Monday, October 27, 2014

Alice Illustrated With Marjorie Torrey

Alice Illustrated In Marjorie Torrey
I recall Jean Nordquist suggesting to me to begin dressing the 12" Alice Illustrated in classic Tenniel fashion.  She had recently shared both her Pinterest pages and scanned composites (gorgeous by the way!), of some of the various outfits Alice had been illustrated in over time.  I was dearly wanting to try something "daring", but I felt in my heart that she was right, so that when I introduced her, there would be no question as to who she was.  We all know and love Alice in her classic blue dress with the black ribbon bands at the hem, wearing a white pinafore often trimmed in red.  But, oh what fabulous ways she's been dressed by others!

Marjorie Torrey was one of them.

Ruffled Pinny
I could not find much written on Marjorie Torrey, although she surely is one of my favorite Alice illustrators.  Born in 1899, she both wrote and illustrated children's books.  I was not familiar with any but Alice in Wonderland, but titles such as New Star of the Show, and Hoodoo That Voodoo, certainly sound worth looking up.  From what I gathered, the breadth of her work was between 1938 and 1966 (or 1976).  What I love best about her illustrations is their sweetness.  A tender charm that many illustrators in the 1950's produced with the innocence and joy of childhood in mind.  For her Alice, she chose green, with a Degas flare for the apron.

Truly Degas Inspired
I gathered together a few various shades of green in silks and cottons, and eventually chose an emerald green silk dupioni to create her dress with.  I seriously doubt Torrey would have intended silk, more like cotton, but my Alice Illustrated will be dressed in the finest fabrics I can find.  Even if it is a cotton!  While I'd taken several photo sessions in different lighting of her dress, it was impossible to truly photograph the brilliance of this beautiful emerald green.

And a Red Hair Band
This is basically the same dress as the blue Tenniel design, however I added three inches to the 19" width of the original skirt.  Her pinafore is completely different.  And, what a challenge those ruffles provided!  I had hoped to use a heavier cotton sateen for the apron, but the ruffles proved to be too heavy and wide for the straps while attempting to turn the lined bodice inside out.  The pre-ruffle length was only twice the length of the straps to allow a flowing look as in the illustration - while I usually cut a ruffle length three times the width of the piece its intended to be sewn on.  The apron is fully lined, as well as the bodice of the dress.

I also chose Marjorie Torrey's illustration as her second dress because the green had an autumn feel to it - like a forest.  However, while finishing the back with hooks and tiny thread loops, it came to me that with the red headband, and the green and white of the costume, it would be perfect to keep her in through Christmas.

Other illustrators I would like to honor with a rendition of their dress for this doll are Rene Cloke, Maria Kirk, A.E. Jackson, Gwynedd M. Hudson, Arthur Rackham, Agnes Richardson and Maybel Lucie name a few.  This little doll is such a perfect size to sew for.  An entirely enjoyable experience.

Please enjoy some of the illustrations from Marjorie Torrey's 1955 (copywrite) edition of Alice in Wonderland.  Notice how incredibly dear the little animals are!

Miss E. Mouse

Cheshire Pussy Cat

Upset Jury

Absolute Favorite!  The Card Soldier!  Brilliant!

Here She Is Again

The White Rabbit

Drink Me - Love the Lampshade

They Were Only Cards

1 comment:

  1. You did a beautiful job on this dress and pinafore, simplicity at it's finest, and beautifully made! Wish I could see the green silk close up, bet it is lovely in this ensemble! My favorite illustration is the "card soldier", he's so cute! Great job, I love your Alice doll!