Into the Snowy Woods

Overnight, a quiet downfall of snow had left the lake sparkling and the ground blanketed.

Caroline and Elsie usually took a morning walk, but because of the fresh snow, both girls were filled with extra excitement.

“Don’t you just love the way everything looks fresh and new?” remarked Caroline.

“Oh, yes,” replied Elsie. “I love how happy the woods look as a new season begins!”

“I just love all the fun things that winter brings!” continued Elsie.

“Yes, it is exciting, I’m just glad this is the first snow – light, and not too cold. I’m not looking forward to bundling up and wearing boots every time I have to go out.” explained Caroline.

And they continued on chatting about the weather and the winter.

“Let’s rest here for a little while,” suggested Caroline.

“I think we have gone a bit farther than usual today,” noticed Elsie.

“No, I don’t think so,” said Caroline. “It’s just more work to walk through the snow, especially since we are trying to keep our socks dry.”

“Hello there!” Kirsten called out as she came upon the girls.

“Hello, Kirsten,” greeted Caroline. “How are you on this fine day?”

“I’m well – just enjoying the fresh snow and admiring how different the world looks now. Do you want to join me?” Kirsten replied.

“Sure!” exclaimed Elsie. “We were just taking a little break from our own walk.”

“I really love the snow, especially since I know how good it is for the earth and all the growing things,” Kirsten remarked.

“But isn’t it difficult for all the animals?” asked Caroline.

“Of course,” said Kirsten. ” But without the snow providing water for the ground, few plants would grow in spring.”

“That sure would make things difficult and the spring much less pretty,” Elsie observed.

“And without the snow, I bet this tree here would not be as tall and beautiful!” exclaimed Kirsten.

“Let’s climb it!” Elsie suggested.

“Okay!” Kirsten agreed.

“I will stay here,” Caroline stated.

So, leaving their shawls with Caroline, the two girls worked their way up the tree.

“The view from up here is gorgeous!” Kirsten shouted to Caroline.

“Be careful! Don’t fall!” Caroline shouted back.

“It wasn’t that bad – not as high as some things I’ve climbed,” Kirsten reassured her once they were back on the ground.

“Let’s keep walking,” suggested Elsie.

So, off they went laughing and chatting into the snowy woods.

Regency Dress Pattern Review

20200630_183147Out of all the many patterns for regency era doll dresses, my favorite would be Thimbles and Acorns Bib Front Dress and Wrap Dress. Why? Well, the beautiful historical details. Comparing these patterns to extant dresses, they look exactly the same.

The pieced bodice, the front tie closures, and the sleeves, all look spot on.

I did make a few changes to the patterns for these dresses. One, I added tucks to the bottom of the dresses to shorten them to a length more suitable for little girls. And two, I added a little bit of extra fabric to the front skirts, because I prefer a little gathering in the front. Though I still kept the majority of the gathers in the back as was the style at the time.

For the grey 16″ dress I used the wrap dress pattern, the under dress option and shortened the sleeves.

The Blue 18″ dress is the bib front dress with the long sleeves from the wrap dress pattern.

And the pink dress is just the wrap front dress.

If you want some beautiful regency dress patterns I would check out Thimbles and Acorns. 🙂

Regency Undergarments Sewing Pattern

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I just finished my newest sewing pattern! You can purchase it here.

My regency girls are the next to receive period correct underthings and I drafted it all up into a pattern for you. This pattern includes everything a little girl of the time would have worn; Shift, Pantalets, Stays, and a Petticoat. This stays in the pattern are a little more complicated than the girl’s Edwardian corset, but If you work slowly and carefully, you should not have much trouble. Many of the supplies are the same, with only the addition of 1/8″ wide zip ties and the option to hand sew the eyelets instead of using metal ones.

I hope you and your dolls enjoy! 🙂

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Edwardian Summer Dress Pattern

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I finally finished a dress pattern to go over those pretty undergarments, which you can purchase here. This style is relatively simple and can be adapted to fit your needs. For example an everyday dress can be made from simple calico cotton with no lace or a winter dress can be made from lightweight wool with velvet trim. It was designed based off of this dress from the book: Children’s Costume in America: 1607-1910

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Because of all the sample dresses floating around the girls decided to have a party and then kindly modeled the dresses for me.

 

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First, they brought out the lemonade, ice cream, and cakes. But they quickly demolished the food and brought out their dolls to play.

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Then, Cornelia came by to see what they were up to and immediately offered to tell a story.

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So, they ended the party with lovely adventure stories about faraway places, told by the lovely Cornelia.

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The models:

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Samantha and Nellie Parkington.

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Emily Bennett (and Bridget Parkington above)

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Esther Gao and Jenny Parkington

It’s Been too Long…

Hello all! 2019 was a crazy year for me and so my dollies were neglected. 🙁  But now my life has settled down, so I am back to sewing and playing. I have two patterns to release soon and a couple of stories to post, so be sure to come by often. 🙂

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Gao sisters!

This year their mom sewed them matching dresses from Lee and Pearl’s newest pattern. Of course, all the girl’s have distinct styles so she made them in different fabrics.

Joyce has a simple, classy style so a soft aqua taffeta suited her perfectly.

Betty’s dress was made from cream stretch velvet, and somehow it makes her look like a fairy princess.

Suze always wants her clothing to be colorful, so she got all the Christmas colors in her dress made from red and white taffeta.

Cathy like simple and un-fancy clothing, and when she saw this grey fabric in her mother’s stash, she choose it.

Esther loves pink, so this soft pink satin was perfect for her.

Emma never cares what she wears, so her mother used what little purple taffeta she had left to make her this dress.

(This pattern was very easy to follow, of course I took the hard route by using  slippery polyester fabrics, that couldn’t really be ironed.)

The Gao (高) Sisters

The Gao family is American/Chinese. Their mother lived most of her life in America and their father lived most of his life in China. The girls all grew up in China, speaking English and Chinese, so they are all bilingual. When they had the opportunity to live on The Island, they took it at once, realizing that it would be a much better place to live than any country in our world.

Joyce Charity Gao 高仁心 (gao ren xin)

Joyce loves learning, especially languages. Right now she is studying with Ted, but on her own, she is still always reading and learning. Science has especially interested her recently, so frequently she can be found collecting specimens to study or studying them. Joyce loves being the oldest, and enjoys helping her sisters whenever they are in need. Of course, she also is the most well-behaved of all of them, and has the best manners. Her parents taught her early on that if she expected her sisters to behave in a certain way, she had better be ready to do it, too, because they would copy whatever she did, not what she said. It’s worked out well, because even if they won’t all admit it, all of her younger sisters hope to someday be as lovely as Joyce is on the inside.

Betty Joy Gao 高禧了(gao xi le)

Betty is an artist. As such, she almost always has her head in a different world. She always sees things differently from everyone else, seeing the good in everything even when no one else can. Because of that, she is very kind to everyone, though she is also really shy and doesn’t have many friends. Her family loves her dearly and they are all always willing to listen to her dreams and ideas and thoughts on the world, but still, even they have trouble completely understanding her. She is really like an angel on earth. Maybe that is why her art is always so beautiful.

Susana Peace Gao 高平安  (gao ping an)

Suze (as she likes to be called) is incredibly bubbly and friendly. She will befriend anyone, and loves everyone. In fact, her favorite thing to do is to go up to a stranger and befriend them, which is how she and Ashley became good friends. Suze loves everything Japanese, which always leaves her family shaking their heads at her, but they still love and support her just the same. She loves anime, cosplaying, reading manga, cooking Japanese food, learning Japanese, drawing anime characters, writing her own comics, and dressing up in crazy street fashions. She loves every color of the rainbow and likes to wear them all at the same time, and most of the time she wears all of her hair clips at the same time, too. She is crazy, but no one can help but love her.

Cathy Patience Gao 高苦心  (gao ku xin)

Cathy is a bit of a tomboy. She loves being outside, climbing trees and running around with the boys. She will wear dresses as long as they don’t impede her activities. She is also the only sister to show much of an interest in her dad’s cooking, and she loves to help him, so that one day she will be a great cook like him.

Esther Grace Gao 高恩典 (gao en dian)

Esther loves wearing frilly dresses and dancing. Since she doesn’t like Cathy’s type of play much, Esther finds her own friends among the young girls of The Island. Most of the time they can all agree on playing dolls or other imaginative games, and when they don’t, they try to work it out as best as possible. Esther’s best friend is Jenny Parkington, and they can be found together (with Emma and Bridget too) pretty much all of the time.

Emma Faith Gao 高信心 (gao xin xin)

Seeing as all her sisters have such big opinions, Emma has almost none. She follows Esther around and plays with her, but she also enjoys hanging out with her other sisters too – helping Joyce study languages, painting with Betty, watching Studio Ghibli films with Suze, and climbing trees with Cathy. Emma isn’t very talkative, but when she does talk, she knows what she is saying. In fact, she is very intelligent for a five-year-old, but that could be because she has five older sisters to learn from.

The Modern Kids

There are a lot of orphans who have made The Island their home. These are the modern kids. They live together, play together, and sometimes fight together (though they always make up later). They all have a wide variety if interests and came to The Island in different ways.

Adalyn Grace Hopkins – She is the oldest of the orphans so far, though she really isn’t the mothering type, Evangeline is much better at that. Instead, Adalyn spends her time playing her guitar and singing and dreaming of one day being in a band and playing onstage. She is always trying to get the other kids to join her, but they aren’t very interested, though, they do like hearing her play and enjoy singing along to their favorite songs.

Evangeline Joy Hopkins – Evangeline loves sewing dresses. She loves creating the most beautiful dresses to wear, and someday she hopes to create her own couture label. For now she help Mrs. Walker at her dress shop. There she ends up helping sew the simple everyday dresses that the women of town need. Which may be slightly boring, but it still does need a lot of skill and hard work.

Ashley Taylor Hopkins – Ashley doesn’t really like people.  The only exceptions are her twin brother, Jack, and her best friend Suze. Other than them she doesn’t really talk to other people, ever. She is really smart, and someday would probably become a scientist, she does love to study nature. Most of the time she can be found listening to metal music really loud and reading manga, sometimes she draws.

Jack Tyler Hopkins – Jack is not like his twin sister, Ashley, because he actually like other people. He has a friendly dog named Lucy, and they tend to walk around town together, talking to anyone around. He loves geeky stuff, Sci-Fi, and computers. He doesn’t really know what he wants to do, sometimes he wants to be a writer, sometimes an engineer, sometimes a computer designer, most of the time he doesn’t want to be anybody in particular, just himself walking around town with his dog.

Katarina Hopkins – Katarina loves horses. She thinks about them all the time. She draws them, reads about them, plays with them, and someday she dreams about owning one and riding it everyday. However, she is an orphan and has no way to make money, so she cannot buy a horse. One day, she and Lavina went to hunt for a unicorn so that she could get a horse, and she befriended Brianne. Ever since then, she regularly goes to the Larsons’ farm to help with the horses there.

Lavina Hopkins – Lavina isn’t actually an orphan. She was born in a little village in India, shortly after she was born her mother died. Lavina was raised by her father who worked very hard to give Lavina the best in life. After she decided she wanted to be a docter, her father found an opportunity for her to study in the U.S. While traveling to America, her ship was shipwrecked and she washed up onto The Island. The people there have welcomed her with open arms and provided her with the education she wanted. While she loves The Island and all the people on it, someday Lavina plans to return to India to find her father and live with him.

Cornelia gets dressed

Cornelia Parkington is a proper Edwardian lady, so she dresses in clothing that was fashionable in the early 1900’s. Dressing like this requires quite a bit of undergarments, and today Cornelia will show how to wear them all.

She starts off with a simple chemise. The Edwardians loved lace and frills and they decorated every inch of their clothing with them. So, this chemise has a lot of lace added to it.

Next, she add her drawers, which again are very frilly. These extra ruffles will also help hold out her petticoat.

Because Cornelia is not “well endowed”, she adds a bust improver to achieve the proper silhouette. It is pinned in place to her chemise.

Her corset is next, and it has already been laced to her size, so all she has to do is fasten the hooks down the front.

The silhouette at the time was big bust and big hips with a small waist.

Again, many frills have been added to her corset just for fun.

Because the corset is so decorated, Cornelia adds a corset cover so that the corset cannot be seen under the dress. It buttons up the front and the ribbon at the neck is tied so that it lays flat.

A cord at the waist is also tied to make it easier to put the petticoat on.

The petticoat is also decorated with lots of lace and ruffles. The style at the time was to have a straight front and a small bustle in the back.

The gathers of the petticoat are enough to make a bustle in the back.

The final silhouette – the ‘S’ shape 

All that’s left is to add the dress and Cornelia is a properly dressed Edwardian lady.

 

The Gehotti Sisters

These sisters live in a little house on the edge of town and work hard trying to homestead. More often than not, they don’t really succeed, but everyone in town loves them and is more than willing to help them out. Their specialty is raising chickens and making quilts.

Bridgette is the oldest and the peacemaker to them all. All she wants is a simple life with her sisters and so she does not care about the latest fashions or being popular. Her life revolves around her sisters and their farm.

Lilliane is the next, and is the most practical and the hardest worker. The only reason she and her sisters have been able to make a living is because of her. Nothing scares her and she will learn how to do anything no matter how hard, like chopping wood and churning butter, as long as they can survive.

Gabrielle does not like hard work or getting dirty, instead she would much rather live in town and wear fashionable clothing. Because of this her sisters have allowed her to take over most of the inside chores like sweeping and dusting the cabin and sewing the quilts and all their clothing.

Angelique is incredibly thoughtful and sweet. She loves everybody and will make anyone feel right at home. She also happens to be the best in the kitchen and makes the most delicious food. People from town love to visit the sisters just for a chance to eat her amazing food.

Isabel is the youngest, and the one who started the chicken business. She loves playing around and having fun, but she also loves animals, especially chickens. So she raises them and sells their eggs. At some point, she plans to convince her sisters to raise a goat or two for the milk and then they can sell goat’s milk as well. She is also the most business minded of her sisters and continues to have brilliant ideas to make their living.