Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tee Time

Wow!  Summer is in full swing and so seems our lovely little Mary!  So you thought I was lollygagging all this time?  Hah!  Never.  In fact its been just the opposite.  Between Lettie and Polly's Tennis Wear, and before Polly's Golf Outfit, I was creating a piece for the competition room at a convention this summer.  I wasn't certain which outfit I would choose to display in the room, but when I began an outfit for Lettie early on, I decided it was unique and interesting enough to share in an open forum.  Now, the sad thing is that I cannot share it in public until that time.  Why?  Because even though I am bringing Lettie all the way across the country to share with others, should anyone see it prior to the judging, she will be automatically disqualified for partiality reasons.  No.  I am not a competitor by any means.  I'm doing this for the pure fun of it, and to share my work.  But!  Should it get a second look, I need to remain anonymous.
All that said and done, let's enjoy a little sport on the green with Mary, Polly's cousin.  Mary is actually my mannequin for creating Polly's clothing, but she looks so pretty in this piece that she's getting to model it.  Mary will have her own wardrobe some day, but one thing at a time. 
This little Golf Outfit comes from a special little paper doll and story book called Lettie Lane's Sister's Children.  It was most likely created between 1909 and 1911 due to the styling and fabric choices for the clothing.  It's interesting that the green striped dress shown on this one page is similar to one of Daisy's dresses from 1911. There is simply no end to the costuming Sheila Young drew for paper dolls, so I see no reason to ever stop creating new outfits from them.
Lettie Lane's Sister's Children was published by Ernest Nister: London.  Its my guess that copies of this are very rare since children would have cut out the paper dolls inside, rendering the books worthless.  Donelle Denery was generous enough to reproduce and sell copies of this treasure that she acquired from Atha Kahler long ago.  What I love most about this book is the rhyming story Sheila writes to accompany her paper dolls.  There may have been another similar book written (if I recall what Donelle told me), but the title and book remain elusive.

Illustration Close-up
Mary modeling Polly's Golf Outfit
Polly's Golf Outfit consists of a yellow cotton skirt and pleat-belted smock with a sailor collar and cuffs.  The top alone was a challenge to make, but primarily with the two long box pleats and the threading of the belt through them.  It was important to fiddle with this particular pattern due to the fact that many of these outfits from this time period, have a similar construction.  There was a lot of measuring and marking done to get them just right, and several mock ups were made prior to the cutting of the yellow cotton.  The cuffs are ones I'll already done on several other pieces, but again, that darned collar gave me the fits.  Even when I thought the top was done, I ripped out the collar and redrew a larger one, sewing it back in between the lining and front. 

The back is finished with three little white buttons and thread loops, and the threaded belt is leather finished with a snap.  The actual threading holes are not buttonholes as you might suspect.  Why?  Because after you've sewn a complete top, you don't want to make a grave error with that mess of buttonhole stitching.  Its not something you can rip out and begin again.  Instead, these threading holes are made with a straight stitch, two stitches over, straight stitch and two stitches over.  Will it hold?  Yes.  And, much neater.  Its a similar stitch to the welt pocket.  The tie is double-sided silk.
Now that hat was a beast!  Oh, yes, I did try steam blocking a piece of pure felted wool, but it wasn't going to crown and turn up the way you think it might.  And, it needed to be soaked in starch to hold its shape.  What I ended up doing was making a molded crown, and a turned up molded brim, then stitching them together.  I used a Tupperware bowl to mold the brim.  After that had dried, and the crown was sewn on, I hand-stitched cloth covered millinery wire to the edge of the brim, then hand-stitched on tiny grosgrain ribbon to finish the edge.  Only then did I steam block the brim into the scooped up shape.
The feather trim is actually three feathers ending in a little glove leather tab that can be pinned onto the hat so it sits upright.  I attempted to sew it on, but it wished to lay flat against the crown and this would not do.  The hats from this time period had so very many shapes and completed each outfit so beautifully.  However, each is very unique and the best way I can describe fashioning such pieces is in creating soft sculpture (as I described for making Lettie's Halloween Candlestick Hat).  If you're going to do something, do it right, or not at all.  Its time consuming, fiddling, but so very worth the results.
I even found golf balls!
And, last, we come to the golf bag.  The accessory is always my favorite part of costuming!  This funny little golf bag does not resemble those we see today, but more of a leather tube with a hand held handle.  The bag is lined in leather as well as made from on the exterior.  I used a cognac goat skin for her bag, which is thin and very pliable.  The clubs were purchased.  Yes, I do do that!
I'll be sharing Lettie's outfit at the end of the first week of August and will discuss in detail how it all came about.  I've already plans for two different outfits for Polly and Lettie to begin shortly.  They will not be matching themes as I've done most recently, but sometimes a girl wants to do her own thing.  This post has been long enough, and I thank you for staying with me this far, so I won't go into the history of women's golf, but will share some delightful images of ladies playing golf from the past.
I hope you're enjoying summer as much as myself, and don't forget to pick up a good book and just relax.  Summer is for the pure enjoyment of doing nothing, letting your mind wander and most of all, playing!
Miss E. Mouse   

The golf bag!
For my friend Kathy

The Romance of Golf

A Hole in One!

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