Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Nears

Oh, how I have missed writing!  Tonight we're in for a cold snap.  There's a hearty fire warming the living room with that wonderful glow from the fireplace.  The Christmas tree is twinkling with tiny colored lights and all my favorite Old World Christmas ornaments.  The dogs are curled up in their special corners (on the sofa), and I've a nice hot cup of Constant Comment tea in my red cardinal mug. 

Since I last posted, I've been spending every creative minute in making my Christmas gifts this year.  One took me over three weeks to complete.  Its been so tempting to blog on them, but the recipients of these gifts do read my posts, so that just won't do.  No, it won't.

What I've decided to do is share them on Christmas day.  It is typically very quiet here, since it is just my husband and I, and the two dogs.  He prefers to observe the holiday quietly, best if there's snow to go cross-country skiing in, yet always looks forward to my dinner.  This year I'm having a Honey Baked Ham delivered on the 21rst, and he insisted we begin working our way through it as soon as it arrives.  I don't blame him.  They're delicious.

However, there are two, no four, items I can share since Betsy opened her box the minute it arrived in her office.  Naughty girl.  The last gift I made before wrapping, packaging and mailing parcels off, was a Christmas party dress for one of her 9" dolls.  I had this luscious pink silk taffeta, and a silk dupioni in blush.  My Mignonette had not gotten a new dress in over a year (she was still in  her gypsy costume), so I decided to make hers first as the mock up. 

This dress is a spot on copy of one that the Lawton seamstresses made for their One-of-a-Kind Gathering.  Theirs was a marshmallow pink with blue jacquard ribbon.  I was looking for a vintage jacquard ribbon to trim the dresses, when I found the same ribbon they'd used only in two different colors.  It was kismet!  The ribbon is vintage French jacquard with scallop trim.  Its not the easiest trim to work with since when you cut it, the back embroidery threads are loose.  Its fine, and delicate, but oh so lovely.  The pattern I drafted for the dress was measured off the original as well.  It was never my intent to make the dresses this way, but when I started working on them, it went so smoothly, that I allowed the creative process to flow.  The differences are mainly the colors, of course, and how they are constructed.  I always line my skirts so there is no visible hemming, unless the design won't allow me to do that.

My Travel Doll is wearing the gifted party dress, and Mignonette is happy for a change of wardrobe.

Prior to starting the gifts, I created a Christmas party gown for my friend's Lisette doll (same as my Petite Chiffonette).  She'd asked me to make her doll a chemise, so she could display the doll in the chemise surrounded by her gowns and skirts.  Like a dressing room vignette.  She accepted my offer to make Lisette a Christmas gown as well as little mules so her feet wouldn't be chilly while wearing the chemise.

I used a red silk taffeta to create the gown.  It has a doubled skirt and puffed sleeves with tiny bows topping the shoulders.  The design was inspired by one of Sylvia MacNeill's creations.  I made a tiny crown of holly with red beads sewn into it for berries.  Too tiny to see, I stitched on four teeny red crystal beads as button decoration down the bodice.

The chemise, which can be worn under dresses or skirts, and will double as a blouse, is pintucked and lace edged.  The tiny mules (never again!) are made from thin, blush colored leather. 

Currently I'm working on holiday gowns for Louise Godey and Laura Peterson.  Louise's gown has been completed at this writing,  and I'm still designing Laura's.  These will be my pièce de résistance for the year.  I cannot let them see the holiday without new finery. 

I've worked long, and hard, over the last three months and yet I never feel the need, or desire, to slow down.  Winter is the best time to tuck into projects and I've plenty to consider. 

Time for one of my beloved Hallmark Christmas movies, then its off to bed.  A Princess for Christmas remains a favorite. 

Miss E. Mouse

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