Friday, January 11, 2013

Off to the Races!

Jane's little illustration, my inspiration.
I think it might be fairly evident that I'm having way too much fun sewing for Mary Marie.  The illustrations in the book have not only been fueling my inspiration, but I'm feeling a bit more free to interpret some pieces with color, pattern and style.  Its not that haven't enjoyed bringing Sheila Young's work to life, but Mary Marie gives me a chance to really play.

The Back
This little illustration of the three dollies wearing some of the outfits you could sew was just too adorable to pass up.  But, in particular, I was enjoying the wee one in the middle wearing the checkerboard coat and polo hat.  Now why would Jane Eayer Fryer illustrate such a daring little outfit, if perhaps she hadn't seen one before, or simply liked the idea?  Well, I liked it, too, so I set out to do something with it.  Oh, I'm well aware that some ladies will be running for their smelling salts upon seeing it, but creating this little outfit made me feel so happy!

Mary Marie's Mary Frances Dress
Mary Frances, the child in the books who learns how to sew (knit and crochet, keep house and garden, too), wears these lovely little dresses with rounded collars, and the sleeves of her guimpe always peek out from her dress's sleeves.  Why they made a pattern for a Morning Dress with a square neck is something I just do not know...well, maybe I was more difficult to do!  But I wished to make one, so I did.

Mary Marie's Polo Coat and Hat

Many of my little mouse coats, especially my rain trenches, are wonderfully lined in fabulous prints that have little to do with the outer fabric.  Keeping this in mind, I approached the lining of the polo coat this way.  The black and white checkerboard was so stark, that I felt it needed a little softening up on the inside to tone the entire effect down.  As I was working with this, I understood that the outfit would not be complete without a dress beneath, so I worked the collar and sleeve bands in the same fabric making this a complete outfit, and a dress that could be worn on its own.

I also played with the polo cap a bit by lining as the coat had been lined, and topping it off with a black pom-pom.  When I set out to create this costume, I'd not yet seen one of the polo caps made.  This inspired me as well.  Upon cutting out the pieces, of which there were four, I recalled the little cap I'd made for Lettie Lane's 4th of July costume, as well as tiny caps I'd made long ago for miniature Raggedy Andys.  I'll have to admit that I made this one a tad differently than the pattern suggested, but the results, the look, came out the same.

The Flannel Pet

I have so many beautiful fabrics stored in a lovely antique trunk that I just purchased for Mary Marie, and the possibilities are simply endless!  I guess I've been rather busy since before making the polo coat outfit, I stitched up her Flannel Pet.  This is what it was called.  The Flannel Pet (meaning petticoat).  Flannel, by far, is the easiest fabric I've ever worked with.  It, too, was a joy to make.  It sports a lovely row of orange feather-stitch embroidery above the hem.

One of the things I'm going to be working my little paws with next, is hand-sewing buttonholes.  I'm simply not pleased with what my machine produces, and I know that I will feel far more confident having control over where the stitches go.  Should this prove to work well for me, I'll share the process and results.

Until then, its off to the races for Mary Marie!

Miss E. Mouse


A Close-up of the trimmings.

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