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OOAK Tea Party Alice, which has taken around five weeks to create. I have made Alice, her cloths, her wig and the table.
Table dimensions: 70cm long x 12 cm wide x 26cm tall.
Tea Party Alice is an idea that came into mind after seeing some 18th century reproduction costumes in an exhibition, whist working on the characters from Alice’s aventures in Wonderland, the Hatter, the Hare and the Dormouse. I thought that they needed a table to sit at whist they spent their time at a perpetual tea party. The gowns (such as the 1770 one in the photo opposite which I used as a referance), reminded me of a Georgian mohagany dinning table covered by a skirt, and I thought that was an original idea for a Wonderland table! After some research I discovered that the skirt was hung over a structure called paniers, which means basket in French, a food basket… how appropriate! With this concept in mind I researched the 18th century panier gowns and set to work creating Tea Party Alice.
Alice is made in a pale peachy skin tone viscose fabric which has a short but dense pile.
Her lower legs are made to look like she is wearing blue lace topped stockings in a white short pile plush fabric.
She is fully articulated which means you may pose her as you wish and she is able to grip the tea pot and pour the tea for every one present.
Alice has hand painted German glass eyes, embroidered, appliqued, needle sculpted and air brushed details in the face and hands.
I have made her a scaled down genuine reproduction wig as you would expect from the 18th century out of viscose and tibetain lambs wool. The wig is separate from Alices head and is held into place with pins, but should not be removed! It is decorated with three decreasing size bows in a blue and white stripped cotton cheese cloth fabric, backed in a blue taffeta fabric (to match the other garments) at the back of Alices head. Other ornamentations to the wig include, satin roses, pearls and ostrich feathers in ivory and pale blue.
Having researched panier dresses I decided as Alice in this version is the table not to make the Pannier structure which gives the dress its wide form at the hip but to make an actual scaled down Georgian mahogany look table. The table would be split into two halves with an oval hole taken from the middle to enable Alice to stand in the middle as she would in a panier dress.
Having made the table I set to work on her clothing. I bought a meter of linen fabric with printed chinese/Delph blue and white dinner plates printed onto it. Keeping both the colour scheme of the blue and white for Alice (as in Dysney’s version) as well as incorporating a traditional colour scheme for dinning table crockery. Also, the plate printed linen fabric both make her clothing and at the same time set the table!
Alice is wearing a stomacher made in blue and white dinner plate print linen, which had been reinforced and stiffened, it is lined in an ivory linen. The stomacher is decorated with a pleated organza white trim, an ivory vintage lace, an ivory cotton trim embroidered in two shades of blue with a scalloped edege, over which are half pearls.
Over the stomacher Alice is wearing a six panelled bodice made in a blue and white stripped cheese cloth, which I have used in her hair bows and the skirts. I used the striped pattern on the bias to create a chevron effect on the bodice and to permit it to stretch and fit tightly against Alices body.
The sleeves are half length and edged in a vintage lace, a deep embroidered mesh lace creates the sleeve cuff, which has been gathered up the forarm in the 18th century style and decorated with a bow, pearls and satin roses to match the wig ornements.
The bodice is ornamented with the same ivory cotton embodied trim as the stomacher, however it has been pleated adding further to the 18th century appearance to the bodice. The collar edge of the bodice is decorated with the same pleated white organza trim as the stomacher. I decided that I would straight lace the bodice up the front from the waist to under the bust, which is not historically correct but a referance to the stays women worn under their bodice. In the 18th century women bodices were held in place with pins which I thought inappropriate as it may inadvertently prick someone! The bodice is fully lined in blue taffeta.
In the 18th century women wore many layers, one of these garments was an under petticoat, which was mid-calf length, I decided to use this petticoats style and construction to create Alice a shorter skirt so that you could remove her from her table/panier. The skirt is made in the blue and white striped fabric as used in the bodice/table cloth/hair bows for the back panel and the front panel is in made from the printed plate linen, it is lined in blue taffeta. The skirt fastens in the 18th cetury maner being tied around the waist. This skirt is worn by Alice as a petticoat when she is wearing her table/panier but acts as a skirt when she is not.
When Alice is wearing her table/panier a garment acting as a tablecloth/skirt is placed over the top, creating the 18th cetuary panier dress outline. The garment is both a tablecloth and a skirt. It is made in four panels the back and side panels are constructed in the plate print linen fabric with a central panel in the blue and white stripped cheese cloth fabric. It is fastened in the 18th century manor, at the sides but I used buttons and not ties. The hem of this garment is ornimantated in the matching ivory cotton trim with blue embroidery as in the bodice and stomacher. To blend this trim into the tablecloth/skirt fabric I used a vintage pale blue lace which has been further decorated with pearls, tying it into the rest of Alices apparence.
Over this tablecloth/skirt garment I have created a piney which is both a piney for Alice and a secondary tablecloth. It is a diamond shaped and is made in ivory linen, trimed in vintage lace and weighted at the ends with beads. The piney ties arround Alice’s waist and fastes at the back.
Alice has a blue and white Chinese styled tea post and three cup and saucers as her accessories.