Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Special Christmas Gift For Lettie

Lettie's Christmas Doll
I know, I know.  I said the last post would be it for this year, but Lettie's been such a good child, that Santa rallied the elves together to make a very special dolly for her.  She turned out so sweet, that I had to share her.

Nada Christensen has been making these fabulous little "Petit Bleus" for years now, and her tiny composition, jointed body, makes the perfect 5" dollies for Lettie, Daisy and Polly.  Upon finishing Lettie's Evergreen Dirndl, I wrote to Nada and pleaded our case.  She had two brown eyed little ones, and I purchased them both.  I had a feeling what I was in for with dressing this one, but I really wasn't prepared for just how much it would take to do so!

From Betty Bonnet Shops Early 1917
I used to dress doll house dolls, and when you do, there is very little sewing, and a lot of gluing seams.  The dolls are never undressed, and this is standard practice in the miniature world.  However, for the purpose of dressing a 5" dolly, that just might need more clothing, it was all needle and thread.

Dolly's Coat and Hat - Next Year's Outfit
The final, and finished dress is the third times a charm version.  Achieving the volume on this little dress required one of my favorite templates, a bowl.  Yes.  A round salad bowl.  Think "little boy's bowl cut", or how an umbrella works!  Its a circle that drapes.  For the purpose of this dress, once the circle is drawn, you fold it in half, then cut a hole in the center for the neck, then angle cut the sides to achieve the volume you wish.  Sound simple?  Well, when you consider this was my brainstorm after almost giving up, maybe not.  I have to laugh when I hear people say, "I'm so glad you learned to sew".  Sew?  That's never been the issue.  Designing each pattern is, but that is the dearest challenge, and so worth the process.

Merry Christmas, Lettie!
Lettie's little doll was inspired by Betty Bonnet Shops Early 1917.  There are several dolls on this illustrated page, and quite a few Christmas outfits to make in the future.  I chose this green and white dressed doll to match Lettie's Evergreen Dirndl.  I fashioned her hair style from a silky mohair hank, and topped it with a silk bow.

Next year I'll plan to make the white dress with the red sailor collar and belt for Lettie, and the doll dressed in a red coat and hat with long brown curls.  And, hopefully the process of dressing this size doll will go a little smoother.  Right now I have her green coat cut out, but the prospects don't look too promising.  I'm using the same velveteen of Lettie's outfit, and I already know what's coming down the pike.  Fraying and pilling. 

One more thought on how to achieve a nice drape on such a voluminous dress.  Most people would only consider it a matter of fabric, but there is another way around this if you have a certain fabric in mind...like I did, wishing it to be the same fabric as Lettie's blouse.  Steam!  I have a little travel steamer and its not only the perfect solution for getting wrinkles out in a doll's dress, but the steam will allow you to manipulate the fabric into a soft drape if its standing out like a paper cup.

The bottom line is that I never stop working.  There is seldom a day when I am not in my studio designing a pattern, sewing up a new outfit for a doll, or making an accessory to go with it.

Its Christmas Eve.  Dolly needs her coat and hat! 

Miss E. Mouse 

So many dolls and outfits to choose from!


A Dolly for Christmas

From Italy - Just Purchased!
From 1911 - My Favorite!

So Bleuette!

...and to all a good night!


  1. Oh Melissa, what a sweet little gift for Lettie. I do so love looking at your posts and seeing all the wonderful things you make for your girls..... even if it does make me feel like an inadequate doll mama.
    Wishing you, Lettie and your other girls a very Merry Christmas!

  2. What a wonderful post and such a beautiful little doll and dress. I have dressed doll house dolls, with the intention of the clothes being removed, so can imagine the tedium. The result is perfect. Please don't ever stop creating. I so enjoy the results! Merry Christmas, and thanks for so much.