Sunday, November 9, 2014

Katy Curls' Red Play Sweater and Cunning Cap - Paper Doll Page Complete

Katy's Red Play Sweater and Cunning Cap
This is an exciting morning for me.  For this is the first time I've completed making all the outfits from a paper doll page!  I began creating for my Frances Tipton Hunter Katy Curls back on September 6, 2013.  I had recently received my precious 14" Katy from the loving workshop of Candy Anderson, and I was ready to jump into a new project. 

The Little Busybodies' Katy Curls was the first in a new series of paper dolls by Tipton Hunter for Woman's Home Companion, launched November 1922.  Katy's outfits were illustrated to introduce patterns a mother could make up for her daughter's wardrobe, purchased through the pattern department of the magazine.  She was given a year round wardrobe to include a Thanksgiving Party costume, a child's Russian Smock Dress, a Best Coat, and a Play Sweater and Cunning Cap you could crochet.

From the Womans' Home Companion, November 1922
Since my Katy came to me sans clothing, I had to begin with the chemise and under pants combination to see she was always dressed properly.  I would ask Fran to make her a pair of brown oxfords, and Patty would make her kitten, Puff, for me.  Her doll, Squeezicks, was one I had made when learning the art of porcelain.  I loved Katy for her impish smile, bright eyes, and soft, curly red hair.  And a little over a year later, she is finally, and happily now wearing the last outfit from the paper doll page.

With A Plaid Skirt and Red Socks
Sometime this past year, I'd collected several plaids to make up her pleated skirt from.  I'd also hunted through the racks at Goodwill and found an extra large women's red sweater to make hers from.  The hold up seamed to be in finding a knit of red, white and green stripes with which to make her cunning cap.  It was in the spring, at Petco, that I found a little doggy's Christmas sweater on the sale rack, and purchased it for the set.  Of course I had Alice Liddell on my mind and several other dolls (giggle), so Katy's last outfit would have to wait.  But, to be honest, the red sweater was giving me doubts.  How was I going to create the white sport stripes on it?  When something plagues me like this, I'll hold off on the entire project until I have it figured out.  I don't make incomplete paper doll designs. 

Stripe Details
I started this a couple of weeks ago with the pleated skirt, and that was a cinch.  I think I've made enough pleated skirts to sink a ship by now.  I made her a pair of red socks to brighten up the entire look of the outfit, then began on the hat. 

I discovered that by using the "cuff" band of the dog sweater that it would create a snug fit around her head, so I attached that to a square of the striped knit.  The top of the hat is stitched together in four seams like a plus sign.  I purchased whole bundles of red, white and green complimentary wool yarns to make her multi-colored pom-poms and braided the ties to swing them from the crown of her cap.  I used a crochet needle to insert one end of the tie through the pom-pom, and then into the center of the plus sign stitch finish.  This produced a "believable" knitted cap for Katy. 

The Cunning Cap
The sweater was going to be another matter altogether with design.  I made several pattern renditions of the sweater, and selected one that would be placed on the fold at the shoulder.  This would give the sweater a clean line and drape off the shoulder nicely resulting in a piece that resembled a crocheted sweated without seams.  Stripes would need to be added and this provided me a pause in the process.  Although I have untold yards of ribbon, the right kind would need to be used to produce a faux crochet effect.  I settled on Petersham Grosgrain (Ribbon Connections), in a bright white.  It took RC a full week to get the ribbon to me even though the California based business is only 50 miles away.  I love their selection, but this company drives me crazy.

And so on Friday the ribbon arrived and I began appliqueing the ribbon onto the sweater to complete the design by Saturday.  The Petersham Grosgrain is flexible and worked beautifully for the curve at the boat-neckline to run down the length of the sleeves.  I almost didn't follow the bottom three bands around to the back, but decided it would be best to do this right.  Adding this ribbon is a lot of work.  A lot of patient sewing.  I'm glad I did though.

Having sweaters in my doll clothing collection from companies like Ruby Red Galleria and Tonner Doll Company, I was able to get a good idea of how they make their knit fabric sweaters open at the back.  A turn under on the left side, and a piece of grosgrain added to the edge of right finishes the edges.  While they typically use snaps (I hate sewing snaps on), I fastened the back with my hooks and tiny thread loops.  This creates a much more snug finish. 
With Squeezicks in Her New Outfit
The hems of the sleeves and bottom were finished by sewing a band of costume stretch knit to them, then hand sewing in the hems on the undersides.  I have to admit that this sweater came out a lot better than I'd hoped.  This was my first time working with sweater knit fabric.  That cap gave me a start, the sweater gave me practice.  Katy is now ready for outdoor play after school, and the colors will take her through the holidays with cheerful brightness.

One more note, I made Squeezicks something to wear besides her onsie.  I have a very difficult time these days sewing for tiny dolls.  My inclination is to sew them as I would a large doll's costume, and you simple must have a different approach.  Finding thin enough fabrics to work with is another grievance.  But, by a lark, I dove into my closet and found an old, worn out knit top that I could cut up for her Russian play set that matches Katy's.  I could probably make a "third" one and do it even better, but I'd like to pretend that Katy made this for Squeezicks and therefore it has a child's simplicity.

The other outfit for Squeezicks may or may not ever be made.  It would require a very super thin cashmere wool in a spring green, and this would be most difficult to find.  Creating the paper doll outfits from the page was the purpose of this journey, and the accessories for Squeezicks were always optional.  But, now Katy can take her doll out on an autumn day and play with her.  

Below are photos from Katy's complete collection.  If asked which one was the most difficult (and they all had their challenges), I would have to say the Best Coat.  If asked which one I most enjoyed making, I'd have to say her Red Sweater and Cunning Cap (with skirt), this last one.  This has been a wonderful experience, and I'll have to contact Candy for another doll in 2015.  The plan is to make Jolly Jane from this line of paper dolls.

Enjoy the set of photos, and look for something wonderfully NEW in my next post.

Miss E. Mouse 

The Little Busybodies Katy Curls
Undies, Squeezicks and Puff

Play Apron for Thanksgiving Party

Russian Smock and Dress
A Variation on Pattern No. 4240

Katy's Best Coat with Bluebird Bag

Red Sweater, Cunning Cap and Squeezicks!


  1. Love, love, love this! How ever did you match the fabric on the aprons? Did you hand paint it? The little coat is exceptional but I think she likes her little pleated skirt and sweater outfit the best. Did you ask her?

  2. Hi Bonnie! Well, you'll have to read the blog posts on the aprons. But, I made my own fabric for the bunny one, and iron appliqued the leaves on the Thanksgiving apron. Katy says she like running around the house in her undies. Some little girls do you know.

  3. Another major success. I am sorry you agonized so over the sweater, along with having to wait for the ribbon. Do you know about "duplicate stitch"on knits? It can be done in any knits. I wish i had 1/10 of your talent. Bravo! She is just adorable and her wardrobe is wonderful, I know I missed some postings but I just had a knee replacement. Sorry.

  4. Oh Nancy! I hope you're recovering quickly, and get back on your feet again soon. I'm so glad to hear from you. I'd love to learn this "duplicate stitch on knits" technique. I'll have to do an engine search for a Youtube. Thank you for suggesting it. And you never need to miss a posting. They're all there. I think you'd enjoy Alice Illustrated. She's only 12" tall. Sending positive thoughts and healing your way for a speedy recovery. Play dolls!

  5. Mouse, You did a fabulous job putting the stripes on the sweater and the pom pom hat is so cute! It all turned out perfect, I love it!! Oh and can't forget the wee little doll's outfit, it's just right! :)