Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Autumn Leaves Are Falling


Katy Curls ready to catch a leaf
It is rare that I find myself at a loss for words, but here I sit, about to write, and there I am.  Perhaps its autumn that is stirring my thoughts.  They are thinking on the change of Aspen leaves, of a trip I might take to see them next week.  My thoughts are on decorating a few small corners of my little hole in the wall today, with Halloween fancies.

They are on a book I'm reading that I wish to pick up and snuggle with in the afternoon warmth of my special corner.  They are as tired and restless as the fall, as the year becomes the busy season.  And, yet Katy Curls is ready to skip down the streets and hop up now and again to catch the stray leaf as it sweeps from limb to ground.

Katy is dressed for the cool afternoons following a happy day of pencils and books, and Golden Rules.  As you may recall Katy Curls was the first paper doll in The Little Busybodies collection by Frances Tipton Hunter, debuting in November 1922's Women's Home Companion.  Her wardrobes illustrated real patterns that mother could buy to make both her daughter and her daughter's little doll.  The first outfit I chose to make Katy was something to play in.  I believe a little girl can never have enough play clothes.

Her Autumn Play Suit
By 1920, clothes were very much designed with children in mind, and attention was paid not just to style, but to the comfort and needs of children. The Roaring Twenties was an era of liberation in much of society and this was reflected in clothing trends for men, women and children.

Comfort was achieved in both style and fabric. Whereas for decades everyone had worn many layers, now a summer outfit might consist of just a single layer over underwear. Even in winter, clothing was kept streamlined with minimal layer. The emphasis was on good fabrics that would stand up to weather. A wool dress worn over  stockings and a long knit underwear suit with a knitted sweater and jacket on top was common.

Katy's little play suit reflects the fashions of the time.  She wears her undergarments comfortably under this linen tunic with a pair of poufy knickers.  Jacquard ribbon trim decorates the tunic in rows down the front, around the edges of the belled sleeves, around the peasant collar and the bands on the cuffs of the knickers.  She wears of pair of long stockings and casual oxfords (by Fran Quinn).

Blouson Knickers
This little outfit, simple in appearance, posed many designing problems along the way.  For one, its a pullover tunic.  This was new for me since I typically dress my dolls from the feet up.  Her wig must be removed to pull the tunic over her head, but creating it as a pullover, rather than hooked or buttoned in the back was essential to the look of the outfit.  I had to make a long enough opening in the front to accommodate all of Katy from the top down.  There's a little snap-on piece that goes under the tunic to complete the look (I do not know what this is called, but often sailor tops have them).

Pattern No. 4240
The tunic is all one piece, the fold being at the shoulders.  In order to create the pouf of the top, I lined the tunic with a shorter hem.  When I attached the linen hem to the lining an inch or so up, I tugged a tad to create a bit of gather on the inside and this created a blouson affect. 

This is a simple outfit, but it was not easy to figure out or make.  It also took a great deal of time and patience to sew the ribbon on, of which there was much.  This had to be done first before the lining went in and the sides were stitched up.

1920s Montgomery Ward - Notice the apricot outfit bottom row, center.
I agonized over her socks for months.  In the illustration her stockings have a blue and two red lines at the top.  I had to settle for brown heather stockings omitting any extra colors.  Sure.  I thought of fabric paint.  I thought of embroidery.  One would have been stiff, the other would have taken away the stretch.  Still, they turned out cute and a nice alternative to a more decorative one.  I'm fairly happy with the close match I was able to make with the ribbon trim, which I purchased from Ribbonworks.  They seem to have a nice selection of petite ribbons for doll clothing.

My intention is to make the satchel that goes with the red school skirt and sweater next, and also a mini version of this play suit for Squeezicks, her dolly.  Squeezicks' outfit may take me a few days to do, although it will be much simpler in design for construction.  It is also notably a different color.  I need a fabric that is thin and won't ravel!  Good luck!  This beautiful linen for Katy's outfit was a gift from a dear friend, and making this outfit (as it turned out), would not have been possible without her loving generosity.

I am tired.  I need a break and this is exactly what I'm going to do first.  Even if just for a few days!  When I begin again, it will be with the holidays in mind.  Katy has play clothes for autumn now, so don't be surprised if she's seen amidst a pumpkin patch or two, or skipping down the windy streets catching autumn leaves.

Love,
Miss E. Mouse

The leaves had a wonderful frolic.
They danced to the wind's loud song.
They whirled, and they floated, and scampered.
They circled and flew along.


The moon saw the little leaves dancing.
Each looked like a small brown bird.
The man in the moon smiled and listened.
And this is the song he heard.


The North Wind is calling, is calling,
And we must whirl round and round,
And then, when our dancing is ended,
We'll make a warm quilt for the ground
.

(Anonymous)



A Pullover, gathered at the neck as well.




Squeezicks' Version

Autumn Leaves Are Falling