Meet "Nicolette". She is my pretend Bleuette.
Several years ago, I started hearing more and more about this darling, little doll called "Bleuette". Standing around 10 1/2"-11" tall, she was quickly becoming all the rage among doll collectors.
After doing my research, I quickly discovered that I would probably never own a "real" Bleuette, given the fact that a true antique can cost thousands. Not to mention, if I ever was fortunate to own an antique Bleuette, I would definitely NOT be playing with it!
Original Bleuettes were first created in France in 1905, as a magazine premium to encourage little girls how to sew, cook, etc. Every week, the magazine (La Semaine de Suzette) included patterns for this doll. By the time the magazine ceased publication in 1960, over 1000 patterns had been published for Bleuette!
Original Bleuettes had heads made by the French doll company, SFBJ. My Bleuette's head is actually an antique head made by Schoenau & Hoffmeister, and her body is a vintage reproduction made back in the early 1980's. The body originally had a reproduction head on it, but when I figured out that my antique head fit it nicely, I swapped heads and made my own "Bleuette".
Recently, I finally got around to dressing this little sweetie! She is wearing a pinafore apron that is a copy of the actual pattern that was once issued for her in La Semaine de Suzette. I had lots of fun hand embroidering all those little flowers in one of my favorite color combinations: blues and purples.
The original pattern is made to simply hang over the shoulders with no sort of back closure. However, I added twill ribbon ties at the upper back, because I like how it looks a little bit better with some sort of closure.
The dress is a simple pattern in Bleuette's style from a doll dressing book I have by Rosemarie Ionker. It consists of a front and back. The fullness of the dropped waist is gathered at the hips by a silk ribbon, and the dress closes in back with hidden snaps.
I've also made her a pair of pantaloons, which you can just barely see peeping out from under her skirt. My next project for her is a ruffled slip.
I love my little Nicolette and plan on making her more clothes soon. She is really a fun size to sew for...not too tiny or too big. I'd love to get more furniture in her size to display her with. For right now, I only have the tin, reproduction stove. Isn't it cute? There are many sites on line that describe her history in more detail, if you are interested. This site, www.thebleudoor.com offers reprints of her original patterns organized by decade, year, and even style.