Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another Doll Blanket

I decided to try my hand at another crochet edging. This time, the recipient was the sweet, Corolle baby that my daughter received for her first birthday. I constructed the blanket just like the one in my previous post, but I used a different crochet pattern called "Picot Fan". Little by little, I am getting the hang of crochet!
Corolle dolls are just the sweetest. They all come with a delicious, vanilla scent that is not overpowering at all. This one happens to be 12" long--just right for little mommies to snuggle and hold.
Now that I've gotten the hang of crochet edging, I plan on using it a lot more. The flannel I used for this doll blanket is by Robert Kaufman, and it is so thick and soft that I'd like to use it to make my little one a sheet set for her toddler bed. Right now she is still using the puppies-on-a-blue-background sheet set that I made for her brother when he was her age. (Not that she cares, but I'd love to make her something girlie and just for her!) There will be a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and a sweet pillowcase edged in--you guessed it--crochet!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Blanket for Baby Dear

I can sew, smock, embroider, and knit. The art of crochet, however, has eluded me. Until now! I have been wanting to learn how to crochet just so that I could add these sweet edgings onto flannel blankets. So I poured over how-to books and cornered a couple of crocheting friends with lots of questions. I started with trying to crochet a dishcloth, thinking it would be good practise, but my heart wasn't in it. What I really wanted was to make a sweet blanket! So I just decided to go for it.
It's not perfect, but for my first attempt, I'm so pleased. The blanket was made from a scrap of flannel I had left over from over from another project. I sewed two, 18" squares right sides together, with entredeux trim sandwiched between them along the edge. I know there are other ways to attach crochet trim to flannel, like a blanket stitch, or poking holes into the fabric with an awl, but this is the method I wanted to try first. It was quick and easy. After sewing the layers together, I turned them right side out and topstitched all around the edge. The evenly spaced holes in the entredeux trim made it very easy to see where to put my crochet stitches.
This sweet blanket is just the right size for Baby Dear, and was a perfect "first" crochet project for me. I can hardly wait to try it again!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Another Portabello Pixie "Claire" Dress

I liked the little dress so much that I made a couple of weeks ago for a baby shower gift, that I decided to make another one to keep. Besides, the one I made for my daughter last year was now getting a bit short, and I really wanted to try a few different techniques than I had before.
I raided my vintage linen stash and found a dresser scarf that had just the right colors I was thinking of--soft yellow, pink, and green. It is edged with beautiful, hand-crocheted lace. I cut it in half (don't hate me, ye lovers of vintage/antique things who could never conceive of doing such a thing!), because I wanted to be able to use it, instead of having it hidden away in a suitcase, never being admired.
Instead of one, solid piece of fabric for the skirt, I pieced together 20, 4" wide strips in 5 different prints. All seams are French-seamed, so they look nice and tidy. I edged the bottom of the skirt with a wide piece of scalloped, white linen.
Please excuse the pink, floral tights which really don't match, but this girl insisted on wearing them. And since I didn't want to battle over something as trivial as tights, I chose to go with the flow.
She thinks Baby Dear is hers. I don't mind. It made for some nice shots.
The main print for the bodice is a fabric I bought probably ten or more years ago, by Alexander Henry (I think). It is the sweetest print, with little, yellow ducklings and white daisies against a blue background. I meant to make a dress out of it for my second daughter (who is now almost 12) when she was a toddler, but I guess I never got around to it. My, how time flies!
Here's a close up of the attached, vintage apron.
I embellished the waistband with cotton lace and those little flowers that you can pick up at JoAnn's.
The bottom scallops are adorned with more of the lace from the waistband, and little flowers at each scallop. I love this dress. It has that soft, vintage, boutique look that I was going for. I made it a size bigger than my daughter wears, but that's okay since the fit is forgiving, and any fullness is pulled in at the back and sides with the sash. Hopefully, she'll be able to wear it for at least a year!

Baby Dear has Arrived!

"Baby Dear is my brand-new baby doll. Daddy brought her to me on a very special day. It was the day he brought Mommy and our new baby home from the hospital." These are the first threee sentences of my favorite Eloise Wilkin book, Baby Dear.
I have been wanting a Baby Dear of my own for a while now. So I've been haunting Ebay and placing bids. However, I kept losing out to higher bidders. Finally, I lucked out and found a newly-listed, buy-it-now, for a price I could afford. I was so excited! This was the very Baby Dear I had dreamed of owning.
She is the tiny, 12" size. Baby Dear also comes in a larger sizes, but something about this wee one just melted my heart. She is soft and floppy, just like a real baby. And look at those pudgy cheeks, clenched fists, and precious, little feet! She came in her original, flannel, tagged gown. The neckline was ripping away from the binding, so I fixed that right away.
Here she is, next to the front cover of her book. The book came first, and as it rose in popularity, Eloise modeled a doll based on her illustrations. Apparently, there was also a 12" Baby Dear created that played music and moved when wound. I have never seen one of those. Suffice it to say that I would love to own one! But I am very happy with the one I have now. She will receive a new outfit--probably a smocked bonnet and dress in white and pink--and I am on the lookout for a little cradle just for her. Collecting dolls is so much fun!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dress Up!

Sophie is my girlie-girl. She loves babies and dress-up and anything that has something to do with being feminine. My boys are your typical boys. Dirt and bugs and legos, but not necessarily in that order. This particular boy has an "artsy" side. So every now and then I'll find him doing something out of the ordinary, like dressing up his little sister like a princess. He picked out her dress, which has become too short, so he also added a black, tulle skirt underneath to give it some length. Next, they raided the jewelry box for necklaces and clip-on earrings. When my mother passed away a couple of years ago, she left behind a box filled with costume jewelery which my kids love to play with.
Then came the hairstyling, and finally the hairspray to hold it all in place. Little sister is eating this up.
The stylist and his protege.
Just look at all that bling!
Here's "the pose". Little sister has got this one down good. It is her go-to pose whenever she sees the camera. And lest you think she is completely sugar and spice, about 5 minutes after this picture was taken, she was jumping outside on the trampoline with her brothers, wearing nothing but her underwear. In 40 degree weather. With gusty winds. I did not take a picture. I should have. But I think you get the idea.

A New Outfit for Riley

This is Riley, a darling little doll made by Helen Kish. She stands just a bit over seven inches tall. I bought her several years ago, for a good price, because she was nude. I fully intended on sewing a wardrobe for her, but, just never happened. Not until now. I did buy her some shoes and socks a couple of years back, but that was it. The poor, little thing has been sitting on my doll shelf in nothing but her birthday suit, plus the afore mentioned shoes and socks.
I have a secret pal in the doll club to which I belong, and today was the day I needed to give her a birthday present. So I decided to make her an outfit for her Riley (Hope she has one! If not, maybe she'll need to get one!) I think it turned out so cute. However, don't think for a moment that sewing for a smaller doll is easier than sewing for a large one, because it's NOT. I about tore my hair out trying to gather the teeny tiny sleeves to the even tinier sleeve cuffs. Not to mention how difficult it is to sew these little pieces together on the machine--they kept wanting to get stuck down in the throat plate. I did figure out that if I starched the pieces really well, it made them easier to handle. I started with a pattern from Rosemarie Ionker's book, "Fashions for Small Dolls", and then tweaked it to suit my needs.
The bonnet was my own creation. Just a lace-trimmed, rectangle of fabric, gathered along both long edges. She has matching panties, too, but I forgot to get a picture of those. Isn't she just the sweetest? Of course, since this was a gift, it is no longer in my possession. So now my poor, little Riley is back where she started, completely nude. Well, except for her feet. I hope I don't let another few years slip away before she gets an outfit to call her own!