Monday, November 4, 2013

The Thanksgiving Party

Katy's Costume For the Thanksgiving Party
Normally I like to do a little research into the costuming before I begin a project.  No.  Let me rephrase that.  I love to do a lot of research into costuming at any given time, but especially when something as interesting as crepe paper costumes comes to mind.  My introduction to crepe paper costumes came quite awhile back, and even though I've now and again typed in a few search words and read about them in books describing costumes from the 20's and 30's, I've only come to surmise that they were a work book project by Dennison Manufacturing Co.  Dennison most likely was leader in producing a wide array of color choices in garment worthy crepe paper.  They produced several small books with detailed descriptions of how to make your own fabulous costumes from their crepe paper products, including the Bogie Book, which detailed Halloween costuming.   

Frances Tipton Hunter's Illustration and Description
Many of the costumes you'll see in vintage postcard images were most likely the product of crepe paper costuming.  I'm not sure whether these were made as one time wear, disposable party costumes, or fabric was too costly for such an occasion.  And, I seriously doubt they came out as fabulous as the illustrations in the books detailed, but I'm certain they were fun to make, and made a merry rustle as you entered a room

An Original Copy
Even Katy Curls got one.  Her costume is described by, "It's a "slip-over" and wreath  made of autumn leaf crepe paper."  Its possible that Dennison made a printed leaf crepe paper, similar to the printed tissue paper we see today.  But, finding such a thing on today's market is improbable, and impossible at best.  When designing Katy's Thanksgiving Party Costume, I decided best to use fabric so it will stand the test of time, yet still marvel at the idea of using crepe paper.  Certainly it is not unheard of, as little dolls have been dressed in crepe paper over time...moreover, paper dolls were dressed in crepe paper costumes!

Example From the Book
I began working on this in early September when Jo Ann's started stocking their fall prints.  I found two leaf print cottons that I felt might work, but chose the softer, romantic leaf print instead of the brightly colored one.  I had to purchase a couple of yards just to get enough small printed leaves to cut out.  These were done as I would the silhouettes I make, then ironed on.  The same leaves were then cut out for the crown she wears. 

I counted the white backings just for the fun of it, and if I recall, I snipped out no less than 80 leaves for the apron and wreath crown!

Puff likes those beads and ribbons!
The apron is neatly lined to encase the silk ribbon tie ends.  I knotted the ends then with a large eyed needle, went through the open space in the lining before closing it up and strung the ribbons through.  Finding the perfect beads for the ends took a bit of effort as well.  There are two beads at the end of each ribbon.  One is an amber flat, and then the crystal cut balls ending in a knot.

A side view.
I made a simple light mango tinted skirt to emulate the crepe paper one, and finally a little white, Peter Pan collared blouse, with puffed sleeves to go under the apron.  It was my guess, only, what she may have worn under that apron since the illustration doesn't help much.  As a paper doll outfit, it would have gone right over her undergarments, but in November??  I would think it might be a bit cool not to wear at least a little blouse under it, or even a sweater.  And, so you see, I'm beginning to think on my own two back paws when it comes to design.

Her crown, or wreath, is made from a simple strip of thin cardboard going around the circumference of her head, with another thin band going across the top.  Multiple leaves are overlapped to create the look.  That was certainly a lot of detailed snipping!  But, so very worth the effort.  These leaves remind me of the beautiful illustrations drawn by Eulalie for books such as The Bumper Book, that I had when I was little.  Whimsical and pretty.

And, now Katy Curls is ready for her Thanksgiving Party and will enjoy this little costume all of November.  The next outfit for her will depend on what I can find when Christmas wear comes into the shops.  Finding a green, white and red striped sock for her hat has been very problematic.  This is okay.  I can wait.  Should I not find it, I'll make her blue coat ensemble for winter.  She is so much fun to sew for!

Miss E. Mouse

A Wreath of Leaves

Thanksgiving decorations from The Bogie Book
Leaves on the back panels as well.

"Happy Thanksgiving" from Katy!

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