My generic 11 1/2in doll

I humbly bow at the talent of people who seriously sew tiny fashion and give 11 1/2in dolls complete makeovers.

I simply used to have some fun. I haven’t had much time lately but that has not stopped me from buying more dolls. Thirty and counting now. Here are a few.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #1

Name: Frilly lace

Origin: Bought in Paris, probably at Monoprix for under 30 Francs, circa 1998.

Outfit: Top: white cotton, crochet, hand-made. Skirt: an old doily wrapped sarong-style and fastened with white ribbon.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #2

Name: Venus in furs

Origin: Donated by a colleague in Paris in 1995. When she found out about my secret collection, she brought the doll to work saying that her children had chopped off part of her hair and stained her thigh with ballpoint pen.

I chose this particular doll to undergo the glamour treatment, and the ink stain is now a very distinctive tattoo.

Outfit: Dress: rown lining material, bought to line a pair of trousers that I never got round to sewing. Stole: mother’s old fox fur collar.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #3

Name: Indie stitch

Origin: Given as a present by English boyfriend in 1991. I had none at the time and he found this interest of mine rather amusing.

When I started playing with it he started freaking out though.

Outfit: Hand-made crochet top. A-line skirt (lining material, leftover from curtain under sink) with contrast stitching.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #4

Name: Polkadot frenzy

Origin: Bought at the Samaritaine department store in Paris, after seeing an exhibition spanning five decades of 11 1/2in doll fashion.

Outfit: Polkadot material comes from a skirt from a flea market bought especially to turn it into an outfit for my 11 1/2in dolls.

The ballgown skirt and off-the-shoulder stole can be removed to reveal a strapless above-the-knee dress.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #5

Name: Fringes galore

Origin: Present from a friend on my birthday in 1995 – he had picked it up when we were shopping for groceries at Monoprix for my birthday party and said it was for his little cousin.

Outfit: I shared my flat in Paris for a few months with an old Italian schoolmate who was researching her thesis in France. She left a scarf behind. The scarf is now a fringed minidress.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #6

Name: White cloud

Origin: Another find for 29 Francs at Monoprix, Paris, circa 1996.

Unruly hair cannot be tamed. Tried combing, developed an unsightly frizz.

Outfit: White lining material: leftover from curtain under the sink. White net from fancy dress party costume (theme: TV series – I went as Ab Fab’s Bubble). Hat brought from Germany by flatmate especially for my 11 1/2in dolls.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #7

Name: Latin cocktail

Origin: Another supermarket babe from Monoprix.

Outfit: Dress: black lining material left over from dress made for flatmate for fancy dress party.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #8

Name: Crimson passion

Origin: Bought at a service station between Milan and Trieste in September 2000.

Outfit: Skirt: same as #3, stuck in between legs to pretend it’s a pair of slacks instead. Top: hand-knitted, backless. Stole: red net material from 1994 ribbon-themed Christmas tree decorations. Hat: crochet, hand-made.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #9

Name: Casual activism

Origin: Bought at a supermarket in Italy.

Outfit: Top: old white t-shirt material. Shorts, socks and backpack came with doll.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #10

Name: Medallion stallion

Origin: Present from Spanish flatmate in Paris to cheer me up when I was in bed with a flu.

Outfit: Shirt: black leftover lining material. Combats: black thick cotton, leftover from a backdrop curtain I made for one of the theatre shows I was performing in when I lived in Paris.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #11

Name: Glamour bondage

Origin: Bought at a supermarket in Milan, circa 2000.

One of the first 11 1/2in dolls to have a closed mouth as opposed to a pearly white grin.

Outfit: Dress: yellow jersey material left over from a pair of curtains.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #12

Name: Cool cover-up

Origin: Bought at Woolworths in Balham, London, December 2002.

Outfit: Skirt: doll’s own. Stripy top: borrowed from doll’s boyfriend. Jacket and hat: hand-knitted wool.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #13

Name: Pearly princess

Origin: Bought at Auchan in Milan, August 2001.

The doll’s new shape (smaller breasts, wider waist, a tiny bit of a belly) was just out then.

Outfit: Top: hand-made crochet bra, encrusted with hand-sewn transparent beads. Satin trousers: borrowed from doll’s boyfriend. Belt: double string of beads on elastic band.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #14

Name: Net interest

Origin: Same as 11 1/2 doll #2. Thigh tattoo (read: ink stain) demurely covered up.

Outfit: Dress: gold thread, crochet, hand-made.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #15

Name: Serious shine

Origin: A present from boyfriend in Italy, circa 2001. It came with a magazine and a colouring felt-tip marker.

Outfit: Dress: black lining material with hand-embroidered transparent beads and matching belt.

11 and 1/2 inch doll #16

Name: Blue belle

Origin: Bought at Auchan in Milan, summer 2001.

Outfit: Dress: blue lining from one of my mother’s old dresses, with thin straps and ruffles.