Sunday, April 22, 2012

Skirting the Issue or Fan-tasy

A Fan of Skirts
Sunday takes me to a little hole cleaning.  My poor little hole in the wall has been getting neglected and the sunshine calls for spring cleaning.  Still a mouse does get to sit on her tail for a short time and while I'm here, the creative process continues.

Someone recently shook their finger at me and told me that I was doing it all wrong, and alluded to my poor customer.  I was quite taken aback since no one has ever challenged my etrennes or doll accessories.  One of the distinctive traits of my work is the exacting copy of an illustration.  And rather than sewing as they taught you in Home Economics, the fashion school of Miss E. Mouse tosses out the traditional and scampers outside the box.  To some this can simply not be done, but what comes to mind is the figuring of algebra.  I recall so clearly learning the formula to reach the answer of some problem, when a tutor showed me clearly that the same solution could be reached another way.  And, I promise you, I take no short cuts.  Instead I labor from scratch to finish finding the best way to achieve my goal. 
Pleated Skirt Front

I prefer not to read manuals and guide books for they are often confusing and poorly written.  Recently a friend asked me to purchase the book The Dolls Dressmaker, A Complete Pattern Book.  The title alone should have tipped me off, but she claimed that everything I ever needed to know about sewing was between the covers.  Without giving the book an unsolicited review, I can atest  to it being a pattern book, and not a technical manual on how to piece together and sew, which was what I'd hoped for.  I will also add that most doll bodies vary greatly, so while the book claims "actual size patterns", there will still be adjusting, so I think I'll stick to my slopers and hand drafting the patterns in paper towel.

Nice Fit to the Waist
The white pleated skirt was interesting to create.  I learned something on the fly that I'd not considered before.  Since the illustration depicts a pleated, but equally full skirt, I chose to pleat the fabric, then gather it at the waist, thereby achieving the fullness required.  I thought it might ruin the looks of the pleats, but this was not the case.  A pleated and waistbanded skirt would have been too narrow and more applicable for suiting.  I'm almost positive if I shared this with another, they'd tell me I did it all wrong.  There are so very many things we have to do in this life by the book, that I enjoy the artist freedom of creating on my own.  And, one of them is hemming a pleated skirt last. 

In order to keep the pleats nice, I keep pins in the center of the skirt once I sew a stay stitch to the waistband.  To begin, the hemline was folded up a quarter inch, then an inch and a half and ironed, while a gathering stitch held it in place as I pleated the fabric.  It was no trouble at all doing a simple slip stitch to the hem when I was finished.  When it came time to removing the gather stitch, I removed the thread stitch by stitch so as not to crumple the fabric by pulling it out.  Worth every minute of my time.

One of the very nice things about gathers, is that if the sleeve or waistband is a little too large, you can put in a gentle gather to shorten it.  I don't think there is truly any way to rush through creating a garment for a doll.  I would never be so bold as to be slightest bid confident in what I'm doing.  Tiny step by tiny step is how I work and I'm not about to change.

The only thing I've come to dread in the process of garment making, is sewing on snaps and hook and eyes.  If there was an easy way to do this (we'll add buttons to this task as well), I'd be overjoyed!

My Little Lettie Lane on the 10.5" Bleuette Body
I'm already planning the next garment, but in between, I need to begin sewing for the 10 1/2" Bleuette body since I have a little blonde Lettie Lane doll now.

Miss E. Mouse

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful outfit.