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

Friday, October 24, 2014

No Truer Words...

When Nada Christensen shared this on Facebook, I couldn't help but save a copy and share it as a posting.

Miss E. Mouse

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Autumn Mix and Match For Travel Dolls

Travel Dolls' Original Outfits
It feels like quite some time since I've journaled a posting, and it may well be that's the case.  After completing Alice Liddell's gold gown with the black pom-pom trim, I worked on a little update for one of Tonner's White Rabbit figures.  This I will share when I've made the 12" Alice Illustrated, a new dress.

Following this, we took a ten day sojourn to the red canyons and sandstone cliffs of Utah.  While it rained half the time, it snowed in the higher elevations and was a thrill to hike through.  To me, this is one of the prettiest places on earth.  And, during those rainy days, I got a lot of reading done. 
Top and Skirt Combination with Middy
The ribbon embroidery endeavor went well, and I've a good feel for working with it.  However, I didn't feel the practice bits worthy of journaling on.  Sometime in the future, I'll add such embellishments to a dress.

Upon returning, I continued work on some mix and match pieces that were requested to compliment the Travel Doll costuming on the Lawton Travel Dolls.  As you know, earlier I'd made an outfit for the boy to compliment the red and black of the girl's costume.  Requested was a middy top to go over the boy's onsie pants combination that goes under the brown middy.  And, a black silk skirt the girl could wear with the brown top, for a matching set.  A bow for her hair and a long sash to belt the skirt for a different look were also on the list.

With a Black Silk Tie
These were made and ready to go, when the suggestion for a top and skirt, onsie combination for the girl, to go with the linen middy, were added to the trousseau.  The skirt alone was made with box pleats, and the combination skirt and linen top, offered a centered box pleat with knife pleats travelling left and right of it.  This came out particularly well, and looks fetching under the top.  A black silk bow can be added through the thread loop for still a different look.

I also redid the look of the hat from the boy's outfit.  I removed the gold ribbon around the band of the hat, and also removed the button sewn ribbon that decorated it.  I made, by hand, a small wool yarn pom-pom and centered in the top of the hat.  A jaunty look for either the boy or girl

And, a Large Hair Bow
I think the pom-pom got me thinking about Alice Liddell's pom-pom fringe, and so on spec, and as a creative inspiration, I made Travel Doll, a coat and bonnet from winter white velveteen lined with white silk dupioni.  I trimmed it with Alice's "pom-pom" fringe, then added a lined bonnet for a holiday look. 

Well, that wasn't quite enough I suppose.  It seemed the black skirt needed a top separate from the brown middy it was intended for.  So I spruced up the look of the coat set by adding a red silk chemise to under it.  This brightened the look with a holiday appeal, but can be used for other skirts and tops as well. 
The Combination Piece
At some point you have to say "Done", and this was where I stopped.  The recipient liked the coat set, and I was pleased since it truly turned out beautifully.  I had so much fun dressing the two dolls up in the mix and match pieces and wanted to share them with you.

It was good for me to create the coat pattern since I want to make one up in pink velveteen for my Mignonette doll.  I'll probably do this for the holidays.  I also purchased some beautiful toffee brown velveteen that would look splendid in a boy's suit for Sterling.

Black Silk Skirt with Red Silk Chemise
Speaking of "the holidays", I guess I failed six ways to Sunday in creating new Halloween costumes this year.  While its still 8 days away, by the time I finished something, and I could only make one, poor Daisy (yes, I'd make it for her), would have to wear it through to Thanksgiving.  And, I'd have to dress Polly and Lettie up so they wouldn't feel left out of the party.

Time passes all too quickly and there's only so much I can do in a day.  However, let's enjoy what we do have for our dolls, and all the good we have in our lives.  I will not let autumn pass me by without a good hike through the leaves and some star gazing on those chilly black nights.

At least the Travel Dolls have plenty of options to take them through their happy days together.

Miss E. Mouse

And, a Pom-Pom On Top!

Boy's Onsie with Middy

For the Holidays

The Back and Bonnet

Winter is Coming!