Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lots of Sewing and New (old!) Dolls

After long hours of painstakingly hand-stitching the binding, my daughter finally finished her quilt.  ALL BY HERSELF.  I'm so proud of her.  The binding is made up of leftover strips from the fabrics she used in the quilt, and the backing is a cozy, soft flannel.  She did simple machine quilting with a decorative stitch along the seam lines.  She also made herself a new pillowcase, and the butterfly fabric ties in perfectly with the colors of her comforter and quilt.  She leaves for church camp tomorrow and is taking the quilt and pillow with her.  I know she feels a sense of pride with what she has accomplished, and is eager to show it off to her friends.  I'm looking forward to seeing what she sews next!

I sewed this little top for myself a couple of weeks ago, using a cotton gauze from my stash..  I drafted the pattern myself, since I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.  The upper bodice is a simple peasant top with elastic in the neckline and sleeves, and the bottom portion is a slight, A-line.  It has an inset band under the bust line, which I covered with a piece of antique eyelet lace.  I also added vintage, crochet lace along the bottom.  Narrow ties cinch in the sides and tie at the back.  I love this is light and summery and easy to wear.  I might even make myself another.

Today I traveled with some of my doll club friends up to a doll show a couple of hours from my home.  It is a great show, and I'm always tempted with all the wonderful antiques.  This time was no different.  I ended up with this little sweetie, a Kestner 211, otherwise known as "Sammy". He has a bisque head and a composition body.  His wig is not original, and I plan on replacing it as soon as I find a suitable, mohair wig.  He also needs new clothes.  I hope to make him a baby gown with tucks and lace, and maybe a matching bonnet, just like babies used to be dressed a hundred years ago.

Just look at that adorable face!  Can you imagine that this was once created as a play thing for children?  It makes me sad when I think of what is available for little girls to play with today.  Most dolls found in toy departments leave much to be desired, in my opinion.  Cheap materials, cartoonish faces, and dolls that represent things I'd rather not expose my young daughters to fill the shelves.  It's depressing, really.  I'm so glad that I collect dolls and have a wonderful selection of beautiful babies and little girls for my daughter to enjoy mothering.

This is "Dimples", by Horsman.  She was made in the late 1920's.  Her head and limbs are composition, and her body is cloth.  She needs a new dress and a big, frilly bonnet, also.

Dimples has blue, tin eyes that sleep, and wonderful facial coloring.

Here's a doll with a face that only a mother could love!  And I'm that mother.  I spotted her across a crowded room, and I knew I had to have her.  She is unusual in the fact that she has celluloid limbs, a hard-stuffed cloth body, and what appears to be a papier-mache head.  The seller thought her head was made of celluloid also, but I'm not so sure.   She has her original wig and sleeping, glass eyes.  Two, bottom teeth give her a kind of funny look, but I don't care--I love her!  There's just something about her that really spoke to me.  I know that not everybody (or even most people!) would appreciate a doll like this, but there was just something about her that I couldn't ignore.

I purchased this doll from a doll friend last week.  She is a newer doll, by the Swiss doll manufacturer Heidi Ott.  Isn't she pretty?  She is the same size as the popular American Girl dolls, and has vinyl limbs, head, and a cloth body.

Her face is hand painted, and her wig is human hair.  I call her "Tasha".

This is a Corolle doll named "Lily-Rose".  I picked her up at Goodwill recently, and sewed her a cute, new dress.  She will be listed on Ebay soon, since I need to build up my Paypal account again after this weekend's spending spree at the doll show!

Lily-Rose is approximately 17" tall with a vinyl head and limbs, and an interior armature which allows her to hold a pose in her legs.  Her hair is long, soft and brushable.  This doll is very sweet--I keep finding her in my daughter's bed!

This is another Corolle doll, and she is heading to Ebay, also..  She is small, maybe about 8" long, with sleep eyes.  When I found her at Goodwill she was only wearing her original, footed pants, so I decided to make her a cute, little dress to wear over the top.  The blue fabric has the cutest, pink bunnies sprinkled all over it...I love it!

I always keep my eyes open at thrift stores for potential dolls to fix up and sell.  But lots of times they look so cute in their new outfits, it's hard for me to let them go! 

I hope to start a new quilt this week.  It's been a long time since I made one, and my daughter has inspired me with hers.  Son #4 has been wanting me to make him his own quilt for quite some time, and I have the perfect cowboy print fabric in my stash.  I also have plans for a new, summer dress for myself, and oh...I almost youngest is going to be a flower girl in her cousin's wedding this August, and I have been commissioned to make both her dress, and the one for the other flower girl.  I already have the fabric--a pretty cotton in robin's egg blue with a slight shimmer--and the bride wants it to be a simple sundress.  Easy enough.  But since I can't leave things TOO simple, I will probably add embroidery to the bodice.  Sitting next to my sewing machine right now is a library book with a pattern for a cute purse which I've been itching to make.  And then there's the pile of half-finished doll clothes which I'd like to list on Ebay.  Anybody else ever feel like there are never enough hours in the day to get all their crafting done?!?  Hopefully, I'll be back soon with some new projects!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Daughter Quilts!

Isn't the dream of every mother who sews to eventually have a daughter follow in her footsteps?  Well, I finally got my wish!  This week, my 15 year old worked off and on for three days to piece the front of this beautiful quilt, with NO HELP at all from me.  I'm so proud.  When she announced last week that she wanted to make a quilt that she saw in a book, I took her out right away to my favorite fabric stores and let her pick out the fabrics.  Yes, I have plenty of fabric in my stash, but I really wanted this to be HER quilt, and her tastes in colors and patterns run a bit different from mine.  So we bought the majority of what she needed.  However, she did find a few prints in my hoard that worked into her color scheme.

Here's the book which features the quilt she did on the front cover.  We found it at our local library.

And here's a close up of the squares.  Didn't she do a great job in matching up all the corners?  I'm so impressed.  This quilt isn't finished yet--it still needs batting and a backing.  We will head out again tomorrow for a cozy flannel for the back.  I always back all the quilts I make with flannel...they are just so soft and warm.  She plans on "stitching in the ditch" to secure the layers.  I will be sure to post more pictures when it is completely finished.  This is one proud mama!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sewing for Myself

I used to sew a lot more for myself in the past than I do currently.  Because, let's face it...after birthing and nursing eight children, my body just isn't quite where I want it to be.  It's so much more fun to sew for a three-year old--they don't have any figure flaws and everything looks so cute on them!  Sewing for myself, however, is a completely different story.  I love it when something I make for myself actually turns out, but there's so much work involved.  First, I always make a muslin.  ALWAYS.  I have learned the hard way that my measurements aren't the standard for what's shown on the back of pattern envelopes.  But even though making a muslin is an extra step, it saves time and frustration in the long run.  I would love to own a dress form would certainly be much easier to fit a garment for myself with one.   But for now I just make do with trying it on over and over, contorting myself at weird angles so that I can view myself in a too small mirror.  But it works!

I've had this pattern in my collection for several years.  It's actually a "missus" size pattern, so it only goes up to a size 14.  But I could tell by reading the measurements that it would work for me.  I ended up making a combination of sizes 12 and 14, and I altered the pattern so that the skirts would be all the same length (instead of shorter in the front and longer in the back, as shown).  I also added an inch to the bodice length, and slightly raised the neckline both in front and the back.

I had all the fabrics I needed already in my stash!  The violets on a white background is a cotton/poly voile which I purchased at Daisy Kingdom at least ten years ago.  I had used some of it way back then to make pinafores for my girls, but I had a lot left over which I never quite knew what to do with.  Because it is sheer, I needed to line it with something.  The bodice and sleeves are lined with white linen, and the underskirt is a fancy, white cotton with rows of white on white embroidery and tiny tucks.

I decided to "fancy up" the bodice by adding a panel of laces.  These are all pieces of vintage/antique lace insertion which I've been hoarding.  I simply cut pieces of lace the size I wanted, temporarily glue-basted them down onto the bodice, and then stitched.  Very easy, and the effect (though hard to see in the picture) is dainty and old-fashioned.

I cut the overskirt shorter than the underskirt, and I also added a wide strip of vintage lace along the hem of the overskirt.  Many dresses during the Titanic era had skirts with several, filmy layers, and I just love that look.

Here's a back view.  Please ignore my hair which needed to be brushed, and had gotten kind of unruly while being caught a few moments earlier out in the rain.  On the original pattern, the back bodice is designed to scoop much lower, but I raised it about two inches.  This dress was fairly easy to make once I figured out the muslin.  Each skirt, however, is made up of seven panels, and I french-seamed each seam, so that I means I sewed 14 long seams two times each, for a total of 28 passes on the sewing machine.  Whew!  I was glad when that part was over.  The back closes with an invisible zipper.

I wore this dress today to a ladies tea at our church.  I received compliments on it which is always encouraging.  Even my 15 year old, who generally wouldn't be caught dead in the clothes I like, wants me to make her a knee-length dress from this pattern.  I'd like to make another one for myself, too, also a bit shorter.  Hmmm, I'll have to go check my stash again and see if I have any more yardage that would be suitable.  All in all, I'm very happy with how this turned out, and am anxious to try it again.