Saturday, April 19, 2014

Its a Long Way to Tipperary!

Bernie (Bernadette) in Uniform, by Kathy O'Malley
One of the reasons I love accessorizing and dressing dolls is the history I get to research in doing so.  I recall taking a series of Art History classes in college, and while we learned a great deal about cathedrals, statues, and frescoes, one thing stands out above all else, the rich knowledge I gained concerning the history surrounding these objects.  In lieu of majoring in European History, we got snapshots in detail of the events that changed the course of history over the years.  And, so it is with dressing dolls.  And, so it is with collecting antique dolls! 

I love uniforms.  The sharp, clean lines, the authority they give the wearer, memories of my father from photos of WWII in his naval uniform.  I think in part, this is one of the reasons I adore nautical, or sailor outfits on my dolls as well. 

Her Little WWI Knapsack - by Me
When my friend, Kathy O'Malley, makes a uniform for Bleuette, I must have it!  She is one of the finest seamstresses sewing the antique, French patterns for this doll out there.  And, such was the case for Bleuette's G-L 1915 Tipperary uniform.  Yet, as an accessorist, I needed a bit more to snap this outfit into shape.  A knapsack.  A miniature WWI knapsack for her to carry letters in, and perhaps a snack or two.

Straps and a Pocket For Letters
Bleuette's vast pattern wardrobe followed the rich history of France, and this was also to be the case during WWI.  During the war years, Bleuette would get a Red Cross nurse's uniform, a Ticket Taker uniform for the trolley cars (as this traditional job for men was taken over by women),scouting uniforms, and a Tipperary uniform to honor the allied forces of Ireland and Britain who helped fight against the Germans in France. 

A Gusset Making for Plenty to Hold
Why Tipperary?  Well, my guess is that the very song, a marching tune written by Jack Judge and Harry Williams in 1912, was so melodic and sentimental, that it seemed most appropriate.  And, indeed honored the men who valiantly fought on French soil.  I've been humming this tune for a few days now, and always remember how Snoopy marched through the field to his Sopwith Camel dog house and was shot down over the fields of France on Charlie Brown's, Its the Great Pumpkin cartoon.

And, where is Tipperary?  Tipperary is a county in south Ireland, and indeed it would have been a very long way home from Britain for Irish soldiers pining for their loved ones back home.

The Shoulder Straps
Kathy and I have known each other for years, and she has been very supportive of my foray into costuming.  I think she also enjoys my work in accessories, for when I asked if she'd send along a remnant for me to make a knapsack with, she sent several pieces and a bit of leather. 

Allied Troops in France
 I began looking on the Internet for images of knapsacks from WWI.  Often they were camel colored to blend in with the uniforms of the times, yet you will see so many more U.S. haversacks from this era in green.  I chose a simple design with a front pocket just because I like details.  The leather straps are sewn into the flap and fasten with buckles.  The same is true for the shoulder straps.  I even made machined X stitching on the straps where they secure to the back, as many were made this way to strengthen their hold.  I made it with a gusset as I had with Katy's bluebird school bag.

It is not in the cards for me to sew for this doll.  I can't read French, and the patterns can be quite unusual causing me a headache to try and piece together.  And, I simply adore Kathy's work.  Purchasing her Bleuette couture is always a treat.  And, then I get to accessorize it!  Check her out at

Miss E. Mouse

Soldier and a French Girl

Tip Top Tipperary Mary

County Tipperary

Right there!

A Poster For Enlistment

A News Article

WWI Boots, Very  Much Like Daisy's Work Boots
Up to mighty London came
An Irishman one day,
Singing songs of Piccadilly,
So all the world was gay
Singing songs of Piccadilly,
Strand, and Leicester Square,
'Til Paddy got excited and
He shouted to them there:
It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary
And the sweetest girl I know!
Farewell to Piccadilly,
Goodbye, Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.
It's a long way to Tipperary,
And it's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary
And the sweetest girl I know!
Farewell, Piccadilly,
Goodbye, Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.

Bernie, My 60 8/0 By Suzanne McBrayer


  1. Another complete success! Yes, Kathy's work is amazing. I am fortunate enough to own a dress she made and which I received in a round robin. The little one wearing it refuses to give it up. Bravo!

  2. Oh my goodness, this outfit is magnificent, I too love uniforms!! You did a stupendous job on this....I so admire your work! :)

  3. Only the knapsack, Lori :)) But, thank you. To both of you!