Sunday, July 6, 2014

Salt Water Taffy for Amethyst and Sterling

Root Beer Salt Water Taffy
I like stripes.  Especially in summer. They can be found in some of nature's most beautiful designs, even when they follow in concentric circles.  The shell of a snail, the beautiful design of seashells, striation in rocks - these are but a few.  Summer stripes come in circus tents, window shop awnings, patio furniture coverings, writing paper...and pretty clothing.  Its the uniformity, the geometry, the consistency of pattern that pleases the eye and asks us let the design enchant!

As a designer I appreciate the stripe, and the check or plaid, for the ease of placing the pattern pieces together.  You can count them across, or you and simply match up the design.  You can also cut them out on the bias creating a completely new and fabulous accent.  Stripes can be thick or pinstripe thin.  Regardless of which way you wish to use them, they always appear fresh and bright.

For Amethyst and Sterling's second matching set, I chose a root beer pinstripe silk taffeta.  I'm calling the collection Salt Water Taffy.

Sterling and Amethyst
When I was little my parents would take us to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as a summer outing.  The road we had to drive, Highway 17, was terribly steep and windy, with narrow lanes.  Because of this, we would only go once a year, but when we arrived, I could not wait to get to the shop where we could purchase bags of freshly made salt water taffy.  I'd stand in front of the glass window watching with delight as the taffy machine pulled and wound the bright colors and flavors into the cream colored candy.  It was magical.  And, root beer taffy was one of my favorites.   Since my father was not a confident driver, we'd leave early in the morning to avoid traffic, and arrive at the boardwalk an hour before it even opened.  The anticipation of entering the fun house, riding the roller coaster, and putting a nickel in the fortune teller's booth was a huge part of the day's entertainment.

Summer!  A favorite season for all the memories it will carry into fall.

1905 La Mode Illustree
When I set out to design this latest matching set for Amethyst and Sterling, I gave some consideration to designs in La Mode Illustree.  I knew I was going to create the boy's outfit from 1905 for Sterling, but with Amethyst's dress, I had my own design in mind.  Earlier, I'd attempted this bibbed front with a colorful check and piping around the edge, but the piece came out too small - even through I'd done a mock-up.  So I considered it practice, and launched into the blue sailor costumes.  For her dress in stripes I readdressed the bib, but with a tiny ruffled trim.

Close up for Sterling
Amethyst's dress is a bodice lined dropwaist with fuller, longer puffed sleeves.  The shorter "long" cuff was made with the stripe going horizontal, and this accent is also present in the banded waist.  I really had no plan for the pattern of the stripes, but created the look as I went along.  I'd made many sketches of potential dresses to go with Sterling's little suit, but in the end used none of them.  I created "on the fly".  This was not a difficult dress to make, which helped make up for the intense work in designing Sterling's little suit.

Close up for Amethyst
Sterling's suit jacket is a blouson affair with two box pleats, one on each side of the box pleat button panel.  Full sleeves with horizontal cuffs were my deviation from the original design in the illustration.  His onsie beneath has a lined, sleeveless batiste top with blouson knickers sewn to them.  Again, the cuffs of the knickers are on the horizontal.  There is the collar, too.  This collar is attached to a collar band, then to the neckline so the collar folds over and down.  This was not easy!  I'd done this earlier on Katie's blouse, but when working so small, it takes a great deal of patience.

Behind the Scenes
The hats were enjoyable little accents to make.  Sterling's boater hat is turned up with silk ribbon around the edge.  Amethyst's is a wide brimmed, short crowned summer hat with a silk ribbon around the crown.  This, I took with artistic license from La Mode Illustree. After all, the illustrations are but a few, and only suggestions to the historical content of costuming.

I'm pleased with the outcome of this matching set.  It was entirely enjoyable to create, and I loved the detail work with Sterling's outfit.  He is such an adorable "little boy" to design for. 

Little Chapeaus
And here, we make a departure from their wardrobe, for a short while, as I launch into a couple of  new projects.  They'll be smartly dressed for the remainder of the summer...unless I think they need bathing costumes (and that just came to me!).

July is the mid summer month.  The mornings promise the rise in temperatures.  The days can be filled with the promise of good books to read, small crafts on the rivers and lakes, tree shaded picnics, and adventures in vacation travels.  Whether its a day trip to the beach, or a flight to somewhere new and exciting, relish each moment and make those memories.  Each day can be a wonderful adventure when July is in the air!

Miss E. Mouse

Yes, I still do mock ups!

Happy Summer Days for Sterling and Amethyst

1 comment:

  1. This set for Amethyst and Sterling is really darling, it's different than anything I've seen on the Lawton 9" dolls. The fabric has a subtle beauty to it and that is what I love best about this set, the design is really equally wonderful too though. Job well done on this duo!