Steiner Bourgoin

Reproduction closed mouth, socket head (circumference 9inches) from Byron mould B-669a on composition Byron French body 413. Reproduced as child doll.
Dress and hat made of steel blue silk dupion with metallic laces, embroidery, fabric manipulation and beading; hand knitted cotton socks, and silk fabric shoes. See below for further construction details.
Original dolls by Jules Nicolas Steiner who made dolls in Paris from 1855 to 1891. During what could be the "golden age" of production from about 1880, the Steiner business premises were run by J. Bourgoin - some of the heads marked with his name. The firm continued after this under 4 different managers until 1908, with many different styles and marks. Steiner is well know for mechanical dolls which may be explained by Jules Steiner's origins as a clockmaker. [The Dolls of Jules Nicolas Steiner Dorothy A McGonagle].

There are two classic Steiner face types, the "Figure A", a very square face, and this one (a "Series A" I think) which is a much rounder face. In fact both Figure and Series Steiners came in a range of letters (followed by a number), and apart from the basic "look" I have just described, I would find it hard to distinguish them myself without looking at the mark. For much more interesting (and informed) detail and photographs you should read Dorothy McGonagle's book.
My inspriration for this dress was from the Seeleys pattern CP1650 "Queen Elizabeth" (I assume they mean the first English one, as the costume is vaguely Tudor) designed for their Steiner C series mould; I copied the detail on the dress with much simplification as the original pattern is for a 23 inch body and my doll's body is only about 10.5 inches. I used the same Joan Nerini pattern as for the PD as a basis for the dress, but made it up differently, using steel blue dupion silk. I cut the skirt piece (not too full) and used my machine to pin-tuck diagonals with a DMC black and silver metallic thread (it broke frequently - not designed for the machine). I embroidered the intersections with silver daisies and a French knot. I attached a pleated ruffle for the bottom of the skirt using the fabric double; this was very easy as my Father-in-Law had given me a pleater for Christmas which he made up as instructed in the books by Hazel Ulseth and Helen Shannon. I dyed some unappealing rather thick pink cotton lace using a "Dylon" brand paint-on dye in silver; it came out very well - I had experimented with other spray-on products and they all lost their metallic sheen when absorbed by the lace. I placed a layer of silver lace over the ruffle and then another layer of fabric cut into points like bunting, so the lace peeps out underneath (see the photograph). Finally I embroidered over the seam between all these layers and the skirt with the DMC metallic thread in staggered chain stitch. At the peak of each point I embroidered a 3 petal flower with a blue metallic bead in the centre. The bodice section is partly overlaid with a piece of the silver lace, and three pointed sections of a cape hang from the bodice (Empire line, under the arms) attached again using staggered chain stitch. The cape pieces are edged with a vintage metallic lace with elements of gold in it rather than silver; I used this lace also around the edge of the sleeves and the neck. The upper part of the bodice is also embroidered with 3 motifs in black/silver metallic thread.
On both the sleeves and the hat crown I used a very simple fabric manipilation. On the back of the fabric I marked out a diagonal grid with tailor's chalk pencils, with about and inch between the dots. At each dot I pinched the fabric in one direction and oversewed a couple of times to make it pucker; I then pinched it firmly at 90 degrees in the other direction and oversewed again; I took the needle to the right side of the work and sewed a bead over the pucker. I tried a lot of different ways to achieve what I wanted but this worked best for me. The hat is not like the one in the Seeley pattern (which is a toque) and after a lot of indecision I decided on a "Beefeater" hat as this is at least a Tudor hat - albeit for men; women's headgear of the period tended to be integrated into a hair style that I did not want to create on the doll. The brim is embroidered at the edge and overlaid with a (very synthetic) black and silver metallic lace, and some mass-produced silver roses. I used the roses on the fabric shoes. Socks are hand-knitted in Coats Crochet cotton No. 40 from a pattern leaflet Yesterdays Knitting Patterns for Antique and Reproduction Dolls [Doll Designs by Patricia Evans and Jane Woodbridge]. The underwear is made of white muslin.
The mohair for the doll's wig was wefted on a wig loom from processed rope mohair in dark antique gold. I got the wig loom from the Gildebrief online store - I like gadgets but this was not inexpensive - and followed the instructions in the Gildebrief magazine [1998 Volume 01]. Wefting for a single wig does not take too long but the snag is you have to get into a rhythm and avoid the temptation to use strands which are too thick. The results for me were very pleasing despite my making my wefts too chunky (note the dolls "big" hair - I had to adjust the hat when the wig had gone on). I applied the wefts to the shaped wig base and I could both comb, curl and style the wig. Particular plus points for wefting are: (i) most importantly you can make an excellent wefted parting for the doll, and, (ii) ready-made wefts are very expensive compared with DIY and rope mohair (if you can swallow the outlay on the wig loom, and count the time it takes as a therapeutic hobby).