Friday, August 31, 2012

Crissy's new clothes (with link to online patterns)

For Crissy fans, one of the best sites out there is Beth has very generously scanned in all the commercial patterns that were made for Crissy (and Velvet) from 1969 through the early 1970's--that is, the actual tissue-paper pieces.  My mother had some of these patterns and made clothes for my own Crissy and my sister's Velvet; I don't think any of ours are still around, though--the patterns or the clothes.  The CrissyAndBeth sewing page also has photos of Crissy and friends modelling hand-sewn clothes.

I tried printing out some of the pattern pieces a couple of years ago, but the printer we had at that time kept shrinking the pieces to fit the page, even when I asked it nicely not to, so I gave up.  Recently we got a colour printer that is more co-operative (remind you of our sewing machine?), so I tried again.  The pattern pieces printed out beautifully, especially in colour.  The Simplicity patterns are very, very easy to follow...well, some of them are a little bit fussy with getting elastic in the right place, sewing lace on, and so on, but generally they're meant to be easy to sew.  Almost too easy in some places--where some doll clothes books would have you turn under an edge and then turn it under again and hem, these patterns just say to turn edges under a quarter inch and sew them down, which can leave a bit of a raw edge.  Elastic on pants is just sewn across a turned-down waistband, rather than put through a casing. If you are a fussier sewer, you could do more than the minimum for things like that.  But I think a lot of the appeal of these patterns is in the choice of fabric and trims, rather than in detailed sewing techniques.

From Simplicity pattern 8519, I made a "dress" (or a smock top), a vest, and two pairs of flared pants.  If you put the vest with the top, they go together in kind of an unexpected 1970ish way.  A little bit Russian, a little bit Sunshine Family.  The dress or top is supposed to have lace around the neck and wrists, but we went with rickrack instead.
I remember my mom sewing one of these capes (Simplicity 9698), so it was a step back in time for me to recreate one for Dollygirl's Crissy.  The fabric is red corduroy, from a rummage-saled pair of pants.  There was just enough useable fabric to cut the back, two fronts, and two hood pieces.  The ribbon trim is craft-type, not meant for clothes; but I liked the old-world vibe of the print, plus its stiffness gives a bit of structure to the cape.  I've seen this cape made up with softer lace trim, but I like it better with this edging.  The pattern instructs you to turn back the edges of the cape and sew the trim along the turned-back piece, but with the stiff ribbon I just sandwiched it along the edges and topstitched it down.

About the only thing we think Crissy still needs is a nice maxi-dress, peasant style, maybe in green to go with her shoes.  But that will have to wait until we replenish our fabric a bit.

All photos by Mr. Fixit.  Copyright Dewey's Treehouse 2012.  Simplicity patterns made available by

No comments: