Friday, May 25, 2012

Down the Garden Path

Lettie Lane's Gardening Frock
Light Pink Roses
Pinning the dotted lace on.  Look closely to see the pulled thread.
Pinned and Tucked
Is it just me, or has May seemed like the longest month of the year so far?  And, even on the 25th, we still have six days left!  While the days fly past, the month lingers on.  How can that be?  How do we mark our time?  I think for me its been from project to project - from start to completion.  And, with the 18" Lettie Lane's Gardening Outfit, completion has come. 

Close-up of Floral Lace Sleeve
Hand-painted Roses, Square-knotted Sash
You may recall that the first dress like this was made for the 10.5" Bleuette-sized Lettie with the blonde curls.  Using the existing pattern I had, I increased the size to 145%, and took it from there.  Having made one for the smaller doll almost now, felt like the sampler.  I know that there is a huge number of seamstresses who insist that Bleuette is the greatest doll to sew for, but I truly love sewing for the 18" reproduction antique.  There is just so much more detail I can accomplish.

Several things occurred while making these two outfits for the 18" doll.  One was that I learned a little trick from a friend on the east coast who told me about finding a little thread to pull in the edge lace that would help form it around a neckline.  It was so brilliant that I wanted to share this with you.  I was concerned that it would appear gathered, but once on the neckline, it acheived the look I was after.  Much better than cutting up and piecing the lace together as I did with Little Lettie's dress.

The other was that I perfected the ladder stitch, and discovered a hidden stitch for dresses that I was using on the hats.  Instead of doing a standard slip-stitch, I did it in reverse, hiding the threads under the edges, between the layers. 

Two bodices had been originally constructed using the dotted French cotton lace since I had two sizes of it.  I wasn't sure my customer would enjoy this as much as I, although it was a thicker, softer lace.  So in the midst of being almost done, I purchased the two sizes of floral lace and made a third bodice.  At this stage I was getting axious.  This particular project seemed to be lasting longer than I intended, so I mixed things up a little and used lighter roses on the hat and in the basket for the dotted lace dress, which I kept.  I also sashed the dotted lace dress with a shorter tie, fastening it in a square-knot.  The other outfit is most like the original Little Lettie outfit with a huge bow, and darker roses.

Part of the struggle, once again, in making this outfit was finding the right fabric.  Although I'd convinced myself that some of the fabric I'd purchased early would work, I found this vintage fabric by accident on ebay one night, and two fulls yards of it at that!  Every blue floral print I'd found previously had been on a cream or ivory background, and I really wanted white.  Pure white.  Why be so picky?  Lace.  The lace needed to match the white shade of the dress and no amount of test dying would produce the shade I needed of cream or ivory.  Lace is as different as the clouds in the sky.  The range of whites is astonishing!

Once again I was able to experiment with painting the roses on the hat's streamer.  After four more pallettes of roses, I'm still not convinced that there was a better way to do this.  Painting this kind of detail on silk would not be my first choice, but the effect is always the main consideration.  Fabric is not the easiest medium to apply wet paint to!

The Fancy Slip
Next?  I've been asked to make a fancy slip, and I'll only be making one this time.  I have a great need to create with color, and have a yellow floral dress project in the works for Little Lettie, which I had to put aside to make these Gardening Frocks.

I'm also going to take a couple of days to put my studio/workroom back in order, and also take an inventory of what I have to work with.  One of the nicest compliments to come out of all this work was when a friend on one of the yahoogroups asked me when I'll be making patterns.  Imagine!  I don't know if this is something I wish to look into, but its certainly something to think about down the garden path.

Miss E. Mouse 

One Last Look

1 comment:

  1. Each dress is prettier. I would love to see a picture of both the Small and large Letty in their dresses.

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