|Mignonette and Monette with Marottes|
One of the costume designs that has always appealed to me is that of the French clown, the Polichinelle, and the jester. These marvelously unique and colorful costumes are a joy in their design concepts and ornate embellishing. They are also often accompanied by the doll holding her own marotte, or jester stick. The marotte itself, was made as a toy on its own, and so the appeal of including such an accessory with a doll costume delighted me.
|Found on Carmel Doll Shop|
|Presentation Box From Theriaults|
A marotte is a prop stick or sceptre with a carved or porcelain head on it. The word is borrowed from the French, where it signifies either a fool's "bauble", or a craze. It is typically carried by a jester or harlequin, and the miniature head will often reflect the costume of the jester who carries it. They are also considered puppets, and some can be musical. I've seen a few where you can flick your wrist while holding it and the "body" spins around the stick musically. Enchanting! What a lovely toy for a young child. These may have even been used as "rattles" for toddlers, although I can hardly imagine a these exquisite novelties in the chubby hands of little ones.
And, so I began designing the pink and cream costume with the Napolean hat for Mignonette. I chose two different silks, both dupionis with different textures, since the original also boasted two differing silks. By sewing a seam between the pink and the cream, creating "one" fabric, I was able to cut my patterns out by pinning the middles of the patterns to the seam. Mignonette's little jacket would also have silk piping on the bottom to finish the hem.
I actually began with the jacket. This piece is fully lined the Magalie Dawson way, but the hem was left open for the piping. The piping was sewn in very much the same way I trimmed all the edges of Louise Godey's outfit (and no, I have not forgotten her!) Silk ribbon, the regular kind, was ruched and sewn to the hem of the sleeves and around the neckline. Thin gold grosgrain ribbon was used for the trim down the front. It would also be used along the pink hemline of the skirt and the bands on the hat. There was more doggone trim on this costume than I care to think about, but I patiently proceeded to add it all.
The flowers are the same silk ribbon I used in ruching. These were embroidered onto the costume and centered with gold jewelry filigree flowers with a gold bead in the center. Her stockings, one pink, one white, were made from little girls' tights for their thinness.
She also required slippers. Two silk slippers were made. One cream and one pink, and decorated the same as the costume. I tried carefully to stay faithful to the original antique doll's costume keeping in mind that the original was probably a larger doll, and chunkier than the tiny wooden bodies Wendy Lawton uses.
Silk slippers are not easy to make since they don't stretch around a foot like leather. I took apart a pair of existing Lawton shoes that weren't well made, and used the inner bottoms and soles to create the fit. The ruched silk and flower and single beading rather hid the ill fit on the top. However when the stockinged foot went into the slipper, they fit like a dream.
The hat was composed, not on buckram, but on thin cardboard. I drew out the shape of the Napolean hat on the cardboard, made two, then using these pieces as a pattern, cut out the silk about 1/2" larger all around - then glued the silk to the cardboard pieces. Trimming along the way, I added this lovely little gold "scroll" trim that had a tiny, shiny gold band running through it. It was just the right touch.
In the meantime, while working on Mignonette's costume, I begged Jean to make me a couple of tiny porcelain heads for the marottes. I ask so much of my dear friend, but she seemed excited at the prospect of my making them, and has made them herself, so she consented to make them for me. She is an absolute angel in these regards! So while waiting for her to get these wee heads to me, I began Monette's costume.
Monette's French Clown, as I mentioned earlier, was taken from the presentation box costume offered by Theriaults. This would be another jacket, though loose and long, a long sleeved tunic, and the skirt, a pleated affair. The hat was a bit unusual, although I remember that Boneka had made a similar styled one in blue for a munchkin in their Riley as Dorothy presentation box for a UFDC luncheon (which I have). I thought of this only after I'd drawn out my own pattern based on the look of the original. Its rather a silly looking cone with flared sides. But, jesters and clowns were supposed to have whimsical costuming!
This one did go together a bit more quickly although I did have to design yet another collar, and collars have always given me the fits. This is not a circle. Its more of a crescent shape, done twice, one a little larger then the other. Both were sewn together and gathered gently at the neck before trimming it off with a bias strip. Silk bias strips also finished the edging on these crescent shaped collar pieces.
The original costume seemed to boast pom-poms in an aqua or turquoise color, but this didn't suit Monette's coloring or compliment her existing wardrobe. So off came the darker pom-poms (yes, I tried them first), and I replaced them with French blue ones. I also did this because I had tiny pom-poms in the same color that could be used for her marotte. Her shoes are little white leather ankle pull-on boots with matching pom-poms.
By this time, the heads for the marottes had arrived. I began with Mignonette's. I did a careful study of antique marottes found on Pinterest. (I might add that it was Jean that prompted me to join Pin and start my own boards as well as just have fun looking.) The main costuming of a marotte is a hat and a collar. It was in the search for hat ideas that Nellie Polder's board on marottes was intrinsically valuable. I selected the two horned hat for Mignonette's and the one horn for Monette's, since the French Clown costume had a little marotte next to it wearing a similar hat.
Step by step, I began building these two accessories by adding first a stick through the neck, a ball at the bottom, and painting them white and cream for the corresponding costumes. What I discovered through studying the photos on Pin and the need to have a place to drape "points", was that there needed to be a body beneath the décor. Sure. You can simply add a collar to the stick and call it a day, but I don't do that, do I? LOL So I made a little barrel of silk, gathered it top and bottom about the stick and stuffed it with fiber fill. These gave me nice little bodies to work on.
Mignonette's marotte is decorated like her costume, and so is Monette's. Pom-poms included. I'd noticed that lace collars were often used on antique marottes, so both got one. The wee hats are also stuffed with fiber fill (batting?) to maintain their form. Each marotte is about 3 1/2" tall, not including the hat. These were fun to make! Except for adding mohair to the heads which is always a nightmare for me. Glue, mohair and me don't mix! I did find some curled mohair among my stash that I'd made a very long time ago, and this worked lovely for Monette's little "puppet". I'll have to remember how I did that. I added gold beads to each marotte's costuming to resemble tiny bells. Do click on these photos to see the details. There's a lot there and its fun to look at.
At the end of this, I feel like I have two new dollies, and I think they'll enjoy wearing these costumes and playing with their marottes for some time to come. How perfect for April! April Fools!
Miss E. Mouse
|One in pink found on Nellie's board.|
|Inspiration for Mignonette's marotte's hat.|
|Inspiration for Monette's marotte's hat.|
|Polichinelle and the French Clown|