Wednesday, 15 December 2010

An early Christmas


Every time I look at this little lovely I have to pinch myself. I've been dreaming of having a vintage mannequin for over a decade. The longing has been almost entirely based on how the mannequin looks and the feeling of history that is bound up in the form and very little to do with it being a practical aid. But despite this, I've always wanted the mannequin to be the same size as me and finally, after other Decembers spent looking fruitlessly, this one appeared just as my husband was doing his Christmas present research this year.


You might be wondering why she's shed her wrapping and taken up residence before the 25th. That is because when she arrived she had some height issues. Although we share almost identical dimensions (in theory...in reality she seems slighter than me and as though she likes Milka Daim a little less) when she arrived it became clear to my husband that this is how I might have looked had I grown a little taller...for she wasn't just a few inches taller than me, but nearly as tall as my husband who stands at 6ft 2. The website she came from advised him on how to make her shorter, but it involved some sawing and he was hesitant to do this without my viewing her first. So I viewed, I squealed and then we sawed.


Isn't she beautiful?! I added the corsage yesterday after some debate about her attire - the rest of the house felt that she needed to be accessorised in some way, so we took inspiration from how she was displayed on the website and added this lovely pink and gold rose.


There are names to be thought about. My mother-in-law, who was visiting at the weekend, is certain that were she to come alive then she would be a flapper, so in keeping with the era, shortlisted names are Henrietta, Bea, Beatrice and Evangeline (yes, the last two are taken straight from The House of Eliott - how I long to watch again that series about the two dressmaking sisters). Unlike my other more functional mannequins which live in the garage and come out only to have pins stuck in them, this lovely will be very much a part of the house. Mr Teacakes loves to have things around that have a sense of history, so despite her girliness, he was very happy for her to reside in the dining room on a permanent basis (although amusingly, when the children arrived home from school with their friends this afternoon one of them asked why I had 'a body' in the dining room).


And the chair in the foreground of this photograph - you might remember it from this post, when it was falling apart and really just a broken wooden frame. Despite your generous encouragement that I might actually be capable of upholstering the chair myself, we eventually decided that it might be better off going to see someone more experienced. It arrived back with us a month or two ago...he has done an amazing job with it...but I am less than sure about my fabric choice...I think it might look a little like an old lady's chair (the old ladies who I come into contact with are all incredibly stylish and would almost certainly be in possession of a hipster's chair...the old lady I refer to is a mythical creature, possibly sighted only fleetingly at bus stops in my childhood and I worry that she may have sat in a chair a little like this one when she got home).  


But I'm wondering if it might be brought alive by the right cushion? I have so many ideas for fabric in my head and they all include light creams and golds...gold seem to be something that rarely crops up in fabric collections, so in the new year I'm hoping to put aside some time to experiment with printing onto cottons with gold paints...that sounds hideous, I know, but I can see exactly how I want it to look in my mind...and at least while it's up there, it looks very lovely.


Right, I'm off to gaze upon my lovely mannequin again....I am completely in love with her.

Florence x

25 comments:

  1. Your mannequin is lovely, and the chair looks great. I'm voting for Bea, by the way

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  2. Evangeline, I think. And your mythical old lady might have had a chair of approximately that shape, but it would be upholstered in dark red scratchy moquette!

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  3. Oh Florence - it's gorgeous! I spent ages looking at the website after you sent me the link, yours is so beautiful, the corsage is perfect!

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  4. Beautiful, and to find the right size, too wonderful!

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  5. Keeping bodies in the dining room??!!

    I want a mannequin! What a lovely thoughtful gift. 10 points to the husband.

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  6. I agree - Evangeline! I got a dressmaker's dummy for Christmas too (more of a functional one than a beautiful one like yours) and I have named her Delilah. They have to have glamorous names!

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  7. I vote for Bea.

    She is beautiful, I'm so jealous!

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  8. That made me laugh - I get sooo many "body" questions when I'm out and about with my cello (in its case).

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  9. I like Bella !

    I have a giveaway going on at my blog. A gift card sponsored by CSN Stores. please do come over and enter

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  10. NOW I know what to ask for next Christmas : D !! I love it!!!

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  11. What a lovely gift! Try calling her "Millie" and see if she responds...I believe that to be her name, although perhaps it's her middle name:)

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  12. The mannequin is exquisite. I have been wanting one for the longest time as none are sold here. Happy sewing.

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  13. Hmmm, quite jealous of both the mannequin and the fact you seem to have the perfect husband. Does he give lessons. Mine is lovely in his way but to buy me something that perfect and then be able to alter it and then furthermore not mind it being in the family space, well, words fail me.
    On the chair, dont know what else is in there, but how about a lovely folded or pleated cushion in similar hues to the corsage with maybe another corage to pull the accesories together. That would modernise it but keep it vintagey too IMO (which is not always to be trusted, but i try).

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  14. Oh your new mannequin is wonderful. Must be the best Christmas gift ever!

    K x

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  15. She really is a stunner, you are one lucky lady. Happy Christmas!

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  16. How lovely, Florence Well done Mr Teacakes!

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  17. Loved the House of Elliot, so will have to go with Evangeline. That series played no small part in naming my son... Elliot.

    Chair is gorgeous as well!

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  18. I love it! My girls are Florence and Bea (Beatrix) so I have to go for Bea as Florence would seem a bit odd!!

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  19. What a wonderful Christmas gift. She looks most elegant. I too am voting for Bea.

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  20. What a wonderful present! I like Bea as well...Any old pearls in the family, which could be exhibited on her?
    I just love your "body" in the dining room. I cannot fit one anywhere in my house, so I have to admire other people's.

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  21. She's GORGEOUS Florence. My vote is for Beatrice -I love old fashioned girls names but never got to try any out as I only have boys! My husband bought me a dressform for Christmas too (with 100% prompting from me) and although it's fantastic and accurate, it's not beautiful like yours. If I had to give mine a name it would sadly be along the lines of Brenda (apologies to any Brenda's reading this!) x

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  22. Oh, she's lovely - well done Mr Teacakes!

    My husband is in the enviable position of having set the bar so low in previous years, that I'll be impressed if he just remembers to buy me a Christmas gift this year (apparently the tree, lit up houses and Christmas music on the radio weren't enough to remind him one year...)

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  24. Beautiful mannequin - worth waiting ten years for. I am in my maybe 7th year of longing. I did find one on the street, it had been put out as trash and I dragged it home and for a while it stood in my bedroom but it wasn't very pretty at all so in the end it had to go, especially since its bottom torso kept dropping to the floor (which is probably why it got trashed by its first owner).

    Now I lust after this one from paintedcottages on etsy: http://www.etsy.com/listing/55628995/vintage-chippy-paint-shabby-chic-column

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x