Monday, 7 January 2013

Jenny and Lexie Christmas

Actually Jenny and Lexie didn't get out much this Christmas, however once we'd packed away the decorations at Epiphany I brought them downstairs for a mini photo session with the little wooden horse I picked up in the local sales last January (it bears a close resemblance to the main character in one of my favourite childhood stories - Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse).  Jenny is wearing the lovely Rosemarie Ionker smocked dress she won in a photo challenge we participated in during the summer, and Lexie is wearing the Rosemarie Ionker white dress she won in the Valentine photo challenge.

Jenny in her lovely Rosemary Ionker dress

Lexie and Jenny with the Little Wooden Horse
Afterwards, they raided my basket of fine patterned fabric to choose what they want me to sew for them, they say that the Sasha and Gotz dolls have had plenty of my attention and now it is time for them! However I am back at work, school term starts in the morning and even the coming weekends will be busy, so finding precious sewing and knitting time is going to be more difficult than during the Christmas holidays, I will do my best though to carve out some 'me' time.
Jenny and Lexie with a feast of fabrics


JJ shoes from Finn and Ginger

In 2011 I sent some gifts to the USA for Finn who belongs to Ginger for the Secret Santa Swap, I subsequently sent two pairs of socks to complete the outfit.  Finn and Ginger were very pleased with the surprise addition to their present, and sent me a gift to say thank you - a wonderful pair of shoes by Jean Jenson.  The shoes arrived ages ago, and I planned an outfit to match, however everyday life busy stuff and room decorating got in the way of me sewing for a while, so the project was delayed.  However during November at last I found some time and used the section in the 2012 Festival booklet about smocking for inspiration as well as an ancient book on smocking and my Readers Digest sewing dictionary and played around with fabrics, decided on a scheme, and got sewing.  I had to stop the project for a while when the actual smocking was finished because I needed to make gifts for Christmas, however during this past week I've resumed and completed the outfit.

Jean Jenson shoes from Finn and Ginger
This outfit was my first attempt at smocking for a Sasha doll, previously I had only done very basic miniature smocking for 1:12 scale dolls, which doesn't allow much scope for stitch and colour combinations.  My smocking is quite tight (though I think this makes it look 'in scale') and I used several different stitches and about 4 different colours.  Despite these beginner shortcomings, I am really pleased with the result.  I now want to smock for my Lexie and Jenny dolls (Heather Maciak).

Florence in the JJ inspired lime green and blue outfit

Florence is very happy to model the new lime green and blue outfit.  Miranda says it will also suit her, but for the moment Florence gets to wear it first.  And Laura is asking for a smocked top and crop trousers too!

The fabric for this outfit was from two different packs of fat quarters from Hobbycraft.  The spotted fabric is lovely, soft and pliable, the other two fabrics are much stiffer and a little thicker.  They are more suitable for patchwork.

Smock and head band

close up of the smocking
My younger daughter helped me make the headband: I showed her how to measure and design the band, and she helped stitch it on the machine.  She has asked for a design amendment to the headband for Laura's outfit.


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Matching blue shoes

I had planned but didn't manage to sew some matching ballet shoes for Laura the new doll in time for Christmas Day, however after Christmas I used my new gift for the pattern.

New gift?  Yes, my lovely husband took my Christmas request seriously and sent off for the wonderful new book of patterns 'Sasha Dolls: Clothing and Patterns' by Ann Chandler, Susanna Lewis and Anne Votaw.  It was shipped to a colleague of my UK based cousin in the USA who brought it over to England on one of her frequent business trips.  On Christmas Day my husband gave me an envelope with the errata sheets carefully printed out, and on Boxing Day, when we arrived at my cousin's house, he was able to give me the book.  Two days of relaxing with my lovely cousins, eating and drinking also included studying the book closely and trying to decide what to make first!  I had handled a copy of the book at the 2012 Sasha Festival, but unfortunately it wasn't available for sale at the festival because Ann Chandler couldn't bring a load of them over to the UK - her luggage would have weighed a ton.

So I carefully traced the ballet shoes pattern and made them in two layers of the blue satin.  I sewed them by hand as the fabric was so slippery my machine would have choked and shredded them very quickly, so it was easier to make them by hand.  They aren't perfect and I think another time I'll make a bigger seam allowance if sewing with satin, which tends to fray with narrow seams.  The shoes were ready in time for a visit to the Pantomime last week so my little girl got into her blue dress again, Laura was re-dressed (she had tried on the green velvet dress won by my girl in the Festival raffle) with the addition of her new shoes, a miniature Olympic badge pinned to her bolero and a ribbon in her hair.

Laura proudly wears her new blue ballet shoes
Close up of Laura with her velvet bolero and the Olympic badge
Blue satin ballet shoes
The stain removal on her legs continues.  We've actually had a day of sunshine (new year's day) so she spent most of the day with her legs on the windowsill (her face was covered with curtain to protect her) to help speed along the bleaching out of the stains.  The photo below shows the progress (compare this to the photo in the previous post to see the difference).  We'll concentrate on her arms and shoulders later.
Leg stains fading progress 6 January
My little daughter had a friend to play this afternoon, and her classmate's reaction to Laura was heartfelt 'Oh she is pretty', and 'she looks like you'.