Friday, May 20, 2011

Oh, Mr Darcy.

I'm pretty sure that the modern-day popularity of Jane Austen can be traced to a single cinematic moment. I think you ladies all know what moment I'm talking about, and it involves Colin Firth and a wet shirt. How many of you ran out and bought the book after watching that scene? There have actually been many representations of Darcy in film and TV (this blogger's Darcyometer is particularly hilarious) but the Firth is the one everyone knows and loves.

Jane Austen was a marvelous writer and, while she published only six novels and died young, her works still resound with us today. Her witty dialogue, her sparkling prose, and her comedic take on the social mores of early-19th-century England are still worth reading in 21st-century America. And if you're into that sort of thing, there's also handsome brooding men in waistcoats and tight breeches. Le sigh.

(I want you to know that I had to watch several different video montages before choosing the best one to include on this blog. YOU'RE WELCOME.)

American Girl hasn't seen fit to create a true Regency girl (although of course the corresponding time period on our side of the pond would be the Federalist era) although they do make that lovely party dress & spencer for Josefina. However, when has this ever stopped doll collectors? We are a determined bunch.

My Modiste creation for the month of May was inspired by my love of all things Austen. I started with a 19th-century reproduction print from the Manchester line in shades of cream and charcoal (a striking and unusual color combination which flatters any doll) and adapted the Sensibility pattern to include such scrumptious details as a gathered front bodice and an eyelet laced back.
The pelisse coat was truly a labor of love - sewing teeny tiny black eyelash trim onto a charcoal gray background is not for the faint of heart. But the detail, I think, is well worth it in the end.
My Austen-tatious Regency Gown with Pelisse Coat and Bonnet is now live on eBay - click here to visit the site. The auction ends tomorrow night so don't miss out on your chance to own this one-of-a-kind ensemble!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Kindred Spirits: Anne and Diana

Can you remember reading Anne of Green Gables for the very first time? I was 10 or 11, visiting Emerald Isle with my family, and had packed the slim paperback from a box of hand-me-down books from my favorite aunt. I had no idea that behind the plain green cover was a kindred spirit of the first order. Anne, of the carrot red hair and solemn gray eyes, understood the secret of a happy girlhood: that a rich imaginary world could provide a buffer against the heartaches of growing up.

My sewing for Kindred Thread this month is my love letter to Anne, that plucky red-headed heroine of L. M. Montgomery's fictional universe. First, for Kindred Thread Limited Edition, we have a pair of reproduction 19th century school frocks designed especially for Anne and her "bosom friend" Diana Barry. Anne's dress is sewn up in a somber dark chocolate brown floral, while Diana's is a sweet pink stripe. Both dresses come with pinafore-style aprons and heart-shaped jewelry: an etched brass locket for Diana and a pink enamel pendant for Anne:

And I'm even more excited about this month's offering for Kindred Thread Modiste: an exquisitely detailed replica of Anne's Brown Gloria Dress given to her by Matthew Cuthbert on her first Christmas at Green Gables. Hand-crafted of Swiss silk-finish cotton batiste, Brown Gloria is a girl's fantasy of puffed sleeves, pintucks, cascading frills, silk ribbon, and ruffled lace:

The Anne and Diana Dresses are nearly sold out, with only 1 set left. Anne's Brown Gloria Dress is now live on eBay, with bidding open until Saturday, May 14 at 8 PM EDT. In the meantime, if you're not yet acquainted with Anne, the full text of Anne of Green Gables is available for free on Project Gutenberg. Read it with a box of tissues!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Flowers

With all the rain I've been getting in Indiana, it's a wonder my house hasn't floated away yet... but April showers bring May flowers, right? At least that's the hope. Meg and I both clearly have spring on our minds which has led us to create lots of flowery things perfect for the season. We also both have a bit of a literary bent this month with Meg's Anne of Green Gables inspired creations and my Austen-tatious Modiste which will go to auction later in the month.

Here is a small sampling of what we have added to the site:

A 1930s style dress for Ruthie, trimmed with vintage yellow rick-rack and complete with a headband and panties...

The return of a best-seller from my Etsy shop, a dress for Emily in a 1945 reproduction print...

And while we are on the subject of best friends (I totally didn't realize it until just now but that's another of our running themes this month) Anne and Diana's school frocks with pinafores...
And a new addition to our Signature line, a recreation of Samantha's Play Dress and Pinafore.

We have even more new goodies in our shop - please stop in and visit us today! (And with Mother's Day just around the corner, feel free to print this post and leave it in a conspicuous place to leave hints to your loved ones! Tee hee!)