Wednesday, March 28, 2012

All Buttoned Up

Standard Pleats and Box Pleats
Midweek and the last button has been sewn on.  Lettie has a new dress and is ready to go visiting.  Well, almost.  She still needs her hat, which I'll begin today.  Her white hair bow sets off the collar very nicely, so we'll be patient.

One of the interesting things about sewing from scratch, is that I often have to learn how to do something all over again.  There was more seam ripping in this little dress than I would have imagined there to be.  For instance, the large, loose cuffs on the sleeves.  I must have fiddled with turning them up, cinching them up and all manner of fussing, until I remembered that there needed to be a cuff band sewn on at the bottom of the sleeve, good side to back side to enable me to roll the cuff over the sleeve and tack it down.

Twenty Covered Buttons in All
I don't know if it was the nature of the Kaufman Silk Cotton, or the nature of the pattern I'd made, but it was a wonderous breeze to keep the bodice softened, the cuffs loose, and the pleats crisp.  The underskirting is the Dharma dyed cotton I spoke of, with box pleats.  These two skirts were sewn together and then attached to the bodice. 

A for the Dharma Dye experiments, I learned that you could use a 1/2 tsp of dye in a tap water bath, dip the clean wet cloth in for 30 seconds, sprinkle a tad of soda ash in the bath, swirl, and remove it quickly to attain a light shade of the color.  The first attempt following the directions gave me a deep, rich color, so the dye is excellent.  The time you leave it in the bath is the key.  I only experiemented with 1" square pieces so as not to ruin the yardage.

I think the greatest challenge was covering all those buttons and hoping they would be in scale for the dress.  The smallest Dritz covered button kit available is 7/16".  Generally, this would be too large a scale for a dress, but Lettie is an 18" antique reproduction doll.  And, when all is said and done, she is just a doll, who doesn't seem to mind a'tall!  I did experient with covering plastic shank buttons, but the fraying was atrocious and looked terribly messy.  What I may do is try to find tiny satin covered wedding buttons, and cover those.  Lettie's clothing not only has ruffles, lace, and pleats, but tons of buttons.

The Illustration Once Again
While I'm designing the hat you see in the illustration, I'll be teaching my mouse paws how to smock.  I just watched a Youtube on the process, but the lady only shared the first row.  I do have a heirloom sewing book I'll have to pull out and see if there's a description in there.  What I'm finding is that there are many different kinds of smocking, so here we go on a new technique adventure.

Now to top things off with a hat!

Miss E. Mouse


  1. How positively beautiful. I don't know when I have seen anything prettier. The fabric is gorgeous. Someone needs to make smaller button forms to be covered, don't they? So lovely. What a very lucky doll!

  2. Absolutely Georgeous! I am glad my dolls are happy with my simple efforts. You are one talented mouse.