Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Hetty's Holiday and a 2018 Recap

It was 1989, and Sam Elliott couldn't have appeared more rugged and handsome when he portrayed a struggling farmer living in Three Oaks, while his young daughter rescued one of Santa's reindeer - Prancer.  One of my very favorite modern Christmas movies!  Its worth watching just to see Sam Elliott come out to his newspaper box in a snow storm wearing only his long johns.  sigh  This show could melt anyone's heart, and have them believing faithfully in the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus.  Cloris Leachman was in the film playing a tragic character, too.  And, the hair styles that showed up in "church" are a time capsule in themselves.  My husband won't watch the show because he thinks its too sad.  But aside from the hardships of a struggling family, when Prancer curls up to Jessica Riggs after she falls from a tree trying to free him from the Christmas tree lot, well, its near impossible not to dab a hankie to your eyes.  Great movie. 
And, then of course, there's the young Sam Heughan (Jamie in Outlander), playing the prince in A Princess For Christmas (Hallmark, 2011).  I've watched my fill of Christmas shows this year.  Enjoyed every minute of it!  But, after a few days having finished The Nutcracker, I became restless.  And, there was Hetty, still in her debut dress from last January. 

I have had an oversize plastic zip bag sitting on my work table, filled with some gorgeous silks intended for dresses, for quite some time now.  Last summer I added some very pretty ones that I picked up during the UFDC convention.  One of them was this fetching pink and green plaid silk, that I was told was a "reproduction".  It wasn't cheap either.  So like some of the others, I simply saved it for the right occasion.  And there was Hetty, sitting patiently among the other dolls, and I knew she needed a treat.

I chose to work from this image of a child's dress, circa 1863, found in my go-to book, Children's Fashions 1860 - 1912, by JoAnne Olian.  It is described from the original entry as Fig. e: White bodice, belt with bretelles, for 6 -8 year old girl.  Well, as we all know from French Fashion, the children's dresses are simply mini versions, at best, from the ladies' fashions.  The thing that always amuses me, is that the "children" are even drawn like young adults.  So I got started on a new dress for Hetty.  

This was a interesting design with the two upper points to the "belt" and the one point below.  Something I'd not tried.  The bretelles are also decorative and come in two pieces attached at the shoulder point.  And, by the way, this silk is so thin and beautiful, that it was a dream to work with.  The difficulty was trying to figure out how to line the belt with bretelles, then hide how the skirt was attached.  If you haven't done this, think about it a second. 

The way this was done was by cutting off the point in the back of the lining and attaching the skirt to it.  The point in the front is lined on its own, then the front edge of the "belt" is turned under and sewn to the front of the skirt with a ladder stitch.  I'm sure it can be done differently, but this method worked for me.  Its all so very much a puzzle when designing from scratch.  The trim I used was an eyelash "picot" trim, and was applied by hand-stitching it on.  I don't think this trim is wider than 2mm, and has the most delicate little fringes on it.  Two buttons close the skirt in the back.

I had to make her a new "waist", or blouse, as well.  I never intended to redress her, so had attached the other blouse directly to the skirt of her green and blue striped gown. 

Hetty's little dolly seemed to need a new dress, too.  I also had this scrumptious pink silk in the same bag, and decided to use it to coordinate with Hetty's gown.  This little doll is one of Wendy Lawtons, and came in a yellow silk dress of the same style.  I copied the design of Wendy's little doll dress for the new one.  Its a basic pattern cut on two folds with a "boat neck" cut out.  The discovery for me was in the trimming.  Its simply a piece of six strand embroidery floss zig-zagged onto the dress.  I extended the zig-zagging down the length of the tie ends and that seemed to keep them neat.  Wendy's design was of a loose strand and near impossible to tie into a bow.  Another piece of embroidery floss goes through the neck band.  Its a happy, candy pink silk dress and makes the tiny doll stand out.

I do enjoy sewing for these 12" child Lawton dolls, so I just may have to make her a new dress each year.  Or when the spirit hits!  Merry Christmas, Hetty!

Looking back on 2018, there were definitely some pretty things made, and wonderful months of growth, both as a seamstress and needle felter.  My favorites were the polichinelle costumes, which Louise and Lawrence wore up until The Nutcracker.  I had a ball making Alice By the Sea with the Walrus and Mock Turtle.  It was a struggle, but satisfying end, to figure out, design and sew the loop soutache for the violet Alice dress (with hippo bee and Bill the lizard).  From the "squashed tomato" hat on Goldilocks, to the sculpting of the Lion and the Unicorn, its been quite a ride this year!  Below I've included a surprise needle felt I've yet to share.  The Nursery Alice White Rabbit.

Of course I have ideas for 2019.  And, I'll probably get busy with one of them shortly.  But, for the next few days, at least until New Year's Eve, I'd like to reflect a bit more, tidy up my work room again, and tuck into my new book, and simply still my mind.  Its been a gracious holiday season this year.  I hope you've had some wonderful surprises and precious moments for memories of your own.  Wishing you the very best of the New Year with good health, and joyful times.



Alice By the Sea

Mary Lennox


Alice and Bill

Through the Looking Glass


Goldi and Baby Bear

The one you didn't see: The Nursery Alice White Rabbit
A New Dress and a New Year for Hetty

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