A friend is getting married to a Korean girl next month. He saw some of my Japanese paper dolls on Etsy and asked if he could commission Korean bride and groom dolls in traditional costumes instead. He sent me some of their pre-wedding pictures of hanbok and the extremely elaborate hwarot. I was very excited about the opportunity to come up with my own Korean doll patterns from scratch, but was also intimidated by the complexity of the hwarot at the same time. Not knowing if I could pull it off, I told him that I would try my best and give the dolls to them as a wedding gift since it’d be a prototype for my future Korean dolls and I didn’t feel right charging for an “experiment”.
As usual, I started my new project with extensive Googling in search of good reference pictures. The next step was to pick the right materials. While picking and matching papers sound easy, especially with my huge stash of colourful papers, it took quite some time to find anything that resembled the actual materials in texture, patterns and colours. Most of my paper is Japanese washi with Japanese colours and patterns and there’s nothing similar in Japanese and Korean costumes and fabric. I had to improvise by making stripe patterns out of solid coloured papers since Korean costumes are full of bright colourful stripes. Then it was the challenging part of drawing up the patterns and working out how to assemble the layers. There were some miscalculations and wasting of my precious imported papers but I managed to come up with somehing that’s close enough and I’m quite happy with. I had so much fun adding the little details and going over the top with blings and colours :)
The bride took me days to complete with my major obstacles being the puffy dress, embroidered sleeves and the elaborate headdress. But the groom took just one evening, everything was straight forward except for the hat!
I might design and sell a Hanbok tutorial when I finally made a pattern that I’m 100% happy with ^_^