Christmas Dreams and New Year Wishes

The Coventry sisters (Kathrynne, Kaitlynn and Brooke) awoke early on Christmas Day to prepare a simple but elegant breakfast for their business associates Julie London and Molly Hamilton. Kathrynne, Kaitlynn and Brooke enjoy the times when they are engaged in buying trips for Julie and Molly’s dress shop.

Before attending to their guests, each sister made a wish as the sunshine streamed through the windows of the large bedroom they still share in common at their parents’ mini-mansion.

Kaitlynn.

Kaitlynn’s wish is for her family and friends to take time to enjoy the simple pleasures that make life sweet.

Kathrynne (left) and Brooke (right).

Kathrynne and Brooke dream about a time when they stay in touch more often by discussing things face-to-face instead of through texts and emails.

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Julie (left) and Molly (right)

Molly awoke to the fragrance of cinnamon French toast as Julie entered the room with a stack on her plate. She encouraged Molly to hurry downstairs before everything was gone because unexpected callers had arrived.

Molly almost gasped telling Julie that as a fitting model for the Enchanted Dress Shop she cannot afford to gain much weight. Once they started discussing their dreams and hopes for the shop Molly decided there was plenty of work up ahead in the New Year. Julie would work an extra pound or two off once fittings and showings resumed mid-January.

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The Enchanted Christmas Tree.

The Coventry Sisters along with Julie and Molly will be back at work after their holiday break with new styles and a few surprises. It might be a little while before they start sharing photos and updates. But all good things are worth waiting for and working towards.

With best wishes,

Molly
Julie
Kathrynne
Kaitlynn
Brooke

Please note: I did not make any of the sleepwear my dolls are wearing in these photos. They were a gift from my late mother. I don’t know where she bought them.

Sweet Leisure: An inside look on the design and sewing details

Dolly Jewelry Details

A combination of glass beads that complemented or matched the colors of the fashion fabric were used. I want to use this approach more in the future. I think that subtle gradations of color add an extra dimension to the interplay between jewelry and clothing. For this ensemble the gold beads break up the flow from cream into a palest creamy pink but at the time I thought it would provide interest. I think the ability to discern such flowing of one color into another takes time to develop.

Hand Sewing and Garment Construction Details

The marvelous thing about working in 1:6 scale is that there is an opportunity to try out couture techniques such as hand finished seams and closures. The plus side is that the large and more time consuming aspect associated with full scale clothing is not present. The drawback and challenge is finding the appropriate notions in small sizes. For this piece I experimented with rayon thread to sew and finish the seams. It is much more delicate and requires extra conditioning but the outcome was good in my opinion.

The gown was underlined in a very light weight poly china silk. Lace along the cuffs and neckline was applied along the outside of the neckline and sleeves after these were finished. I think inserting the lace into the seam makes for extra bulk.

Even though the gown was underlined I rarely catch stitch the seams to it since it sometimes distorts the shape of such small pieces. The facing edge at center front was the only part catch stitched from neck to hemline. Of course the hems of sleeves and skirt were also catch stitched to the underlining.

Pressing, Shaping and Fitting Details

Shape is built into the darts and waistline by hand pressing all seams before steaming over a tailor’s ham or sleeve roll. Although the craft supplier I bought these buttons from recommended them for 1:6 scale sewing I now think that even smaller buttons would have been more suitable. At the time, though, I could not find anything smaller in a cream color.

Commercially made fashion doll clothes often omit the darts at the back of a fitted bodice. With the patternmaking system I use I’ve found that the fit is unsuitable when these darts are eliminated. So I sew them in by hand very carefully. I do not sew the waistline of bodice and skirt together. Instead I lap the bodice seams over the skirt and fell stitch into place. The result is a better and smoother fit, even when there is a tiny bit of ease at the waistline.

I’ve also found that set in sleeves result in a bulky fit where the armhole meets the side seam. It is for this reason that up until now I’ve used variations of close fitting kimono sleeves without gusset for doll clothing. I’m considering using this type of sleeve to experiment with creating other sleeves that have the appearance of a raglan sleeve or a sleeve that combines kimono at the back and set in sleeve at the front of the bodice.

More to come in the New Year. Best wishes to all my readers and followers for a very happy holiday season.

Sweet Leisure: Kaitlynn’s Holiday Hostess Gown

Kaitlynn greets the mornings during the Christmas Season with a look of understated elegance.

Kaitlynn always takes her vacation during the Christmas Season. She enjoys receiving visitors during the week in which Christmas occurs and will have open house every afternoon from 1 – 4 p.m. Visitors are welcomed with a buffet style tea time complete with tea sandwiches, scones, biscuits and a cup of fresh brewed hot tea. Like her sisters Brooke and Kathrynne, Kaitlynn enjoys collecting vintage pieces. Her interests include unmatched pieces of porcelain and china teaware. Guests get to select the cup, saucer and cake dish they will use during the visit.

Some guests cannot make the afternoon open house so Kaitlynn welcomes them for a morning visit, often greeting them in one of her luxurious hostess gowns. This morning she decided that the lighter shades of peach and cream would be just as delightful as the darker pinks she wears during the holiday season. It helps that her guest parlor is also done up in pale, pastel colors and a cream colored Christmas tree adorned with pink lights is on display there.

Kaitlynn’s vintage cultured pearl bracelet with pale beads of gold was a gift from her sisters. They found it during one of their buying trips in London.

Kaitlynn enjoys combining a natural, understated look in hairstyling and make-up with elegant but simple pieces of jewelry. When she was able to locate the earrings and choker that went with the vintage bracelet she asked the estate seller in London to reserve them for her. Many told Kaitlynn that such elegant pieces deserve a dramatic evening dress and are better worn to an elegant function. She proved them wrong and has received many compliments on the day she wore the complete set of vintage jewelry with her custom made Holiday Hostess Gown.

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Craft Notes

All jewelry was made using gold toned wire upon which glass seed beads were strung and then shaped to fit the doll. No measurements were used. All proportions were judged by eye, frequently gauging the effect against the doll dress in the finished outfit.

A scan of the pattern is available here.  Please note you will need knowledge of using the printer to scale up or down the results of the scan presented in the posting.  You may use the pattern freely and adapt as you want to.  It is custom drafted for a Sonokong doll such as the one shown here.  Making a muslin sample for another doll is recommended.