Friday, September 25, 2009

Edwardian Nightgowns


Well, the Edwardian Free Spirit's trousseau is almost complete. The girls now have their choice of nightgowns. The nightgown on the left is done with a love knot stitch. Once you get the hang of it, it isn't difficult, but it can be a bit tough to visualize. If you want to try this stitch, I recommend heading to Crochet Pattern Central to their stitch dictionary and take a look at the stitch there. Their site is listed in 'Links I Love.'

The nightgown on the right is done with a chain and picot stitch. Easy stitches, and gives a nice, lacy effect. Both of these nightgowns were stitched with Aunt Lydia's Bamboo Crochet Thread. It was the first time I had used this thread, and it is lovely. It has a matte finish and a wonderful drape.

The patterns for the nightgowns can be found here:

http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/FSEdwardianNightgowns.pdf?attredirects=0

Or on the left hand side of the blog page under Free Spirit Patterns.


Now we can snuggle in to bed in our cozy nightgowns :-) Enjoy the stitching!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another Edwardian Variation

I have two new patterns to share, plus a new girl to model them! Emily is another Edwardian Free Spirit. She has peachy skin (Red Heart Classic light peach) and blond streaked hair (Lionbrand Imagine, which they discontinued...drat them! and a laceweight mohair). She also has gold Suncatcher eyes.

Her dress is another variation of the basic Edwardian dress, this time with a lower neckline and puffed upper sleeves that gather into tight fitting lower sleeves. This way, she can wear a variety of collars that are detachable and button in the back. The pattern for the dress is here:

http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/FSEdwardianLowNeckline.pdf?attredirects=0

And the collar patterns are here:

http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/FSDetatchableCollars.pdf?attredirects=0

Also, they are listed on the left hand side of the blog page under Free Spirit Patterns.

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I have :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Edwardian Variations

One of my favorite places to find inspiration when designing vintage clothing is from Dover Publications. Above are three of the resource books I have from them, one of which is a paper doll book! (the one on the right). Dover easily has hundreds of paper doll books and other books, including books of old photographs, that are perfect for jump-starting the creative juices.

I based the 'basic' Edwardian dress on several of the styles from 'Childrens Fashions 1860-1912.' The pattern is now available here:

http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/FSBasicEdwardianDress.pdf?attredirects=0

Included are instructions for both the bretelles (fancy shoulder straps) and a deep bodice collar. Two sleeve variations, and two different pattern stitches for the skirt. The basic bodice is simply the side-to-side bodice.

So please, have fun making these outfits, and coming up with variations of your own!


Friday, September 11, 2009

The Edwardians


For several weeks I have been wanting to make an Edwardian Free Spirit. The Edwardian era can be loosely defined as the period of time from the death of Queen Victoria (1901) through the end of WWI (1918).

It is an historically interesting time period, especially for women. Crinolines, hoops, and bustles were gone, and corsets began to loosen up. Women were just beginning to experience more freedom in their lives, from transportation via bicycle to entry into the workplace. And by 1920 they had achieved the right to vote in America.

Children also benefited. They were no longer being dressed as miniature versions of their mothers. The clothing they now wore actually allowed them to play, and some of them even had the leisure to do so.



Both of my Grandmothers were born in the Edwardian period; my Mother's mother in 1903 (she is the one at the top of the page), and my Father's mother in 1904 (here to the right). Imagine the incredible changes these women saw in the course of their very long lives, both of them living into the 21st century. My great-grandfather delivered dry good via horse and carriage; my Grandmothers saw men walk on the moon.




So for me, making a doll to represent the Edwardian period is like very lightly touching my own family history. Gabrielle and Caroline, my Edwardian Free Spirits, are meant to represent two young girls, around 12 or so, of this era. My Mother's mother taught me to crochet, and my Father's mother was an artistic needlewoman. Thanks in a large part to them I am able to create the dolls I do, and happily share them with you.

Coming soon; a basic Edwardian dress pattern for Free Spirit, and some embellishment ideas.



Gabrielle, in the curls, and Caroline, with the French Braid. The lovely fabric covered box, for their Edwardian finery, is from my dear friend Bev.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A new Flickr group




Here are a couple more wonderful dolls made from the Free Spirit Amigurumi doll pattern. The lively red-head was made by Ellen, and all the colors here are just wonderful. Her pink bear is also a free pattern available on this blog, as Better Bear. Who doesn't adore a redhead :-)








This blue-haired beauty was made by Maria, and I love her combinations! Both dolls are such excellently executed crochet work. I love seeing all of the different dolls created from this pattern.

To that end, it was suggested by a couple folks that I create a flickr photo group for the dolls made from the Free Spirit pattern, and so I have. The group is:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/freespiritamidolls/

So if you have made a doll with this pattern, please consider posting a picture on this photo site. I'd love to see your dolls, their clothing, and any variations you may come up with!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Christmas Crochet



This darling gang of Owlishly patterns (and a small snail from Ana Paula Rimoli) are Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephews. I usually start crocheting for Christmas in July, so I don't have to rush at the end of the year. Kids get toys, and adults get scarves and ponchos. Of course, if I'm in the mood, adults get toys too :-)




Almost all of the Christmas crocheting is done, which means that now I can turn my attention back to making more Free Spirit dolls.

My next project is two Free Spirits from Edwardian times. The plan is to create a basic dress pattern, then see how many different looks can be created from this. I will share the pattern, then hope for some neat variations from all of you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Helene's Free Spirit


Helene has made a wonderful Free Spirit doll; I love her pink combinations and blue hair. Helene did not have any acrylic eyes, so she embroidered hers; lovely work :-)