Hey there! My name is Megan and I'm the sewing, pattern making girl behind Dolly Henry. This is my blog, where I share my own creative adventures and hope to meet fellow fabric enthusiasts. I also design and sell sewing patterns through my online boutique, alongside a beautiful collection of clothing and dolls. Thank you for stopping by!


An Austen Inspired Doll

It's so lovely to finally be able to share this little doll with you - dubbed Miss Austentacious.
She was a birthday gift for a dear friend so since her creation, has spent awhile wrapped in tissue, safe and sound. She departed to her new home last week.

If you hadn't already guessed, she is a regency-Austen inspired doll. I've been wanting to make a doll like this for a long time, and while I was thinking of birthday gifts, the idea resurfaced. An Austen inspired doll would be just the thing. I still dream of creating Elizabeth Bennet and her family, and that will have to remain a future art project for now. 

From the beginning, I knew I wanted Miss Austentacious to have a dress that was very clear about the era she was from. This involved a bit of research, through which I discovered some rather hilarious facts about the Georgian and Regency eras. Such as....

It appears, from what I found, underwear was optional at this time. Yes, I am afraid the Hollywood versions of this era are quite fairy tale, because the more I delved, the more I found out quite a few shocking facts from the time. It is so funny to think people were shocked by the advent of the mini skirt and even the behavior of society these days...the good old days were not as innocent as they are so often portrayed! I'm going to put some links below....

Anyway, I embraced the no underwear thing, but fear not, Miss Austentacious is not terribly scandalous as this was ordinary for her generation. She does however still have an underdress and stockings on her legs. The bloomers may have been optional, but it seems the dress fabrics chosen at this time were so transparent, flimsy and thin, it would have been beyond immodest not to have a petticoat underneath. Since some of the images I found depicted the lace and ruffles of a petticoat extending past the dress hem, I decided Miss Austentacious could show off the pretty lace I chose to trim hers.

For her hair, I chose a less common hairstyle for the era. I love all the gorgeous hair bows shown on Regency and Period drama, so Miss Austentacious received her very own lavender hair ribbon. She is obviously a lady of consequence too, with a string of pearls around her delicate neck and a rather extravagant jewel nestled in her hair.

She was never meant to be historically accurate, however doing some research helped me find a direction and was rather fun too! Her dress wasn't too hard to design, as I have the style practically engraved in my mind from watching far too many movies. The ruched sleeves and low neckline. The fact that the dresses seem to be rather straight at the front and gathered at the back. I often watch these movies and shows and think if I had to live in an era where I had to hand sew I would possibly choose this one! Compared to the later 1800's, these dress styles seem far simpler!

Her dress is made using a soft pink lawn, I didn't own anything that transparent,
Her underdress is in a white cotton, I chose to make the pink dress removable as it seemed a shame not to be able to appreciate the full details of her attire. The idea of having to sew velcro on the back of her dress did jar a little initially but Miss Austentacious is so petite, choosing a traditional method would have been quite fiddly! 

I didn't make a test version of the dress. I drafted and stitched it in one swoop so I was very delighted (and felt a little clever) when it worked out just as imagined! I'd really love a dress like this....

Of course, a lady needs a reticule, so she has one of those too.

I had so much fun making this doll, from her hair to her gloves, to her pink shoes.
It's always funny that such a petite doll can take three to four times as long to make as a larger doll!
But the lines and style of that era are so long and slender I think she would look a bit odd and cartoonish if she was bigger, and more chunky!

As promised, here are some links for you I found during my research, some of the illustrations from the time are a bit surprising if your knowledge runs along the prim and proper lines. I actually found it very interesting to know that a couple of hundred years ago, people really weren't any better behaved or better dressed than they are now, and perhaps holding up a past time as some glorious golden era is simply putting too much pressure on the present! People are people and that really is all there is to it, the idea that we have changed or advanced in such a large way is possibly a bit of a falsehood. Even something as simple as the skin concoctions and makeup used at the time, most of it was highly toxic and as research continues to show today, the stuff women are putting on their skin isn't much better....

Perhaps at the end of the day, we only know what we know now, and will future generations be glorifying us as we do with bygone eras or will they be saying "good heavens! what were they THINKING!?" My guess is it will be a bit of both!

That's all for now!

Megan x

1 comment

  1. Oh my goodness, she is divine :) Your doll making skills are impressive, those ankles and arms are just sooo small! I just adore those gloves of hers xo


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