Lo and behold, here are the pictures of the doll’s clothes (is this a doll or a stuffed animal?) I made between 1976 and 1981. (I wrote about the first of these clothes that I made when I told you how I learned to knit and crochet.) In chronological order:
Nice summer combination of sleeveless top and short skirt. Think of a day spent sailing on a lake.
Cozy and practical sleeping bag. Removable pack of tissues as a pillow. Notice the border in contrasting color. (The designer probably ran out of yarn.)
There’s a few year’s gap between the above models and this one. Here there’s actual seamless construction in a floor length sturdy gown with puffy long sleeves. The dress is buttoned at the back and features single rows of single crochet in a brighter color to add interest.
This model is meant to be worn at elegant tea or garden parties. A black skirt sets off the brightly pink top, again with long sleeves. The bow at the neck adds a little extra touch, and for those chilly evening breezes there is a nice black shawl to complete the outfit.
City wear in bright colors. This is an 80s model after all. A simple straight and sleeveless dress that can be worn with or without the matching short sleeved jacket. The simplicity of the piece draws the attention to it’s cheerful color, and the interesting texture achieved by irregularly placed rows of single and double crochet.
The next dress is actually my very first piece of sewing. My mother made herself a dress at that time, and since I was so interested she decided to teach me machine-sewing. The fabric is leftovers from her dress. She helped me measure the doll, and cutting the pieces, then I sew the front and back of the dress, and the hem. My mother helped me gather the skirt and then she sew it to the top of the dress. She also made the hat. (So this time my mother’s the designer, not me.) There was a matching shawl made from thin red cotton but I don’t have it anymore.
A light summer dress made of brightly printed cotton. Notice the matching sun bonnet with it’s pretty rick-rack at the brim.
Again a summer dress, lacy and flowing, fit for a party in a nice dusty pink. Unlike the earlier works this one is knit instead of crochet which gives the fabric a nice flowing drape.
This one is for colder weather, a wooly coat and matching hat. The moss stitch fabric is gathered at the cuffs. The double-breasted front is once again closed with bows. The crocheted hat has a ruffled brim that frames the face and a bow in contrasting yarn to add more visual interest.
Another evening gown, a straight top and skirt with embroidered detail at the neck and shoulders made from a sleek, silk-like material. This model also features a matching bag with embroidered detail, and matching shoes (not pictured because they didn’t fit the model).
It’s really interesting to me to see all these in one place. I find that I still avoid seaming as much as I can. I even used pinky shears to cut out the pieces for the green, hand-sewn dress so that I didn’t have to sew more than absolutely necessary. The preference for bows and yarn as closures is due tot he fact that I didn’t have any buttons. Later I took inexpensive snap-fasteners that my mother didn’t mind giving me.
The other reason for why I tend to knit as seamless as possible came to me just a few days ago when I used my little sewing kit that I got from my grand-aunt when I was 14. I needed a tapestry needle and when I took it out that I had another one tucked away in there which I hadn’t known about for twenty years or so. In my youth there was the tapestry needle. One. It lives (to this day) in my mother’s knitting basket. We were not allowed to take it without asking, and we had to put it back immediately afterwards. Of course I avoided asking for it as much as possible.
I thought tapestry needles were expensive and rare. I don’t know when I decided to buy my own, certainly some time before I moved out of my parent’s house, and imagine my surprise when I found that tapestry needles are actually quite cheap, and that you can’t buy one only, you have to take a packet of two. At the moment I’m the proud owner of about four or five of them, the two I bought myself, and two or three that came with the sewing basket I inherited from my husband’s grandmother who was a seamstress.
Of course the doll clothes you see above aren’t the only ones I made when I was young. But these are the only ones I still have. I kept them because I liked them so much. I remember making clothes for a stuffed ape in bright yellow, blue, and pink cotton, crochet dresses for Barbie dolls, purses, and hats, and such. All made from leftover yarn and fabrics. I’m not sure but the yarn in the first picture on the top might actually be leftover yarn from my third big knitting project, a Norwegian sweater with colored yoke. When I was a child, I didn’t know you could have a home without a sack of leftover yarn and fabric in the attic.