Friday, July 13, 2012

The Brazilian Bombshell: A Needle-Felted Carmen Miranda

After about three months, she's finally finished! This is the finest needle-felted doll that I've made yet, as far as construction and general technique. I've been working a lot over the last couple of weeks and managed to finish yesterday evening.

She stands 10-1/4" tall to the very tip of the pineapple in her hat. She weighs 3oz. and took approx. 75 hours of work to complete. She was felted with .40 and .42 gauge needles. To date, that's the most amount of time that I've spent on one doll. Entries for the State Fair are due this weekend, so there's nothing like finishing just in time, huh?!

The wool for her body (the skin tone) is Cotswold wool, her hair is black mohair and all the rest is Merino. The blue Merino that made her skirt and shirt is mixed with 10% silk, which is what gives it the shiny appearance. There are nine different colors of pom-poms that line the outfit. Each ball was felted individually and then sewn on to the outfit to keep them loose and "dangly" looking.

Elizabeth made the jewelry for her out of brass beading wire and glass seed beads. It's great to have such a talented sister! The fruit in her hat was all felted individually and attached one piece at a time. There is a pineapple, a large bunch of grapes (with grape leaves), a naval orange and two bananas (one on the under-ripe side). Each grape was made felted individually, then I sewed them together to keep them loose and "drapey". Once I draped them over the side of the hat they were felted on.

Making the face and the hat was the most fun. The mouth and the eyelashes were particularly enjoyable. The mouth took about two hours and the eyelashes took about five minutes each! ;) The hardest part was the second foot and shoe. It's always easy to make the first one, but matching up the second one is rough. I actually had to make three feet before getting the one that matched. There is about thirty-two hours in the legs, feet and shoes!

Well, now it's time to start another one. Elizabeth and I have plans for it already. In fact, we've got plans for two more. Better get working. More later.

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