Friday, July 18, 2014

Botanical Garden Stroll for 9" Beatrice Louise

Alice Liddell and Beatrice Louise
I don't normally like doing things twice.  The first time you make something there is the challenge, the intrigue, the curiosity that asks, "Can I do it?  Can it be done?"  And, yes, my 16" Alice Liddell's Botanical Garden Stroll dress was all of the above.  However, when  a friend of mine, Jill (the lady I made the Matinee Dress for), approached me for an outfit for her Katie Grace (Wendy Lawton's exquisitely sculpted Beatrice Louise), I suspected she'd want a tiny version of Alice Liddell's outfit. 

We discussed Lettie Lane costume ideas, maybe Polly Pratt designs, or possibly a sailor dress as well.  I was hesitant to try and recreate Alice Liddell's outfit in a smaller scale for two reasons.  One, there was the price I'd have to ask, and the other was knowing how too much embellishment can overwhelm a small doll.  However, my motto has always been  making dreams come true, so I accepted the commission, and set to work.  Back to blue!

Botanical Garden Stroll for Katie Grace
I had on hand, this lovely blue and white shirting cotton that was earlier purchased as an alternative fabric for the 16" doll's dress.  I would use the lighter Pima batiste for the collar, paper lantern sleeves and bells.  When you have so very many gathers, layers and ruffles, you need lighter fabrics so they'll sew together and drape nicely. 

I must have worked an entire day on the collar alone just getting the lace sewn in between the layers.  So many pins.  So much deftness and dexterity to get the small pieces together and tugged between needle and plate.  Slow stitching and careful turning of pieces under the needle.  I must seriously be one of the quietest, if not craziest, seamstresses.  My machine seldom makes the rumble-rumble-rumble noise of fast, straight stitching.

Just a close up!
Would it be interesting or worth the time to describe how I got the paper lantern sleeves sewn into the bells?  Or how I hand made the 1/3" blue batiste ruffles - that turned and twisted miserably as I tried to pin them on?  Probably not.  But, I can tell you that I did try - for four hours - to make the pleated trim, which in the end overwhelmed the edges of the bells.  This is when I sat back at the cutting table and once again cut a very long 1" strip and ironed it over twice in a mock "bias" style tape, then gather stitched it twice to create the ruffle trim to cover the edges of the bolero jacket, the bell edges, and the embellishment on the top edge of the white skirt.

Full View
Two rows of tiny silk ribbon, tiny buttons on the cuffs of the paper lantern sleeves, and a belt that dresses up the waist much nicer when the doll is not on a stand.  Doll stands can be quite an impediment.  I actually create garments that will accommodate the metal stand around the waist.  That typically means many fittings as the dress is being made.  I wonder how many other designers consider the doll stand when creating a costume?  Or am I just a Type A?  lol

I have to admit that the collar came out perfect.  And, I cut just the right width for the two layered skirts.  One inch more and the tight gathers would not have sewn onto the bodice.  This dress, like many of the jacketed Lawton doll outfits, is made with a lined, sleeveless bodice, so the arms slip into the jacket sleeves nicely.  The doll is much easier to dress this way. 

Lastly the little hat was made.  The dress is a variation in theme of the original, but it fits our little Beatrice Louise perfectly.

The back.
For the next few weeks I'll be solely devoting my time to miniature painting again.  Its been a very long time since I've done this kind of work, and I'm finding the task a welcome change.  I've been working on a toy chest for a 9" Lawton with illustrations from beloved storybook characters.

We've been blessed with a cool day today.  It feels like late September outdoors, yet I'll not be fooled.  The sun is strong and the triple digits are on their way back to make certain we know summer has only just begun.  Make each day count.  They fly by all to quickly.

Miss E. Mouse

1 comment:

  1. Miss Mouse,
    This outfit you made for Beatrice Louise is exquisite! There is so much detail on it, with the design and pleated beautiful! I love everything you're doing for the 9" Lawton dolls!