Monday, January 7, 2013

A Morning Dress and Pinafore

Little Lettie Plays Mary Marie
From time to time I will participate in one of the Bleuette Sewing Club's sewing challenges.  Each or every two months, a member from this online yahoogroup will host a challenge to sew something for the Bleuette dolls.  As I've noted in the past, I'm still not entirely comfortable sewing for such a small doll, but the more practice I have, of course, the better I'll become with it.  For one thing, I like lots of detail in my doll costuming, and while some who've been sewing for this doll for many years are able to accomplish this, I still have a ways to go!

Leaving the back open caused quite an uproar!
There is a new yahoogroup that was set up in November specifically celebrating the Mary Frances Sewing Book.  Its a wonderful venue for sharing newly sewn pieces for members' designated dolls, and it appears that now it will be including the knitting and crochet patterns since some people are skilled in these arts.  If you're interested in such a group, please take a look.  The moderator, Marie Scopel, is one of the dearest people imaginable and would welcome you warmly.

Scissors Shears, Bod Kin, Tommy Tomato Pin Cushion
One of the interesting things about groups like this, is that many seamstresses have been sewing within the box for years.  They are comfortable with soft pastels and generally following suggested colors and cloths specified in the book from a long ago era.  They also feel that in order to truly cover the bases, they must try to sew from the directions offered in 1913.  If you've been following my creative process, you'll understand that neither of these positions make me comfortable, and in truth, the terms used in these instructions is entirely heiroglyphics to me.  I work well visually and without restraints.

So!  When the subject of color and pattern choices came up recently, a dear friend came to the rescue with a bit of well done research.  In browing the section 1910 - 1935, from a book titled Dating Fabrics A Color Guide 1800-1960, she discovered a print similar to the navy one I chose for the 16" doll. Listed were polka dots in candy pink as well as typical solids, orange being the second choice, with "lots of prints featuring navy and orange"!  Imagine that.  So both our choices have been historically correct, and such a relief this is.  While I understand comfort zones, I truly the believe the most important thing to consider when you begin a project is choosing that which makes you happy to work on.

With Little Mary Marie (you may recognize her as Little Lettie Lane), I carefully selected vintage inspired prints that would once again celebrate the general theme of the printed book.  In order to add a bit of whimsy and originality, I embroidered three of the Thimble People on her pinafore.  It wasn't until this canvas of white was draped over the Morning Dress, that it less resembled a chef's white apron, than a play pinny.  For the embroidery, I free-handed the characters and stitched them up in two or one strand of basic sewing thread.  Since scale is everything to me, I wished them to look as if the 10 1/2" doll made them herself.  Hours of painstaking work went into them, and each are about 1" long. 

I found an iron on tranfer for these Thimble People by a group called Acme Notions.  The patterns are huge, the fairy at about 16", but reduced on a copier, they could easily make suitable artwork for little doll clothes.  I found several methods in an engine search for tranfer inks, and some brave souls I'm sure have tried them.  Pen Cil is my modus operandi, and I'll stick with that (Pen Cil being one of the Thimble People) for now. 

As with all patterns, even if you reduce them on a copier to fit a smaller doll, it is best to take the time to recut the piece from paper towel and make a mock up.  I didn't do this the first time around, for the apron, as the reduced pattern on the chosen cd was supposed to have been tested.  The neckline was so large that the entire doll could slip through it.  So in an effort to save the first embroidered Scissors Shears that I did, I cut it out and will make a cute little patch on the laundry bag Mary Marie has.  I purposely opened the back of the apron for ease of dressing the doll, and knowing Daisy's was done this way two years earlier, I felt it would be okay.

While planning my next project, a new row of embedded lights is being installed in my studio today down the center of the ceiling.  And, if you don't think I'm on pins and needles, well I guess the Thimble People might get me through this!

Miss E. Mouse

1 comment:

  1. hi I really like that the 16" patterns fit you made up for your doll they are fashionably loose and look so nice ... I'd like to make my dolls the dresses you made for your doll, with your kind help. But they are 11" & 14" do the patterns come in that size?? or where can I get a copy of them.?
    Is this your pattern book? I'd be happy to pay you to copy and send them to me...
    I have been frustrated with a lot of the patterns I have cause when I make them there to tight or what ever... Ann Chg