Dolls just wanna have fun!

All dolled up and everywhere to go!

L. Delany’s new book, All Dolled Up, gives readers instructions and the inspiration to create beautiful dresses and charming accessories for paper dolls. This is a thoroughly modern book with one foot firmly in a luxurious and gorgeous past.

All Dolled Up is also a tale of adventure for two sisters. “Our story begins with a pair of cold feet,” writes Delany (A.K.A. artist and designer Lauren George). One sister, Reo, sees a passing circus on her wedding day in the 1880s. Reo is shown wearing a beautiful white wedding dress decorated with a garland of yellow roses. Her sister, Lucille, stands at the back of room, wearing an ivory dress with a blue sash. And that’s just the first scene! From there, the sisters join the circus, work a wild west show, and dabble in spiritualism.

Some of Lauren’s creations.

“I want people to be inspired,” said Lauren, who has a thorough understanding of costume and design. When she’s not sending dolls on adventures, Lauren is designing for stage and screen and has an Etsy store. Your first thought, on seeing her smaller creations, is that she must own some tiny scissors and also have fantastic eye sight.

The costumes and settings for All Dolled Up are inspired by society and fashion from the 1880s through the 1920s. In 40 years, women’s fashion underwent a radical transformation. Think of the bustle, a large structure with no practical function that rode women’s posteriors in the late 1870s until the style vanished, mercifully, by 1890 (Did women not sit down?) The basics of modern clothing for women, with an emphasis on comfort and freedom of movement rather than restriction and unrealistic proportions, arrived with the era of the flapper.

Readers and crafters will have plenty of fun with this book, which is lavishly illustrated with detailed instructions and suggestions. Did you know that paper can be made to drape, like fabric? Lauren shows you how to make doll dresses that look like they’re constructed from yards of silk. Layering, shaping, cutting, folding and painting: Lauren has been at this for some time.

“Hot glue is my friend,” she says, “I use it constantly and my studio is full of odds and ends. I started making dollhouse miniatures to make money. And people who want quality miniatures are willing to pay — they understand that it’s not about the material but about the time that goes into the creation.”

Lauren also has instructions for using old photos of your family to make truly one-of-a-kind creations. “Celebrate the ladies in your family album!” says Lauren. All Dolled Up gives you specific instructions on how to do just that without harming precious and irreplaceable photos.

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