“I try to make the inside look as neat as the outside…”

Some people have wondered… do I really make the inside of my doll clothes as neat as the outside like I say I do in my description? Well I thought since I had Isabelle’s dress on Ebay right now it was a good opportunity to show the inside of it… and you can see for yourself. Now you couldn’t necessarily wear it turned wrong side out, but I’ll show you what I mean by neat!

This is the outside… Pretty cute on Isabelle isn’t it? She’s going to have a fit when I take this one off of her!

(If you click on the pictures they enlarge.)

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I had a doll customer tell me a few years ago that when she receives a doll outfit, the first thing she does is smell it and the second thing is to lift up the skirt and see if there are loose threads hanging anywhere. That always stuck with me and I’m an eagle eye when it comes to threads on the insides. They are always snipped when found.

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Everything that can be stitched down flat is! My iron is on the entire time I’m making something and I iron as I go… every seam, every time something gets added on…it gets pressed flat! (Oh by the way, I am LOVING my new Shark iron!)

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Corners are squared up, hems are done by hand most of the time and snaps are neatly sewn on.

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When it’s all stitched down, it makes for much less bulk inside. I don’t like bulky tiny dresses…

Everything should lay flat and be smooth.

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Okay, so do you think I meant what I said? Hope so…. Here’s a shot of inside and outside again…

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See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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Book Review: Children’s Fashions 1860 – 1912

I reviewed a book called “Children’s Costume ” by John Peacock, at the end of August and it was well received, so I thought it was time for another one. Books are one of those things, if you can’t hold in your hands and look through the pages, you always wonder what it’s like on the inside. There are so many books I would love to own, but they can be expensive and I’ve bought my fair share of books hoping for them to be one way on the inside and they turned out to be a dud! There is nothing worse than that. I’ll show you lots of pictures and hopefully you can decide for yourself if this book is one you’d like to have in your library.

The book I’ll be reviewing today is called, “Children’s Fashions 1860-1912.” It is published by Dover and has a wonderful introduction by JoAnne Olian. She gives so much information about the French Fashion Periodical, La Mode Illustree, that was famous for its recognition of children. Most magazines up till this time portrayed children as objects, but the founder of this magazine took a different approach and portrayed children in every day settings…playing with dolls, being interested in things outside, and just having fun.

If you click on any of the pictures, they enlarge.

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The book is a large glossy paperback book, 12″ by 9 1/2″ and is the tallest book on my bookshelf. It is quite substantial to hold and has 120 pages that cover the years 1860 to 1912. The pages are a nice thickness and the pictures are all done in pen and ink illustrations. There are 362 very detailed illustrations showcasing over 1000 individual designs.

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I use this book more like a “look book” referring to it for ideas and concepts I’d like to try. The pictures are absolutely the sweetest and draw you in like no other book I own. The details in the pictures are unbelievable and so fun to scrutinize. I like to look at how the buttons were placed and what they did with bows and how the lace was added. It’s just a really superb book for anyone who sews, but it is fascinating to look at even if you don’t.

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See the dress above that has the bows across the front? This is what I mean by how I use the book… I looked at that picture and came up with this design. It’s not an exact copy but I took parts of it and adapted it to the dress I made.

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Below most of the pictures there are some references to the ages of the children. That gives an idea of who would have worn the outfit. Sometimes it’s easy to mistake a boy outfit for a girl… oops!

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This is one of my favorite books and I enjoy looking at it even when I don’t have a sewing project in mind. I give it 2 thumbs up as well.
If you have any questions, please just let me know.

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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To embellish, you have to have embellishments…

If you looked in my sewing room you’d see LOTS of compartment containers stacked and filled with colorful goodies inside. You might ask, “what’s inside them?” “Embellishments!” Yes, I have lots of them! I have to; otherwise I would be running to the store every time I needed pink buttons or a blue bow or a felt flower. I use embellishments on hats and dresses and slips and bears and purses, etc…see why I need so many? I buy them at yard sales, craft and fabric stores, and my family knows I love little things for dolls, so sometimes I get things sent to me in the mail! When I see tiny buttons on sale or marked down, I buy them. I know I will eventually use them. I am always thinking ahead and thinking outside the box, wondering if I see some something, how can I use this for my dolls?
These containers are just a few of my embellishments that I thought I might share with you.

If you click on the pictures, they enlarge.

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I have lots of tiny buttons in every color imaginable…

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Plenty of bows for slips, hats and teddy bears…

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All kinds of appliques…

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Felt cutouts…

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Christmas goodies…(You never know when your doll might want to bake cookies…they’re perfect for that!)

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and ribbon roses…

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Embellishments are fun to collect…do you have a collection too?

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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My big chance at fame from Diane Von Furstenberg…

A few years back (come on Jeanne….okay… back in the late 70′s), when I was at college and majoring in Clothing and Textiles, we had a fun opportunity to get published in the newspaper. Our assignment was to create an advertisement for Diane Von Furstenberg’s dress fabrics that were being sold at a nearby fabric store. Anyone remember those slinky prints and the wrap dresses she was so famous for?

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Well, that’s what we had to use as the basis for our ads. It was a lot of work for the 30 points it was worth, but the recognition we might receive if our ad was chosen to be in the paper was, well… enough to make us crazy workers for days on end.

The drawings are all on tracing paper and it has yellowed over the years, but I hope you can tell a little bit from them. This first picture was my starting point for my ad. It was just a collection of things I might want to use, catchy phrases, fabric ideas, etc. If you click on the picture, it makes it bigger and easier to see the details.

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I started refining my ideas, but was still a little bit unsure about which direction to go…

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Okay… I finally got the dress I wanted, but still needed to come up with the ad…

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So this was my final ad and I was pretty pleased with it. My professor was too. You can see her remarks on the back.

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Sooooo… did I win the contest and get published in the paper? My teacher pulled me aside and told me she wanted to use my ad, but the lady at The Golden Thimble decided to use someone else’s ad because they had BOUGHT STICK ON LETTERS FOR THEIR AD AND SHE THOUGHT IT LOOKED NEATER THAN MY HAND DONE WORK!
Oh well… I can only imagine how famous I might have been if only I had gotten picked! NOT!

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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