|Dorisanne with Emmalee Rose, August 2017|
|Emily and Annie (Heather Maciak dolls) inspecting my pile of shweshwe in the Cape Town fabric shop, the pieces I used for this Studio doll project are at the bottom of this pile.|
I decided to use the sundress with brettels pattern in the Sasha dolls clothing and patterns book. This pattern had the advantage of no sleeves which meant that if I got the sizing slightly wrong, the dress would be more forgiving than if the sleeve setting didn't allow enough space across the shoulders or the arms and arm holes. Also, the origin of the fabric implied sunshine summer days, so a sundress was appropriate.
I scaled the pattern up using the scale and copy function on our printer (16" doll size to 20" doll size) then cut out all the pieces using some other patterned cotton fabric in my collection (tiny brown leaves on an off white background). I made a reversible sunhat and underpants as well in the same fabric. I trimmed the brettels with pink ribbon and made the tassels from pink embroidery thread. I made careful measurements of the finished dress then put the outfit in the post to Laura for Sela.
|The prototype Sasha Studio doll sized sundress and hat ready to send for Sela to try on|
|Close up showing the brettels and tassels in pink|
|Susie, my 18" Palitoy doll, modelling the hat for Sela (her head is bigger than a 16" Sasha doll head)|
|Sela wearing the prototype hat and dress for testing the pattern sizing (Laura's photo)|
|Sela has lovely eyes. She is vinyl rather than hard plastic and is a few years younger than Emmalee Rose (Laura's photo)|
|Sela with the hat brim up at the front and down at the back (Laura's photo)|
Then it was Christmas time and there was no time until after Christmas day to get started on the shweshwe dress as I was finishing off two other projects and just before Christmas I made a toddler sized version of the dress in some Christmas colours for Louisa.
|Louisa, my toddler, wearing her version of the dress for Christmas|
For the sunhat I used plain fabric for one side of the brim and the orange based swirl design shweshwe for the other side of the brim. Each hat crown was made up of 4 pieces, different combinations on each side, so the hat is completely reversible. The brim can be worn up or down.
I made the two outfits in tandem as this meant that changing thread colours and presser feet for different stitch types on the sewing machine was kept to the minimum. I decided to make the tassels in all three colours as their background would be the plain green skirt at the bottom of patterned brettels and this worked well.
|Front view of the dress showing the tassels on the brettels. The underpants elastic was tied and left exposed so that it could be adjusted to fit Emmalee Rose's waist.|
|Back view of the dress with the other side of the hat (the colour of the green is not correct in this photo)|
|Melanie wearing the 16" doll sized outfit and her shoes from Dorisanne alongside the 20" doll sized outfit for Emmalee Rose. Her hat brim is shown with the orange pattern turned up.|
|Melanie wearing the 16" doll sized outfit and her shoes from Dorisanne alongside the 20" doll sized outfit for Emmalee Rose. Her hat brim is shown with the plain fuchsia pink turned up.|
|Close up of the tassels at the end of the brettels|
After I'd photographed the completed outfits, the Studio Doll sized outfit for Dorisanne went in the post to the USA. By this time I had alerted Dorisanne that a small package was on its way to her. We both waited, Dorisanne was snowed in and the lake frozen so the mail was slow and I wondered if the package had gone astray (I regretted not sending it tracked). She tried emailing me to let me know it had arrived but the email went astray! When she resent it a week later I got the message. Dorisanne was delighted with the outfit. The bonus was that the sizing was fine (my hunch that adjusting the bodice would not be the right thing to do was correct). Dorisanne explained what she did next:
"The fabric colors look so lovely on Emmalee Rose. Two years ago when I was in rehab after my knee replacement, we were in a class where we learned to use our walkers. We each picked some beads to string on a long pipe cleaner which we attached to our walkers to identify them. I chose pink, orange and green and had put the marker on my doorknob but now they have been made into a choker-necklace for Emmalee Rose and it matches the dress perfectly."Photos of Emmalee Rose wearing her shweshwe outfit will follow when Dorisanne is able to take some pictures.
I had a lot of fun making this outfit and now have more confidence about resizing other Sasha patterns in the book to Sasha Studio doll size.