Friday, August 3, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie and The Petit Four

Lettie Lane's Violin Concert Dress
The Illustration by Sheila Young
Its been a long, hot summer so far.  I've been spending most of my days in my little hole in the wall designing and sewing.  It truly has been at least a week since I completed Lettie Lane's Violin Concert Dress, and I've been trying to catch up on a few things around the place since.  Lettie Lane's slip set proceeded this, and only one of these were made.  I have every intention of making a second Violin Concert dress for my own Lettie some day, but this one was a bear, and I needed to finish the one to begin on the school clothing.

A Side View
Both of these were entirely too difficult to do, and yet, what I learned from designing them, and constructing them, will take me further into exploring what can be acheived.  I call them the Lemon Meringue Pie and the Petit FourFour because of the four different French cotton laces used and the layers of everything.  Lemon meringue...well so very obvious!

A Detail with Forget-Me-Knots
If I try to think of the two things that gave me the most concern with the Violin Concert Dress, I'll have to say the ruffles and the ruffles!  No longer will I call myself the Ruffle Queen.  I've much still to learn about ruffles.  And, believe it or not, this neckline is not completely gathered, and was a difficult to acheive as any preceding collar.  Before the gathered, double ruffle went on, seven tiny pleats went into the neckline from the center out.  The gathers were just from the back of the neckline to the pleats.  All hidden under the collar, but the line theshape of the neckline could not be acheived otherwise.  I tried it completely gathered, and it looked like a clown costume.  I just about gave up.  But, then we know I never give up!

Ha-ha!  And, there was also the stitching of the silk ribbons to the edges of the silk that would be gathered into ruffles.  It was quite tedious work to stitch the first edge of ribbon to the turned under edge of the ruffle band.  The second row of stitching was much easier since the first edge was sewn down already.  The ribbon along the waist band is hand sewn on.  It is not a belt that ties in a bow, but a part of the dress itself.  I was somewhat disappointed that this thin and lovely lemon silk ribbon stiffened the edges of the ruffles when stitched on, but it could not be helped.  I'll repeat that there is so much more an illustrator can do than a seamstress.

The fun of this dress is that it is lovely to hold.  It almost has a life of its own, like a flouncy puppet!  I adore it, and I'd really love to have one for myself, but this is how I make my money.  sigh  Naturally we needed a violin to finish the look, so I purchased a small, 7" Stradivarius for the ensemble!

Lettie Lane's Slip Set is definitely one-of-a-kind.  Its hard to describe what I did to make the chemise, so I will let the photos tell the story.  I will tell you that tiny buttons holes were not meant to be machined onto heirloom batiste!  The fabric is so thin that the buttons and holes would simple tear through in time.  Line the waistband?  This is a for a doll.  The lighter and softer the feel and look, the more authentic it is.  I was asked to do this not as something to be worn under a dress, but as an outfit to be displayed on the doll by itself.  Of course it would then need accessories, so I procured a porcelain wash bowl and pitcher, and monogrammed a wee towelette.

September is but a month away, and the call for plaid clothing is ringing in the school bells.  I love the seasons.  We mark our time by rituals and the changes of the season throughout the year.  Fall is always my favorite, but I have to admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed our spring and summer this year through this little girl I'm dressing, Lettie Lane.

P.s.  Good news!  Polly Pratt is on her way here!!!

Miss E. Mouse

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