, many of the instructions call for decorative buttons with functional hook-and-eye closures, instead of functional buttons with tiny button-holes.

The doll herself and the undergarments are made exactly as given in the instructions (save that I added a functional button and loop on the petticoat).  I think I made my seam-allowances too small on the corset, as it turned out a little loose.  It would also have benefited from some ironing during production (which it would have had, were I not sewing it in the car on my way to an event...). For the dress, I made some changes to the basic high-neckline bodice pattern.  It's gathered, rather than darted, but I didn't get the bulk down quite enough, making for a front that 'poofs' a bit above the waist.  The bishop and cap sleeve options were both among the given variants (there's also a pagoda sleeve, a puff sleeve, a bias sleeve, and with the wrapper, a coat sleeve).

What You Get With This Pattern: 

  • 39-page instruction booklet
  • 2 sheets of pattern pieces--done on writing-weight paper, not tissue--with pieces to create one doll and twenty garments/accessories, plus variations.  The dress pattern includes 3 bodice options and 5-6 sleeves to play with.

Rating: 5 stars
Difficulty: Varies from easy to intermediate
Accuracy: The shapes and methods are all good for the mid-19th century, based on my knowledge of women's clothing.  No pictures of original dolls are included, though the author provides some background information.
General Impression: A very complete pattern for a doll and her wardrobe: there are dress variations, underclothes, nightwear, and accessories included (no bonnets, per se, though there are two caps and a hood).  The clothes are all (almost entirely) pre-fit to the doll, making this pattern the easiest introduction to mid-century clothing that I've seen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting!