Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses

Spring is here in middlin' California.  The Flowering Plum trees are past peek and daffodils have bloomed evenly with narcissus.  Early?  Perhaps.  But, how lovely!  And, to celebrate, Lettie Lane received a pretty party dress for the season.

Lettie Lane Paper Doll Illustration

Lettie Lane's Party Dress

After the tears this mouse shed over the yellow coat dress, it was time to try, try again.  I'd had my eye on this particular rose print party dress illustration for some time, and had purchased a lovely Lecien fabric to make it up with.  Learning about designing patterns has been a steep curve, but I felt I could tackle just about anything after the last project.  One of the little blessings about being a doll collector and knowing many talented seamstresses is that help is typically at hand.  However, one thing I discovered on my own was that the original Bleuette patterns enlarged to 145% fit the Daisy Elmira body (which my Daisy and Lettie are on) to a T!
The cotton-silk rosette sash.
I looked on the Bleu Door Portal and found a basic sheath and once enlarged, I could alter the neckline and hem at will.  This was how the square neckline was achieved for this dress.  I had to then tackle the Bertha collar.  This collar is not separate - floating from the dress - but, sewn directly under the last edge layer of lace around the collar.  I cut the collar on the bias so that it would stretch nicely with the corners of the squared lace. 

One of the most fun and proud moments of this outfit, so similar to the Dolly Varden dress, was in making the sleeves.  I'd studied and studied the illustration until my eyes blinked, and discovered two rows of tiny ruffles on the sleeve band.  I used a wide short sleeve and lengthened it about a half inch to accommodate the cuff.     This is not a true cuff, but a band that I stitched the two rows of ruffle to, topped with the lace overlay, and then sewn to the gathered edge of the puffed sleeve.  When the first sleeve was done I photographed it just incase the second one didn't come out the same...but, it did!

The first sleeve is in and perfect!
Three small ruffles followed on the hemline topped with insertion lace.  The sash is made from this glorious Kaufman Radiance.  Its pure cotton-silk and is so wonderful and lusterous to work with.  I simply twisted the ends and rolled and tucked to make the rosette at her waist.  Lastly pink stockings and matching slippers topped with bows. 

One of the most difficult things about putting together an ensemble like this is finding good color matches to compliment all the pieces.  The leather I used for the slippers came all the way from Italy, while the stocking fabric was plucked off of ebay.  I suspect that as I continue to learn how to sew or rather learn how to design and assemble these costumes, the searches for perfect notions will take me all over the world.

Don't forget to stop and smell the roses!  Spring is in the air!

Miss E. Mouse


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