|My Little Bluebird|
It wasn't until I was actually stitching on the very last hooks to Katy's gaitors that the idea of her Best Coat just might be her Bluebird of Happiness Outfit. Certainly there is a little bluebird on her school satchel, and the beautiful wool of her coat could be seen as "bluebird" blue, yet my mind was still cluttered with the numerous details of this complicated little winter outfit.
The first mention that we know of the Bluebird of Happiness was a play written for young children by Maurice Maeterlinck titled L'Oiseau Bleu, around 1908. It is a fairytale with the moral being that happiness can only be found close to home and living an unselfish life. I can't say exactly when they became a popular theme in illustration, but the bluebird in his sapphire beauty can be seen in so very many of the antique postcards, in every season and greeting imaginable. The image of this cheerful, and sweetly singing bird just had Katy written all over it.
|Katy's Best Coat|
|School Satchel and Apple|
Study. Studying these illustrations is the only way to get close to the costuming the illustrator had in mind. Its not enough for me to say, "this looks like it could be it", it has to be it. Like a detective, I have to crawl into the mind of the illustrator and puzzle the pieces together. Again, I looked to Bleuette. She has a similar hat, but no cigar. I tried it. I hoped for it! But, alas, I had to design it on my own.
|Bleuette pattern in green vs crown pleating by me|
|Attaching the Crown|
Before I tackled the gaitors, I noticed that a pair of gloves was in order. So I switched gears and made a little pair of white gloves like the ones Lettie wore for her golfing outfit, detailed with the three-lines of topstitching.
I think I made four pairs of gaitors before I was satisfied. One of the things I'd missed on all three first tries, was the loop, or stirrup, that she'd slip her shoe into! I achieved this by drawing a length down each side, just off center, and long enough to work with once the two pieces were sewn together. They were then measured, folded over under her foot, cross-stitched together, then clipped. Each gaitor has twelve bead buttons individually sewn on and knotted, and six hooks and thread loops for closure. A length of that beautiful grosgrain is sewn to the edge to provide "tucking" beneath the flap-over.
|Detail of Gussets and Lining|
Oh, yes. We do have her apple. I purchased a small pack of wooden apples, painted one, and glued in a twig stem from a Japanese Maple out back. The apple and stem were then sealed with glossy Mod Podge. I'm sure you can see why Jean's little kits were heaven sent when I needed a break!
Perhaps the idea of the Bluebird of Happiness came to me because I was so relieved to have finished this set finally. Thirty-six buttons, two snaps, twelve hooks and thread loops, and a lot of hand sewing on of fur later, I dressed Katy up last night and she seemed to beam me a delightful smile of joy.
Below are some photos of the details of this outfit. And, of course, a few very lovely postcards with our little sapphire winged mascot.
Miss E. Mouse (If I haven't mentioned it before, you can click on any photo to enlarge it. Try it!)
|Rows of Buttons on Cape - Two on Coat|
|How the cape hooks on.|
|Close up of gaitors with stirrups.|
|Lined Coat and Cape|
|Bluebird Painted On|
|For Christmas - Gotta love this one!|