When I saw this linen printed with Shakespeare’s sonnets, I knew that I had to have it – and to build a doll around it.
I was imagining something romantic, something with ruffles and old-fashioned lace and skeleton keys. I decided to simply call the doll “Sonnet”, and create her with a theme of secret boxes and old letters and love poems.
First, I tea stained all of the fabric and trims I was using for Sonnet’s body and dress in a big old cast iron pot with a mixture of spicy orange tea. I jointed Sonnet’s body by sewing through her limbs at the joints, and stuffing her more loosely than most of my dolls. I stuffed her body with a handful of more tea leaves, to keep her smelling like tea and cloves.
Sonnet’s face and fingernails were painted with watercolors and artist’s pencils, and I made her hair out of a mixture of silk and alpaca roving – it’s so soft and fine! Right now she wears little peach satin bloomers with a tea-stained rose ruffle while I finish her dress.
Sonnet’s dress is made from the fabric printed with Shakespeare’s sonnets, and is in three layers, with old-fashioned wide lace underneath each layer. Two kinds of lace and a rose ruffle finish each layer, as well as lengths of ribbon which I tea-stained and on which I hand wrote lines from Shakespeare’s sonnets. The dress is gathered to one side, and decorated with more gauzy roses, a paper rose, and more tea-stained ribbon. I can’t wait to see Sonnet in it!