Surely we love sewing beautiful dresses and coats for our dollies, but how often do we remember that they, too, need a little more than panties? So with Lettie, I decided to start from the bottom, up, dressing her. I used the original pattern set from 1911 for her underwaist, half slip and drawers. Working with a fine batiste and a pretty lace, I managed to stitch her up some underclothing.
I noticed when cutting out the drawers that they would have been mighty tight, making sitting comfortably, impossible. So I widened the pattern piece giving her enough room that when wearing the drawers they wouldn't pull around her waist or thighs. I also had a second opportunity to perfect stitching lace on with a sewing machine. By using a tiny zig-zag and placing the edge of the fabric next to the edge of the lace, it attaches like a whip-stitch, only tighter and more permanently. Any areas missed by the machine can be easily hand stitched into place. Lettie also needed socks and slip-ons, so I made those up as well. She'll need brown boots, pink slip-ons and white beach shoes as well, but those will come in time.
Along with making her undergarments, I decided it was high time to learn the proper way of making thread loops for button closures. People kept telling me to use a button hole stitch and it was confounding! "Two threads and a buttonhole stitch", they kept insisting. It came to mind as I was researching such stitches that the term buttonhole stitch was being used most likely because we were attempting to use the loop as a button closure. In actuality, its a blanket stitch over two strands of thread. If you begin your loop from the right by inserting your needle into the cloth, come up a 1/4" to the left (or however large you need the loop to be), and come back over to the right to make a little loop, you can begin the process of making blanket stitches over the thread. I felt like I was earning a mousy merit badge in knot tying doing this, but the results were great. Here are some photos to help you make one.
Nowhere on the Internet could I find examples of how to make one, so I honestly hope these help. My gift to you! They make the outfit so much nicer as an heirloom piece.
Currently I'm working on a dress for Daisy, now that Lettie is "decent". I'm attempting a scalloped collar and cuffs for the yellow coat dress. After much frustration with this and three collars later, I discovered that the original pattern had to be redrawn as a Peter Pan collar, then scalloped. I'm doing this by hand and not machine, and will share with you how I did it in my next post.