Friday, August 19, 2016

Twiggy in Mary Quant, and In the News

 August has been an unusual month for me.  While it began with me hot in pursuit of creating a wardrobe for my Franklin Mint Twiggy, that old tug and pull for autumn riding habits and the swish of silks in golds, reds and forets greens, have been niggling at me.  Now this is not to say that I won't continue to create for our Twigs, but I must follow my passion where it leads me.  I certainly have a nice stash of fabrics to work from to create some exciting Mod fashions for our girl, but these two may be it for a couple of months.

In between the valiant pursuit of building a fine collection for a Mod Twist 'n Turn Skipper (I adore vintage Skipper!), I created two fun outfits for Twiggy.  One I'll call Mary Quant, and the other, Twiggy in the News.

Mary Quant was the London designer that most often has been accredited to introducing the mini skirt.  When challenged by this claim, Quant would say, "It was the girls on the King's Road who invented the mini. I was making easy, youthful, simple clothes, in which you could move, in which you could run and jump and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, 'Shorter, shorter.'"  She gave the miniskirt its name, after her favourite make of car, the Mini, and said of its wearers, "They are curiously feminine, but their femininity lies in their attitude rather than in their appearance.  She enjoys being noticed, but wittily. She is lively, positive, opinionated."

A very feminine choice for Twiggy was this pink and silver dance or cocktail dress by Mary Quant.  I was certain I would never find a suitable fabric for this dress, but just happened upon it while searching dance knits.  It is actually labeled swimsuit fabric and was certainly a challenge in sewing little pieces together.  The trim is silver four-way stretch "vinyl".  I was surprised to find such an array of choices in prints and colors while scrolling through the selections.  I didn't hesitate to purchase a yard of it, which was the only measurement available to purchase.  What on earth will I do with the rest of it?!

The challenge was all in the bodice and getting the stripes to go in the direction Quant designed them.  You might think this an easy task, but for some reason, it was not.  Not a bit.  I'm positive the original was not made from swimsuit fabric, but for a little doll dress, it seemed to work fine.

The second dress, which I actually made first, was also frustrating.  Newsprint fabric.  How do you make a page from the London Times, with 007 in the news, out of newsprint that features sacks of grain sold in the 50's or 60's?  I had to settle, and I don't like doing that.  Two key factors in the placement of the patterns was fun illustrations and the placement of news columns.  Instead of a fabulous "Tenniel like lizard", I had to choose a bread baker.  And, I didn't want any ads that spoke clearly of "farmer's values" or un-Mod hair styles.  Given the challenges of these two outfits, I think my best bet is to stick to paper doll illustrations for Twiggy.  I very much wanted to create her Union Jack dress, but in designing the pattern, I realized I would have to piece all the flag sections together.  I have not given up entirely on this one, but for the time being, its on the back burner.

Another consideration is shoes.  I've never designed shoes for a fashion doll, and I've thoroughly thought this through.  You need a mold for the base, and each shoe would need its own mold.  I might try making the silver shoes the photo of Twiggy sitting in the Mary Quant dress.  However, this would take an extraordinary amount of time and effort, and I'm pining to get back into something for Louise Godey, and possibly Alice Illustrated. 

I hope you enjoy viewing these two dresses, but more importantly, I hope you take the time to enjoy the last few weeks of summer.  We had a gorgeous full moon the last two nights, and that always makes me feel "lively, positive and (cautiously) opinionate!"  Maybe I have a little Mod in me, yet!

Miss E. Mouse


  1. Fantastic work on both dresses. I often read your blog and always blown away by your meticulous details. Just stunning!

  2. Melissa, these are wonderful! I was a huge Twiggy fan and loved seeing photos of her back in the day......