Saturday, June 28, 2014

Working On My First Izannah Walker Inspired Dress For Aletha

In my last post, I showed the interior of
a beautiful 1800's silk jacket that was
sewn in a common period construction
technique called flat lining.  When I 
started making period dolls, I wondered
 if doll clothing was made in the same manner.
Over the years, I've visited the Kansas
City Toy & Miniature Museum many times
 and admired their wonderful Izannah
Walker doll, Miss Mary & her beautiful
wardrobe.  Oh, if I could have seen inside
the clothing!

Thanks to Martha Bishop, I purchased this
back issue of Antique Doll Collector that
has a wonderful article about Miss Mary.  I was
"over the moon" to see such detailed photos 
of this pristine doll and her gorgeous wardrobe.
  Miss Mary's clothing was finely sewn by
a professional seamstress, and constructed
just like an adults would have been.  Much
of the sewing looks to be by hand &
all of her bodices are flat lined!

You can purchase a back issue at the link below.
Well worth it, if you love Izannah's.
Antique Doll Collector
 For more information about these
wonderful dolls, visit Dixie Redmond's
Izannah Walker Chronicles 
For Aletha's Izannah inspired dress, I wanted to make
the bodice as closely as I could to Miss Mary's.  Her
pink sprigged cotton summer dress is flat lined in
white cotton.  The reproductions cottons you find
 today are much heavier than the finely woven cottons
 of the mid 1800's.  Flat lining was necessary to add
 strength and body to a bodice.

Miss Mary's ruched (gathered) bodice has short sleeves,
 I chose long sleeves for Aletha, with a small decorative 
fold, that I will repeat in the skirt.

All of Miss Mary's dresses, have hook and
eye closures sewn on the under bodice, to 
prevent strain on the delicate outer fabrics.
Even the waist bands of her dresses are lined.   
Isn't that ingenious?
Aletha sitting pretty for a fitting.  She's not
suppose to see her dress until it's done........
I think she's peeking!

 My sewing skills don't even begin to compare,
but it was a fun challenge to give flat lining
 in miniature a try.
Miss Mary's dress skirt is gauged (cartridge
 pleated), I'd better get busy or I'll never
get the dress done!
I don't flat line the clothing on the dolls I make to
sell.  My dolls are small & it's just too much bulk.
 Aletha is a special personal doll & shes larger.  
Frankly, it took me twice as long to make this bodice. 
Making dolly clothing in true historic fashion
 certainly would not be a profitable venture!
 Just in case you want to see how it's done, or have a
special doll and want to give it a try, I am working
on a very boring tutorial.  It's mostly photos
with very few directions, but at least it's not
 white on white. 
Thank you Keith for allowing me to use
 my photo of Antique Doll Collector.

Friday, June 20, 2014

1880's Silk Peplum Jacket-Flat Lining

On my recent girls weekend, Teresa kindly
allowed me to take photos of her antique 1880's
silk peplum jacket.  It's in pristine condition.
I thought you'd enjoy a peek inside.  It's very
tiny; probably comparable to a size 0 today.
This jacket is a mix of machine and hand 
sewing & it's flat lined.
 Flat lining was a common sewing technique of 
placing your fabric onto an under lining fabric. 
 As you sew the garment, you treat both layers as one.
This was done to give strength and body to
the garment.  A common lining fabric was a brown 
glazed cambric.  Similar to a polished cotton today.
17 tiny button holes and a lovely silk ribbon trim.

Beautiful tiny cut steel buttons.
 The sewing machine was a great invention for women,
but sewing techniques of the day still required lots of 
hand sewing.

This is an interior hook and eye closure.
Machine sewn seams, seam edges hand sewn.
Hand sewn boning, seam edges hand sewn.
A true work of art!
What does this have to do with dolls?
Stay tuned.
Thanks Teresa

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Busy Busy!

Even though I'm not a very good gardener, I do
 have a few iris.  They are extremely hardy and
thrive despite the fact I completely ignore them.
They are my favorite for sure.  
Lovely inside and out.

The hubs is ready to put the finishing touches on
 a small storage shed he's been building.  It needs 
handrails, staining, grass seed & a couple of shrubs.  
   The hubs picked the paint color.  He can't remember
the name, but we have dubbed it Baby Poop Brown.
We've been busy filling it up.  
 A little bird has been very busy too.

Finishing the doll bed inspired me to do something 
with this old cradle.  It's about 7 inches long 
and 5 1/2 wide.
It's actually a Swiss Reuge music box.
It plays Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo.  You can see a small
metal arm underneath the cradle.  As the
music plays, the cradle rocks.

 It wasn't working, so I took it apart, used a small soft
brush to clean away the dust and dirt & oiled it.
Works beautifully.

 I think this will be perfect for Miss Lucy's bears.
My eccentric neighbor gave me a vintage
metal dental cabinet with a porcelain top.
(Thank you Rufus, I love it)

A good sanding, a couple coats of paint 
& inexpensive art glass made it look
brand new.
 I resurrected the old monstrous 
80's bread box.
Rather funky looking, but handy in my 
work area.  I've already filled them up.
Aletha Mae's dress is in pieces and 
 ready for the needle.
What have you been up to?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Late 1800's Tiger Maple Dolls Rope Bed

Dixie Redmond's latest group challenge at MAIDA
is "Finish What You Started".  What a great
idea, don't we all have those unfinished projects?
I decided this would be a good time to do
something with the little dolly bed that's been
gathering dust!
It's quite small, 12 1/2 inches long, 10 inches 
wide & the posts are 9 1/4 high.
The hubby re glued all the loose joints &
I used clear Briwax to clean and 
protect the finish.
I used cotton string lightly aged with
walnut dye to re string the ropes.
I also watched a "how to" video
on You Tube.
I stitched a mattress and pillows from 
blue ticking, also lightly aged with walnut
dye & stuffed them with wool roving.
 I tufted it with embroidery thread.
The tie ends are on the bottom side.
Sheets and pillow cases from cream 
colored cotton.
Edged with cotton lace.
This little nine patch quilt always hung
above my mother's sewing machine. I
was just amazed when I realized it
fit this bed perfectly.
I used a vintage piece of  cotton Matelasse 
fabric to make a coverlet.  I edged it with 
purchased 1/4 in. off white bias double
 fold tape.
 I cut it to fit the bed and scalloped
the edges.  This is called cut corners
and used for beds with tall posts.
  Before the invention of the
 jacquard loom, this fabric was 
hand stitched.  Imagine that!
This is the right side.
The wrong side.
Double fold bias tape has one side wider than the
other.  For machine sewing, you tuck the
raw edge in the middle with the widest
side on the back.  Machine sew on the front
& it easily catches the back side.
For hand sewing, open up the tape
 and use the first ironed crease of the
short side as a stitch line.
I clipped the peaks in the scallops
& made a small fold in each.
Turned the tape to the wrong side,
& whip stitched it down.
I'm not sure if this was the proper way
to address the  peaks in the scallops,
 but it looked okay in the end.
I made a couple small pillows from the
cut out corners & found a home for 
this dolls antique overshot coverlet. 
Now, if I could just get the other 
unfinished projects done!
Learn more about French Matelasse and 
American Woven Coverlets below!