Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Red Dress for Sooah

Solange (aka Elfdoll Sooah) did not get a new dress for the Black-and-White party.  It was only right, therefore, that she should be the first to receive a new dress post-party.  And what a dress!  Red has to be as far as you can get from black and white.

I bought the fabrics earlier in the year from my favorite local quilt shop and put them aside for future inspiration.  (Many of my fabric purchases start out that way.)  I had a third fabric, a yellow-and-white gingham chosen to coordinate with the two reds, but not enough of it to feature prominently.  It ended up as facing for the sleeve opening.  It doesn't show, but I know it's there.  But I am getting ahead of myself...

First, the pattern.  I recently discovered Adele Sciortino's Costuming & Trim website.  Someone on the Sewing for BJDs Yahoo Group mentioned it some time ago -- it just took me a while to follow up.  You can find Adele's site at  I registered for her newsletter, and in the Summer 2010 issue I found a pattern called Country Ruffles, by Martha Boers.  I recognized her model right away:  Elfdoll Ryung, large bust.  The same size as my Sooah. 

Country Ruffles, by Martha Boers
Martha has published other patterns for Ryung in the recently defunct Doll Crafter & Costuming:  an absolutely gorgeous medieval gown in November 2007, and an ice fairy, complete with wings, in January 2009.  I have yet to make either costume, as they are both a little daunting for someone of my just-above-basic skill level.  Sooah, however, knows that I have them, and I know that she wants me to attempt them.  I keep putting her off.  The medieval gown, in particular, demands a fabulous fabric and I haven't found anything suitable.  Excuses, excuses...

Martha's stunning medieval gown for large bust Elfdolls
Martha's Ice Fairy on left; the medieval gown is in the issue at right
Back to Country Ruffles, which I did make.  The pattern shows the finished dress in two versions, one with lace around the neckline and one with trim.  I made a third version, without any embellishment at the neck.  I like the clean look of the plain neckline, although a necklace might be nice.  I also varied the pattern by making the stripes vertical on the bottom ruffle.  While I like the horizontal ruffle, my fabric was so narrow that I would have had to join four pieces to get the required width.  I didn't trust my ability to line up so many stripes without the result getting wavy.  By using my fabric on the vertical, I was able to get the width from two pieces.  The stripes lined up perfectly.

Sooah's red dress, minus rosettes
I photographed Sooah in the dress even though it is not completely finished.  I ordered light brown ribbon rosettes online, thinking I would have them in plenty of time to complete my embellishments before writing this post.  As luck would have it, the items shipped only yesterday, so I won't see them until the middle of the coming week at the earliest.  I am planning to add them at the upper edge of the ecru lace, evenly spaced out around the dress.  I'm hoping the color will come close to the dark gold roses in the print.  You can never be sure when you order online.  If they look horrible I won't use them at all.

I was able to accessorize Sooah's new dress with a straw hat that I had used before.  After spending a fruitless half-hour or so trying to add flowers to it without actually gluing or sewing them on, I remembered the flower wreath I had used with her 1790 dress.  It fit over the hat perfectly.  (I wouldn't be surprised if I had intended it that way back when I made the wreath.)

Hang onto your hat, my dear.  The wind is picking up.
For a wig, I turned to J-Rock, a Monique Gold wig in a color called golden auburn.  It seems more brown than auburn to me.  I had intended to give Sooah a new face-up, but found that the dark wig worked well with her original face-up.  So for now, no new face-up for Sooah.  I do, however, have several U-noa faceplates awaiting the touch of the brush.  I really should get to them before the snow flies and I don't feel like bundling up to go outside to apply Mr. Super Clear...

Stay tuned for the next Foto Friday to see if Sooah's dress got its rosettes.

Postscript added Dec. 28, 2010:  The rosettes were much smaller than I had anticipated.  Sooah's dress remains rosette-less until such time as I find a better size.

Postscript added July 6, 2011:  Martha Boers is no longer associated with Adele Sciortino's Costuming & Trim newsletter.  You can find her free patterns (and inspirational photos!) on her website and blog,

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